Life (Or Something)

On a Dark and Stormy Night at Jilly’s Music Room

The party doesn’t start until–the power outage?

The one time I don’t have my audio recorder on me, something great happens.  We were just getting to what I’m sure was going to be a great hip-hop show last night at Jilly’s when the entire street lost power. For a moment, the packed bar and restaurant was filled with a mixture of shouts of “what?” and scattered light from the emergency lights. Everyone froze for a beat but then thawed and began milling around, trying not to bump into one another in the dimness. At a table adjacent to the one my (fantastic) date and I occupied, someone pulled out a camcorder that looked like it had trekked through the ’90s just to be there and turned on its light, pointing it toward his friends. They took on a warm, cozy glow. Above them, a disco ball hung motionless, shining softly in the light from the emergency lights and the camcorder. Around us, people were continuing conversations that had been cut off by the sudden loss of power, their faces bathed in the light from their cell phone screens.

From the front of the bar, someone called out, “Due to the power outage, we are closed.” There were a few groans. “They won’t be able to do anything about the power until 11. After you finish your drinks, please leave.”

I looked down at my empty glass and back at the people surrounding me.

Our waitress appeared, wielding a tablet. As he closed our tab, my date asked if the storm caused the outage. The waitress shrugged and said, “It wasn’t the storm.” She laughed, shoulders still raised. “We don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t us.”

Someone else walked by, hands cupped around his mouth. “We’re taking it to Creo’s on Tallmadge! Come to Creo’s!”

We wove between the silhouettes still crowding the bar and were hit in the face by the smell of weed just before we reached the exit. My date laughed. When our feet splashed onto the pavement, he said, “The power goes out, and everything breaks down.”

As we left the parking lot, passing people trickling out the darkened storefronts, we were confronted by the lights of the stores and restaurants across the street, blaring through the rain-speckled windshield.

(By the way, if you find yourself at Jilly’s Music Room in Akron, Ohio, try the Bam-Ba-Lam. It’s one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. You can find their calendar of events here.)


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