This is a weird thing to say, but I never realized how boring my life was until I went to a dueling-piano bar. It’s not like I had a life-changing experience from hearing bawdily rewritten versions of pop standards. I just concluded that my nights out typically follow the same tired routine of drinking beer, smoking weed, watching bands, eating bad food, going home, and passing out. Sometimes I break the monotony by throwing up in a parking lot, but most of the time, my Saturday nights hit the same tired beats.
The Saturday night before Christmas, though, I had a date with my friend Kathleen, and since she lives in Arlington, I thought it would be fun to do what I supposed is a very Arlingtonian thing to do: get sorta dressed up and go out for drinks in Lincoln Square. I admit that this is a terribly reductive assessment of a city that’s almost 400,000 people strong, but whatever. My life is boring, remember? In many cases, “boring” is synonymous with “unimaginative,” which is a conveniently reductive way to assess reductive assessments. And, anyway, I find myself defending Arlington to haters whenever I get the chance. Pho 95 is in Arlington and so is the better of Tarrant County’s two Guitar Centers. What more do you need?!?
I know that there’s a certain mental and physical agility intrinsic to the kind of vaudeville shtick that’s the hallmark of piano bars, but I’ve never had much interest in them. They just seem, I dunno, kind of lowbrow, like a Jim Carrey blockbuster or a UFC bout. But Kathleen had never seen a piano duel either, so I guess we both had the low-grade excitement that accompanies novelty and unknown expectations; funnily enough, though I had the sad epiphany mentioned above, I had a pretty good time, the way watching flustered parents herd their brood through the state fair is more fun than anything in the midway.