Thursday, July 1, 2010

“Let’s Go Crazy!”

Of course 7 hours later on Friday night I found myself alone, a tad drunk, and walking into another DC institution in search of a cool cola.

Ben’s Chili Bowl rocks for lunch and dinner, but the place really shines in the after-hours. Ben’s packed to the gills, I grabbed a seat with a grinning, near-toothless, old, black man after spotting his arm, adorned with ten or so hospital bracelets, waving me over. I slapped palms with my fellow lost soul and we got to talking. I ordered a soda for each of us and by the time they arrived, the old guy and I were laughing it up.

Ben’s on a late Friday night is my kind of place, music blasting out of the juke-box getting everyone (regardless of walk of life) moving. The smell of grilling half-smokes mixing with cheap perfumes and colognes, the glitz of the Black theater and nite-klub crowds dazzling the inevitable wide-eyed tourists, the homeless toe-tapping and hand-clapping for a hand-out, the rocker kids with chins up showing no fear, and the staff smiling and laughing and making everyone feel at ease. By the end of our talk my toothless friend and I were singing and dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”, cracking up the four Shaw honeys dancing one booth over, and entertaining just about every one else in our vicinity. At song’s end I finished my cola, gave the ladies a bow, shook hands with Hospital Bracelets, and staggered out the door.

Yeah, late night Ben’s is my kind of place.

Originally published on April 10, 2006.

This was a great night and I am glad to have this post as a record of it. Ben's is the heart of Washington DC!

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