Dress To Impress                                                                                                                 998 words
Copyright Mar 2018
Howard R Music

“Think snooty, dress to impress.” he said, to the others who were standing and gathering up their papers and notebooks. It’s been awhile so I can’t recall his name, but he was a well-groomed man of about 35 talking to a crowd of writers who met regularly in Bedford, TX. to critique one another's work. They were an eclectic bunch from all ages and walks of life: young mothers who wrote between diaper changes, half-a-dozen ex-military men writing of their experiences, including special forces who'd bopped in the jungles of Viet Nam, a few were older veterans of WW2: one who'd served in China against the Japanese and another who flew torpedo planes in the Atlantic. There were college professors and students and a few working stiffs like me. I was the only motorcyclist in the group and they seem to get a kick out of my first novel I was writing called Busted, a spoof about small-town bikers unknowingly suspected of dealing narcotics.

For the most part they were friendly and open-minded and occasionally would have dinner parties at their homes or gather at a restaurant for drinks or deserts, hence the reason the man was talking to the writers as the meeting broke up. I don't remember the details of the occasion, but he'd set up a party at some upscale place in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area (DFW) in which Bedford is a part.

Since he'd emphasized "dress to impress" I wore my Wrangler jeans that didn't have holes. The place was indeed "uptown" and a little too polished for my taste, but I enjoyed the company of the writers and there was plenty of booze. After a bit the band started playing 50s rock music. I once had a girlfriend who liked to dance at cowboy bars so I knew a step or two and soon was out on the floor.

Needing to cool down I sat down at the bar by myself and ordered a drink. As I normally do after I paid for the first round I left a few bucks on the bar for the second so I wouldn't have to fumble around in my wallet. Before I'd even finished the first drink the immaculately dressed bartender came down to where I sat, leaned over, looked me in the eye, and then said something that I didn't understand before walking away. As I finished my drink some of my writer friends waved to me from a table, so I stood up and reached for my money ... that wasn't there. Confused, I checked the floor and then my pockets in case I'd stashed it, but it was gone. When it finally sank into my head what had happened I broke out laughing. Think snooty, dress to impress came to mind as I realized the bartender had palmed my cash. It was the only speck of decay in what continued to be a fine evening. Someone bought a bottle of champagne and several of us met later for something to eat.

In fact, I forgot all about the incident until years later at a biker rights' convention in Denver. I was an officer in Texas ABATE, a local organization that lobbies for laws favorable to motorcyclists. They send delegates to meetings of national organizations such as the MRF (Motorcycle Riders' Foundation) and others which hold seminars to educate riders on proposed legislation and how to deal with politicians and government pencil-pushers.

This particular convention in Colorado was held in a huge hotel in Denver that was supposed to be shaped like a pyramid, though as I remember, it didn't, at least not as I perceive pyramids. I had brought the wife and kid along to make a family vacation out of the trip. My wife never cared for the biker crowd, but she fell in love with the room service and posh accommodations. The large facility had room for more than one convention. Besides the hundreds of bikers attending there was also a group of blind people. Having never been around the sightless before, the telescoping canes many of them carried, and their use of the braille medallions on the doors that allowed them to navigate fascinated me.

About the second evening I got on an elevator on the first floor with a biker I didn't know and a blind negro woman. Just before the elevator door closed a blond woman in tight denim jeans with a matching denim vest stepped in. Since such clothing is common among bikers I didn't think much of it, though I noticed she wore no pins or sewn-on patches as most tend to do.

When the elevator started the blond asked the blind woman what floor she wanted. The woman answered and the blond pushed a button and the elevator stopped. "This is it," she said.

The blind woman looked confused and touched the button. "This must be wrong because this isn't my floor," she answered.

"Sure it is," the blond continued, and then pushed the blind girl out the door. When it slid shut the blond turned around with a big smile and said to myself and the other biker, "which one of you wants a date?"

We looked at each other and grinned and I remember thinking "dress to impress" as we got off at our floor without answering the girl. As mentioned, I'm a motorcyclist and have been all my adult life. I served in the military and have traveled and have been in dives from South East Asia, Mexico and Canada and in between, and have known my share of less than conventional women. In all that time I never saw a bartender pull a two-bit heist, or known a sporting woman heartless enough to push a blind person into an unfamiliar area.

I've made it a point to drink in low-rent establishments. You meet a higher class of people.

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