I scared a woman the other night.
And I mean I really scared her, as she sped up her stride and moved away from me at a prompt pace.
Now, before you get the mace ready at your disposal to blast me with an eyeful of peppery fire, please understand that I had done nothing wrong.
Well, other than show up in Covington.
Looking back, that was a poor choice.
I had no choice in it, though, as comedians Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black were performing that godforsaken northern Kentucky city (truly, Covington is so shitful that I’m going to refer to it as southern Ohio). So, off to Covington I go, with Jeff tagging along for an evening of laughter.
The laughs were aplenty at the show, fortunately, but there was little to be pleased with elsewhere.
Covington doesn’t exactly do itself any favors by having a stop sign on the exit ramp. Not at the end of the exit ramp, mind you, where you would be stopping to turn onto the actual street. Oh heaven’s no; this stop sign is on the effin’ exit ramp.
Once we negotiated the exit ramp and the one-way streets, we found our location, parked and headed out for a night on the town. Unfortunately, there was neither a night nor a town. Covington after 5 p.m. looked like the Transylvania at dusk, as residents boarded up every shop in sight in preparation for the oncoming onslaught of evil. In the European country, it’s at least vampires; in Covington, I guess it’s those damn Buckeyes rustling up all the bad tidings.
Jeff and I hit the box office to pick up our tickets. Not having a clue about the finer dining establishments in Covington, I asked the helpful fellow at the window if he could recommend any spots. He told me he didn’t know much about the area but suggested a LaRosa’s pizza about six blocks away. This was about an hour before the doors opened for the show, and we didn’t think it was a good idea to hoof it that far, eat a fat meal and then have to hustle back in time for the show.
But to avoid being complete dicks, we pretended to walk off in the direction he had given before turning around and heading back to find other food options. Of course, we had to walk back in front of that same ticket window, but I assumed he had forgotten all about us. (It turns out I would end up not caring less what the little turd thought; but I’m getting ahead of myself).
Jeff and I tried every spot we stumbled upon, but nothing was open.
Correction: no decent places were open. We tried one place that appeared to be a dining establishment, but as soon as we walked in, Jeff noted, “This is just an outright bar. The only tables are poker tables.”
Not wanting to get our pansy asses kicked Road House-style, we ventured back out in search of food, but the only other places that gave any appearance of being open for business were wedding shops.
I’m not exaggerating when I say Covington, or at least the Madison Avenue part of it, has a wedding store located in every other building. One place is even called the Wedding Mall. It’s puzzling. Why anyone would come to this shithole city to get their wedding gear is beyond me, but maybe nothing says “marriage” like the sights, scents and sounds of desperation found in downtown Covington.
It was on this hunt for vittles, there betwixt the wedding stores, that I encountered the aforementioned woman and proceeded to frighten her.
In her defense, I did present a threatening interrogation:
Kevin: Do you live in Covington?
Woman (not breaking her stride): Yeah.
Kevin (now walking to keep up): Well, why do they have all these wedding shops?
(Woman gets a panicked look on her face, as though she expected me to drop to one knee, I guess asking for her hand in marriage just seconds before brutally assaulting her. She speeds up and starts looking over her shoulder).
Woman: (mumbles incoherently).
Kevin: I guess we’ll never know.
Again, we set out for food, meeting another crazy person walking the streets. This particular crazy man (complete with crazy man white hair, crazy man white beard and crazy man stench) asked Jeff for a light, at which point Jeff just flat-out lied, telling him no. Keep in mind that Jeff could probably produce fire from his fingertips to light his cigarettes, but I think I was a tactful lie on his part, one that spared the crazy man’s feelings and spared us feeling the crazy man stabbing us to death with a three-pronged fork.
We finally found two would-be dining options, a Korean café and a Chinese bar and café. We initially opted for the Korean spot, but the sign on the door said it served “Korean desserts and pastries” and after this much trouble, I wanted a hell of a lot more than one of those deep-fried doughnuts, no matter how much powdered sugar gets sprinkled on it.
The Chinese bar/café was a little hole in the wall, which at first made me think, “Hey we might get the real deal here.” Nope. We got some of that Chinese food in which every sauce tastes the same: brown, which frankly, isn’t even a real flavor.
During our meal, I asked Jeff if he had been part of an earlier conversation in which my friend and I had discussed the merits of being called a “midget” as opposed to a “little person.” Our argument is that midget, while frowned upon by the midget community, is far less offensive than little person, which implies you’re less of a person.
And wouldn’t you know it, five minutes after I finish that topic, the table near us gets up to pay, led by – ta da! – a midget. Well, maybe not a full-fledged midget, but at least a tragically short guy who is right on the cusp of little manhood. I felt like a little jackass.
We downed the rest of our food to head off to the show, but on the way, the nagging question returned: really, why do they have all these damn wedding shops? I had no choice but to walk into one and ask.
Sweet mercy, these were hoity toity shops, and when I walked in, the female clerks looked at me as though I was carting decaying rat carcasses. (In their defense, Covington women might just assume that all men with beards are crazy. Or they might just have been uptight bitches.)
“Can I help you?”
“Um, yeah. I’m not from here. Never been here, really. So what’s the story with all these wedding shops?”
The response came out as chipper as anything I’d ever heard, as though they’ve been waiting all their lives for this moment. “Oh, we’re trying to create a wedding district.”
Ohhhhh. Why didn’t you say so? A wedding district. That makes perfect sense. Only, I have one more question: what the fuck is a wedding district?
Now, of course I didn’t actually say that, but really, what the fuck is a wedding district? And, as queried earlier, who would set Covington, the dreariest spot in America, as the destination to plan the happiest day of their life?
I walked back out of the store angrier and more confused than I had been when I entered. I was tempted to tell Crazy Man in Search of a Light that the women at the store said to show up there for a smoke.
On to the show …
I give the ticket-taker my ticket and move all of two feet — two fucking feet! – before another guy stops me to give me a wristband.
“You got a ticket?”
No, buddy, I somehow snookered the dude whose sole job is to collect tickets but now you’ve foiled my well-hatched plan with your question. I mean, the previous gentleman only demanded that I hand him my ticket, which he proceeded to tear before granting me admittance. But you, kind sir, have stopped me dead in my scheme. Touché and good day.
Once we got beyond the crack security team, Jeff and I found a good place to sit. On the table, though, was something a bit interesting: a menu.
We walked through the desolate streets of Covington in search of a meal, eventually settling for crappy Chinese food, only to find we could have had food at the show? Perfect.
“You know,” I told Jeff,” someone should really tell that little fucker at the ticket window that they serve food here. That might be helpful the next time someone asks him where you can get food.”
At least the show was fantastic, as Michaels Showalter and Ian Black had us laughing for two solid hours. Oddly enough, though, I developed a sense of pride for the area when a guy behind us was bitching about something or another and said, “Well, after all, this is Kentucky.”
Well, you know what, if Ohio is so great, then why aren’t Showalter and Black performing there?
This, actually, is a pretty fair question, considering the level of suckiness that is Covington.
Maybe they just really needed to look for some wedding supplies.