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  • H.M. Jackson

The Neighborhood Chronicles - One Time at Pride Night

I have been enjoying a 6-month sabbatical, and it has been one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever been able to experience. I’m still nursing an injury which has taken away my normal out of work activities of playing sports, so I’ve taken up playing arcade games. Because of this, I’ve become a regular at the local burger joint and arcade bar. I used to make occasional appearances at each spot, but since I’ve been on my extended vacation, I stop in almost every night. I have really gotten to know everyone at each location. I have to say, they are some pretty amazing people. It reminded me, you never know where you will form friendships.

The entire staff at both places are truly awesome. The manager at the burger joint has become one of my good friends, and at the arcade bar, Brandi and Blake have become a couple of my favorite people. Each night, I bounce between chatting with them and playing pinball (I have a very love-hate relationship with a specific pinball game and am determined to beat the current high score). Actually, lately Blake has been putting me through ‘dating bootcamp.’ Yes, dating bootcamp - each day he gives me a dating lesson, like how to talk to girls, or ask them out on a date. It’s quite entertaining, and I never know what lesson I will be walking into, but I know I will be laughing by the end of it. I’ve gotten to know Blake pretty well the last few months, and he is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.

Then there’s Brandi - she’s one of my favorite bartenders. Don’t get me wrong, everyone there is fantastic, but I’ve gotten to know Brandi the most. Probably because I am still playing pinball when the lights go on, and she kicks me out (or because she’s the one I bug the most….haha sorry, Brandi). She’s like Blake, hilarious, guaranteed to make you laugh, and will shoot the shit (aka she will give you shit if too many of your stories start with ‘one time at pride night’). Brandi will also throw in a piece of dating advice during Blake’s nightly lesson on occasion, and she’ll be the first one to fill Blake in on me flirting with someone if he isn’t working that night (there’s no secrets).

Even if I am having a bad day, I know by the time I leave the arcade, I’ll be smiling. It’s funny because it really goes to show, you never know where you will meet people or the impact they will have. To the arcade, I’m a regular, but to me, the arcade is a home away from home, a safe space with no stress, good people and only good times.

⎻ H.M. Jackson

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