One weekend in downtown Raleigh in a nutshell

A friend of mine who lives in Washington DC asked me if I missed living in DC.

“I do indeed,” replied I.  “The restaurants and the art museums.  You.  And good bakeries.”

“I always wondered this,” he said.  “Why do you love Raleigh so much?” he asked.  “I knew even when you lived here how much you loved it.  It was the WAY you would talk about it.”

I’ve thought about his words quite a bit since yesterday.  And I thought of a way to describe how I enjoy my time here.  It’s not like this all of the time, but can be:

That Saturday evening, we went around downtown Raleigh in such company.  We stopped in at the bar at Garland and had mezcal and crispy garlicky bites of fried chicken; we grounded at Capital Club 16 over fat glistening pork sausages and gin and whiskey; we dined on tender cheap ribeyes at The Mecca washed down with cold beer; we hit our worst break at Slim’s Downtown, which, later the next morning, struggling in our cups, we deemed the “Graveyard” because we knew the bartenders too well; there we had a run-in with a bizarre, young girl who gave off a black energy that threatened our liquored-up gaiety, but we moved quickly away from her lifeless end of the bar.  I remember it as though it was yesterday.  We threw our cigarettes away so as not to be tempted to stand outside in the cold, lest we miss any good songs on the jukebox.  The men lost their heads in lust and passion. I was being hit on by a man with hair gel and no beard but was fished out by friends and saved through a round of Fireball shots.  Now, at this age, I don’t worry about falling down a hatchway and being washed away down river a corpse.  For I can afford an Uber towncar and a fancy hotel room at the Marriott if need be.

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