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7:30pm Thursday 4 October 2007

Prologue: A certain artsy Barfly seems to think we can get from an art gallery opening in the Mission to Club Waziema in time for their happy hour, which ends at 8:00. I think this is a little optimistic, but don’t let that stop you from getting there early and enjoying whatever drink specials constitute happy hour at an Ethiopian restaurant. Feel free to save me a barstool.

Will a certain mayoral candidate nicknamed after a barnyard animal be there, you ask? Who knows? The man is no doubt very busy. He has been spending quality time with the current mayor’s hairdresser, for instance. All I can say for sure is that it seems the would-be mayor is (or was briefly) miffed that he didn’t have a chance to ply me with liquor and convince Bars By The Book to continue to endorse his candidacy. (See his comment at the end of the Chelsea Place post if you don’t believe me.) The Hostess hopes that she has scheduled this next Official Visit at a time and date when Mr. Rinaldi will be available. After all, the man says drinks are on him, and The Hostess has probably never turned down free drink in her life. Also, I discovered another opinion he and I share — we both think the re-done Union Square is tragic — and I do so enjoy drinking in the company of like-minded folks.

Political stumping or not, there will be Ethiopian food. Not to mention a whole weekend of sexy sailors strolling around town to kick off on a festive note. In fact, come to think of it, if you bring a sailor, I’ll buy you both a drink! (Note: this offer applies only to bonafide sailors in the United States — ok and the Ethiopian — Navy. People in sailor outfits from “the playa” should stay at home and rest up for Sunday.)

Afterword: Sorry to report: the sailor contingent was as absent as hooks (to say nothing of mayoral hopefuls) at Club Waziema on the occasion of the Official Visit. However, the details are hazy at best (by which I mean, there could have been sailors there that I just forgot about). And the Noble Notations are entirely indecipherable, save for one sentence, in quotations, written around an obviously hastily drawn sketch of a flower (a rose, perhaps?):

You can either be mad at me for not liking you enough … or for not having any money — “

Why did I transcribe that? Was it a particularly ridiculous snatch of conversation I overheard? (As you may — or may not — know, The Hostess has very keen ears after spending decades maintaining the silence of tombs in various and sundry libraries.) What kind of a person would say such a thing? Under what egregious circumstances? What sort of tragedy was happening at Club Waziema while I was busy trying to settle with Paladin — ever the contrarian — whether Club Waziema is a Restaurant with a bar in it, or a Bar with a restaurant on the premises?!?

I remember this: the art gallery opening was rather splendid. We enjoyed amazing parking karma both in the Mission and at Club Waziema. The Ethiopian food was the best I have ever had (and I, myself, am surprised at how much Ethiopian food I have actually eaten, in retrospect), in that each part of every dish was distinguishable from the others in terms of color, texture, and generally being identifiable. The injera was to die for: like pillows woven from threads made of pussy willows. Truly.

I remember there weren’t enough waitstaffpersons to qualify Club Waziema as a restaurant, in any real sense of the word, really (there being exactly one, and the place has a lot of tables, most of which are located in a back room that is not within the sight line of the bar, where the alleged waitron spent most of her time, which had to be distracting from the experiences of the diners being ignored back there…). I remember that the so-called bartender sucked, frankly. I recall truly sub-standard service all around, honestly (drinks, when finally procured, were simply lousy). But I also recall having the distinct impression that the real problem with the evening was not the inept bartender (who could not even manage to comprehend the simple concept of vodka with a splash of club soda in it), nor the Bar vs. Restaurant dichotomy, but rather that there was something else amiss. I could feel it. Was it the underemployed and overweight company I was keeping? No, The Hostess is not so shallow as to let this combination of unimpressive traits suddenly bother her. Perhaps it had something to do with the dearth of sailors…

Alas, I cannot recall exactly what was off-kilter. Perhaps it was The Hostess’ Piscean prescience prickling her psyche. For it would be more than two months before I ventured to the next Bar. To be sure, graduate school interference bore some of the responsibility for this lapse (but that was to be expected). Yet looming ahead (although unbeknownst to me that night) was also the disconcerting downsizing of the staff at the Mystery Mansion to which attention would soon need to be directed (the chauffeur had to be let go, alas — it was between him and the maid, and she scrubs the bathrooms, so the choice was obvious, but still somehow agonizing). Immediately after which, The Hostess subsequently (and completely unexpectedly, I might add) had to defend America against a terrorist attack in November (very a la Mata Hari, minus — just barely — the execution part), which was take a tremendous toll on my mental and physical reserves (but was certainly worth it — after all, someone has to make sure the country stays safe for bar-hopping — you’re welcome). To say nothing of my later being falsely arrested by federal police in December and having to engage the services of a real lawyer (love ya’, Tony T.!). Did I somehow sense all this was about to befall me while I was contemplating ordering some more injera to go…?

But it doesn’t really matter what moonlight-driven, melancholy muddle caused this quest to lapse into languishment, does it? No, it does not. All you need to know is that if you can walk to Club Waziema and are in the mood for Ethiopian food (and you are not at all persnickety about efficient service or decent drinks), you might as well drop in and see what — if anything — happens to you in the next couple of months.

The Hostess does hope that random acts of terrorism don’t befall you, but if they do, take her advice and: let your chauffeur take a bullet for you, then hastily enroll in graduate school — given the stand-off between college campuses and the P2P copyright police, this is the safest place to remain relatively anonymous for a bit. You will have to trust no one and download nothing for a while, but you can get decent food (if not service, nor hooks) at Club Waziema in the interim.

Bathroom Biography:
One for each and as entirely unremarkable at the rest of the place. I dimly recollect Paladin saying there was something I should see in the men’s room, but it was constantly occupied thereafter, so I never got the chance to check whatever it was out. The service being what it isn’t, I’m not likely to go back just to poke my head into the men’s room, so if you do, please tell me what — if anything — I missed.