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(Tumblr)   CSB Sunday Morning: Hangouts   ( divider line
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1547 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Jan 2017 at 9:00 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2017-01-07 10:28:55 PM  
Through the years we go through many hangouts where we meet, socialize, or just observe peers and the characters around us. In junior high we waited all week to hang out in a skating rink, arcade, or the Orange Julius in the mall. Depending on your area- high school brought "cruisin the strip" or hangin out at the local under 21 club. College bars or that alley night club you and your friends pretty much owned for a couple years may have provided some of the most hilarious and fond memories of your reckless 20s.

Longtime internet people may remember the early days of usenet newsgroups or Compuserve as a sort of digital hangout that pre-dates and pre-cursors the modern social media smorgasboard that we're all used to now. 

So what was the hangout place that stands out in your memory and makes you smile thinking about it? Feel free to give details and names and what songs were on the jukebox and which pinball machine they had that you totally owned on a good Friday night. Maybe there was a DJ you were sweet on and all your girlfriends busted you out about it. Or it could have just been a comfortable place where you hung out with all the people you liked, and got away from the mundane drudgery of work/school. 

It can be from any period of life, but share a CSB from your favorite hangout- or just tell us why you remember it so fondly.
2017-01-07 10:31:03 PM  
Sorry about that pre-cursor verb thing. Pinot got in the way of my proofreading obviously
2017-01-07 10:35:30 PM  
First hangout I can remember was when I was 15 or 16. There was a bar in town called "The First Stop/Last Stop." It got shut down. It re-opened as "The Four Aces." It was built in an old gas station. There was an old garage (more on that) and then what was probably the waiting area back in the day. This place was small and the bar was basically a couple of boards on some pedestals with a shelf and some taps. The bartender's name was Cheryl. She was the owner and operator. This place was an absolute shiathole. Cheryl lived there. She showed in the men's bathroom with a hose attached to the top. She slept in the garage area which just had a bed and a dresser (someone broke the door open once). Cheryl looked about like you would imagine her to look. One day we went to sell yearbook ads and thought it would be funny to sell her one. We knocked on the door and she opened in a nightgown. I still haven't had sex after seeing that.

The place was great. It is where we went every single weekend for at least a year. There were fights. There were random animals brought there and released. There were bonfires. What there weren't many of were people who could drink legally. Cheryl might still be in prison for all I know.
2017-01-07 11:01:34 PM  
Sophomore in high school, 1989. Discount Discs, Jamestown, New York.

It was a record store/pool room/arcade not even a block from the high school. The school's truant officer made regular rounds checking to see if you were allowed to be there or not. I had a suspension slip 80% of the time he asked...

My routine was to go to school, first period(set) was before homeroom. Check in at homeroom and then leave. 7 No Shows for classes that day would get sent to the office and the next day I'd be down there, getting a 5 day OUT of school suspension. BAM! I knew how long mail took to get home, I'd intercept it and have a female friend of mine sign it. Return it. Rinse repeat.

During the day I'd clean the game room for free plays on the machines and the occasional lunch.. I was No. 1 through 10 on Gyruss. I could actually play pool back then. Turned into my first job.

The owner was also a DJ for all the local schools' dances. So we did all that crap. He trusted me enough to make runs to the bank for deposits, (did I mention I was a 15 year old [REDACTED] yet?). Got me working in the record store part. It was the best of times.

Favorite song on the jukebox to play: Tiny Bubbles - Don Ho
Don Ho - Tiny Bubbles Original.wmv
Youtube t45DKmtzTHo
2017-01-07 11:09:43 PM  
When I was 10 years old living in Maine on the Brunswick/Freeport line, my cousin had brought me a brick of firecrackers from Illinois and a Bic lighter.

So, my dog and I are out in the field across the stream from my house. We didn't own the field. As far as I could tell, nobody owned it. It just stretched for hundreds of acres and was always there.

Well, this year, it stood with rows and rows and rows and rows of fir trees. There were all fairly small. The tallest was maybe 3 feet tall.

My dog and I stood between rows and lit firecrackers.

I had been warned about the dangers of fireworks of all kinds. I was fairly certain that any firework would blow my fingers and arms clean off if one had gone off anywhere near me.

So, we lit firecrackers and threw them as hard as we could and watched them go bang. There were only a few duds out of the hundred or so in the brick.

I wasn't really convinced of their dud status, though and, as such, I refused to go near them for fear that I would lose toes and quite probably a leg.

Once the brick was finished, I hadn't hadn't had a dud in the past 30 or so. I thought that it was probably safe to go check on them.

Well, the very first one that I walked up to, I found because I saw a wisp of smoke near it. I never actually found the firecracker. What I found was a little tiny fire. Let's say a couple of inches in diameter in the dry grass.

I stomped on it.

This made my couple inch diameter fire become a 5 inch fire with a footprint in the middle of it.

So, I stomped it a few times.

Now, my 5 inch fire with a footprint was a 1 square foot fire with many footprints.

Well, that was enough for me. I chucked the bic lighter into the field and ran back to the stream a couple hundred yards away.  I grabbed something to extinguish the fire and ran back with it. When I arrived, the fire was a good 5-10 feet across and growing rapidly.  I looked down at the extinguisher I'd grabbed. I found myself holding a single cinder block.

I chucked it, and took off for home.

I burst into the house and announced, "MOM! I THINK THE FIELD IS ON FIRE!"

"No, Roman. They're burning trash down in Freeport." She went back to her sewing.


"Mom? I really think it's on fire! I can see smoke!"

"Roman, I told you. They burn trash out that way. Go load the dishwasher."


"Mom! Stop sewing! Come here! Take your binoculars! I! Think! The! Field! Is! On! Fire!"

