Last Saturday night, I dressed up like a crazy disco ho-bag ('tis the season) to join other Halloween revelers for a rare night on the town. I met up with new pal, Karen, at the home of her friend, Doug. He lives in an adorable loft and was hosting some pre-festivity cocktails before everyone ran off to their various parties and events.
Doug was serving a classic drink (circa 1930s) called, "The Sidecar," a delightful concoction he used to make for his great aunt - despite the persistent rumor that he made them for his grandmother. I loved them! A little brandy, a little Cointreau and the perfect amount of lemon juice all dressed up in a sugared rim. Yum.
By the time, we got to the Breckenridge Brewery for their annual canned food-raiser "Brimstone Boogie," I was happily smashed. It was great to be out amongst my fellow Denver-ites; I don't see them nearly enough and miss them terribly.
With everyone in full costume, conversations happened easily. An entire herd of folks came as various emoticons and there was a Catholic priest who was there, very drunk and trying to get as much flesh in his hands as possible - all for the character, I'm sure. (He should have also had a tithing plate and a nervous buddy nearby dressed as a lawyer.) Doug was dressed as a 'chick magnet' with those marshmallow Peeps Velcro-ed all over him. I can vaguely remember a friendly guy dressed as Duffman buying me more drinks, not that I needed them.
At some point, I regressed into an old habit: Storing all my stuff behind the band's amplifier. I swear, I've been doing this since the 80s and even in to the 90s when I was writing about bands for a living. Never had a problem. Keeps me from being weighted down, y'know?
At some other point, I go to my special secret hiding spot and can't find my stuff. I begin frantically searching the entire club but find nothing. Incredulous to my bad luck, I somehow end up in sitting next to soda tanks 'backstage,' bawling my head off and taking inventory of my loss: Cell phone, eyeglasses, house keys, driver's license, ATM card, fancy red velvet gloves, gum, $22 and a small container of silver glitter. Oh yes, and two coats - one to match my wild disco outfit and the other black velvet with red fake fur collars for the neck and wrists. (The coat is so coveted amongst friends that it is actually listed in my Will.)
Thankfully, a kind soul and BB staff member named Doug took pity, fetched me water, helped me look for my stuff and generally worried about my well being. Eventually, we had to give up and he inquired how I was going to get home and what my plan was. At that moment, I realized how alone I was in this new city, which kick-started a new round of tears.
Karen had already gone home and I was left with little choice. I had to approach poor Doug, who I'd only met hours earlier, and ask if I could crash at his place. I had no money, no house key, no coats, no money, no eyesight and, at this stage, very little self respect. Gentleman that he is, Doug agreed.
I slept badly, running over various tragic scenarios in my head - my bank account cleared out, my apartment cleared out, my cat murdered, my car stolen ... my glitter used up. Gak! Up by 7 a.m., I waited patiently for the sun to rise so I could start my horrible day. Thankfully, Doug had a stack of Playboys, fun stuff that I rarely get to peruse. (Question: Since when did full-grown women devolve away from public hair? Brrrrrr.)
I called my petsitter, Mark, who has an extra key, and asked if he could meet me at my house to let me in. I called the brewery and left a pathetic pleading message with my home number. Then, I waited for poor innocent Doug to awaken so I could then hit him up for the $20 it would take to get me out of his life ASAP. He finally arose around 9 a.m. and quickly handed over the cab fare.
All through this, I realize I'm bummed about having lost my 'things' but actually feel much sadder about the idea that one of my fellow revelers robbed me blind. This would leave an indelible black mark on Denver's spot-free record; this incident would mar our relationship while still in its crucial beginning. I mean, if I can amp-stash my stuff for decades in the seedy clubs of Hollywood, Los Angeles and San Francisco without incident - what does that say about Denver? I didn't want to think about it.
I did the feaux Walk of Shame, running into Doug's elderly neighbor in the hallway wearing red glitter boots and not much else, and caught a cab home. Petsitter Mark met me at the door handing over several keys - he'd had extras made on the way over, out of concern. (Now, that's the Denver I love!)
My home phone tells me I have seven voice mail messages, several are from the brewery telling me that they found my stuff, tucked away in a very odd place. (This is when I remember another old habit: Doubting my original hiding spot with each passing cocktail and re-hiding it over and over until ... well, until this happens.)
But here is the fun part: My voice mail included two messages - an amused one from my father, "Hey, honey! Heard you were out drinking last night and lost all your stuff! Way to go!" and a frantic one from my mother, "HEATHER, WHERE ARE YOU??? PLEASE CALL ME! I HOPE NOTHING HAS HAPPENED TO YOU!!!" (This was supplemented by a similar email I later found from her in ALL CAPS.)
Apparently, the staff at the Breckenridge Brewery was so concerned about my well being that they called my parents ... at 2 in the morning. Never mind that I am 40 and legally responsible for myself. Let's even overlook the fact that I partly moved to Colorado so no one would know what the fuck I was up to but let's ask the only question that needs to be asked here: What the hell?
Truth be told, I found the BB's behavior pretty damn adorable. Of course, if I were 25, that calling-the-parents thing definitely would've enraged me. Still, not only did I have my stuff back but my faith was restored in Denver. I tried to imagine a nightclub staff in LA or even San Francisco giving a shit about a drunken weepy loser and I just can't picture it, which makes me fall in love with Denver all over again.
Thus, I'll probably go out again tonight. Happy Halloween!