I'm at the open mic, half my brain listening to the poetry on stage, half my brain writing this front page, half my brain wrecked on bourbon. Yes, I know that's three halves. Shut up.

I'm trying to get into the habit of writing my front pages the day before I post them. Why? Because someone at work complained that I was doing personal writing during company hours, which means that I'm making a concentrated effort to not do it anymore, because I like my job and I'd hate to lose it for a reason as stupid as my website. Actually, I'm kind of enjoying writing my front pages out in the real world. It's odd and satisfying to know that you're reading something I wrote while drunk in the middle of a bar, all the other poets looking at me in suspicion because I'm typing this out on a Palm Pilot and they all think I'm a yuppie.

I performed "The Tao of Van Halen" earlier, because it's a guaranteed crowd pleaser and I kind of needed to have a nice supportive crowd for once this summer. For those who don't know me, I tend to have this schedule that coincides with the seasons - during the winter I work on a novel, stay at home every night, and never get laid. During the summer, I write a lot of short entertaining pieces, perform every night, and get laid all the time. But for some reason, this year that schedule has gotten screwed up. I find myself still working on a novel in the summer, never performing, and never getting laid. And tonight, I just needed that audience. I needed that crowd laughing at what I was saying, responding, getting sucked into my piece so badly that they can't wait for the next line. They hold their breath every time I pause, and if you've never had two hundred people collectively hold their breath when you pause...to tell you the truth, it's a really amazing fucking experience. And I know that people always react this way to my Van Halen piece, so that's why I did it tonight. I needed to be reminded that people like my work, that I can still captivate a crowd.

I've made a decision, I think - I think I've decided that I no longer like web journals from women in their mid-thirties who talk about how they can't "wait to get home, play with my cat, cuddle up with my boyfriend, and dig into the yummy Thai food I made earlier today." Why do I have no more tolerance for them? I don't know. Something about a 35-year-old woman actually using the term "yummy" by choice that really upsets and disturbs me. I don't know.

1 a.m. So, here I am in a gay bar. Sidetracks, about four blocks from where I live. Why? I don't have the slightest fucking clue. Something to do with two hot women, getting me totally drunk and telling me that they have a birthday party to go to. Me, following along, like the lost puppy I am, willing to follow drunk women wherever they tell me to go, even if it is to a gay bar.

The boys all look over my shoulder, anxious to see what I'm writing. If there's one thing you can count on, it's that any random man you pick out at a gay bar also has about an 80 percent chance of being a tech geek.

Another thing to say about the gay community - they sure are nice. Every time a guy bumps into me as he saddles his drunk ass to the bar, he puts a warm, friendly, meaty hand on my shoulder and whispers into my ear, "I'm sorry." And I say, "It's okay," because, you know what? It is okay. They're not bumping me because they think I'm a target to their girlfriend. They're just bumping me because it's crowded.

There's someone out there, in Internetland, who runs a really great website, who I know is reading my site. How do I know this? Because I read her site every day, and I can see how her journal has subtlely shifted since I first wrote to her. I'm not going to embarrass her by mentioning her name, but she knows who she is. And I say to you - thank you. Thank you for not treating me like a crazy person, like the majority of people I write to usually treat me. Thank you for thinking that I might actually be an interesting person, but a person who might come off as a little intense sometimes. It's noticed, and it's appreciated.

Okay, I'm too drunk to write anymore. Everyone in the entire bar is singing along to "There's Nothing Like a Dame." What the fuck am I doing in the middle of this queen bar? I don't know anymore, which is a good sign that I should go home. Good night. Good night!

Copyright 2000, Jason Pettus. All rights reserved. This was published under a Creative Commons license; click here for details. Contact: ilikejason [at] gmail [dot] com.