"Well, I'll be damned! That field is on fire!"

Long story short, it took a dozen or so firetrucks and lord knows how many firemen to finally extinguish the fire.  Turns out that pitch-bearing trees, for instance, fir trees, explode when the roots catch fire. This sends burning pitch in every direction causing a multiple hundred acre (turns out) Christmas Tree Farm to burn *really* quickly.

So, while it wasn't my *favorite* hangout, it was an awesome hangout. You see, pine trees release their seeds when they're burned. I turned all these nice neat rows of fir trees into a dense forest of trees with the notable exception of where the fire originally started. That, evidently, managed to burn the trees slowly enough that the pine cone seeds never actually had the chance to plant themselves or, maybe it burned hot enough to ruin the seeds or whatever. I never really did find out.

What did happen, though, was a square, approximately 50 yards on a side, remained completely bare of trees. With just a little mowing on my part, we had a 250 square yard park in the middle of a dense forest of fir trees completely inaccessible by the police, completely hidden from traffic or parents.

Epilogue: Some decades later, I confessed to my mom, "I set that fire in the field. It was an accident."

"Oh, Roman. Everybody knew that. It's what the fire chief and I were talking about when it was all over and you walked up."

"But, I remember him saying that fire could travel along the root systems and that it was probably the trash fire in Freeport that had just gone underground and set all those trees on fire."

"Well, Roman. It was believe that or get sued for the insurance deductible on that field. We simply gave a plausible explanation."

"Wait... So, you let me live with that on my conscience for 20 years?"

"No, Roman. You let you live with that on your conscience for 20 years."
2017-01-07 11:35:42 PM  
My friends (a couple) and I, all age 26, used to hang out at a local music club/bar/adequate hippie-ish restaurant.  They befriended these two 18-year-old girls.

Girls to each other: "So are you going to go out with him?"   "I don't know.  He's like a million years old.  He's 24 I think."

Me to my friends: "I guess that makes us a million and two."

Girls: *clueless stare
2017-01-07 11:46:25 PM  
img.fark.netView Full Size

Didn't go through all of them, so I don't know if this one was there.

img.fark.netView Full Size

What's British for "SPLOOSH!"?
2017-01-07 11:49:08 PM  
In my Coast Guard days, in Galveston TX there used to be whaf was basically an international sailors bar called Johnny's.
The place was decorated with sailor stuff from all over. The loint fare dripped ambiance. Like something out of a movie.

Johnny was a woman. She adopted our XO.

Harry Belefonte's Bannanna Boat song was on the juke. When i played it, you knew i was lit.

I drank with sailors from all over the world.

Pro tip: never try to outdrink a British Royal Navy sailor. That shiat never works.
2017-01-08 12:04:44 AM  
I had two: middle school was a specific bench out in the field court. Good times with a core group of friends. One day one of them came up and slapped me as a joke. Except somehow he managed to create perfect suction on my ear and popped my drum. I was deaf for about 15 minutes then recovered. Good times still.

High school was a railing in between two hallways. This was Florida so it was a good outside place all year long cause it had a roof. Good times mocking most people who walked by. Yea I'm an asshole.

After that I really didn't have a hang out spot. Just went to different houses or whatever to hang out or party. I guess most people grow out of it?
2017-01-08 12:13:40 AM  
This is going to be a tad odd, but for any of you who know me, not really.

My hangout was work.  As I've said before, I worked in a 24 hour gas station.  During my college years, I usually worked 3-11.  On Fridays and Saturdays, regardless on if I was working or not, I'd go down and hang out with the midnight guy.

Over the course of a few years (I started working there in high school) more and more friends/customers would join the BP Crew.  Cops, EMT's, McDonald's workers, regular customers, and myself all stopped in when they could.  Believe it or not, even in the confines of a gas station, we had some damn interesting times.
2017-01-08 01:09:55 AM  
I'm going to have to go with this place that used to be Stadium in Quincy, MA. It is no longer that, and it wasn't that before.

Before, it was Alba and I have one experience that's a CSB, but doesn't apply to this topic. Then Alba moved across the street.

Then after Stadium it became the Iron Furnace, which is some kind of call out to some Quincy history.

So let me start a new post for my CSB.
2017-01-08 01:21:31 AM  
I used to drink daily. Not during work or anything, but I couldn't wait until I was done working so I could drink. That caused me to leave work early so I could drink. I had a drinking buddy that I could count on anytime I wanted to go out for a drink. I haven't been to this place during the day for a long time.

Going to Stadium was fun after work. I didn't go every day. It was just a place I'd go to on Friday to meet my drinking buddy. Or Saturday.

But the most fun was waking up Sunday late morning and going down there. We'd get there and flirt with the bartenders. My fun was messing with the other customers. If we got a good seat at the bar we'd have total access to all the patrons. And the bartenders were fun...well most of them.

We spent enough time there that my bill would always be missing something. As much as I appreciated this, I also felt bad because it meant the bartenders were stealing drinks for me. And I'd usually tip them extra if my bill was 10-20 dollars less than it should have been.

There was one lady that I liked to make fun of. She always had to mention the stupid stuff I don't like about humanity. The type that was cheering for a soccer team because they were wearing USA shirts. It was a pendulum. Make fun of her until she got offended, then compliment her until she was on our side again. It was really stupid.

The one thing I hated about this place was Friday nights. Everything is going great, I can laugh and joke with the other patrons, then some dickweed comes in with his guitar and turns it up so loud that we can no longer talk to each other.

The best "hangouts" are the ones where you can have a conversation. But I guess these people need a loud folk guitarist to keep their attention.

OK, I'm drunk just thinking about that place. I never go there anymore because I'd rather spend my Sundays at home with my daughter.
2017-01-08 02:36:13 AM  
I was an alleged adult before I found my first true "hangout".

