“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.

1 Comment so far

  1. moses eaton Jr (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 9:22 pm

    Reminds me of Lorenzo and sons pizza on south st in Philly. The onlyplace open after the bars close, they satay open until whenever they want to close–nothing but bad cheese pizza and total knucklehead south philly attitude–when they decide to close the old man asks the last person to get a slice if they like the pizza–then in a broken english/knucklehead accent says==”you lika da pizza? eh goodea now get the fukka outa, wea closinga nowa”

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