You know what’s more embarrassing than being kicked out of a bar for being fall-down drunk? Being kicked out of a bar for being sober but clumsy as shit. Last night I pratfalled my way to infamy at Von Trapp’s, a new German bar that recently opened in my neighborhood. I would have actually preferred to be as sloppily drunk as the staff thought I was — at least then I would have at best a fuzzy recollection of what happened. Unfortunately, I was stone cold sober and therefore will carry this facepalmy memory with me for roughly the next seven decades.
After work, I met some industry colleagues at a bar in Pioneer Square for a happy hour beer (one pint of Blue Moon at about 5:30 or 6:00 pm). From there we headed over to Capitol Hill for our dinner reservation at Barrio, a trendy Mexican restaurant. I arrived at 7:30 and nursed a somewhat unpleasant-tasting margarita, throwing in the towel about 3/4th of the way in because somehow the drink managed to become both cloyingly sweet and butt-puckeringly bitter. Content to stick with water, I then focused on unhinging my jaw and inhaling a tostata appetizer, queso fundido, superhuman quantities of guacamole and salsa, and a shredded pork taco platter. The rest of the table at this point was at a ratio of at least four drinks to my 1.75, but since everything had been spread out over the course of four hours, nobody was wasted or hammered, least of all me.
When dinner concluded, the group wanted to head to Von Trapp’s down the street and meet some of their coworkers there for a couple beers. Since my food baby felt stronger and healthier than ever, I had no desire whatsoever to add another drink to the Mexican fiesta cha cha-ing in my belly, but I was curious to check out the new bar since I’d read and heard a lot of hype about the place. I tagged along, figuring I’d sneak a quick peek before calling it a night and going home.
The first thing I noticed about Von Trapp’s is that it is friggin’ huge. Like supermarket huge. It was also packed to the brim, extremely loud, and uncomfortably warm. We made our way to the bar and found the group of coworkers knocking back some beers. Someone offered to buy me a cold one but I politely declined, patting my food baby and saying I had no room for anything else. I had a quick chat with one of the guys from dinner before excusing myself to find the bathroom…AND HERE’S WHEN MY EVENING TURNED INTO THE MOST CLICHE SITCOM EVER.
Since this place was so gigantic I’d have better luck stumbling into Switzerland and belting out “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” than finding the bathrooms, I asked the hostess (or waitress, or whatever) to point me in the right direction.
She gave me instructions but because the place was dim and I was feeling disoriented from the combination of the noise, feeling overheated, and my Mexican food baby, I ended up walking to a section of tables to the right of the bathrooms instead. Realizing my error, I turned around, tripped, and fell. I think there may have been a ramp or something, which led to this equation:
Sloped floor + booties with a small heel + my complete lack of any semblance of grace or balance =
Becca fall down, go boom
I sat in a heap, feeling embarrassed, when the same hostess or waitress noticed me and asked if I was okay. I sprang up and forced out an overly chipper, “YeahIjusttrippedsorry,” then looked for an escape from the roughly 200 sets of semi-drunk hipster eyes that were now fixated on me.
I noticed a corridor and headed towards it. Hanging either from the ceiling or at the top of the wall was a sign that read “BATHROOMS.” Success! I can now sequester myself into a stall and hide in there until I can figure out a way to teleport home without Walk of Shame-ing past the dozens of patrons who just saw me eat shit.
My eyes fixated on the “BATHROOMS” sign, I took a few steps and promptly tripped again, this time over a gigantic goddamn mop bucket I hadn’t noticed was in my way because I was being tractor beamed towards the top of the wall where the sign hung.
Stumble #2 hurt like a motherfucker, probably because I just Terry Tate’d a big-ass bucket. I lay sprawled on the floor, wincing at the pain flaring up in my left elbow and buttcheek, when I noticed several employees and an embarrassingly large number of patrons staring down at me.
One of the male employees asked me, “Are you having a seizure?!”
Am I having a seizure?!! If I were, does this guy really expect me to say, “As a matter of fact I am. Would you be so kind as to call an ambulance and make sure I don’t swallow my tongue in the interim? Cheers, mate!”?
Feeling flustered, angry, and 20 times more embarrassed than Fall #1, I shot back, “No. I’m not having a seizure. I tripped…why am I sitting in a puddle…”
The employee, barely hiding the look of disgust on his face, responded, “You knocked over a mop bucket.” Oh right. I realized that not only had I taken out a mop bucket, it was a full mop bucket, and I was now half-drenched in liquid floor grime, stale beer, and who knows what else.
