Cassie – Chapter 4 – Saturday Night Special

The doors finally open on one of the elevators and like lemmings we all sausage into the space.

Cassie is so curious and wondering what’s happening after sitting in a noisy Irish tap room for an hour. “What is this new, mysterious place Charles has taken me to?”

Ten years ago I was with a friend, and it was Center City Sips.

Center City Sips is a nightmarish program that the city has come up with to extend the bar/restaurant week out in Philly.

They figured if the offered $3 beers, $5 wines, and  $6 cocktails, ever Wednesday from spring through fall they could extend out the week and keep business going in the summer when it’s slow here in Philly.

What they created was a night when young people with little money came out and drink their faces off on every Wednesday at most of the best mainstream spots in the city.

The industry people hate it, because they’re over run by young drunk people that don’t tip properly and they only make money on pure volume.

But the sad point is, if the bar/restaurant doesn’t participate in this shit show, they can’t be a member of restaurant week, which is another shit show of losers being able to come to their restaurant and get a three course meal for $35.

Its all been created by idiots to think they’ll generate more income for their bars and restaurants during the slow season, but the staff lose money and hate it all.

I get it, and have done my best to deflect from these places during the season when I can.

Which leads me to R2L.

I was with a co-worker of mine and we wanted to go out and blow off some steam when we worked for a major news company in the city. I told him everywhere was a shit show, and he asked if I knew of any place that we could go and drink to get away from all of the drunken youth.

I took him to R2L

“Why do you know about this amazing place and you never told me?”

R2L is a premier spot that has such a great view that it’ll blow the doors off whoever you’re with guaranteed, if they’ve never been there.

The view of all of west and south Philly is glorious. The bar is dark and posh, the entire place quietly screams discretionary hook up.

Not for me tonight because I don’t roll that way, but let’s lay the ground work for the future.

Cassie is captivated by the place immediately.

Of course… I’m the master of cool dating spots.

“Oh my god! This place is awesome, Charles!”

Baby heads to the bathroom and quickly returns.

The bartender asks what we’d like to drink. I tell her just to get me a Manhattan. Cass tells me she wants the same.

Impressive.

I tell her I need to stop and use the facilities.

(A couple of Victory Summer Love beers get the middle-aged bladder going.)

I get back and see my drink. It’s perfect.

Things are going well tonight. I ask her about my Manhattan.

“Bulliett Rye with a brandied berry up.”

“Oh my God. That’s my go to. You too, Cass?”

“Yep.”

Our glasses clink and we sup. I really like this girl.

But let me just step back here. Cassie seems really nice. Cassie seems really fun. But Cassie still stinks of damaged goods. (sorry)

She mentioned at Bonner’s how the last time she was back in L.A. she saw her emotional and physically abusive ex and spent time with him.

Red Flags are burning the sky at this point. I look to the the heavens and all I see is red flags.

I could have fun with this flight attendant but there’s some serious mileage on this sports car.

Cassie drives through her first Manhattan with great vigor. This is a party girl. She’s 31 in her profile at the salon but look much older, which could be booze and coke mileage on this sweet lady.

I don’t care, and I’m happy to be with her today on my loser day off.

We have some truffle flatbreads and another round of Manahattans R2L which I know will cost us a small fortune. That’s the singular reason I never go there anymore. That, and the mediocre food.

Cass is supposed to meet some girlfriends at 7:30 and I’m ready to be done. All good, but I just cant do long sessions with anyone anymore except my friend James from the talent agency. I could hang with him for a week anywhere in the world. Because he’s an interesting guy.

We call for the bill. It’s like $98 of nightmare. That never happens in my life anymore. I never see a bill over $30 because of my influence.

The beauty of this moment is Cassie whips out her credit card and pays half.

I know I have been writing this damn blog for over three and a half years and you all know me. I got killed on so many dinner bills with so many women, I was never able to connect with, it made me feel so empty.

Cassie kicked in and it just felt healthy, fun, and right.

We close out and head to the elevator. We ride it back to earth and are both feeling the glow of a great afternoon.

We step outside and are standing under the awning with several other guests.

An insane rainstorm begins.

I heard it may rain, but not the insane, bullet droplets, complete wash off the city deluge, that’s crushing everyone.

We’re huddled under the over hang with other people that are clearly already soaked. Cass is trying to get an Uber. She has to meet up with her girlfriends!

Cassie doesn’t know the city, so when she calls her UBER, she has know idea where he is especially in the rain.

“I’m not from here. I don’t know where that is.”

