Esquire Magazine voted Nye's Polanaise room the best bar in America in 2006. The best bar. I had never been. It's this funky little dive right over the bridge from Downtown Minneapolis. So last night, when Kev was in town, we headed over there.
And we ended up singing karaoke at the piano bar.
"I want to sing," I said while paging through a song book and chewing a prime rib bite covered in horseradish. Our waitress, a real gem of a gal (she looked like she was a "lifer" server and was the perfect definition of Minnesota Nice), explained to us how the piano bar worked. We were seated in gold, glittery booths and listening to an elderly lady croon. I mean croon.
"This place is three-quarters empty," I negotiated with Kev. "If I ever have the courage to do karaoke, it's tonight."
"You realize it's different singing with a piano man than a television screen," he explained. But I knew he was going soft on me. He would sing. I picked out a couple of songs and we moved our winter coats up to the piano.
My first song was Paper Moon by Frank Sinatra. Kev kept pushing the microphone in front of my face, but I didn't care if that thing was 10 feet from my face. I was just doing it for fun. A couple regulars followed me up, then Kev sang a terrific, terrific rendition of "500 Miles." The woman sitting next to me eyed him up a couple of times. Oh, Frank in the day must have made women melt all around him. Crazy. A man sings a song and a woman stares.
And then I sang "Leaving on a Jet Plane". This time the regulars weren't that interested in my mediocre singing, and they got a little fidgety as I sang. And I suddenly became aware of the fact I was singing, in front of people. Nerves fizzled up inside me. I forgot the "just for fun" mantra for a moment. I faltered off a bit, when Kev leaned in just close enough for me to hear.
"You're nailin' it," he said.
And all the fun returned.
Kev puts the fun back into any situation.
Sometimes life can be so good. On a Tuesday night. At 11:00 p.m. With a bald man named Mike struggling to play Scotch and Soda on the piano. And a young man next to you hitting every note like butter. And your heart is still singing because you actually had the balls to do karaoke for once.
And I nailed it.