“You’re Welcome” Narrator: He was in fact; not ‘welcome’

This town had me thinking there is something wrong with me until I realized people don’t act like this when I go to another town. A couple weeks ago I told someone I feel like a freak when I’m out in public; never mind starting a conversation, people make obvious attempts to avoid eye contact. Am I grotesque? She said, Oh my god! I am so happy to hear you say that! I thought it was just me… I talked to other people and they say, Yeah, dude, your town is weird. I started thinking about it and yeah, I didn’t want to move to Seabrook because when I was a kid the joke was it’s the “inbred” town. They don’t like outsiders. But that was 40 years ago. The town is built up since then.

Then I realized the town has Walmart and all the strip mall stores and chain restaurants that are new but no new people have moved here. People come from other towns to buy their groceries and do all their shit and then go back to their “normal” towns where people will actually talk to you. I think some more, I meet people but they are all from other towns. I also remember talking to women on dating sites and more than a few times I have been asked, “Do you live in Seabrook? Or are you a ‘Brookah?'” (Brooka: The Urban Dictionary)

Winter is setting in but I’m still going for walks everyday. I found myself in Panera again, what the fuck am I doing? I don’t like this place but there is nothing to do in this town. I’m feeling trapped. I leave, I’m walking home, I’m depressed and I’m pissed. What’s been working for me is telling myself, I feel good today; I would like to feel like this again tomorrow. Positive reinforcement. But I start thinking, This sucks! I don’t want to feel like this tomorrow. You see the flaw in that logic? Before I went home I almost decided to walk an extra hour and a half to buy spinach because I forgot it when I was shopping earlier. That’s how bad I didn’t want to get home and have it be 4pm and pitch black outside and WTF? The day is over?

I remember I had my mom laughing about how I joined every group on meetup.com as long as they weren’t drinking. But I can’t get 2 hours north to hike a fucking mountain and the events are rare. The funny part is now that winter is here, my fucking inbox is full of invitations! The kayaking club is meeting in a bar 3 times a week. Same with the hikers and the bicyclists and the fucking chess club! You get the idea? I went to the site and unsubscribed from emails.

I remember people saying, take a class in something… Okay? What? Where? Google it. They got like 5 fucking “hot yoga classes”, yeah that sounds like me. What am I going to do? Show up in my street clothes? I would need a whole new wardrobe. But I see a cooking class 5 miles away. I like to cook, click, whatever? But you have to sign up for the whole series of classes and they are held at “The Victoria Inn.” Well, let me tell you something about “The Victoria Inn”, It just cost me 300 dollars to type “The Victoria Inn”.

I remembered the waitress at “Red’s Kitchen and Tavern” where I had breakfast with my mom, telling us they have a live bands at the bar and shit. Sounds great but not really a good idea for me and what the hell is she talking about? It’s a chain restaurant and it used to be an Appleby’s.

I gave up! I’ve been saving a century mark for no particular reason and I can pull another dollar out of the bank and still make it through the month. Fuck it! I’m going out to have a “two bills night” and see what happens. (Get it? My name is Bill?) It’s a half hour walk and it’s actually warmer now than it was when I walked further during the day. It’s already 8pm, how much trouble can I get into?

I showered, shaved, threw on some decent clothes, checked the mirror… Yeah, I’m suitable to be in public. Let’s go. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You know me… Probably not the best question to ask.

9pm, I’m almost there, lights are on, cars, okay, they are open, good. But I stop in my tracks and look to my left. I know damn well Staples closes at 5pm and everything is dark; why the fuck are there 20 vehicles parked in the lot? Look back at Red’s, not empty, but plenty of parking. I’m pretty good at math. I can put 2 and 2 together. Something is going on. I think I’m going to like it. But I walked in and I was wrong. 5 waitresses standing near the door and don’t even say hi. Booths are full of people eating and there is a large bar but only like 8 people, no band. I’m wasting my time, go home and save my money.

Screw this though! I’m all dressed up and no place to go? I’ll take the back way and figure out how the Kume Japanese Steak House stays in business at the corner of a strip mall in nowhereville. Wrong again. Three cars out front but as I keep walking there are three women standing outside laughing with each other. I stop, pull out my phone but of course no wifi. But I look up and the big girl is facing me and gives me the “high sign.” I don’t even have to look around to know I am the only person standing here in the dark. I wave back but she turns to her friends, it was nothing. Go home.