At this point, everyone in my immediate vicinity was staring at me like I was Dennis Hopper in Hoosiers when he showed up drunk to the basketball game and made a total ass of himself. The waitress/hostess, figuring I was either mentally handicapped or drunk out of my mind or both, physically escorted me to the bathroom like a preschool teacher helping a toddler. I muttered a thanks and immediately sequestered myself in the handicap stall so I could die a thousand shame deaths in immediate succession.
I cleaned myself up as best I could and made my way back to my group of friends. Sheepishly, I told them about my stumbles and how I had accidentally tackled a mop bucket. They laughed pretty hard and were making “Better call Saul” jokes about suing the bar for having equipment in my way (nobody was serious, though this country is very litigation-happy) when one of the employees I recognized as staring down at me after Fall #2 walked up and said, “Unfortunately, we’re going to have to ask you to leave.”
Dumbfounded, I asked, “For tripping?”
He said, “Close out your tab, say goodbye to your friends, and please leave the premises.”
“I don’t have a tab,” I responded. “I’ve been here five minutes and I didn’t order anything or even drink anything. I was making my way to the bathroom and tripped.” My friends backed up my story — they had been with me all evening and knew I had consumed less than two drinks over a four-plus hour period.
“Okay, but you fell like five times,” he countered.
“Oh for crying out–it wasn’t five times.”
“Well, I heard it was two or three times. We can’t let you stay here. I’ll let you say goodbye to your friends.” And with that he left to resume checking IDs at the front door.
I looked around. Staff were staring at me and shaking their heads like that end scene from Cruel Intentions where all the students find out how bitchy and coked out Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character actually is. “Bittersweet Symphony” immediately cued up in my head.
It was basically this scene minus the secret cocaine crucifix.
My friends were dumbfounded but also impressed that I managed to get kicked out of a bar not because I was drunk, but because I was clumsy. We all had a good laugh and I said my goodbyes, but I was still feeling incredibly embarrassed when I left.
The dude working security stopped me on my way out and I chatted with him a bit. He quickly realized I was indeed sober and apologized.
“I’m sorry, you just looked, uh…”
I laughed and said, “I know, I’m just a huge klutz.”
“You know how it is, it just looks bad for the establishment if something like this happens and we keep serving alcohol to that person.”
I understood. We talked a bit more, and once he was convinced I wasn’t a complete spazz, he extended his hand, introduced himself as Nate, and invited me to come back to Von Trapp’s another time for a less embarrassing experience. “I’ll buy you a beer,” he promised. I thanked him and left.
After I got home, one of the first things Jason said to me was, “Ugh, you stink like bar.” I corrected him and said the discerning odor he smelled was actually dirty mop water and he practically shoved me into the shower. (My clothes and coat made their way to the hamper.) At first he was mad at me because he thought I had done a repeat of the Honu “sun, drinks, and faint” ordeal when I told him I had been feeling overheated and flustered at the bar, but I told him I wasn’t drunk or dehydrated and chalked up my tripping to just being an incredibly awkward human being. (It didn’t take much convincing — the number of times he’s laughed at me for having “fumble fingers” and dropping something, tripping, running into walls, slipping, and generally being the least graceful person he’s ever met are pretty much untrackable at this point.)
I tried to put the evening behind me, but this morning I woke up to a bruised left knee and elbow, a sore buttcheek, and a cringe-inducing recollection of last night’s events. My inbox already had emails from my friends with the subject line “We spoke to the bouncer — you’ve been cleared of all wrongdoing!” and jokes that they’ll never look at a mop bucket the same way again. And despite Nate the Bouncer’s invite, I think it’ll be a while before I’m brave enough to show my face at Von Trapp’s again any time soon — half the employees still probably think I was blitzed out of my mind, and anyone who was drinking there last night likely has a pretty good story about the “sloppy drunk chick who kept falling over and was forced to leave” (I WASN’T DRUNK I’M JUST NOT AN ABLE-BODIED PERSON). Fortunately, the embarrassment has somewhat subsided and I’m chuckling at what a hot mess I am. If I’m this clumsy at 29 years old, I can’t imagine what 30 will look like.