The jungles of Oaxaca to the doldrums of Colorado suburbia – the change is harsh. Thank God for Denver: nothing like the giant cities of the world, but still possessing a quaint downtown quality. Nothing has really changed except for the 15th Street Tavern. What a travesty to all drunks. Denver lost one of its dingiest, most repugnant Pabst-holes. The tavern was at its best at the end. Right across the street from the Hyatt hotel, businessmen would come in to get real with “common people,” so the next day they could show off to their stock trader buddies. “Hey Paul! A crack head burned me with his crack pipe right on my elbow! Can you believe it? Only at the Tavern. Har! Har! Har!”
Coming back is strange. I’ve avoided acknowledging that I’m actually in America by being drunk since I got back. A little keepsake of 2 liters of gas-can mezcal and quart of the finest rum made, Flor de Caña, has kept me sane. I would love to give you all great comparisons of the appalling differences and curious similarities in our two wonderful cultures, but the fact is that my mind is still in Oaxaca. Borracho y loco.
Anybody know that song – “borracho y loco”? I never figured out who sang it, or I forgot. I’ve forgotten how to use the internet. It would be great if one of you savvy Internet wizzes could find that artist. One might ask: how did you submit this essay if you have forgotten how to use the Internet? Well, you can thank the best editor in the tri-country club area, Miss Angora Holly Polo for transcribing this essay entirely from dirty bar nappies, which I stuffed into her mailbox. Thanks!
Sitting here in the bar right now is strange. It’s crazy how the body and mind get used to things. My daily routine in Oaxaca was like one salubrious bowel movement after another. Visiting with my neighbor don Angel at the end of the day, while he sharpened his machete, is something I miss dreadfully. Sucking on warm beers, greeting the people walking by in Chinanteco (the native language), breathing the thick jungle air, I felt like I had missed out on something all my life: simplicity, humility.
One day I asked Angel how long a machete lasts. His reply: “until it gets too small.” Later I found a pile of about 30 rusty, stubby machete blades in his palm-roofed shed. I stared at the pile until I came to the realization that this was Angel’s life – in machetes. He must have kept every one of them in his decades of working his cornfields, hacking the jungle until they got thin and useless.
I asked him why he keeps them, and he laughed and said: “¿Quien sabe?”
Before I left Denver, I fashioned myself as the greatest bartender to ever put a lit firecracker in your martini. I am pleased to tell you all that I will be taking all of that up again. I got my job back at the Larimer Lounge. I’ve been to a few shows. And once this mezcal is gone, I will happily return to the warm embraces of Liquid Jesus: Pabst and Beam.
I should also say that Baca has asked me write for the Post’s Reverb blog. I’ll still be writing for the Academy. The Reverb blog provides an opportunity to expose myself on a larger platform where more people will be able to see the length of my wit, not to mention the size of my intellects. It’s important that people see that, just so they know.
*Editor’s note: Angora will also be writing for Reverb! She has just beaten you over the head with links to it. Check it out.
The server has taken away the napkins, and I am running out of room on this one. Expect regular correspondence from now on! I can’t wait to tell you all about the finer details of Mexico: the people, the drinks (pulque, sangrita), the shows I went to, the Viagra I purchased for don Angel. We’re going to have some real fun.
Keep drinking and tipping