It was a cavernous bar/grill/pizza joint/pool hall called "The Graduate".  It was dark, except by the pool tables.  The decor was all dark woods, long communal picnic type tables and benches, quarter pool tables, an entire wall of pinball machines and a lone jukebox that had not been updated since the death of disco.  It was the kind of place where the liquor license was under constant threat of suspension due to bar fights.

I loved that place.  I was there any timet I didn't have work or classes, mostly because my roommate worked there.  As it was, three of my instructors and one of my co-workers also frequented the place.

The old guys took a shine to me, because they thought I was young and impressionable - and they were half right.  I learned the art of hustling pool from old Tommy, a man in the place so often that the mail carrier would usually just drop off his mail when he delivered to the bar.  His hustle was the "warm up" - throw a couple or three games to the mark, usually for low stakes and then ask for one more game, claiming that he was "just getting warmed up".  If the mark objected to taking the old man's money, Tommy would pull a larger bill out of his wallet, flash it at the mark and say something like "Well, if you're afraid of an old man, I'll go back to the bar."  The mark would usually bite and that's when Tommy would clean his clock.  Tommy used to teach geometry and trig at the local community college before he retired, he could calculate how the ball would move in a heartbeat.

Then there was Franklin.  I worked with Franklin at the radio station, recording commercials for on-air play.  He had a voice that could charm the panties off a woman one-third his age, as evidenced by the fact that, at 75, he was married to a woman 50 years his junior.  He would sit at the bar, drink red wine and regale the place with tales from the golden days of stage and radio.  His usual drinking buddy was Charlie, a former student of his and mercenary choral singer.

Charlie would make his money by renting out his baritone voice to any group in need of one that could also perform harmonies.  Musicals, church choirs, opera, background vocals - he did it all.  He was about 30 back then and when not performing, worked as an EMT for a private ambulance service.   Charlie was about six feet tall and weighed a buck-thirty soaking wet.  The strangest thing I ever saw him do was, when my roomie had closed the bar for the night and casually mentioned to Charlie that she had no idea how a condom was used, proceeded to demonstrate at the bar.

That was a fun place, but not for the faint of heart or humor.
2017-01-08 07:41:58 AM  
We used to hang out at "Mom's"

"Mom" was a friend of my mother's who used to bowl with her. She was a deputy sheriff in Portage County and her daughter was two years younger than me. We were on the flag team together. She always had people at her house. We hung out there, drank pepsi, watched movies and had fun.

It was punctuated by smoke in the air from the many cigarettes she and her husband smoked. It was the place where I first got drunk, beat a linebacker at belching, where someone professed their undying love for me, and where I slapped a guy.  Endless pizza and lots of fun.

I lost track of her after high school. Her daughter and I are still facebook friends.
2017-01-08 09:06:16 AM  
I grew up in Hammond, IN and one of the big places to hang out was Art's Drive In. It was before my time, but I've heard a ton of stories about the place. It was close to the high school so a lot of kids used to go there for lunch. The owner let kids get high out back because they'd order more hamburgers. He sold it at just the right time, McDonald's and Burger King were moving into the area. He wound up founding Oil Express, which pretty much started the quick oil change industry.
2017-01-08 09:12:13 AM  
This may not count, as I only "hung out" at this place once, but it's definitely a place and time I'll never forget:

I arrived in Phnom Penh on a Thursday in early November, a little after 11pm. It was my first time in Cambodia and I had no place to be until a 7am bus to Siem Reap, a town on the other side of the country where I would be meeting some friends. I had read in a guidebook that Phnom Penh had a lively nightlife, with plenty of bars and clubs open until the wee hours, so I wasn't terribly concerned.

I caught a tuk tuk out of the airport and had the driver take me to the bus station. The station was only a block from the Tonle Sap River. A main road, Preah Sisowath Quay, runs along the river, near which are many of the bars, hotels, clubs and restaurants I'd read would be jumping at this hour.

After the driver dropped me off, I hoofed over to the Quay, and turned south. walking along a sidewalk that runs between it and a narrow park that follows the eastern bank of the Tonle Sap. I saw few people, most of whom seemed to be trying their best to stay to the shadows. Those folks and the random dog, cat or rat trying to find sustenance in the day's trash that had been gathered in clumps along the sidewalk were my primary company.

The only other people I saw were the occasional tuk tuk driver or guy on a moped riding along the Quay. Several of them would slow when they saw me and ask if I needed a ride. I declined repeatedly, doggedly determined to find the nightlife I'd been promised. As I continued south, I passed the Royal Palace, which overlooks the Tonle Sap at the point where it joins the Mekong River. Proceeding only a little further brought me to what appeared to be the end of the road, at least for pedestrians, the sidewalk petering out into a jumbled mess of paving stones and tree roots.

With disappointment, I turned back north, thinking maybe I could at least find an open internet cafe. Again I was passed every few minutes by someone asking if I required transportation. Deciding I had little to lose, I asked a tuk tuk driver if he could take me somewhere I could get on the internet. He said he knew just the place, so with renewed hope in salvaging some portion of the time before my bus, I climbed in and we puttered forth.

The driver followed the Quay until we were nearly back to the bus station, turning inland just a little south of it, He went east a block or two and then stopped on a street lined with bars. While not boisterous, it was the most crowded I'd seen since my arrival. I was confused, though, as I'd said I needed internet access, not a drink. I leaned into the driver's cab to make sure he understood what I'd asked him and he assured me that all the bars in the area had wifi. As this was the best option I'd seen so far, I paid the man and alighted to see what I could find.

