Saturday night special

In theory, it should have just been a nice Saturday night out on the town.

I should have known, however, from the way the rain poured down in thick, glassy sheets that this would be a long exercise in patience and people watching.

The tone was set early, after I was pulled over by a police officer on 19th Street. The patrol car had already stopped another car when I passed, and in the time it took me to glance over at his flashing lights and back to the road he was behind me, signaling that I was next.

He asked for the usual—license and registration—and informed me that my car had a headlight out. Then he asked if I’d been drinking. I tried not to appear shocked and prayed that even though I was stone-cold sober my nerves wouldn’t go haywire as he shone a flashlight in my eyes and directed me to follow the movement of his finger.

He snapped the light off and walked back to his car. Finally, after what felt like a painful eternity, he returned and handed me back my license and registration—the latter soaked through with rain—and told me to take care of it.

I suppose I should have been relieved. Instead, as I drove carefully to my next destination, I felt on edge—tired and weary. As my friend and I ate at Cafe Bernardo, she tried to make me feel better, and later, as we walked over to the Shady Lady Saloon to see a band play, I told myself that the rest of the night was still salvageable.

Then I stepped in a giant rain puddle and soaked my tights and shoes clear through to my bones.

By the time we squeezed into a booth at the Shady Lady and ordered a round of $10 cocktails, I was shivering, annoyed and wondering if I still had it in me.

Frankly—and I’m sorry, but I can’t think of a classier way to put this—I’m too old for this shit.

The older I get, the less my friends seem to want to go out, and I’ll admit sometimes I’m right there with them. Really, little sounds better on a rainy night than a Duraflame, snuggly cats and a Fashion Police marathon.

But out I was. And even as a few friends stood us up (it’s raining!), we sat snugly in our booth, listening to the music and taking in the scene.

I nursed a cocktail before switching to coffee and secretly wished I could throw back another drink to make the people-watching more enjoyable.

Really, what is it about a night out on the town that makes otherwise rational people don their finest sweat pants and behave like idiots?

We studied a man and two women dance suggestively together and tried to figure out their story—was this the deepening of a friendship, a “Couple seeks third” Craigslist ad or just a random encounter? When another woman eventually joined the writhing dance fest, I wondered if we were, perhaps, observing a real-life episode of Sister Wives play out. Before we could reach a conclusion, however, a Jersey Shore refugee sporting a skintight V-neck shirt tried to pick up on my friend. She flashed her wedding ring and he wandered off, in search of new prey.

With its gorgeous retro décor and artisan cocktails, the Shady Lady is a lovely place to sip cocktails and relax. Too bad on this particular rainy Saturday night, it felt like just another frat dive teeming with hos and bros.

Then again, maybe I was just in a bad mood—almost ticketed, soaking wet, wanting to snuggle with my cats while watching Joan Rivers bitch about Paris Hilton.

Perhaps I’m just too old for this.