So my attempt to go to The Ataris concert in Albany Saturday night was a complete and utter failure. Oh, Ryan and I did go to Albany, and we did find Bogie’s bar where The Ataris were to perform. But through a combination of my being intimidated by the populace waiting in line outside and Ryan’s desperate begging to not make him attend the show, I relented and agreed to let this one go. (For now–I still think I’m destined to go to an Ataris concert. I think this particular one just wasn’t meant to be.)
But–BUT!! The night was not a total loss. As compensation for skipping the show, Ryan took me to one of his favorite places I’d never seen: the Biergarten. Yeah, I was impressed by the German spelling too.
So in downtown Albany there’s this beer garden, called the Biergarten. It’s in kind’ve a shady part of town where I would quite frankly never go alone, because I’d likely be raped and murdered. It’s a bar, hence the “bier” in the name. There was a drunken vagrant rambling outside, so I was rightfully a little freaked out. Moreso when we went in the door and this scary Batista-looking guy wanted to see my idea and stare at me to judge me or something. So I wasn’t sure how this was going to go.
To my surprise, once we actually got inside, it was actually pretty nice. They have a tree inside! A TREE!! And lights. And… uhhh… chandeliers shaped like antlers. That’s kinda weird. The seating is all on picnic tables, which I’d been alerted to previously. Of course, I had always assumed the picnic tables would be outside, so their interior location was a surprise. Also surprising was the girl at one of the tables drinking beer out of this giant three-foot tall glass boot, which is apparently so valuable it requires a deposit. Wow. Unexpectedly, the people inside the bar weren’t any kind of corrupt thugs. They seemed to be pretty normal people. Maybe even nice people?
Also as Ryan promised, there were peanuts. PEANUTS!! And lots of them. Baskets full! And while I don’t have any proof of it, I suspect that if we had used up the basket of peanuts, someone would have either come and refilled it or brought another basket. I’m not sure about that, though. The peanuts were actually sorta neat, because I haven’t had to take a peanut out of a shell in… well, I dunno how long. Probably a decade and a half. But luckily, this is a skill I was able to remaster (mostly) quickly.
It did strike me as uncouth and a little bit rude that the ground was totally covered in peanut shells because everyone just threw them on the ground. Allegedly this was the expected behavior and totally acceptable, but I raised myself to have pretty strict manners, so I had a really hard time with this. I tried throwing a shell on the ground a couple inches from me, and it really seemed discourteous to me. So instead I built a neatly-arranged pile of shells on the bench in front of me. Once my neat little pile of shells grew unwieldly, I swept all the debris into my hand and sorta placed it on the ground. I don’t think anybody was offended by my doing that, so all’s well. Maybe someday I’ll have the social skills to be able to throw peanut shells on the ground, but this was not that day…
Now, this was a trip to a beer garden, so Ryan did get me beer. My beer-drinking experience is… minimal, and what I have had has been pretty nasty. So my expectations were not high. But this German-y beer wasn’t bad. It wasn’t Pepsi Throwback or even Dr. Pepper Throwback, but I liked it enough to not want to puke it up. I even finished two of them. I feel pretty positive about that. I have a high degree of certainty that I have too much control and discipline for alcohol to ever have any effect on me, so I’m happy it can at least taste okay.
This… was good for me. I always thought a bar would be a wretched hive of scum and villainy like the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars, filled with corrupt and horrible people. But having been in here, I’m not so sure that that’s the case. At least not this bar… I actually had a good time here. I didn’t really think I would. But it was a learning experience, and I definitely grew from it. I didn’t get hurt, and I don’t really feel like I did anything bad. I still wasn’t entirely comfortable being in a bar of any kind, but I’m not sure I can be the type of person who’ll ever be comfortable with that.
Someday I’ll be able to deal with peanut shells appropriately. Someday…