At least some of my post-work time each day is spent practicing social assimilation… Attempting to appear comfortable in whatever surroundings I’m in while not letting on that I am very often anything but. It’s kind of a fun game for a while, though no matter how good I’ve gotten at it, after a few decades it just makes you feel like a fucking freak.
For quite a while now, 2nd Street in Long Beach, California has provided many of those surroundings. The east 2nd Street area has somehow remained clean and docile even though many neighboring it have gone the very opposite direction. Some of the older shops have been pushed aside, as is the way, but enough have remained that the area has avoided the “shopping mall” feel.
One of the strangest business marriages I’ve ever seen is the small, upscale gym located directly in the center of the shopping strip, and the large Irish pub located directly above. There is an indoor stairway from one to the other, large plexi-glass windows overlooking portions of the gym from the feeding trough upstairs, and- in case you need to get some deep-fried zucchini and a few beers right after exercising but forgot your wallet- your gym membership card can be used to charge food and drink. Maybe it only seems strange to me, but it is definitely curious to watch people finish with one and transition directly to the other. But as I’ve said before, they’re almost certainly happier than I am, so who the fuck am I to criticize.
While offering no more cultural significance than a Polish sausage cart, the location of this particularly bland “Irish Pub” would allow it success even if it were called ‘The Non-Elective Russian Roulette Club’… Attractive crowd every night, upstairs outdoor patio- If I’m trying to improve at normal, that is where I needed to be. So, I went.