As I got out of the vehicle, I pulled out my phone and opened wifi to see if I could get online. As I was doing so, I heard a lot of people calling out greetings, mostly in English, "Hey, what's up?" "How's it going?", that sort of thing. It was a welcome change from the shadowy strangers I'd encountered earlier and gave me hope that if nothing else I would find people who were out for a good time. My first priority, though, was internet access, so I remained focused on my screen. I saw several networks, but they were all locked. I walked down the street a little way, thinking perhaps I could one I could jump onto for just a minute and check in back home, but to no avail. Finally, I gave up and thought perhaps if I went into a bar and bought a drink, I would be given a password.

Looking up, I saw I was standing in front of the "Why Not" bar. This seemed a sign, so I started towards it. It was then that I realized that every bar on the street had women standing out front, only women, including the one I was heading into. I also realized that every single greeting I heard was directed at me, the only man on the block as far as I could tell and definitely the only tourist I could see.

Oh, right. Duh.

Eh, whatever, brothel or bar, as long as I could get a drink and get online, I would be happy. As I made my way to the front door of the Why Not, I found myself flanked by two of the women who had been out front. One took each arm and they escorted me into the establishment.

Inside it was small and dimly lit, not in a seedy way, but rather much like many a dive bar I'd patronized back home. It was longer than it was wide, with a typical bar and stools on the left side and a few tables and chairs pressed up against the right. The only two things indicating this was something other than a regular drinking establishment were a podium situated just inside the entrance and a blue curtain at the rear.

Behind the podium was a middle-aged woman. My first impression of her was that she was perhaps the most jaded human being I'd ever encountered, she'd seen everything and was neither impressed or surprised by any of it. I asked her if there was internet available and she said there was, though it was only for customers. A brief conversation, and the discovery that they stocked Jameson, ended with my agreeing to purchase drinks in exchange for the wifi password. I sat at the bar, the two working girls planted themselves to either side, and ordered my whiskey.

It didn't take long for everyone to realize I really was just there for the internet and a few drinks. Once that was clear, the mood shifted. Instead of trying to sell me on their wares, the girls asked about where I was from and why I was visiting their country. I told them and asked about their lives as well, where they were from, what they'd seen and heard that might be of interest to a tourist like myself.

They taught me some basic Khmer phrases and I showed them pictures of Los Angeles, which they'd never heard of, much less seen. The bartenders joined in the conversation, as did the madame, who, while still no more surprised or impressed, was at least more engaged. This went on for about an hour or so, at which point the madame asked me, "Do you play Jenga". Now, I'd had several generously poured glasses of whiskey at this point, so I made sure I had heard correctly. I had, it turned out, she wanted to know if I played Jenga. "Sure, I guess, why not?", I replied. They brought out the game and constructed the tower and I was asked if I wanted to play for drinks. If I won, they'd buy one for me, if I lost, I'd buy one for each of them. That seemed fine with me, the drinks were cheap and I was enjoying myself.

So there I sat, the first hours of Friday morning, drinking whiskey in a Cambodian brothel while playing Jenga with a madame, two bartenders and a couple of working girls. We played for hours. I won more than I lost, which resulted in me consuming many more drinks than I had intended. I lost track of the hour, but then the bouncer opened the front door. The harsh light of the rising sun pierced the room, crawled its way into my bleary, whiskey-soaked eyeballs, and forced me to once again recognize the passage of time.

I made my goodbyes, paid my tab, and stumbled out into the world. Somehow I managed to find my way back to the bus station and even purchased breakfast along the way. I slept most of the way to Siem Reap and felt almost normal by the time I met my friends.

That one night, though, playing Jenga at the Why Not bar in Phnom Penh, is a "hang out" I'll carry with me for the rest of my life.
2017-01-08 09:13:43 AM  
dammit, the park is on the western bank of the Tomle Sap
2017-01-08 09:16:20 AM  
My favorite hangouts have always been where we practice. Just always has. In high school and college, it went between the bassist's basement and the drummer's. The bassist's was just a plain old basement, nothing on the walls, and it's also where I decided to have dad put a grounded plug on my now-55 year old amp. Mostly because of the blue bolt they could see between my lip and the mic that time.  The drummer's basement was a converted one, straight out of late 60s-early 70s TV shows. Wood paneled walls, plaid carpets and furniture the color of old Vancouver Canucks jerseys, and random shiat all over the place, like a crocheted blanket of JFK & RFK, or the Michelob sign, and a few other random things like Wolverine's poster, high school banners, etc.

Nowadays, we either practice at the schools the bassist teaches at, the keyboardist's church hall, or at the bassist's house. Ten years ago now, he put a deck on the front of his L-shaped house, it's a 20 foot square with a 14 foot cut out triangle. Drummer sets up in the corner, keyboards to the sides, amps wherever for everyone else. We sing on the grass, facing the deck. Now what makes all of this funnier is the fact that we do this in the middle of the summer.  Oh, did I mention, it's now a TSO tribute band? So yeah, the neighborhood gets Christmas in July...and August...and sometimes in June and September. (Even did one on Columbus Day once, but that was a really bad idea which is part 2 of a great New Year's story.)
2017-01-08 09:23:40 AM  
Wagon Wheel on the west side of Cincinnati, 1979 through 1986. Even then it was like something from another time. Cheap wood paneling, giant moose head behind the bar, piano in the corner, one of those mini bowling machines in the back of the room where you rolled 4 inch diameter wood balls at the pins. It was the kind of bar where you could sit at the bar and have a beer (Hudepohl on tap) with your dad and son, and occasionally your grandson all at the same time. Old men would send their 8 year old grandkids 6 blocks with a glass jug and a dollar to bring back beer to drink at home. On Friday nights the Wagoneers (average age 75) would play live music: the same 20 songs in the same order for as long as anyone could remember. At closing time they would turn on the lights and everyone would stand and, arm in arm, sing god bless America.  We were 20 when we started hanging out there and couldn't get enough. Carolyn Rose (Pete's first wife) used to tend bar there. Once she thought I said something unflattering about Pete Jr (I didn't) and she's never spoken to me again.