Looks at me in panic.

“Give me your phone.”

Me: “Hey man. What do you see? H&M? Okay. Turn your flashers on. We’ll come to you.”

I grab her hand. “Come with me.”

It’s pouring raining. I’m navigating my girl to her Uber on her phone. I lead her through the soaking rain, and puddles at 16th and Chestnut as a complete stranger. A girl I just met.

We arrive at the car. The driver smiles at me. I hang up on her phone. I look at her and tell her that I’m dropping her somewhat wet phone in her bag to protect it.

It’s pouring.

I expected nothing.

I yanked the passenger door of the Nissan Maxima open to place my lady inside.

Cassie grasps me before she gets in the car and kisses me on the lips.

Off her car goes, and the rain intensifies. I scamper to a Septa bus stop for shelter.

The rain kills the city with it’s intensity. I’ll just stand here until it lets up.

Maybe I can go to Marathon bar and grill and beg for a lost umbrella.

I don’t really care. I actually had an awesome day off that turned into a sweet date.

 

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Cassie – Chapter 3 – Saturday Night

I’m sitting there at Bonner’s bar. A place I only go to with my friend Johnny R, because he likes an Irish sports bar that’s outside the bubble of Rittenhouse. (See: Johnny R – Some good stories there…)

But I come here out of boredom and not accustomed to being off, and just hoping for some social time and maybe the possibility of hanging out with Cassie.

Well. that’s paid off, and I immediately change to water to stay clean before Cassie arrives.

My day off may actually become interesting and fun for once.

I’m chilling at the bar as it fills with young, attractive, brilliant students from the Wharton School of Business across the street.

I love seeing all of these young, vibrant brilliant people all hanging out and chatting, laughing and drinking together. The beginning of adult life. So fun.

Cassie hits the door and looks amazing. She’s wearing a light top that is low cut and shoulders are out. Her jeans showcase her shapely legs. I’m still intrigued.

She looks beautiful, and sees me immediately. I stand to greet her, (As you should gentlemen when a lady enters or leaves the room) We hug and she has a seat.

She orders a Guinness, and I return to my Victory Summer Love.

Cassie is intrigued by my choice because she’s never seen that and I can tell she wants a taste. Nick the bartender cracks the cap from the bottle and lays it before me. I look at Cassie and know she wants a taste.

I’ve become so good at reading people I hand her the ice cold beverage. She smiles an puts it to her lips and takes a sip. I know she’ll love it. I also love that this kind of human exchange this early says “I know your safe to put your mouth on my drink before I drink it.”

That’s an early positive in an initial meeting.

“I’m sure it’ll be sweeter now that it’s touched your lips, Cassie,” I charm. She smiles and says it’s really good.

I go into who I am and what I’m doing currently to give her background. Family, single status, work, and where I’m going.

She unloads the same. Big family in California. Brothers and sisters. Strict Christian upbringing. Love it. She’s probably a wild child with issues.

Cassie and I connect as quickly as we did at the salon but on a deeper level. She’s beautiful and fun to be with today. I’m just happy she showed up to rescue me from being off with nothing to do.

She has her degree and has done a lot in human services. But she likes to party and has done coke. That’s why she looks older than her 31 years she told us at the salon. She was a wild child for years rebelling against her conservative upbringing.

It’s a textbook existence, but I really like her. We all have had our levels of damage in this life.

I like being with her and we hit on so many cylinders. She’s laughing and interested in my stories. I only give a few, but we’re having a great time.

She says she just got out of an abusive relationship. Mental and physical. That’s not good and a red flag waves in my face, but I flick it away because I have no investment here. (That’s an early overshare) I’m just happy to meet someone new and kill a few hours on my day off.

I’m really having a great time with this girl and she’s fun to be with. Which is rare in the dating arena, but I didn’t swipe on her, we met at the salon.

She’s from Cali and is absolutely clueless when it comes to Philly. That neophyte is perfect for someone like me. She’s not around all of the time, and I can turn her on to all of the cool spots in the city.

I can tell Cassie already appreciates that and tells me so. I’m happy to hang with an attractive lady and show her the finer points of our fair city.

Bonner’s is getting busy with all of the Wharton kids and it’s getting noisy. I tell Cassie, that we’ll close out and I’ll take her someplace completely different. The exact opposite of where we are now.

I cash out with Nick and say good bye to the crew. The whole bill for both of us is $30 including tip. Cassie thanks me and says she’ll buy my next drink.

