23 August 2009

Some posts just can't be titled effectively.

I have a link to share with you. But first, I have to tell you a story. Don't worry; unlike most of my stories, it doesn't have a horrible ending or wind up with me begging you for something.

It was 1994. I'd turned 21 a month or so earlier, and my sometimes-sweetheart was a college student in Moorhead. So we went to Ralph's Corner Bar, a Moorhead institution, where grizzled locals and college students alike shared cheap beer and greasy burgers. I liked the bar: it was old, and grungy, and my mom had maybe gone to it when she was in college. Live music played in the back room, and years later I'd see bands with names like Diesel Jenny play there.

This was only my second time in a real bar (my first was in Morris, where I turned 21), and it was different than just a college bar. It was older, and dirtier, and felt more grown up. Plus they had black leather booths, cracked with age and smoke, that made me think of movies like The Untouchables. It was the kind of place that, when you walked in, a good dozen people turned to see who you were. Like the gas station in my hometown, but with the smell of stale beer.

After our first pitcher, I excused myself to the ladies' room. It was one of those single-room ones, with a thin wood veneer door and push button lock. As I dropped my Levis and turned to sit, I saw a sign on the back of the bathroom door. It was one of those black and orange signs you can buy at K-Mart that say "Garage Sale" or "Beware of Dog," but this one was blank in the middle, and someone had scrawled in black Sharpie:

No Drugs
in Your 'Gina.
I am a simple, inexperienced woman in many ways. I grew up in a town of 300 people, and I swear no one I knew had ever even THOUGHT of what this sign was reminding me not to do.
We left after that one beer, and though I went back in later years, I never saw the sign again. This was long before digital cameras, but man, I wish I had a photo of that sign. Who put it up? Was it a joke? Did someone really need to be reminded? As if someone might forget and oopsie! There's drugs in my 'gina again.
Anyway, I told you all this to show you this, an article about the new business in that old space. I'm not a believer in this kind of thing, honest. But if any place in the world might need cleansing, I can vouch that it's that bathroom.


CrystalRae said...

I wonder if anyone's ever really spent enough time in that bathroom since Ralph's is now gone to analyze what, really, the negative feeling IS. Maybe it's a feeling, real subtle, like .. . "hmm...I kind of want to put some drugs in my 'gina right now."

Maybe those copper rods should have signs on them. Maybe that's what they knew at Ralph's, but out of spite, chose not to tell anyone who tried to pretty-up the place.

Dawn Mason said...

That made me laugh, although I'm not entirely sure what it meant.