The Institute had decided to close out the summer with a showing of Old School at Red Rocks. Unfortunately, to get to the Morrison Inn (301 Bear Creek Avenue in Morrison) in time to sufficiently prepare ourselves for one of the greatest movies of all time, we had to head west through the thick of rush hour, which is like driving in a blinding snowstorm: You need to take care and maybe a little off your speed. But just as most Denver drivers seem surprised every year when it snows, most Denver drivers think a traffic jam is a great opportunity to test their brakes, revving up to maximum speed and then slamming on the brakes when they get within five feet of the car ahead of them. The result is like riding on a yo-yo operated by someone with Parkinson's. Five minutes into the drive, you can't decide whether you want to vomit or kill someone.
So by the time we reached Morrison -- where we couldn't find parking closer than several hectares away from the bar -- I needed a drink badly. Preferably one of the Morrison Inn's excellent, efficient margs. The expansive patio was full, but JP and the Oriental Representative had already secured a small table with a few extra chairs. We sat, ordered drinks, and I took a deep breath and waited for my marg. And waited. And waited, until I finally grabbed the Oriental's giant mug and slammed her drink. Only then did my own arrive.
That's when I noticed that these were not the Morrison margs of past visits. Typically, those drinks had been so powerful that, being a good Catholic, I had often seen God -- or at least a likeness of the Virgin Mary -- in one of my tortilla chips, so strong that I'd ended up walking out of the bar on my knees. But not these margs, which went down like sour Mountain Dew without the benefit of a caffeine buzz.
By now our ranks had swelled to a dozen, and we were sick of hovering over our neighbors so that we could commandeer their seats the instant they left. (Institute tip: Look for the obvious signs of a check arriving or one member of a couple crying because they just broke up.) So instead of lurking like vultures, JP, the Oriental, the Redneck, his wife and I went to the bar to get caught up. We tried to get more of the group to join us -- as JP noted, "More clowns in the circus is always a good thing" -- but the majority decided to remain upstairs and wait for the food ordered a half hour earlier.
At the bar, we found the source of the drink logjam. Mugs were stacked up at the wait station, probably because the Red Rocks crowd had come as a total surprise -- like the inevitable snow -- to the joint's management. As soon as we could get the bartender's attention, we ordered Crown and Coke, passing the first one around like we were buddy-breathing at sixty feet below the surface of the ocean. And that led to the final problem of the night: monumental immaturity.
I'm pretty sure it was JP who asked the obvious question of the Oriental: "Have you ever thought about hooking up with a girl?" For our benefit, she answered, "Maybe." The Redneck Liaison immediately turned to his saintly wife and said, "So, what do you think, Kelly?" JP and I waited with bated breath and searched our pockets for our camera phones. Of course, she ultimately declined, but the tone had been set for the rest of the night. We didn't climb out of the gutter for several hours.
Through perseverance, we accomplished our noble goal of prepping ourselves to the point that as we walked up the hill to Red Rocks, I took a dive on the gravel (I am still pulling tiny rocks out of my shoes and shorts). We also completely misplaced two members of our party and had no qualms about attacking the porta-potty that the Oriental was using. I'm also pretty sure we were instrumental in ending the Scottish Representative's wife's several-month abstention from smoking. So all in all, it was a successful night -- but no thanks to the Morrison Inn.
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