We leave Bonner’s. It’s at 23rd and Sansom. I know where I’m going to take Cass to blow her mind.  (hopefully) We walk east and as we make our way to 16th street we pass so many bars and restaurants. (Sansom is rich in a little bit of everything. That’s why my friend Johnny loves it) Mellagrano, a fantastic Italian BYOB, Helium Comedy Club, Fat Jack’s Comic Book Store, The Ritz movie theater, Village Whiskey, home of the best burger in the city and killer whiskey, Capogirio, good gelato, but not anywhere near as good as Gran Caffe L’Aquilla, (which is God) All of the Stephen Starr Restaurants on 18th in Rittenhouse, Dizen Goff that has the best hummus in the city, Happy Rooster, a great bar with with good food but a big coke bar, Marathon, a spectacular chain that’s like an upscale diner with a bar but with food locally harvested.

We turn North on 16th street and I lead Cassie to R2L.

R2L is a sleek, sophisticated restaurant and private event space, R2L sits 500 feet above the city on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place and features wall-to-wall unobstructed, breathtaking panoramic views that span for over 40 miles. With its bird’s-eye views of Philadelphia and creative American cuisine by Chef Daniel Stern, R2L sets the scene for some of the city’s most spectacular culinary experiences.

THE ATMOSPHERE

Your arrival at R2L begins with an exclusive elevator ride to the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place. Walk past the open kitchen and into R2L’s bar and lounge where hand-crafted cocktails and wrap-around seating make it one for the best places to grab a drink with friends and watch the sunset. Enjoy a memorable meal in the dining room featuring professional, attentive service and spectacular panoramic views of Philadelphia.

PRIVATE EVENTS

The R2L Private Event Coordinators will work closely with you and will personally attend to every detail to create an event that will meet your specific needs and exceed your expectations. From a midday board meeting to an intimate cocktail party overlooking William Penn atop City Hall to a grand seated dinner, the private dining options at R2L are as boundless as the view. Each room is equipped with plasma televisions for presentations and full audio-visual capabilities.

Cassie has no clue about Philly or where she is about to go.

We enter 2 Liberty and there’s some remodeling going on. The staff is sweet and apologizes but they lead us to the elevators.

I haven’t been here in years. There’s no reason for me to ever come here. Killer views, mediocre food, (Deadly dessert, sorry Daniel Stern) but sexy bar and an impressive dark space on the 37th floor of 2 Liberty.

There’s an ocean of people waiting for the elevator due to the construction. But Cassie and I are cool because we’ve already had drinks and she’e so affable at this moment, which I love. It’ll happen, we just need to get to 37. If it’s not too crowded a new girl to the city will love this. R2L is a space to impress.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Cassie – Chapter 2 – Saturday

“If you have no expectations, you’ll never be disappointed.”

I wake up Saturday morning. It doesn’t even matter what time.

I have a DAY OFF.

I like to work and a day off is a burden for me to figure out what to do with my day.  I’ve worked 9 to 5 my whole life. Suit and tie. It’s brutal. But you become so conditioned to that you basically shut down on the weekends. But if you stay busy all of the time, you can compartmentalize your social life into when you’re free.

It works for me because I love being busy. I think this goes back to my anxiety and depression. If you stay busy and are needed you won’t think about your fear or sadness.

You wake up and are needed. There’s a place for you where they’re all counting on you, and you’re good at it. You’re the best. You have somewhere where you’re needed and you’re the person they love.

If you’re off you’re alone in your apartment thinking about all of the things you’re worrying about of how your ex-wife is trying to destroy you. If you work and stay busy you’re earning and know that your daughter is safe, and you’ll be able to pay your bills.

I never want to stop working. I guess when my dad retired at 62 that’s what men did.

I can’t imagine that. Turning off all daily activity when you’re in full health, and do fuck all.

No. I want to die like Picasso. Dead at 92 working on a sculpture.

Fucking day off. I hate being off. I love to be doing something. (More to come!)

I haven’t been off in a month and a half but the beauty of this is, it’s a mirror of what it’s like to be OFF.

Let me show you what happens when I’m off for only one day.

 

I regain consciousness at 10:30 Saturday morning.

I stay there and drink some water and try to stay hunkered down in my bed. (I’m up everyday and just trying to catch some ZZZ’s) I fall back asleep and dream that I’m a camp counselor at a nudist camp. Everybody was fat, totally weird, but that happened. (No idea why)

I decided since I had a day off for the first time in a month, I should take me dry cleaning to Luvin’ Care in Rittenhouse.

