When You’re with R. Kelly, It’s Always Friday

This blog entry about the events of Friday, August 24, 2012 was originally posted on August 28, 2012.

PART 3 (DAY 4): “It’s a trick. They won’t honor it,” my witty friend Rachel said as I looked at the restaurant menu’s specials valid Monday through Thursday. “Because in here, it’s always Friday.”

“You gotta get down on Fridays,” I said. (Coincidentally, we were both sort of obsessed with the famous accidental pop song “Friday” by Rebecca Black.)

Going to T.G.I.Fridays may not be the first place you’d think about going as soon as you arrive in Aberdeen, Scotland, but for me, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was in Scotland for the weekend to visit my friend Rachel Kelly, a.k.a. R. Kelly — not to be confused with the R&B singer of Trapped in the Closet or golden shower fame. In New York, where we’d met, it had been our tradition to go to casual dining chain restaurants in an ironic way — i.e., T.G.I.Fridays, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, and Red Lobster — eat novelty foods and/or unlimited breadsticks, and give our inevitable doggie bags to hungry-looking homeless people. And our love of chain breads wasn’t limited to sticks; we were amongst those in the fan cult of Red Lobster cheddar biscuits, so much that once we had a whole bunch left over (our waiter hooked us up), and when we gave our entire bag of seafood leftovers to a homeless man, we shamelessly asked for the bag back so we could take back the biscuits.

Anyway, R. Kelly moved to the northern Scottish port city to be with her Scottish boyfriend Colin, who had other plans that Friday evening. And so, it was a party of two in the American-inspired establishment at Aberdeen Beach, complete with American paraphernalia on the wall, waiters with flair, and staff round-ups to sing Happy Birthday to those with the birthright. There were no famed Red Lobster cheddar biscuits to be had in Scotland, and so we settled for something equally awesome: anything and everything smothered in Fridays’ signature Jack Daniels glaze sauce, from ribs to shrimp to chicken — hell, we even dipped our brownie and ice cream dessert in it, which was surprisingly good. And to top it all off, we had shots of Jack Daniels whiskey straight up, followed by more JD shots that showed up at our table “by accident” because our English-speaking (and Scottish-accented) Slovakian waitress Betty was just that awesome. Not only that, but she was quite the whiz at making balloon animals for the children at the next table — she even made Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtes, complete with balloon bandanas over the eyes(!) — as well as all the envious adults at every table in the restaurant. Needless to say, Rachel and I were pretty excited about getting our balloon swords, flower, and caterpillar.

“It’s probably a mockery to be in Scotland and have Jack Daniels,” Rachel mentioned as we posed with Betty with our inflated toys. For our last shot, we made it a proper Scottish Glenfiddich.

“We could walk into town from here,” Rachel suggested. I only had one rolling bag on me (to keep in line with easyJet’s strict one-bag policy), so it wasn’t so much of a hassle to do so. On the way, it was more of the usual banter that has bonded me with Rachel, with our shared affinity for quoting Home Alone and the Harry Potter movies. (Amongst my favorite lines is when young Daniel Radcliffe says, “But you told me my parents died in a car crash!” which isn’t really funny on it’s own, but it’s amazing when you realize that behind the scenes, director Chris Columbus had to tell lil’ Daniel to muster up all his lil’ anger and frustration to deliver that one line.)

Even on a Friday, not everyone was gettin’ down on it, at least where we ended up in town. The one pub Rachel was thinking of had closed for renovations, and so we chanced it by going to the Tilted Wig, which seemed pretty okay; there was live music inside and the taps were flowing. We didn’t know this at the time, but it was pretty much a townie bar of old Scottish drunks, and it was sort of off-putting for them when two young Americans came in, with a rolling luggage and bright balloon toys, to order a couple of hard ciders. One belligerent old Scottish drunk started yelling at us for supposedly sitting in the chair that he claimed was his, and even though we offered to give it back, he was still pretty steamed. With that said, we finished our drinks and left before a bar fight broke out, although in retrospect, that could have been interesting since we could have fended people off with our balloon swords.

“I’m sorry that old man ruined our Fridays vibe,” Rachel unnecessarily apologized. It was already passed midnight.

“It’s okay,” I told her. “It’s technically Saturday anyway.” We took a taxi to her home on the other side of town, where I slept in their guest room on a bed fitted with spotted blankets and pillows with sequins on them (from Colin’s aunt). The next morning, the balloon swords had already deflated to half their size, like the coach back to a pumpkin after midnight in Cinderella.

“Betty was our fairy godmother,” I told Rachel.

“She was!”

Friday may have technically been over, but when you’re with R. Kelly, it’s always Friday, no matter where you are. Our continuous Friday in Scotland was just getting started…






Next entry: Men in Kilts

Previous entry: The Jester in Geneva




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Comments for “When You're with R. Kelly, It's Always Friday”

  • Don’t fret, it gets more Scottish than this; there can be only one — at the Highland Games — up next…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  08/28  at  03:33 PM


  • JD sauce on everything!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  08/28  at  06:09 PM


  • dude - you should have held Betty at balloon sword point to get a TMNT one! 
    Red Lobster cheddar biscuits = awesomeness

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  08/28  at  09:29 PM


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This blog post is one of six travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip: Gone Europin'," which chronicled an eleven-day whirlwind journey to Germany's capital Berlin, scientific Geneva, Aberdeen in northern Scotland, and southern England.

Next entry:
Men in Kilts

Previous entry:
The Jester in Geneva




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Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

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1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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