But on the corner is “Casa Tequila.” We used to joke since I moved in the building has been 5 different restaurants that close after six months. What is the problem? Prime location on the main road? But this place has been open at least four years. I like Mexican food and Tequila. Let’s check it out.

The hostess looks at me like I got two heads but I introduce myself and say first time here. Would you like to sit in a booth or the bar. I’ll feel funny sitting in a booth by myself, can I eat at the bar? Yes. Okay!

Okay… Bartender, would you like a Margarita? Salt? Menu? Yes, I would… Things are looking up. It’s says “Burrito Verdes” but I tell her I’ll have the green burrito. Not very busy, what the hell? It’s something. I notice they are cleaning fast like they are about to close and I ask her how late they are open. She said, oh, I don’t know, 9:30, 10… How the hell do they stay in business? I look around and the two drunk broads at the other corner don’t look like they are going anywhere, same with the couple sitting across from me with two fresh drinks and the two women to my right at the table have been there longer than I have and had already finished their meals before I walked in, why am I the only one sitting there with my check in front of me which I didn’t ask for? I guess I’m going home for real.

I’m still thinkin, there is something going on at Red’s. What is ten more minutes of walking? This time I was right. Only a couple seats at the bar, band playing crappy 70’s rock but what would I expect? People look like they are having fun. Sit down, bartender comes right over, Hi, blah blah, somebody told me this was a good place, first time here. Okay!

Few loud, old guys next to me making lewd comments to the bartenders but I can tell they are locals and they laugh at the guys stupid jokes cause they are gonna make tips. I laugh at one of his jokes, make a comment. Everyone is loud, drunk bitch behind me falls down on the “dance floor”, laughs. “dance floor?” It’s the five foot aisle between my back and the band is squeezed up next to the windows. Dude next to me with three chicks, leans over and asks if I’m drinking Tanqueray? No, it’s vodka, I like a lime in it. He says, me too, takes away that taste. Three bartenders shaking there asses, having a good time. I put down my empty glass and boom! a full one in front of me.

That was the extent of how crazy I acted in the hour I spent there. I finish my third drink and notice nothing happens. But it’s still busy, I can wait. Still waiting, bartenders walk past me, I’m invisible. Looking around, everyone has full drinks, bartenders still mixing as fast as they can… Am I gettin’ shut off? Everyone in here is completely shitfaced, falling off the barstools and I could probably pass a breathalyzer right now. I look at my phone, it’s 11:15, maybe it’s my imagination. I can wait… Still waiting… Still…

I stand up, throw a c-note on the bar and all three girls run over and ask if I need change??? I’m thinking, oh no, I was going to leave a 70 dollar tip on three drinks right after I got the bum’s rush… What do you think? I know this place stays open til 1:30am, that’s why I came here. Nobody walked over and hinted, maybe I had a little too much…. Oh yeah, maybe it was when I tapped my fingers lightly on the bar to the beat of the songs I kinda liked? I left $20, said thank you

What the fuck ever, I know what is going on. Nobody knows me, I understand I’m not going to be staying after hours. But it’s 11:30, There was no secret code they stay open til 1:30, they advertise on their website and it says it right on the door. Place is still packed on a Friday, not like they are losing money if they stay open. Bitches~

You should have seen me on the walk home. I was fuming. I just blew 120 bucks and I’m not even buzzed enough to have a buzz. Seriously, I’m going to be home before midnight and bored out of my mind… I could have saved some money and did nothing like I usually do.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t planning on starting a new habit of hanging out in bars. I don’t have the means anyway. I’ve just been pissed all summer. I don’t even like basketball but I thought of joining the league at the Rec. center. Can’t. Covid! Couldn’t get into Dunkin Donuts lobby. Covid! I don’t even like their coffee. Gotta wear a mask to get my fucking hair cut. Covid! But 50 people shoulder to shoulder in a bar all night with no mask or proof of vax, no problem!

That’s my rant… Gonna stay home tonight, lie in bed, listen to music and meditate. WooHoo!

The Storied, story of Seabrook, NH as told by Fritz Wetherbee on NH Chronicle

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