After we all got married and stopped going so much the family that owned it for generations sold it to someone who made it a yuppee bar. Dark walls, lots of neon. It failed spectacularly. It went through a few iterations over the following years until it became a biker bar. The Friday before it was torn down I went back for one last beer. That was a mistake. I felt like I was visiting a crime scene.
2017-01-08 09:28:27 AM  
As a teenager in Columbia, MO my friends (including my sister and her friends) and I existed to see or play live music. My stepdad's friend owned this night club called The Blue Note and we had a sort of tacit agreement that we could go see shows as long as we didn't drink. The club also had Dance Party Wednesdays with a DJ, we'd dance for hours.

Should liquor control show up we'd exit rapidly out the back. I once attempted to purchase an alcoholic beverage so the next show I was made to stand outside and watch from the loading doors. It was this band from Athens, GA that was getting lots of air time on the college radio station, REM. Maybe 300 people were there.

Other memorable shows we saw at the old location were the infamous "Whiskey Bottle" Uncle Tupelo show (saw UT many times after), Camper Van Beethoven and Black Flag. Once the club moved downtown, the list of great shows would take hours to list.

My favorite was probably Sonic Youth & Jesus Lizard, which many of us agree was one of the best concerts in general.

My entire social life revolved around that place for many years. The friends then are still friends now. I still listen to those bands and enjoy listening to new music.

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2017-01-08 09:45:31 AM  
When I was 17, we hung out at the Market. It sounds dumb, but it was the only empty place in a tourist town at night.

The Market is the touristy area during the day where vendors hawk sweet grass baskets, pictures and prints of the town, local seasonings and food, and everything in between for sale on top of huge wooden tables. At the time, it was purely tourist during the day; locals had no need for the place except work. At night, it was barren. The city only allowed vendors until 6, so everyone cleared out. And that's when we took over.

A motley group of kids:  the hippies, the goths, the metal heads, the punks and the grunge kids. We all hung out together yet apart, separated only by what tables we chose to sit on. I wasn't cool enough for a label so I kind of flitted around from table to table, which was more fun to me. The cops would come every once in a while to shake us down and send us on our way, but we were smart. We also learned that you could pay the homeless guys at the Magic Market and they would buy you beer. We used to call the pay phone on the corner to find out who was there (remember those, y'all?) and there were several times when we would collect "spare change for the Christian Beer Drinker's Fund". (That always cracked me up because the kids that came up with that were Jewish.) I'm sure we were a nuisance but we live in a town that caters to everyone else except teenagers.

We spent two or three years there, till the city finally kicked us out for good. (I think we were all ready to move on, anyways; it was just their luck to coincide with our departure.) I've lost quite a few of those friends since then, a couple to heroin, some to alcohol, a couple to shootouts with the police, and a couple to jail. I still keep up with the rest of us left via the magic of Facebook, but nothing will ever compare to those nights sitting on the tables.
2017-01-08 10:00:52 AM  
Fresh out of high school in 1975, every one else was doing kegs and smoking pot, but I needed a job. One that would pay for college.
I started work the day after school was out, in a steel mill on the Monongahela river.
I started in general labor but I worked too hard and fast and they (the union guys) needed to put a harness on me and get me to slow down so they made me a machinist apprentice. I had to report to the floor first day of week two and they took me on this long, convoluted walkway over a conveyer belt of red hot slab ends to a door that had a sign that said NUT HOUSE on it.
Once we got in and they introduced me and a few other guys got there, one fellow went over to a line of lockers on the left of this room and unlocked a padlock on the far left locker.
Rather than open the door, he swung the entire line of five lockers forward, then slid them to the right, exposing a coffee bar, sink, and a refridgerator. Stuff we were not suppoed to have. Then, the guys on the right side of the room, approached a huge wall of bins full of nuts and bolts (It was the nut house where they stored stuff like this) and kicked over two nail kegs, they had a bunch of nails welded together in the "top" compartment opening that weighed them down and made them wobble upside down exposing the underside which made a nice stool. There was a circular piece of wood screwed to the bottom so you could sit and not have the rim dig into your backside. Rightside up, they looked like nail kegs.
They pulled out a shelf inbetween the top and bottom of a bin that had a welded chess board on it and out of a bin came a bag of chess peices made of welded nuts and bolts.
I was asked how I liked my coffee and they handed me one just like that.
I sat on an old bench seat from a pick up truck and someone handed me a Hustler from the "locker" shelves.
We sat there for four hours waiting for a call to do some work.
Fourth of July, I sat there listening to Billie Jean King win on the radio.
End of the month, I got paid double time and a half on a third shift to sit and jawjack about WTF happened to Jimmy Hoffa.
The Nut House.
Mill's closed down now.
Most all of those men are dead.

Wonder who got the chess set.
2017-01-08 10:11:56 AM  
Behind the outfield fence for baseball games and behind the goalposts for football games when my kids played.  Never had to hear anyone complain about umpires, coaches, kids, or the fact that we smoke cigarettes.
2017-01-08 10:29:53 AM  
My home town was so small, our only unsupervised hangouts were keg parties in logging clearcuts. Usually there was a bonfire, built of creosote-soaked used railroad ties. Stunk like hell.

During my senior year my friends and I discovered and broke into an abandoned forest fire lookout a few miles from town. It was 100' tall with an amazing view of the surrounding countryside. This was our all-purpose retreat until we graduated.  After that, word got out and it was mobbed with folks who vandalized it extensively, even tearing apart the cabin at the top. The army corps of engineers finally scrapped it.

