austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Tell me how do we get this thing started

After all the tournament playing was done and many of the players disappeared to ... wherever (I suppose most of them went home, though a couple went to hotels nearby), we stuck around and played a little more and drew closer to running out of small bills to convert into pinball games. Close to 11 pm bunny_hugger, MWS, and I figured to go across to Stella's, get something to eat and maybe a couple pinball games in. They were packed, and the hostess station --- located at the back of the bar --- had closed down, so we had to just hover around waiting for any party to leave and then swoop down on the empty table. That done, and with Gremlins starting on the screen beside us (MWS had earned the nickname of Gremlin, for having been around when many of The Lansing pinball league tables broke), we learned just how vegetarian-friendly the place is. Maybe a quarter of the menu choices were flagged as vegetarian- or vegan-friendly options. There were also a couple gluten-free options, and one thing (a ribs dish) marked as hipster-free, so now you know everything there is to know about the place.

Through dinner MWS and bunny_hugger kept spotting people who abandoned their games of FunHouse, normally on the third ball, although I kept missing when any of them were playing. We also had a slightly rocky bit of service, with the first waiter handing us off to a second, who was herself training a third guy. This might have contributed to their getting bunny_hugger's order a little wrong --- they had a vegetarian ``buffalo wings'' made of potato wedges rather than chicken, and had the mild version rather than the hot --- although it might also just be that it was a crazy busy Saturday night and, hey, accidents happen.

Not an accident was a moment of fantastic jerk behavior that some guy showed: he was trying to bring his drink out and was told by the guy guarding the door that no, you couldn't do that. So he dropped his drink, right there, letting it shatter on the floor. I'm so very glad I don't have to work in food service, or really anything where I ever have to see a customer face-to-face.

We did after dinner play a couple of pinball games, though MWS had to head off because a friend's cousin was just turning 21 and was at a bar just a couple blocks away so he wanted to buy the guy a drink. It turned out the bar was just next door to the one we were at so that after my best game on FunHouse --- good enough to get the #4 spot on the high score table, in the low 20-millions --- he and the cousin were able to come back and see us. MWS had figured there was a remote chance we were still playing, but, so we were.

While the supply of quarters we had was dwindling, and the tables were set to give out extra balls rather than replays (possibly a Grand Rapids city ordinance? Or maybe just the fashion at Stella's; the Pyramid Scheme tables were all on Crushingly Hard Tournament Mode so for performances that might win you a credit or an extra ball those machines just spat at you instead), we were still good enough overall that we were playing yet at 2 am, when the bartender came around to chase everyone out. Not just stop serving, but to tell people they had to get a move on.

Despite this, we managed to linger a bit yet. The Nugent game brought up the subject of Michigan's Bruce --- Bob Segar --- among us, and that got us to talking about New Jersey's Bruce --- Bruce --- and how out east he's just referred to that way. This sprawled into a chat with the bartender about how, out east, don't they call all pops ``Coke'' and how difficult this can make actually distinguishing Coke from, say, Pepsi or Dr Pepper can be. I was doing my best to explain that no, not that part of the East and then bunny_hugger asked how we were still lingering when it was past 2 am and we were being kicked out of the bar.

A fair question and one with no answer. We went back to our cars --- surprisingly close to one another --- and drove back to our respective homes. And if there is a bartender in Grand Rapids who thinks the New Jersey dialect is to say ``Coke'' for all cola soft drinks then I'll just somehow have to live with that.

Trivia: The exact date of Roger Williams's death is not known, though he was buried with honors, in an unmarked grave. (His bones were relocated.) Source: Rhode Island: A History, William G McLoughlin.

Currently Reading: A Tenth Of A Second: A History, Jimena Canales.

Tags: pinball

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