the birthday part IV, the end: a long walk to j-town and dimples
and so all good things must come to an end. and sometimes they end with a long walk to a very strange terminus.
after waddling out of greens we milled around aimlessly in the parking lot waiting for our senses to clear. which they never did. which is why we decided to walk all the way over to japantown. it being saturday night in the marina and pacific heights, we spied the usual tight-lipped dinner parties from down below, a handful of people dressed up like chickens, hogs and dalmations, packs of boastful, puffed up fraternity brothers and no shortage of sandal-clad, tottering, giggling groups of girls, flipping their hairdos and talking trash about each other.
so we walked. and we walked. and we walked. at the end of the road we came to roost here. dimples.
this is a very strange place located almost in the basement of the denny's on post street. garish neon flashes outside, beckoning you down that dark stairwell to the underbelly of j-town. once you hit the basement level and hang the mandatory right, there it is. a boxy room with a bar to your right with a few stools scattered about. as you walk in, to your left are mirrors and a few linolium booths that are reminiscent of an airport cafeteria in cold minimalist plastic black eigties style. at the end of the small room is a jukebox which has a selection of elton john love songs and korean romantic favorites on hand. the bar at this point curves to the right for a few stools and there is a video poker machine set into the corner. to the left of the juke box is "the room", of which i shall speak later.
this was our second foray into the dimples universe. the first time was on a friday night about 6:30 pm. after years of seeing that damn sign but being too afraid to go in alone, i dragged the ol' ball-and-chain in behind me, as back up, as they say. i had no idea what to expect. as i descended i heard a muted drunken roaring and hearty back slapping. i was afraid. i was elated.
lined up at the bar were four drunk salarymen. i don't mean financial district guys off work. i mean the japanese salarymen you can find late at night in any tokyo or osaka outbound train, either seated or standing hanging from the handstrap for dear life. the shiny suits worn a few years too long, shoulders flecked with dandruff, greasy skin and the inevitable gyoza breath. and boy are they drunk. and stinking. green to the gills and swaying like hula dancers. so anyway, there were four of them lined up at the bar, slapping each other on the backs, giggling, swaying. boy, i tell you it brought back memories. especially when one of them fell off his stool. twice.
other patrons included a pretty young girl all dressed up with an older, much older man. a pretty crass looking but jovial girl watching her cell phone and chatting with the bartendress, and another young, bored looking girl stationed at the video poker machine. we had a few overpriced beers. the drunk salarymen left shortly after the second falling-off-bar-stool incident, arms clasped around each others' shoulders doing that strange "here we come, walkin down the street, hey hey we're the monkeys" staggering walk. the chain being broken only so they could fit throught he doorway. the crass-looking girl got whatever call she was waiting for and departed. the bored girl kept playing video poker. the spring-winter couple left too. not to make hasty judgements but it looked like a first "date", if you know what i mean...
so that was the first time. what was this latest visit to bring, i wondered?
the bar was filled with girls. pretty girls. pretty asian girls. one of them dressed in some formal wear - like what you'd wear to a prom or a ball or a fancy wedding or tea with the queen. there were a handful of decrepit looking guys, most of whom where clutching what appeared to be neon colored phone cords....you know what i'm talking about, back when phones had those springy cords that attached to handset to the box. if you're too young to remember go watch a seventies movie - i'll do you good. i asked the guy next to me what they were for - he mumbled something about the bartendress winning them in las vegas. huh?
so we took our usual seats just before the bend in the bar that led to the video poker machine, a different bored girl stationed in front of it and three or four other girls lingering next to her. we ordered five dollar bottles of buds and waited. eventually this mysterious room to the left opens up, i crane my neck around to peer inside - it looks like one of the booths outside but private. a few people go inside. "hmmm, i think to myself, maybe karaoke..." (i like to give the benefit of the doubt, y'know), well to be honest, i didn't hear any karaoke or anything else for that matter. a pack of three young asian guys enters the bar and the girl in the ball gown walks over to them. "hmmmm, maybe like a hostess bar..." the room opens and closes. there is almost a fight over one of the "las vegas souveniers", one guys' buddy knocks him off the bar stool and drags him out, a few single men come in and the girls go over to chat with them. one girl watches her cell phone and disappears after a call. a koren love song plays on the jukebox. i finish the dregs of my now flat beer and feel a year older. although none the wiser.
dimples, 1700 post street, san francisco