After replacing the steps to the deck on Saturday morning with my handyman father in-law, Dana, Dao and I headed to Lancaster to visit my mom and my sister for the long weekend. Later on that night, after giving Dao a bath and sending him to bed with his mom, I went out with my cousin. He took me to the grown-ass man’s club.
We walked in and greeted by about a dozen of Vietnamese grown-ass men (30s and up) and one woman. My cousin who is in his early 50s seemed to know everyone. They were sitting at a table, drinking Heineken, and singing terrible karaoke. I sat in had a beer and couldn’t take it anymore so I went over to the three-ball billiard table. The two tables that looked exactly like the ones I used to play in Vietnam many years ago. Back when I was eight or nine, I spent all my morning allowances on billiard instead of food. Rather than buying a bowl of hot and savory noodle soup, I bought 15 minutes worth of pool time. If I were still living in Vietnam, my billiard skill would have been pretty good. I probably wouldn’t have to college and go to work. I could make money shooting pool all day. But now, my skill is just horrible. I couldn’t even make a gio ga (chicken thigh).
About half an hour later, a few more fellows walked in. One of them was Dung Lai who is half Vietnamese and half white. I haven’t seen this guy over ten years, but he still recognized me. I also remembered him. His mom and him used to stay at one of my boys’ place. She was something else. She smoked, cursed and watched Chinese TV series all day and night. He was nutty, dusty (bui doi), but with a good heart. His ex-girl who has two kids with him used to go to my middle school. I still remember walking home with her. She biked to school, but she would stopped her bike and walked with me when she saw me. One year after the summer, she never returned to school. A couple years later, I found out that she was pregnant with Dung Lai. I haven’t seen her since.
An hour or so later, another dude walked him. This guy is actually a couple years younger than me. We never hung out but seem each other around when we were in high school or at some clubs. We caught up on each other’s life a bit and he informed me that him and his girl broke up last year. He’s now a “single dad” and “taking care of his three kids.” I thought, “Why the hell are you here? Aren’t you suppose to be home with your kids?” Lancaster sure is a small place. His ex-girl and I used to catch the bus together way back in elementary school when I first arrived in the States. She was smart and sharp. She used to translate for me when I didn’t understand a thing. She stood up for me when the Spanish kids made fun of me. I thought that this girl would go far in life. We went to separate middle school so I didn’t see her until we went to the same high school again. Unfortunately she hung out with the wrong crowd. First she dated his best friend, then him then got pregnant before she could finished high school. Not sure what she’s up to now.
In any rate, the place seemed like a hang out place for Vietnamese guys who were either have nothing else better to do or who were out of a relationship and have nothing better to do. I was so glad that my cousin got so drunk that I had to drive him home. Three hours of smoke and terrible singing gave me a headache the next day. I am not really sure how the owner makes money out of these guys. Time will tell when will the place will be closed down since it only opened for a week. I hope that I won’t end up spending my lonely nights like that in the future.