Monday, July 17, 2006

"The Neighborhood," or How We Learned To Love Red

Ever have one of those nights where fun things just happen? No planning, no effort… just a great night?

Saturday, Greg and I drove up to Santa Barbara for the dive trip. We got in to town early, caught the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, then when to board and check in. As we were dragging our gear to the boat, we ran into our friends from San Diego. We quickly set up our dive gear, left the rest of our stuff on our bunks below deck, and headed out to town for “two drinks. Period.”

Well, you know what they say about good intentions, right? We left the boat about 8:30, intending to have a couple of beers and get right back. No one wants to try to dive with a hangover, so a late night was out of the question. Following the Captain’s advice, we walked a few blocks to a cool little bar called “The Neighborhood.” And what a night to be there. It was Liz’s birthday, and apparently her favorite color is red. We know this because there was red everywhere in the bar – mardi gras beads and masks, tinsel, plastic crabs, confetti, and a can of red hairspray. Take note, because this last item becomes important.

So we are minding our own business, shooting pool and enjoying beer. It’s me and the roommate Greg, plus diving buddies Austin (Marine Corps SSgt) and Vitaly (a Russian kid who looks 15 and grins all the time). Austin and I discover the can of hair spray, so we decide to have some fun. I think this picture really sums it all up.

For the rest of the evening, people kept coming up to us asking how we knew the birthday girl. When we said we didn’t, and that we just used the red spray on our hair because we thought it would be a kick, everyone loved us even more. So much so, when we were ready to leave the bar at 11:30, the waitress bought us another pitcher and the party-organizer insisted we all had to dance together.

All and all, an incredible evening of fun. There is a certain amount of freedom being in a new town, not really caring who thinks what about you. And as it turned out, our being there and being a bit wild encouraged everyone else to let loose, too. So, Happy 30th Birthday, Liz. Glad we could be there to make it fun!

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