I strolled Ninth Street for the first time last weekend. My crew was already in high spirits when it arrived at Charlie's, one of the few bars open on Ninth last Saturday. I didn't see many Duke students. I might not have seen any. Charlie's was full of thirty something Durham residents listening to a loud cover band playing "Redneck Woman." My suburban Los Angeles girlfriend sang along and raised her PBR bottle to the chorus, and I liked it. I was no more in my element as a Carolina guy in a Duke bar. I ain't no high-class broad. Hell yeah.
"Ugh," my Carolina friend said. "Look at that." My gaze settled on the Ultimate Fighting Championship match on the television, but my friend loves mixed martial arts. A quick refocus allowed me to see the offending material: Duke memorabilia everywhere.
Puke blue jerseys on the walls. A picture of a smirking Coach K. And then another. Tens and tens of smirks. Laettner's release. A Rose Bowl banner from 1942. The Devils played in the only Rose Bowl outside of Pasadena because of national security. Their change of venue was to Durham. Ha.
The eyesores were enough to make a couple meek toasts.
"Here's to Marvin's put back." Clink.
"Here's to four in a row." Clink.
"Here's to five is greater than three." Clink.
If I had made better use of the moment, I would have thought of something better to say. Instead we picked up our defiant selves and walked to Cosmic Cantina, the one thing that Ninth has better than Franklin. Cheap margaritas and veggie burritos on a nice outdoor patio framed an awkward Dukie date. I rooted for bottom braces guy. We might bleed different shades, but we certainly have both been on at least one awkward date. Mine was either high heels on ice or the fast food stalker. I can get behind that but only that. We have little else in common.
I might go back when school starts. Any takers? That's not really a question. Boys, it's time we suit up for a road game.