A sober look at the Kelowna bar scene: or how to spend a lot of money to listen to shit music

* After promising to give up writing about my love life I had to find another thing to write about. So I wrote about my love life in a round about way by writing an article on the local bar scene circa 1998.

This article was the first time I name dropped real life friends aside from Michelle (who was the central character in the first three articles) and Justin (who had written me a letter). I thought it would be clever to mix up their names, thus making Chad my Gay friend and Chris my business student friend. It was pretty stupid and apparently created a bunch of Three's Company type mixups that I only heard about third hand.

Also I should point out that I now drink, though I still don't enjoy the local dance clubs.

In the year and some that I have been legally allowed to drink I have only been out to a bar in Kelowna about half a dozen times. That, for those who can not figure it out is around six times. I suppose it has a lot to do with the fact that I do not drink alcohol.

Why not? I suppose it has something to do with the sales pitch my friends gave me in high school. Typically it went a lot like this, "Hey Jeff you want a beer? Come on just take a drink, you'll like it... Oh wait hold on Kent just threw up in the closet, I have to go clean that up."

I think that it all comes down to control. I like being in control of my body and mind and anything that might impede that is, for me, to be avoided. By God if I'm going to be throwing up in other peoples' closets than I want to be doing so of my own volition. Plus frankly I dumb enough as it is without killing my brain cells.

So because of this I have never had much attraction to the Kelowna bar scene. However lately I have come to believe that maybe that is where you meet women. See as faithful readers of the Soapbox will know I have had, what would best be described as, some dating trouble.

My main problem is to get a girlfriend you need to know girls. Recently I have discovered that out of all my friends only one, Murdoch, is a girl and she's rejected me more times than either of us would care to admit.

That discovery led me to consider where exactly I would meet women. Okanagan University College seems like a good place but I have not met any for two years; work also has not worked for me. So on the advice of teen drama on television, my friends and a dream involving Buddy Holly I went looking for love in the Kelowna bar scene.

I finished off at work by around eleven thirty and I headed to meet my friends at Sgt. O'Brian's, the downtown Irish pub run by people who couldn't find Ireland on a map.

I was nervous entering since the last time I was there I had been kicked out because a member of the party was underaged and the guitarist playing Green Day covers asked for ID.

I quickly met up with my friends Chad and Chris (their names have been changed for the sake of having them keep some privacy). Just to explain whom my friends are Chad is a gay male and Chris is a business student. They were already well into a pitcher when I arrived and so were quite easy to find. I bought an expensive glass of Coke and went to join them.

We sat for awhile singing along to the guitarist as he played a song about the death of Buddy Holly in an aeroplane crash and that got everyone in a party mood as they sung along. The whole scene was kind of morbid for me so I decided not to join in at the chorus.

"Those good old boys are drinking whiskey and rye... That will be the day that I die."

Luckily we were interrupted when a girl from our graduating class showed up holding a large book which she presented to Chad. Because of the size, shape and colour of the book I mistook it for a yearbook, plus she seemed like the sort of person who would still be collecting yearbook signatures two years later. (Of course it was at that moment that I realised that I was wearing my Grad '97 sweatshirt). The book turned out to be a modelling portfolio, which she had brought to the pub. I am not sure why she brought it to the pub for and I was about to make a joke about it being sort of vain to carry around a book of photos of oneself all day just so you can get people to look at it anytime of the day. Then I remembered the Phoenix in my bag that I carry around all the time to get people to read at any time of the day. I decided to keep my mouth shut.

Chad took the opportunity to introduce me to her, just in case we had both forgotten high school. We said hello to each other, doubling the amount we have spoken to each other in our lives.

Soon she left with her book to show some other people and my friends finished up their beer and I was beginning to feel the effects of my coke.

"I have to pee." I said to excuse myself and made my way to the bathroom.

By the time I returned Chad had met a group of three attractive women who he seemed to know. I sat down in my seat just as the women were leaving.

"They are going to Splat's." Chris informed me enthusiastically. It seemed that so were we.

Chad, being gay, was not as inclined to go somewhere just because women would be there. He shook his head and said, "I want to checkout that new club. The Vibrator."

This seemed like a good idea and we headed out.

On our way we passed an advert for Buy Nothing Day, the day when the public is supposed to buy absolutely nothing at all in order to protest consumerism in society.

Chris, being a business student was greatly angered by such a day. "It'll ruin the economy." he shouted. "We'll have to fire so many people!"

Chad and I consoled him over the possible collapse of the economy as we walked to the Vibrator.

"Cover is six dollars today."

"How much?" I asked not sure if I was hearing right.

"Six dollars." Then trying to convince us to part with our money, "We have a live DJ tonight."

"As opposed to a dead DJ?" I asked.

"Huh?" Obviously this bouncer wasn't one for humour.

"What does a DJ do?" I asked.

"He spins records."

"So he plays pre-recorded music and mixes it together so that a group of songs form into a continuous stream of music without noticeable breaks?"

His nostrils moved in and out very quickly, as if he was waiting for the perfect moment to break my neck for upsetting his carefully ordered universe.

Chad broke in, "How about if we have student ID?"

"We have..." the bouncer said, very slowly in case we did not understand him the first time, "A live DJ."

"Don't the other bars? Or are yours more alive?"

However my friends had already abandoned the argument and where on their way to Splat's. Seeing that my life span would be greatly increased by not annoying the bouncer further I took off across the street after them.