The Best Martini in Town!

By Wil Forbis

Iím sitting in a Seattle bar called Von's after returning from a brief excursion to Reno, Nevada and Iím drinking a delightful vodka Martini. Vonís is well known in Seattle for serving the best vodka martinis in town. How do I know this? It is proudly stated on their sign which reads: Von's, Home of Seattle's Best Martini. I think it can safely be assumed that the Von's sign has no reason to lie.

It's an interesting place, Von's. I've been here a few times before, once with my ex girlfriend who felt the chicken gave her mild food poisoning. (In Seattle, any bar that serves hard alcohol also has to serve hot food. I won't attempt to fathom the logic behind that law.) What I notice most about Vons is their choice of music. It's classic rock, with a tendency to veer towards the progressive side of things. (Yes' Roundabout" or Head East's "Going Down for the Third Time" would not be unwelcome excursions on the playlist.) But this is not to say they eschew the side of music that might be better described as "Power Rock." The Who, Free, and Bachman Turner Overdrive are also frequently heard emanating from the Von's ambient stereo. And they seem to focus a little more on non-hits and B-sides than well known tunes. For example, if they were to play a Who song, they would be more likely to play "My Wife" than "My Generation." Case in point, they just started in with the Beatles, "Back in the U.S.S.R." While it's certainly a quality song, it's no "Twist and Shout" or "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." Actually, the Beatles are a bad example, since just about every song they ever wrote became a classic.

Now they are playing an atrocious Bob Dylan song, though in my mind that describes most of his music.

I'm currently eyeing two women in the bar: A model quality fortyish blonde whom I have no chance with, and a slightly overweight brunette whom I probably have some chance with but will not be able to summon up the courage to approach. The blonde, who has a Twiggy quality about her, has obviously been stood up for a date. She's been sitting alone since I came in and is the type that would never purposely be seen alone in public. Then I saw her dialing a cell phone a few minutes ago, probably in some agitated attempt to track down her date. The brunette has a depressed, overworked quality, as if she's the floor manager at the nearby Nordstrom's and someone spilled 2000$ of perfume at the end of her shift. Out of the two, I'd have to say I find the brunette more attractive. I've always had a thing for depressed chicks, it gives us something to talk about.

Cool! Now they're playing Bowies' "Young Americans." And I'm on my second Martini.

Uh-oh. It turns out the brunette was waiting on a date as well. He gave her a peck on the cheek before sitting down. He's a handsome fellow with that Sean Astin look I so despise. The sort that dutifully went off to college the fall after graduating high school while his friends took a year off to party in Tijuana. He strikes me as sort of dopey and I suspect he'll become a hardcore Christian in later years, but her face lights up while they're together. Good. I'm happy for them, really, I am. I hope they have a nice life together. I'm sure he can give her things, a certain stability I never could. As my old girlfriend said, I'm afraid of commitment, I freak out when people get to close. A disgusting male cliché, but I guess it's true. I've hidden behind a mask of sarcasm an Noel Cowardian wit for so long, I've lost track of the real me*.

*If you didn't get that well placed reference to a Who song, let me bring it to your attention. "The Real Me' was indeed a Who composition, but I really think it reached full fruition in the hands of WASP's Blackie Lawless, who filled it with appropriate sense of menace. Nonetheless, I do believe Townsend, out of all rock stars, is the one who would've been a serial killer had he never had a musical career.

Now it's Clapton's version of "I Shot The Sheriff."

It's funny, because the brunette ultimately reminds me of a chick I used to know ten years ago or so. I was staying at my friend Conrad's house and there was this group of metalheads/white trash that had taken to hanging out there. There was Jim and Shaun* and their respective girlfriends who's names I've forgotten, and another couple who's names I've also forgotten. But the chick in that mystery couple, she looked a lot like this chick... I remember I had an argument with her over the respective guitar playing merits of Vernon Reid vs Steve Vai (I was in the Reid camp, Vai always seemed... 'cold' to me.) ANYWAY, these chicks look similar. I remember that right before I left Olympia I walked into this bar and she was there with some guy... some guy who looked like the lead singer from Boston. (He had the "white afro.") She clearly wasn't interested in him, so we started up a conversation. Then this other guy I knew walked in, a really cool guy who's name I forget, and I started talking to him. And as we talked, I discovered the motherfucker was insane. I'd heard he was schizophrenic and I realized that this was the first time I'd seen him without his medication. It was terribly disturbing, I wanted to cry, because I was seeing this guy I had the utmost respect for and realizing that he was probably going to spend the rest of his life in and out of institutions, probably never holding a real job or having a real life. I wanted to cry. I distinctly remember that, the dilemma of having to decide whether I should go to the bathroom so I could cry in private. At this point I had no interest in the brunette so I assume she went home with the Brad Delp dude**.

*Shaun eventually went to prison for rape.

** Brad Delp was the singer for "Boston."

Well, the brunette just got up and left with Sean Astin. Her ass wasn't as big as I thought it would be.

Twiggy has started a conversation with some 20 year old sitting next to her.

Tom Petty's "Breakdown" is playing.

Should I order another martini?