Moral: when you find a great hangout, keep it to yourself...
2017-01-08 10:30:44 AM  
Wtf is wrong with Denzel's finger?
2017-01-08 10:37:14 AM  
I lived for a while in the mountains of Shikoku, Japan. It took a while to get used to the surroundings. It was pretty hard to get know anyone outside of work. I had decent Japanese, but the locals had a really strong dialect that didn't appear in any textbook. I like my beer, and I'm a pretty friendly chap, but it was tough to meet people, and even if I did, it was tough to converse in a stilted atmosphere where they speak the local dialect and I speak the Japanese equivalent of the Queen's English.
Anyway, a young guy opened an outdoor stall selling booze and grilled chicken and seafood (the octopus was really good). I turned up there and found a bunch of guys who were dying to talk with me outside the usual constraints; over the weeks I went there, we talked about all sorts of shiat, and I also got asked some bizarre questions (Owner: "why are foreign girls so good at blowjobs?" Me: "?????" Owner: "I went to a Brazilian pro a few years ago in Osaka and she was really good." Me: "Because she was a pro..." "Oh, yeah.."
 And that's a clean sample for this site).

Everyone and anyone gathered at this stall, and we could end up talking about anything from hookers in Osaka (honestly a tough topic for me to join in on) to the latest political problem. It baeame a focal point of the village, especially for the younger people who were normally looking for a way out of town.
Anyway, for me the highlight came one summer when a load of younger kids turned up for O-bon; A drunken lad turned to me at the counter of the stall and asked in an aggressive voice, "so where do you live, gaijin?"
I flexed, and was about to get aggressive with my response when my regular drinking buddy put his hand on my arm.
"He's from here," he said.
That was enough. The guy nodded and backed off.
That's how to make a stranger feel at home.

Best place I have ever ate or drank at.
2017-01-08 10:58:41 AM  
SSBN, Crews Lounge (maybe 10' by 15', hard to say because it wasn't exactly a "Room" so much as a space squeezed into what was available) and a floating card game. A 27" TV that half of the time had 6 month old TV shows on Betamax and the other time had either older movies or "Training films" (Porn) playing. Seating for maybe 8 people, everyone else stood.

SSBN, Crews mess (size hard to say but it sat 32 men shoulder to shoulder). Movies on film.
2017-01-08 11:04:36 AM  
As an adult, my hangouts come and go, but there are a few standouts. When I lived in Santa Cruz in the early '90s we happened on the Panoche inn in the mountains southeast of Hollister. It was a rundown masonry block affair, decorated with hubcaps, ancient neon beer signs, antlers, etc. The owner and the regulars (retired ranchers, mostly) were overjoyed to have younger folks join them, listen to their stories and share hard liquor long after closing.  Music was either  the 1950s juke box or Mrs owner banging out honky-tonk on an upright piano covered with scorch marks from the 1906 San Francisco fire.

Since then it's changed hands a few times and is now a popular destination for weekend bikers.
2017-01-08 11:16:55 AM  
When I was 13, we moved from a small college town to a place far from any city, maybe best called a company town. No stores or gas station, just a few groups of houses, a one room school and the power plants. The company owned everything and each family had a member employed by the company. When I turned 15, dad traded a Honda dirt bike for a fence I strung alone to contain a horse my sisters wanted.
Stan (he lived there his entire life)  and I would ride all over, and I owe him greatly for showing me Spring Creek. About five miles from the settlement, following unmarked dirt roads through thick pine and fir forest, to a wooden sign stating"ecologically unique area". Park the bikes, and  a short walk to a moss covered embankment.
A spring had been covered by a black lava flow, and the creek began as if by magic, about fifty feet wide , narrowing along lush banks to a picture perfect meadow. Blue sky, silver water, startlingly green vegetation, black stone and red brown earth.
I went alone most of the time, and stared at the wildlife and the unbelievable natural beauty. I was extremely selfish, and never told my siblings about this place, and never brought a camera. This was just for me, and no one else.
Now it is one of the memories I use for meditation, making it valuable beyond price.
2017-01-08 11:21:53 AM  

Praise Cheesus: mercenary choral singer.

That's my Gregorian Chants cover band name!
2017-01-08 11:38:26 AM  
The root beer stand near the Middle School (Jr. High).  It was an eyesore from well before I was born, grandfathered in with no restrooms and no hot food etc.  Exterior that looked like pasteboard, mediocre drinks & snack food, and the most rudimentary built-in stools and counters.  The owner made that ugly place seasonal, open Spring-Summer-Fall probably because he didn't want to bother to put in heating.   Still, for pre-driving age teens that dumpy place heralded the -real- beginning of spring when it opened every year.

/ yuck  - that flat dull tasting 'root beer'
// why did I go?.. because everyone else did
/// ah, the wonders of a teen brain...
2017-01-08 12:02:00 PM  
When I wa in the 7th or 8th grade there was a drainage ditch near our house. This was concreted on all sides, probably 20 ft across (like a large, finished, concrete stream. Where it emptied out into a regular, unfinished, dirt stream (this was texas, so rarely ever any actual water) it became a little wider and the walls sloped less. This became a "half pipe" for us to ride our bikes in. hours and hours of that summer were spent learning to do tricks (well, my ffiends did tricks, I just rode back and forth).
Later, it became a place to smoke pot and was affectionately called the "curfew subway".
But you always knew if people weren't anywhere else, they were probably riding bikes in the ditch. I guess this qualifies as a good first hangout.
2017-01-08 12:27:39 PM Full Size

Wherever I was, that was the place to be.  Isn't this great?
2017-01-08 12:29:49 PM  
Anyone who lived in my town during the '70s will recognize *the* junior high school into which funneled every single elementary school and spit out kids in every direction back to their own neighborhoods to attend 9th grade, etc.