I do that and May is always looking broken as usual. (No idea why)

I’m doing all of the boring things I used to do five years ago when Michelle was gone. I don’t like this feeling.

Even when we were broken up, we always hung out every other weekend when I didn’t have my daughter.

When I’m not working, I’m idle. The devil’s hands are present. I know him very well but I’m good at deflecting him now.

I’m not driven by vice or desire, I just want to get a slice and go home. This relieves me.

After breakfast I text Eileen and ask her if she needs anything,

She would like a snack.

I’m in the area and praying for day drinking with Cassie

I decide to go to Gran Caffe L’ Aquila and order a little cup of Hazenut Gelatto.

 

I appear at the salon and Eileen is elated.

Her boyfriend is pissed at everything I’m doing, but that’s just young boy nonsense. Eileen is a niece/daughter to me and I’m delighted that she and Amelia have been killing it this season at our salon.

It’s so hard to find good staff in this industry and I’ve found the Rosetta stone of employees. I’ve been in corporate america my whole life, and Amelia and Eileen are two of the best I’ve ever witnessed, and would hire them again in anything I ever do. They  are that good.

 

I text Cassie, and get zero response.  This is a common response in the dating arena.

It’s okay. I don’t really care. I texted her for a drink like we discussed, and it’s fine if I never hear back from her.

“If you have no expectations, you’ll never be disappointed.”

Baby is shoveling her gelato, and I have nothing to do. I hate being off.

My client Nick comes in and says he’ll be at Bonner’s Bar at 3pm.

I figure I’ll go there and hang and then go home and edit my blog.

 

I get a text from Cassie. She wants to hang and have a drink.

Rock and Roll!

“I’m at Bonner’s… ”

“I’ll see you soon!”

I guess it’s on with the hot stewardess.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Sun Stories: Cassie – Chapter 1 – The Stewardess

It’s the busy season at the the salon. We’re mobbed every night. That’s why I need Amelia and Eileen to help me. They’re the best hires we’ve ever had and I adore them both.

I usually leave the girls to work the front counter because as long as I’ve been here I’m accustomed to doing everything. So when it gets crazy busy in here, I’m happy to just run around and clean beds and not have to deal with all of the complicated intake. That’s great practice for the girls, because that’s the nuts and bolts of the job and will make them more independent of me and they’ll be able to run the salon without me.

Unlike in my past corporate jobs, I as a leader train my employees to walk where I walk, not where I point. The more they know and the more efficient they become, the more valuable they become to the company. In the rat race I usually worked for loser no talents that had just been there longer than anybody else because they were mentally incapable of getting a better job so they became middle managers.

Losers. When they met me they saw the talent and they held it down. They spent most of their time having meetings and controlling the staff and pretending to do their jobs and justifying their positions.

I’ve always been a shark. Let me swim and I’ll run down and kill the accounts all day long. It’s not about the money, it’s just low self esteem and talent to be number one because your father told you were a loser.

I’m a deadly sales guy who will work until they pat me in the face with a shovel.

I happened to be at the front counter with Eileen for a moment last week when an attractive 30 year old, brown eyed, fit, blonde, came in to tan. She said she was a transplant from California. I was running my usual program of charm on her and wine had been discussed.

She lit up when I mentioned, oceans of free chardonnay.

“I’m a flight attendant and I’ve been recently sent here to be in Philly as my hub.”

Oh, baby seal that knows nothing about the city or where to drink?

“Oh, I love that. Flight attendant. You’re not around all of the time!”

I have to be honest, that would be a good gig for me. I love my time alone.

I can see we’re connecting and shes giggling. I can add her to my circle. Maybe.

A week passes and she appears again.

“Hey. I just got in from L.A. How are you?”

“I’m good. Great to see you.”

“You too.”

I walk her back to her room. “I’m actually off Saturday, (phenomenon because I’m always working) If you’d like we could meet up for a drink. Your new in town and i know all the good spots.”

“That would be awesome. Text me on Saturday.”

Cassie seems great. We actually joked about how I had lost a friend with her same name because she moved away and it almost seemed like she wanted to be the new Cassie.

I miss the real one, but maybe this girl will be a sweet band aid for a few drinks.

I push her my contact info and leave it at that. I’m 55, she’s 31 (allegedly) so we’re still stretching it on a newbie.

She gets back to me before she exits the sunbed. This is a good sign.

I’m not looking for anything, but I just love the energy and the game of meeting someone new.

I discover I’m off Saturday.

I’m going to text Cassie and see if she’d like to meet me for a drink.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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