So, last night, I was introduced to yet another Jackson Landmark -- the Cherokee.
Now, I've lived here for three years. I've avoided a lot of the local "hot" spots, mostly because they induce self-destructive and suicidal thoughts. I mean, Jackson is the capital of Mississippi, yet there are (a) no dance clubs for people my age and those close to my age, (b) no GOOD bars -- meaning, those that aren't frequented by bleach-blonde floozies lookin' for a GOOD MAN, and (c) no artsy places. Granted, as far as a social life goes, the artistic stuff can fall to the wayside nine times out of ten, but...eh. It's still worth mentioning. 'Cause some days, you just want a good museum. Or film house. Of which we have neither.
Anyway, the Cherokee was reportedly this oh-so-kewl place to go. Every time that I drove by there, it was packed. Packed. People were lining up out the door, and -- in spite of the 1950's sign (which wasn't retro; it was authentic) announcing "Cold Beer," -- it seemed, from the exterior, to be a happenin' little joint. So, when two women of the Major Babeage Persuasion (both friends, both in committed, happy relationships, damn their souls) ask me if I'd like to join them for a drink after work at the Cherokee, I was more than willing to give it a go. Mostly for the company, but hey -- it was going to be a new experience for Sonny. I was up for it.
So, at about 6:00 pm, I steeled my nerves and entered Yon Cherokee.
Oh. My. Freakin'. God.
-- y'know, I am open-minded. I am a well-rounded fellow. I tend to not be judgmental in all aspects of life, but THIS place...to call it a "Greasy Spoon Diner" is a gross understatement. It was more like a "Greasy Full Utensil Drawer" taken to the max. Let's start the descriptions with the physical building and move into the clientele, shall we?
THE BAR -- looked like it was ripped out of someone's wood-paneled, shag-carpeted basement. Not ONLY did they not have a liquor license, they also did not have any imported beers, thereby leaving me with "Bud" and "Miller" as my ONLY two drink choices. I've honestly seen stage sets that looked more authentic. I've seen men's restrooms in freshman residence halls that were cleaner.
THE BOOTHS -- were booths. As in picnic benches, with plastic red-checkered covers. For those of you who have been to the typical Southern deep-frying catfish huts...yep. Looked exactly like that. Oh -- and they were sticky. Some of the booths were built into the walls, and they were a little more stable than an epileptic Tasmanian devil.
THE FOOD -- I'm sorry, but I just could not bring myself to order food that looked like the primary ingredients were fat, grease, and more fat and grease. Ugh.
THE REST OF THE PLACE -- the men's restroom did not have a door leading to the toilet. You open the door to go in, and if you open it wide enough, people walking by could see you doing your business; the hallway leading to the restroom was poorly lit, and had five or six free-standing video games in it. I did not make note of what they were, for fear of my brain imploding; the juke box (yes, and authentic juke box) held such new releases as...The Joshua Tree; the patio -- behind the restrooms -- looked to be where the Jackson chapter of the Women Who Are Krispy Kreme Overeaters and Like To Wear Stretch Pants Three Sizes Too Small was congregating; the kitchen was, I believe, behind the three uncovered-and-filled-to-the-brim-to-the-point-of-overflow trashbins.
THE SERVERS -- the less said the better. I think they imported cast extras from Deliverance -- as in they were that old, that ugly, and they seemed to want to tell us we all had purty mouths. One of them looked to be wearing a shirt that was so covered in various and sundry stains that the original color was lost some time around 1987.
THE CLIENTELE -- well, I had to take an anti-depressant after I got home. Does that sum it up? Puffy hats, unkempt facial hair...if I had seen this crowd when I was a teenager, and thought that THIS was what I had to look forward to once I became and adult, I would have killed myself before high school was over.
Mercifully, we were only there for two hours. One of the parties I went with had to go home to watch The Bachelor.
I went home and cried. And drank. Alone. In the dark.