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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Geriatric Karaoke

“We just moved into this house.” I muttered to myself while reorganizing.


This is a lie. In June, it will be 3 years that we’ve lived in our Richmond home. But it’s taken me that long to figure out where things go. To learn what works, and what doesn’t.


A while ago, when Wrigley was failing and I was in denial about his failing, Andrea moved her office into the sun room. That way, Wrigley could still work with her but without ascending and descending the stairs. Wrigley’s gone and Andrea’s still in the sun room, but it’s not really organized. I don’t know how she works in there. When my home office gets too messy, I find it distracting. During last night’s bout of insomnia, I thought about how to make this space work for Andrea who felt she “got the shaft.” I shared my vision and now she’s inspired which means a road trip to IKEA today. We live an hour and a half from 2 store locations but opted to make the trip to Norfolk where at least we can say hello to the ocean.


We’ve made a lot of progress organizing inside the house - minus the basement which needs to be condemned but we will get to it later, and in phases.


My niece, Josie, paid us a visit from Seattle, which is where she’s lived since last fall. Prior to that, she lived in Japan for 5 years. It was great to see her and we love showing our quirky, downshift of a city off.


The last time I saw my niece, she was in high school so it was fun to get to know her. The Friday she was in Richmond, she turned 28. Although she is incredibly mature, 28 made me feel elderly - my high school classmates are turning 50 and 50 is coming for me this September.


The Tuesday prior to her visit, Andrea and I went to a nearby dive bar after Andrea read on Reddit that they serve good Korean food. It turns out that their Korean food is surprisingly good. Reddit didn’t mention that this same establishment has karaoke Monday through Friday, 745 - 1145 PM. We happened to be there on a Tuesday night, which was fairly low key and a table of geriatrics enthusiastically took turns at karaoke. Mary sang Patsy Cline and when asked, told Andrea that she goes there often, and sings country, but she was going to “mix it up”.  We stayed way past Mary’s rendition of Patsy Cline - the karaoke was a train wreck that we couldn’t take our eyes off. Andrea got another beer after cashing out, telling the bartender she was captivated. He just laughed.


So of course, we decided to take Josie to see geriatric karaoke to close out her birthday. Mary was there but her groupies were missing. She sang one song (spoiler alert: she didn’t mix it up) and left, leaving the scene to a mostly younger crowd. Andrea and I decided to tell people it was Josie’s birthday - which was likely the point at which things began to get a little crazy. The women in front of us sent over a Jell-O shot to each of us. I passed mine off to Josie, then more drinks arrived from her. A guy came over and struck up a conversation with Josie. He was trying to impress her but everything he said was cringe. Another guy came over, wished her a happy birthday, and asked how old she was. In turn, he told her that he was going to be 50 this year.


“You look good for your age!” Josie said to him, which, in turn caused me to hiss at Andrea, “He looks good for his age?! I’m going to be 50! How do I look if he looks good for his age?”


“Josie was being nice!” Andrea assured me. She was very convincing - this guy did not look good for his age. He offered to buy her a shot and suggested a shot of Fireball.


“It’s spicy.” Andrea said.


“Like cinnamon.” I added.


The old man, who happened to be my age, got her a water too and also, later suggested we check on her in the bathroom. Which we were about to do when she emerged. Josie sang a song and while she was up there, Cringe Guy said, “I know she’s family - are you okay with me talking to her?”


And I said something like, “Oh sure. If we weren’t okay, we’d take you outside for a beat down.”


Cringe Guy looked surprised and slightly nervous, I laughed, and gave his arm a gentle slap, “Nah, I’m only fucking with you.”


“She’s single, right?” Cringe Guy asked. I considered replying that Josie had a husband tucked away in Seattle, which Cringe Guy seemed to think was in Oregon, but didn’t.


Josie had told us she wasn’t interested in Cringe Guy, which was no surprise to us. Cringe Guy had wandered off after asking Andrea and I to watch his drink, adding, “You won’t put anything in it, right?”


Those that sang karaoke that night were not geriatric but they were entertaining. One guy arrived on the scene with a cardboard cutout guitar. Josie and Andrea each sang and did a good job. Then Cringe Guy sang the cringiest song that I’m not even going to name because although Josie is an adult, my brother Larry would seriously question where we took his kid. I mean - I’m questioning it. Honestly - it seemed like a good idea when we knew the place as geriatric karaoke.


At one point, Josie said she was the kind of person who became giggly when tipsy. I’m the opposite, which is why I haven’t drank in a long time. If you’re questioning the wisdom of me going to a dive bar, let me assure you I liked to drink alone. Secretive. Furtively. I didn’t want to be around people, but there was a chance I’d drunk dial you.


After Cringe Guy sang, Andrea stared at him and said, “Wow. I don’t even know what to say.”


“You could say I did a good job.” Cringe Guy suggested.


“Well - you do have a good voice.” I admitted.


I murmured, “Keep an eye on this guy.” To Andrea, “I’ll start the car.”


Andrea and I came out laughing. Cringe Guy had gotten cringier after I left and Josie had to break his heart.


Our friend Anne is coming to visit us starting on Saturday, “Should we take her there?” Andrea asked, referring, of course, to the dive bar.


“Absolutely.” I reply.



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