A trip into the outback

Life is full of surprising places if you are willing and intoxicated enough to travel there. That being said, allow me to reiterate why making new friends is often a noteworthy experience.

Last Saturday night I decided to treat myself to a steak dinner after the first round of classes commenced.

I rummaged through my Christmas money and behind the six Buffalo Wild Wings gift cards I received, (no joke!) I found a $25 gift card to Outback Steakhouse. Now, if you have ever been to the land down under, you know to never go on a Saturday, especially around dinnertime.

Well, the hunger pangs hit and I pulled into the parking lot around 5:45 p.m. Saturday evening. Everyone and their momma’s brother’s sister’s aunt’s nieces and nephews were there and I parked in the back 40.

“It’ll be an hour-and-a-half wait,” the disheveled waitress said, trying not to step on her own coffee-stained shoelaces.

My head dropped, I took a pager and moped over to a corner booth spot a 400-pound woman so graciously offered me.

After straining to watch the last quarter of the Ravens game on TV, I decided to leave the knitting conversation in search of a better view.

And there I saw it — a wide-open bar. I decided it would be worth my time to sit at the bar, have a drink and wait for my table to be called.

“Got-dammit. Throw the ball, Flacco!” the gentleman in dingy sweatpants and a leather jacket yelled at the TV, shaking his pale fist. I’ll call him Chris for the remainder of the story.

I settled in with a rum and coke (three minutes before happy hour ended, whew) and continued to comfortably watch the game. As the liquor hit my bloodstream, I struck up the conversation with Chris, as it is good bar etiquette. I told him my story and we exchanged some heartfelt words about life and football.

Looking down at my phone, I noticed an hour had passed since I was sitting there, chatting and drinking. I ditched the pager and ordered from the bar — sirloin, mashed potatoes and coconut shrimp.

Previously Chris advised me to ask for a Seth’s (the bartender) special, saying he’d put it on his tab. Feeling a little tipsy, adventurous and broke on a Bud Light budget, I made the request.

As I took my last bite of shrimp Seth brought out a chilled martini glass filled with what looked like chocolate milk. Drinks that require martini glasses aren’t typically my thing, but I rolled with it.

“A butterscotch White Russian?” I asked, puzzled.

Seth nodded and affirmed my guess. I sipped the drink and deemed it a nice dessert.

“You ever had a duck fart?” Chris asked me.

“Excuse me?” I responded.

“Seth!” the man yelled at the bartender. “Make us two of them duck farts!”

Seth nodded, mostly at Chris’s level of intoxication, and saluted as confirmation.

Chris and I clinked glasses, took the shot and returned to our conversation about football. His intentions took a different turn and reminded me several times he was at the restaurant every day. He asked if I would come the next day so he could buy me more drinks.

The alcohol had finally escaped my veins and I took offense to his insisted offer. So I stood, slapped a $5 on the bar, gave him “the duck face of disapproval” and walked out, fat and happy.

Days later I made the drink for a few close friends.

“Wow, tasty!” one of them shouted. “Whaddya call it?”

Thinking back to Chris’s creative, yet pushy spirit I said, “Let’s call it a Firequacker. It’s a long story.”