Yo man, I’m stoked to tell you about this jawn I’ve been thinking about all week for the column. It’ll be so punk that nothing will be able to bum you out for the rest of the day. Did you understand that? Yes? Good. That means you’ve been paying attention. If you haven’t, first know that I’m glaring at you right now. Then click on my name at the bottom of this entry and go educate yourself. This is invaluable knowledge I’m providing right here. Take advantage of it, love it, learn it. Say “thank you” in the comment section to stroke my ego.
Now that I’m done being obnoxious (because seriously, what fun is having your own column if you can’t take advantage of it every now and then?), I feel like it might be time to explore the strange dynamics of affection within an environment like Kung Fu Necktie. Keep in mind, before we begin, that the entire staff – with the exception of maybe two bartenders, oh, and me – is of the male variety. Unsurprisingly, this results in a lot of name-calling, teasing, waving around of rude hand gestures, etc. Think pulling each other’s pigtails, except…well. None of them have pigtails. Although now I can’t stop picturing Steven and Jamie with pigtails, so I’m sitting in this coffee shop laughing alone at my computer screen like a complete asshole. THANKS GUYS. I’m gonna go Photoshop that later.
That part of things was pretty easy to figure out, as it’s more or less spelled out in the dude manual or wherever the collection of appropriate male-male interactions is outlined. What’s been a little more challenging to discern are the dynamics of affection between the guys and myself, and I think that’s true for both sides. We’re now almost three weeks into the summer though, the semi-but-not-too-awkward tension of introducing a new presence into an established group fading quickly, and I think I’ve started to figure it out. So now, I would like to proudly present to you, my loyal (or maybe not-so-loyal) readers, a series of moments collectively titled “How I Know That People at KFN Don’t Hate Me.” I know, I think it’s a pretty great title, too. Remember, save your praise for the comments.
Jamie is pretty upfront about what he thinks about everything, so he’s the easiest one to start with. The day after we met, I sent him an e-mail with my phone number attached in case he ever needed extra help running shows at some of the other venues that R5 books. His response included his own phone number as well as this gem of a sentence: “It’s good that you’re not a know-it-all moron like Steven’s last intern.” Then the next time we hung out he tried to convince me that death match wrestling is the greatest sport on the planet. That’s about the equivalent of twenty gold stars in the Jamie Getz book of life.
Now I already knew that Steven liked me because he’s got some control issues (not a bad thing in this line of work, to be honest), and his allowing me to do certain things is like hanging up a flashing neon sign proclaiming approval. So that’s cool. But hey, remember the part of the last column when I admitted up-front to being a huge Facebook creep and said that it would feature prominently in this column? Yep. More screen-caps! I’m going to let this one speak for itself. Just know that when I saw it for the first time I caught myself wanting to say “Awww,” out loud. Ridiculous.
Brenden I haven’t mentioned before, but he works doors at the bar pretty frequently in addition to the management work he does for local band The Midnight Sounds (see how much advertising I do for these people? It never ends). Part of what makes him awesome is that he just doesn’t really give a shit. He knows how to do his job and do it well, so he doesn’t take crap from anyone. It was honestly a little nerve-wracking for me to hang around him at first, since I couldn’t tell if I was being interested or just plain annoying, but now I’ve decided that I don’t really give a shit either. Somehow it works. I knew I had made it into Brenden’s good graces after I helped him run the Disappears/Woven Bones/Far-Out Fangtooth show and when he came to the bar to say goodnight to the guys, he slipped me some cash and asked if I was going to be okay getting home by myself. I mean, he followed it up by flipping me off on the way out, but still. It was almost as exciting as earning a Girl Scout badge.
There are countless other examples, some more subtle and some more obvious. Like the way that Chicken feels comfortable joking around with me, whether to make fun of Steven or otherwise. Or the way that Dennis (aka Wolf.fang, one of the resident Night Train DJs) remembered me from a brief visit back in April and just smiled at me when I went to introduce myself a second time in case he had forgotten. There’s Matt, who points me in the direction of cool things to do in West Philly and asks about my continually failed search for gainful employment as if it’s a genuinely interesting topic of conversation. Bill lets me hang out behind the bar and occasionally grab beers for people, on the off chance that I might want to pick up a shift at some point in the future. Bob puts up with me getting to the bar absurdly early and chatting about everything from old kung fu movies to snowstorms, gives me dirt on my boss, and the other night even hugged me before I left to go home.
It’s the little things, really. And what makes it even cooler is that at first glance, I should have nothing in common with any of these people. Most of them are significantly older than I am, have been around the world and back, have known each other for ages. Here I am, a rising sophomore at a university in a different city, brand-new to Philadelphia and to the industry, still figuring out what I want – thrown into a life I never knew I could want or be successful in. These guys have all made it possible, whether they know it or not.
Seriously, if they do end up reading this they’re probably pissing their pants with laughter right now over how much of a sap I’m being. So I’m done now. Being sappy, at least. Tomorrow I’ll go into work and tease Steven for watching dumb YouTube videos instead of clearing out his inbox. I’ll watch Jamie’s band perform later in the week and take pictures, only to e-mail them later on with a lengthy description of how he is the least photogenic person in the universe. When Brenden mentions his garden, I’ll coo about how he’ll make a lovely wife someday. Bob will roll his eyes and toss rags at me when I sneak behind the bar, and everything will be right with the world. We’ll all get it.
Eagerly anticipating the multitude of ego boosting comments,