If mom gave me lunch money (50 cents!) instead of a brown paper bag, Julie and Vicky and I would head for the Katz drugstore after school; we lived in the neighborhood and weren't bused home. ("Busing" didn't start until my senior year of high school.)

My friends and I usually hung out at the lunch counter for an hour or so, until we'd eaten all our fries and drunk our sad little cokes (total: 47 cents), sucked down another water or two to soak up the salt and wash down the ketchup (no free refills in those days, kids), and Louise behind the counter let us know it was time to go home.

She earned that three-cent tip every day, too.
2017-01-08 12:31:38 PM  
Early in my aviation career I flew the B-52 bomber, somewhat affectionately known as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat farker). It was a monstrously large aircraft with a wingspan of nearly 200 feet and weighing almost a half-million pounds. A lethargic beast, it was slow to accelerate and hard to maneuver, and nothing like the small fighter jets I would rather have been flying. Being difficult to fly and with the mission itself being endlessly complicated to a new guy, those formative years as a bomber pilot involved a lot of learning.

We had instructor pilots (IPs) to help us there. These were hand-picked pilots who would gave new guys their local check outs, prepared pilots for flying examinations, and generally made sure flying was done well and by the book.  The best of these IPs would reside within training flight, an office comprised of not only pilots but also instructors for all the other crew positions including navigators, electronic warfare officers, and gunners.

There we would be debriefed following each training mission about went well and what did not. Military aviators are quite direct with their criticisms owing to the fact there isn't time for pussy footing around or conversational diplomacy. If you're screwing up you'll hear about it immediately, loud and clear. The IPs could explain any aircraft system and we're very good at tying that knowledge to the "what went wrong" of past accidents. They were dedicated to making sure we didn't repeat the mistakes others had paid for so dearly. These guys could go beyond the technical details of flying straight into "airmanship," the art of using good judgment while flying. They spent a lot of time making sure we were approaching the job in the right frame of mind, professionally, and safely.

For all that work, we flew very little, perhaps three or four flights a month. Most of our time was spent on alert, living in a special compound awaiting the klaxon that would launch us all towards World War Three. There was also much planning of missions, a full day devoted before each flying sortie, not to mention the additional duties that eat up the time of a military officer. But I wanted to be flying, not sitting around all the time.

The training flight was a welcoming place and the IPs would often share their stories and knowledge in a more casual setting.  Late one Friday afternoon found me soaking up some of that from the two old heads in the office. These lieutenant colonels had been in the service for two decades and had seen plenty of combat, including the 1972 Christmas bombing missions over Hanoi where 15 BUFFs were shot out of the sky.  Looking back on it now, it was a real privilege to be "hanging out" with those guys; what I learned there I have carried with me even into my non-flying days.

We talked of this and that, of flying, and career prospects. I groused that I didn't feel like I had any prospects at all what with flying so seldom and sitting alert all the time. Lt. Col. John recognized my attitude needed an adjustment but being a crafty old pilot, he didn't dress me down. No, he told me a story instead.

"I remember being on Guam when a fresh crew arrived, just in from the states, sick of winter and glad to be somewhere else because anything would better than sitting on alert all the time. They even brought their golf clubs along figuring they'd have plenty of free time to use them.

They get checked out and they start flying. On their very first mission over Vietnam, they took a missile in the bomb bay, blowing the plane to smithereens. None of them made it back.

There are a lot worse things than being here Lieutenant. Lots worse."

Point taken.
2017-01-08 12:42:21 PM  
My hideout story is from the suburban neighborhood I lived in from ages 6-11 or so.  It was a suburb of Pittsburgh that was in the process of transitioning from an idealistic American dreamland to a crack-infested suburban ghetto.  I lived in the outer fringes of the town, and the crack hadn't really got there yet, but no one wanted to live there because of the school district.

There were a lot of open lots, and a forested area that they never cleared.  They were planning to cut down the forested area and put a cul-de-sac right in the middle of it.  They started the work, and were in there with trucks and equipment to bulldoze some paths, and then they suddenly stopped.  Apparently the developer wised up to situation and realized they couldn't sell the lots, so what the hell were they cutting a new cul-de-sac for?  This all happened shortly after we moved there, and I had no idea because I was only six or seven.

You've probably already guessed that the forest they left up became a sort of hideout for the kids in the neighborhood, but it was special.  There were tire tracks in the little woods, in a circular path, and none of us at the time knew much about the economic situation.  We ended up organically developing a mythology to explain the tire tracks.  Thence arose the tale of the Skunk.

The Skunk was VW Beetle owned by some bad-ass high school kids who lived in the development.  They had tricked out like a muscle car.  The Skunk was painted black with a big white stripe down the middle.  (Later on, it was just black with the word Skunk painted on in in white.)  The high-school kids would take the shunk and ride it through the little forest, and so the forest came to be called the Skunk Trails.  Some of the kids in the neighborhood claimed to have seen the Skunk, but no one ever claimed to see it driving the Skunk Trails.  It was supposedly kept in one of the older white-trash houses.  Lots of us would go there and hang out, just waiting to see if the Skunk would show up.  Keep in mind that this area was just about large enough to hold a cul-de-sac and some houses, and we all thought it would be a good place for a tricked out VW Beetle to do some off-roading.

What's interesting to me is how this story seemed to spring out of nowhere, and in that little neighborhood took on a life of its own, and apparently without the assistance of any adults (who never knew what we were talking about when we spoke of the Skunk).  I've Googled several times, trying to track down something that might have been the source of this mythology.  Was there some kind of B-movie with a car called the Skunk?  Was it maybe a real car someone had whose legend grew over time?  I would love to know if people still call them the Skunk Trails, and if not, how long did it last.

