I went to the hotel bar after our second show in Salt Lake City. I'd had a few Bud Lights there the night before so the bartender didn't make me fill out the Utah club membership card allowing me to drink the refreshingly smooth taste of Anheuser-Busch.
The night before someone told me that a Salt Lake City tiki lounge made a list of the top 25 dive bars in America and I was intrigued enough to get directions but not, at the end of the day, to actually walk the five blocks to make it happen.
I opted instead to drink two Bud Lights, ask about the nearest 7-11, and look sufficiently dispirited for the manager to offer to open the gift shop. At which point I scavenged for a protein bar and sugar-coated almonds. Yes. I know how to party.
On night two, I got there before any of my colleagues and strolled into a room full of middle-aged men in khaki shorts and polo shirts. There were about 25 of them and they all stared at me as I walked to the bar. I was wearing all black clothing, motorcycle boots, and didn't really fit in.
I ordered and pulled a chair over to a table and as I passed one of the groups, one of the golfers moved his chair over and said, "There's room for you here."
"You're fine," I said while walking past without looking at him. It didn't really make sense; it just came out. Actually, dude? You are NOT fine, you are saying tiresome things and you look like a boring motherfucker.
While waiting for my Bud Light, I texted "help" to Roxy, Neil, and Leila. Just that one word. And as soon as I hit send I thought, "Maybe I should give them some context so they know I'm not ACTUALLY in danger."
I was furiously texting an explanation when the calls started coming in. Roxy, Leila. I texted as fast as I could: "I'm fine, just surrounded by golfers! Haha! I'm fine! Not in danger!"
I didn't answer the phone because all the men were nearby enough to hear me. I should have left the room and answered the phone but opted instead to manic-text.
A few minutes later, mid-text, there was a call from Neil. I answered in whisper, "Hey!"
"Yes, I'm okay. I'm sorry! I'm in the bar! No, I'm okay, I promise!"
"Are you sure?" He asked. I realized that he thought that someone was MAKING me say I was okay. Someone with a gun. Or a knife. Shit. I continued to field messages from Roxy and Leila, "No, I'm so sorry, I'm a jerk, I didn't mean to make you worry etc.
A few minutes later Roxy appeared. "You scared the shit out of me."
She got the help text and didn't want to overreact but called me to be sure. I didn't answer so she called Neil. It sounded like "help" was all I had time to write. Like, in the time that the mugger/rapist/serial killer waiting in my room turned his back to reach into his bag of torture implements.
Neil headed to my room.
Leila got my cry for help and did the same thing. She armed herself with an ice bucket, to hit my killer over the head with OR to look casual in case it was a false alarm.
"Hey whatsup?! Oh, you aren't being assaulted? Sweet, 'cause my drink is warm and I need some ice."
I felt bad. When they joined me, I apologized repeatedly and asked tentatively, "Soooo? Is this funny now or do we have to wait until tomorrow for it to get funny?"
Gromyko joined us later and we filled him in. His response? "Maybe just a Help LOL would have been better."
And I realized - FOR FIRST TIME EVER - that, yes, LOL would have been real handy. What a surprise! I despise LOL. It's cheap and easy and usually not even true. I don't think people are really laughing out loud. They're just saying that.
99 percent of time, LOL can take a hike. But that 1 percent? When you're alone and annoyed by Mormon golfers? Bring it.