Is Christianity inherently arrogant? A discussion.
Yes, that was a real event tonight, although I just couldn't fit it in (despite my strong opinions on the subject), only partly because it was happening in Charlottesville.
When I looked at my calendar this morning, I had three things scheduled: two interviews and Secretly Y'All, Tell Me A Story at the new Fulton location of Triple Crossing Brewery. But then about 2ish, I was foolish enough to check Facebook and spotted the Iki Kai event at Metzger.
A Hawaiian-themed evening of tropical cocktails along with chef Brittney's take on poke? Yea, I can fit that in.
But here's the rub: the invitation had clearly stated: Starting at 5 until we run out! No reservations. Hmm, my second interview ensured I couldn't possibly get there before 630ish, but how bad could it be barely an hour and a half in?
Let's see, the building was already at capacity (consequently hovering near the bar, drink in hand, was not permitted) and a gaggle of 10 with their names on the waiting list was already assembled on the corner outside, the designated waiting room.
Still, I had time before the storytelling began, so why not wait on 23rd Street and enjoy the scent of flowering trees and warmth of waning sunshine?
And while we were already in goof-off mode, across the street four Hispanic-looking men were still very busy, despite the hour, working on two new houses going up. Watching their bustling effort, I was surprised when one on the roof whistled sharply and another stuck his head out a second story window and expertly tossed a coil of cord up and onto the roof.
Ten minutes later, two of the men got in a van and pulled out while the remaining duo kept busy, a generator humming in the background. As the van passed the group of white people waiting on the corner for tiki drinks, I had a most incongruous thought: how many tiki-seekers had done manual labor today like these guys?
Exactly. A lot to chew on there.
By the time I finally got clearance to enter the building and claim a vacant bar stool, the white-hot intensity had cooled just a tad to red hot. I'd even go so far as to say that Metzger was finally under the fire marshall's designated capacity, although not by a lot.
A familiar bearded bartender (Redundant? Discuss...) looked relieved at the slightly slower pace and marveled that at the last tiki pop-up, they hadn't premixed any of the rums or mixers as they'd done this time, so in theory they should have been having a far easier time tonight. And yet...
Let's chalk it up to the sheer thirsty numbers of tiki-starved imbibers and not assign blame, shall we?
The menu was simple enough: a handful of classic and creative tiki drinks, three kinds of ahi tuna and three of tako, and Halo Halo beer. After ordering a Mai Tai (rum agricole, Jamaican rum, creole shrub and orgeat lime) and classic tako (they were already out of spicy ahi), I scanned the room.
No kidding, there were no fewer than four infants in baby seats taking up valuable real estate. If that doesn't seem odd to you, then please explain to me why infants belong at a tiki bar in the first place.
Because of the excessive volume that prevented me from even hearing if it was the usual Mr. Fine Wine playing his rare soul 45s or an appropriately Hawaiian soundtrack? Babies don't need noise, so I doubt it.
Because parents feel like if they want to go to a tiki bar, they shouldn't have to get childcare? Bingo, far more likely.
A much more pleasurable place to cast my eye was on the handmade Iki-Kai sign that one of the server's boyfriends had crafted in white with red lit letters and placed at the head of the bar, although it was mostly obscured by hordes of people angling for drinks.
My octopus and seaweed poke was spot on, the crispy fried wontons that accompanied it a satisfying salty crunch between bites of the bounty of the sea, while the Mai Tai delivered crispness and spiciness without ever straying into cliche territory.
When I finally found my way outside, I immediately ran into friends on their way in. Knowing I could surprise them, I told them to guess where I was headed. "The theater," one wagered. Ha! When I said I was on my way to a brewery, they - both avid beer drinkers - were incredulous. They know me better.
"Wait, wait, there's something going on there," one said, racking his brain to recall. Secretly Y'All, I reminded him aloud. "That's it!" he said with satisfaction, as if he'd come up with it.
From there, I had only to follow my handwritten directions to get me from Union Hill to Triple Crossing in Fulton. Sounds so easy, right? And it probably would be for anyone not navigationally-challenged (or using a computer to get them there), neither of which describes me.
So I tried to find the road I was supposed to make a right on and couldn't. I circled back to see if I'd missed it. Still, no trace. Two more loops still didn't produce the brewery or even any telltale signage. I wasn't lost because I knew where I was, I simply couldn't locate Triple Crossing.
It seemed foolish to keep looking. Somewhere nearby, people were telling revealing stories and somewhere in C-ville, they were (hopefully) railing against the arrogance of Christianity (Q: What do you get when you have 4 Episcopalians? A: A fifth), so I needed a Plan B.
I got it parked down at the Sugar Pad, with a view of the silvery-looking river, the setting sun and far more cyclists, runners and even couples strolling hand in hand than I'd have suspected considering the hour. Chances are, each one had a story and an opinion about Christianity.
The Mai Tai and the gorgeous evening guaranteed that I cared to hear neither.