On The Rail: Panic Room: Caution High Volume

Ninkasi’s Dawn of the Red greets me at the end of a long weekend and what has been the end of a long weekday. If this keeps up, I’m taking the rest of my life off.

The nose is very fruity, and while there isn’t much malt there, the beer is just sweet enough that when goes into the bitterness, I don’t mind. It’s still too hoppy for an actual red but as a beer, it’s solid.

The full name of this bar is Panic Room: Caution High Volume which is approximately three more words than the name of any bar should have. Or really, anything that doesn’t include the words: “the” or “of”. So there’s that. There’s also the biggest goddamn tv I have seen outside a sports bar. It’s like seeing a monkey with a boner. Even if you can look at the other attractions in the zoo, that TV is somehow omnipresent in your brain.

The couches look comfy though, and the food brought from the kitchen looks good. There’s a discreetly placed screen that shows what’s on the Pandora radio station playing in the bar, so if I hear something good that I don’t recognize I can just read the screen. That’s pretty damn handy, I have to say.

I’ve come here to hide out. It’s a good time to be here for this: almost nobody is inside, and it’s the kind of place where even those inside are going to step outside to smoke.

The length of my days has me feeling a little sore and resolutions have been on my mind even since I found out that the father of a friend of mine died a few days ago. He was a lively, funny dude, an electrician in Michigan when that meant you could sustain a proper family. And when Michigan wasn’t FUBAR’d.

A few weeks ago, the cat of another friend died. The cat had cancer and was clearly miserable. I was honored to drive them to the vet and to witness his passing. The cat died surrounded by someone who loved him. I hope that my friend’s dad could say the same.

I wonder how often we have the luxury of a pet, our resolutions and our deaths coming in the presence of someone who loves us. I hope that happens more often than not. I hope the fingerprints I have left on people allow them to feel settled, where I can. But, we don’t always get what we want. These days, I feel like I understand that better than I used to.

Tall fella comes in, complaining about the heat. Walking two blocks to the store apparently was too much. God knows how he got here. The bartender replies, “Dude, there’s a reason both my jobs, my house and my car have AC.”

My beer is nearly done. I am going to dive home with the windows down, wind blowing, Corrosion of Conformity’s blaring. I may need to hunker down just a little longer.

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