Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Barbara Bush on a Bar Hop

Somehow I don't think this anecdote will make the pages of Vogue:

I smile and Barbara Bush smiles wider. "Hi! How are you?" she says in a very loud voice. She immediately wraps her arms around me. "Oh my God," she says enthusiastically, "I love your shirt. Guys, look at her shirt." I am wearing a black turtleneck. Her friends look and nod approvingly. She surveys the room and steps very close to my face. For a minute I think she is going to kiss me. "Oh my God, this place is cool!" she shouts. "How long has it been here?" Even though the music is loud, her voice is much more forceful than needed to be heard.

"Since August," I say.

"It's so nice!" she says, adding, "You have pretty eyes."


From behind me I hear a loud voice. "Thank you, this is great, really." I turn around and there is Barbara, drink in hand, so close that if I just thrust my lips out a little we would touch. She is smiling widely, and I smile, too. Her friendliness and lack of pretense make it impossible not to like her.

"I love this song!" Barbara exclaims, grabbing my wrists and starting to wave my arms around. She throws her shoulders back and grinds her hips. It is the part of the evening when the D.J. goes old school with Guns N' Roses. For people who work here every night, this is the saddest point.

Fifteen minutes later, I step outside to make sure the entrance is swept, and there I see Barbara bent over, hands on her knees, out on the sidewalk. "Are you all right?" I ask. Please, I think, don't let me see her throw up.

She spits on the pavement. "Yeah, I just needed some fresh air," she says. She stands and I see her forehead is damp with sweat. It must be 20 degrees out, and windy. I want to go back into the warm restaurant, but I stay with her.

I massage her back for a moment. Finally she lets out a loud burp, mumbles, "Excuse me" and returns inside.

From a lead provided by Froomkin.