Epilogue: They finally did sell off the last of the lots, about 10 years after we moved.  They never did build the cul-de-sac, and the Skunk Trails are still there; however, it's now completely closed off by houses and yards, so you have to go through yards to get there.  Wouldn't have stopped my nine-year-old self in the eighties, but would it stop kids now?
2017-01-08 12:45:22 PM  
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2017-01-08 01:33:19 PM  
Oh I remember another one. Some back empty forest next to the apartments I used to frequent. For sure it was a campground for homeless people. There was a complete campground there but never any people. My stepbrother went enough to actually meet them. Ironically he'd be homeless in a few years so I guess that was training for him. It was funny cause we were young and dumb and we'd play with all the random stuff homeless people accumulated there plus whatever businesses dumped there. Looking back that was a dangerous spot. Completely secluded, full of homeless and industrial scrap.
2017-01-08 03:20:39 PM  
I used to have this, well, terminal, for lack of a better word. It was a keyboard and a screen, and all it did was telecommute -- and only in caps. It looked sort of like ET, but white.

I would call BBS's that had chat rooms and my friends and I would talk. There were some (CNET? Can't remember) where you could watch as the person typed, backspaced, etc.

My apartment got broken into and my terminal got stolen -- but they left the brand new Commodore 64, still in the box. I suppose it's because it only looked like a keyboard.
2017-01-08 08:32:42 PM  

sanriosucks: When I wa in the 7th or 8th grade there was a drainage ditch near our house. This was concreted on all sides, probably 20 ft across (like a large, finished, concrete stream. Where it emptied out into a regular, unfinished, dirt stream (this was texas, so rarely ever any actual water) it became a little wider and the walls sloped less. This became a "half pipe" for us to ride our bikes in. hours and hours of that summer were spent learning to do tricks (well, my ffiends did tricks, I just rode back and forth).
Later, it became a place to smoke pot and was affectionately called the "curfew subway".
But you always knew if people weren't anywhere else, they were probably riding bikes in the ditch. I guess this qualifies as a good first hangout.

Just curious if this was in Live Oak?
2017-01-08 09:48:45 PM  
Chigroe Please:

No, it was a suburb north of Fort Worth... Summerfields. I guess neither the ditch, that type, nor the ingenuity of American kids, is unique :). If I wansn't afraid of whatever it is that keeps me out of ditches these days, I'd very much like to go back there. See if any of our old spray paint is still around.
2017-01-08 10:04:35 PM  

sanriosucks: Chigroe Please:

No, it was a suburb north of Fort Worth... Summerfields. I guess neither the ditch, that type, nor the ingenuity of American kids, is unique :). If I wansn't afraid of whatever it is that keeps me out of ditches these days, I'd very much like to go back there. See if any of our old spray paint is still around.

I was curious as it sounded exactly like what we did as kids, only down by San Antonio.
2017-01-08 10:31:51 PM  

Chigroe Please: sanriosucks: Chigroe Please:

No, it was a suburb north of Fort Worth... Summerfields. I guess neither the ditch, that type, nor the ingenuity of American kids, is unique :). If I wansn't afraid of whatever it is that keeps me out of ditches these days, I'd very much like to go back there. See if any of our old spray paint is still around.

I was curious as it sounded exactly like what we did as kids, only down by San Antonio.

Well cheers man. I'm having a drink and thinking about those days tonight. Thanks!
2017-01-08 11:24:23 PM  
As a younger kid:

"The creek" - a local creek that had been dredged deep or filled in high around it, and at the bottom had grown a wonderous world of little fields, forests, reeds and other very distinct places.   Was great for live-action roleplaying before LARP was a word and it was just a couple of 8 year olds having fun with fighting staffs made from bamboo found in the creek.  We could start at the end near the park and work our way up towards a dam a half mile up and have a good adventure.

As a young adult:

I co-owned a cafe / art gallery / performance space in the nightclub district of a large city.   It was the first business for all of us and we failed horribly at it in the end (it was only open for a year) but it was a great hangout for a lot of people and fondly remembered years later.   We like to say it was a party for 10,000 of our best friends.   One couple even met there and got married as a result.   I think the main reason we did it is to have a cool hangout; the previous owners ran it into the ground in a different way so we thought we'd give it a shot.  I think if any one of us tried to do something like that again we'd be more successful, but after that I lost my taste for having employees and doing anything related to foodservice or retail.  As an educational lesson, it was still cheaper than an M.B.A. from Stanford.
2017-01-09 10:55:31 AM  

timujin: dammit, the park is on the western bank of the Tomle Sap

Oh, well, fark your whole story then!
2017-01-09 11:24:01 AM  
I think the one that most relates to Fark - in fact, the one that most resembled a meatspace incarnation of our favourite web site - was the Rochester Pub in Ottawa.  It was a little pink house located between government offices/laboratories and the old residential/industrial area of Little Italy.  If you weren't looking for it, you wouldn't find it.

The owner was a large bearded and ponytailed gourmand who'd paid his dues in the service industry and liked to hold court on a stool at the end of the bar.  The regular bartender was a sarcastic SOB who had done every drug under the sun, and who would mock the patrons mercilessly - which scared me a bit until I realized they were all regulars who did the same to him.  The regulars ran the gamut from government scientists to lawyers to retirees to foreign students to blue-collar types to ne'er-do-wells with no visible means of support - but they all had a seat at the bar at the Rochester.

Of course, because it was out-of-the-way, or not a safe chain pub (the likes of which thrive in Ottawa), or because the neighbourhood was changing, or the food was WAY better than you'd ever expect (and costs must have been high), or because everything I ever love always seems to desert me in the end, it closed down a couple years ago.
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