Every now and then I have one of those “WTF just happened?” moments.

No, I’m not talking about the more frequent “how come I can’t recall anything after 1:30am last night” moments. I’m talking about an event that you go through, which seems perfectly normal, then you look back on it a moment later and realize that it was completely abnormal.

Last night I had one of those.

Chicago’s a city of clubs; a drunkard’s dream. There must be 4-6 bars, lounges or clubs for every city block in the downtown area. In grand tradition, the newest clubs are always the hottest ones and the line invariably goes to the end of the block and around the corner.  As one might guess, there are only three ways in the door:

– Know the owner or the doorman (who happens to love $100s)

– Be female, dress to kill, and have a body that would make classic Greek sculptors weep in awe.

– Go to the back of the 100-200 person line and wait… and wait… and wait…

If you don’t have the former two, or want to do the latter, you are, quite literally, left out in the cold. Which, for me, anyway, is not an option. There are plenty of other places we can go where we do know the owners/managers.

Last night, however, was an exception. You see, last night was Jim Dunn’s birthday party. A big one, too. They threw him a blowout in a huge room in some downtown highrise. I won’t get into the party details here, as it would take us too far off the subject. All you really need to know is that Jim decided that the pro’s should all go to Martini Park after all the amateurs went home.

So, I jumped in a cab with my newfound friend, Elena, an incredible import from some former eastern block country – Ukraine, I think – who had nearly made time stand still a few hours earlier when she walked in the room…

Wait.  On second thought, you don’t really need to know about her, either.

Martini Park, for the unknowing, is Chicago’s hottest new nightspot – everyone who is anyone goes there – and on Saturday night, they all seem to go there at the same time. The place gets slammed. I can’t recall seeing a place in more demand, aside from the first summer at Victor Hotel, perhaps…. not in many years. No wonder they’re rolling it out nationwide.

Anyway, we got out at Martini Park and the line was literally a city block long. There must’ve been 300+ in line. You couldn’t even see the end of it. I hesitated a moment and nearly balked at the thought of waiting outside for an hour; had it not been for Jim’s birthday, I’d have walked, since I recognized no one of importance running the show outside and the beehive at the door made it impossible to engage in any of Chicago’s famed discretionary bribery.

Elena grabbed my hand and said “let’s get in line”. See, that’s the beauty of youth and innocence: they just don’t know any better. Standing in line, at a certain age, must’ve been almost as much excitement as being inside the club itself… although I myself don’t ever recall feeling that way.  I agreed and we started walking down the block.

“Excuse me. Sir?! Hey! Excuse me!!!”, yelled the head doorman, bursting through the crowd and chasing after us halfway down the block.

“Yes?” I said, when I finally realized he was coming after… me?

“Would you like to come in, sir?”

“We would, thank you.”

“Please. Follow me, sir.”

We followed him up, past the line and around the corner. He pulled out a key, opened the door and walked us in personally. No note from “Uncle Benjamin”; no $20 cover charges.  Nothing.

“Thank you”, I said, shaking his hand.

“Anytime, sir. Anytime. Enjoy your evening.” he replied, as he trailed off to deal with the angry horde of Chanel-clad barbarians pounding at the velvet gate.

It wasn’t until halfway through my first drink that I thought to myself, “WTF just happened???”

Then, in my own grand tradition, I shrugged my shoulders and went back to my drink.

I still don’t know for certain. It’s possible, I suppose, that he mistook me for Justin Kirk, an actor who played in both Jack & Jill and Weeds.  Apparently he’s my most recent, “Hey you look like _____”. I’d never even heard of the guy until this summer. Hell, I don’t even own a television, but random people do mention it to me rather often.

Alternatively – and we can’t really make a sound conclusion without considering every available possibility – it could have been Elena, who, by some odd coincidence, just happened to be female, dressed to kill, and possess a body that would make the aforementioned Greek sculptors reach for a bottle of Jergens and a box of tissues.

I guess I’ll never know. Perhaps, sometimes, we shouldn’t delve too deeply into why things happened… and simply take pleasure in the fact that they did.

It is said that even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. I bet that furry little bastard doesn’t give a shit how he found it. He’s just happy to be eating.

Zen could learn a lot from that rodent.

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