One & Only Bar
St. George . Utah
9:30P – warm, still air
There are four pool tables here, all taken and none seeming very approachable, which is too bad because that is the main reason I walked over from my motel on the other end of the strip. It’s this combination of the pool tables being taken and the loud dub-step music that makes me second guess my decision on this bar. But, turns out this is the only place in town. Probably why they named it “One & Only”.
Anyways, the music is too loud to eavesdrop on any conversations and I’m not relaxed enough to approach any of the pool tables, which leaves me left to my own devices. I’ll observe. I too am being observed, watched by some of the other people at the bar. I stick out like a sore thumb and I know it but pretend like that’s not the case. Act real natural. I ordered a Corona with lime. Pretty good, pretty refreshing. I’ll have a few.
An older woman has been, like, tantric dancing on the dance floor past the pool tables for quite some time. She’s sweating and wearing exercise clothing. It’s basically Zumba, but she’s alone and it’s actually a bar. I watch her and she must be watching me because she comes over to where I am seated in a far corner. She approaches and says without hesitation or greeting:
“You look very sad.”
“Oh no, I’m just relaxing,” I say.
She nods. Walks away, disbelieving.
I sit sort of surprised for a moment. She’s right, I am sad, but hell if I’ll admit it.
Some additional notes:
I land in Las Vegas sometime before noon on this day. My car rental turns out to be from a place on the outer and not so glamorous edge of the city, so I spend a long time in an Uber with a guy that, coincidentally, played college football at Utah Tech, which is in St. George. The school’s website touts “300 days of sunshine.” Nice. The driver, whose name I must admit I have forgotten, says there isn’t much between Vegas and St. George. “Just a bunch of sand.” He isn’t wrong. We get to the rental place and he stays in the parking lot to make sure everything turns out okay for me in there. It’s stationed in between a plasma donation center and a dollar store.
“Tough part of town for a girl like you,” he says. I laugh. “Thanks,” I say.
Was that a compliment? I figure so.
I hop in the rental, a new Toyota SUV, and get rolling. Stop somewhere for some groceries and drive the three or so hours northeast to St. George. I can’t explain why I go to St. George. It somehow seems like a place I have to stop at on my way to God knows what. The Grand Canyon, I guess. This is less a trip of specific destinations and more a journey of wherever I end up. And, as it turns out, I end up at One & Only this night.
I eventually summon the nerve to approach a person who I think is probably for sure a lesbian (she is). She’s shooting with a couple who appear far too young to be at a bar. I ask her if she wants a new opponent.
“Yeah,” she says. “Cool,” I say.
Her name is Liz, and she has two eyebrow piercings, a neck tattoo, short brown hair, baggy blue jeans. She isn’t a great shot, nor is she sure about who I am or why I am there or if she wants to be seen talking to me. We keep conversation pretty minimal and play a handful of games. I enjoy myself about as much as I can, then smoke a cigarette out back before walking to my motel.