I met Glen and Bob on a particularly uneventful Sunday behind the mahogany, which is probably the reason why I got to know them over the course of the evening. My wife, Noelle, had cozied up to these two gents from across the pond and we came to find some interesting things:
Both are cops back in London.
Bobs parents were from Jamaica.
Glen plays rugby and has a nine year-old daughter named Caitlin.
Glen likes Vodka/Red Bull (which he never heard the end about...and neither did I), while Bob drinks nothing but Guinness.
Both men are here in Los Angeles studying gangs, (Oh City! How you do me proud!)
We spent most of that Sunday night trying to get the Bobbies to, as my wife put it, "Taste America!!" through shots of Rye and a rather astute old-fashioned, both of which elicited almost girlish whimpers from men that could pick me up with one hand. After closing the doors, I gave them a tour of the Brock & Company building and my number. We agreed to meet up for drinks on Wednesday.
With Noelle's morning shift looming ever closer, I left alone to meet the Bobbies at Cole's around 9:30. I found the two outside, chatting with a girl who looked like some one I should've known, but fortunately, did not. The first half-hour was spent with me looking like the mayor of Drinkytown, greeting about half the people at the bar. Bob drank nothing but Guinness while Glen and I marveled over the taste of a can of Schlitz, (which may be the pride of Milwaukee, but it was I who was proud of my new friend's love for American Malt Liquor). We listened (begrudgingly) to our new recruit's incessant ramblings for the better part of an hour, each of us scowling at the others when left alone with her for too long. After cleaning Glen out of almost a half a pack of cigarettes, she moved on, and with the bar closing early at 11:00, we were glad to beat a hasty retreat.
As we walked to the Golden Gopher in search of more lively a time, I found out more about the Bobbies:
Bob's wife did a student exchange in Maine and has since been afflicted with a love for Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese, which apparently, doesn't exist in the UK. Now every time some one she knows comes over to the States, she asks for at least one box. (Powdered cheese makes me proud to be an American)
Apparently, Tootsie Rolls are not available in the UK as well, and according to the Bobbies, impossible to find in Los Angeles as well.
At the Gopher, we ran into two of the girls from Casey's, assuring a good time would be had by all. The five of us drank, compared legal, cultural, and linguistic differences along with discussions about our two cities. I regaled Glen with drunken stories about bar fights, legal run-ins, while he described working the beat as a cop in London...Bob chatted with the ladies.
We left, hoping for the Kogi truck, but ending up in a 7-11. The hunt for Tootsie Rolls proved futile there as well. I guess a Tootsie Roll is like a cop...never around when you need one. I walked with the Bobbies up to my street and we said our good-byes. I felt a bit of a light weight in my heart, as if I was parting with two good friends; two good friends I knew I would never see again.
My city seemed stranger last night, with the help of foreign eyes, but it also never felt more like home.