02 May 2006

IHOP, You-hop, They-hop

Dear Editor,

I thank you for the chance to submit this article for Nashville After Dark.* Your journal of the strange and unusual in the Music City has truly become a hallmark for those that lurk the city after last call. The piece in last month’s journal, Ten Places Never to Eat Chili after 10 pm was truly inspired.

Should I have violated any of your submission guidelines, please let me know and I will reformat. The working title for this piece is IHOP, You-hop, They-hop. Should you need anything else in this submission packet please let me know.


The bartenders and the club owners see them every weekend night in their tight blue jeans, the relievers. The folks that want to transfer a few pages of a blue boy magazine into their lives, if only for just one night. After all the thoughts of new sensations and the last good vibration are picked up on, reality sets in. The hard truth that one needs to eat at O-Dark-Thirty hits like an impending hangover.

Those wishing to go out with a lion’s roar descend upon some unsuspecting all night spoon. The wait staff at a local IHOP braces for impact around 2 am. They pray that the night won’t go south and degenerate into a scene from Naked Lunch. A waitress palms a packet of Excedrin into the line cook’s hand and says, “A stitch in time saves nine.” The cook manages a weak smile and points to the dining room with an egg covered spatula.

The first wave has come in. A group of guys and dolls are sitting in the corner in the smoking section. Their number is mismatched, and there is only one girl without a date. The young lady is on the corn fed side of Rubenesque and wearing a tight pink tank top. Obviously she drops her cigarettes on the floor and bends over in front of a table of young bucks to retrieve her Misty menthols. Her breasts defy logic in not peaking out over their pink confines. The line cook frantically tears open the package of Excedrin and mutters, “She better stop that or I’m going to go blind.”

The group of gawking boys is joined by a girl who is young enough to need a chaperone when going to church. Some of the boys look a decade her senior. As young as she looks, she is old enough to have graduated from the Pretty Baby school of make-up. She is wearing enough whale blubber on her face to make Tammy Fay think twice about going out in public. Seated now, she starts is talking to the previously gawking lads. Throwing her head back with laugher and touching the arm of one boy my stomach churns. Some danger zone is about to be crossed with these guys and I am powerless to stop it.

Decency takes another hit on the chin when a guy wearing a basketball jersey and a ton of fake bling walks in with his date. He looks like he has never been in the big city before and this is his big night out. His date is a rail thin girl wearing a sweater midriff and a gold chain around her waist. It really must be his big night out. She points at her watch and he digs in his pocket. Looking around he presses a wad of money in her hand. True love blossoms at IHOP.

I vow not to worry and fret to my companions about such matters. Since there are no laws against voyeurism, I feel no guilt in watching the parade. Their conversation has turned to work and children issues by the time I come to my senses. Somehow this eases my mind away from thoughts of a time I might have been one of these revealers. Taking a final sip of coffee, I ask for the check and hope all the cool crowd is locked up tight in Waffle Houses and IHOPs across the city.

*Authors note, while this blog is based on real events; there is no such thing as Nashville After Dark. If there is, I don’t know about it. So don’t email me asking where you can pick up a copy. You might laugh now, but it will happen.

1 comment:

WordSmith said...

Meanwhile, on the other side of town at the Waffle House some cranked up deadbeat sits wearing my black sling-back sandals flipping through this month's copy of Vogue.