Eating Cemeteries, Sleeping In The Tacos

Trip Start Jun 19, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New York
Thursday, August 5, 2010

            DAY FORTY-FIVE:  I'm so far behind on these, and George Washington is so dead.  Oh, I’ll kill him!  I just can’t seem to remember this day.  I guess we wake early to bring Pearl into the mechanic’s?  The Beard’s found a place that specializes in school buses and it’s in the middle of a Hasidic neighborhood to where even our repairman sports payos.  He’s overweight and quite rude, but they agree to take the bus in, and all the other younger mechanics get all excited when they see the inside.  We have to leave it for the night so they can better source the problem, etc and so forth, and to explain to you why we’re doing so, it’s because she seems to keep losing power when the engine tries to shift into a higher gear, and has recently gone so far as to stall completely in the middle of the road. Yay!             We go to Jae’s apartment (she’s a very close friend of Cornbread and The Beard’s from college) and, after devouring the fig cookies, kugel, and chocolate milk we’d bought from a Kosher Grosher, we simply pass out on her floor for a few hours.  I manage to knock over a glass somewhere in that time, and flip through a David Bowie picture book while awake.  The girls here are artists, so Jae is making a panoramic silhouette of the San Franciscan skyline with glow-in-the-dark tape, and there are river rocks in the sink.  All the funk!

            We collect our sleepy brains, gird them up and such, then start for the evening.  I go out to Union Square (very tardy, indeed) to meet all my old friends (Alan, Sweeter, Caren, her boyfriend, Kyle, Eleni, her boyfriend Mark, and Glenda, a kind old lass from Alan’s college days).  We’re at a Korean place and my stomach is the worst it’s been – I couldn’t hold anything down for a few hours – so I give the bathroom a shot before the meal and then get into it to my best efforts.  All I can muster is a chicken heart and a bowl of udon, but everything is tasty, and the half-glass of cold beer doesn’t kill me, though it’s tough to watch everyone order the few pitchers they had without me, and it’s a nice dinner with good folk; they’re all so drastically different from the company I’ve kept on the road, and I feel like I’m Silly Von Cookiepants with respect to the progress they’ve all made on the road to maturity and adulthood, but it’s fun to have friends to keep you straddling the line.  I guess I don’t feel the need to mature yet, and don’t aim to any time soon, but parts of me wish I could find myself willing to want to be, as they’re all living full lives in one way or another, while mine is mostly like a shaken up bottle of Orange Crush dripping from the ceilings of a number of homes.

            They’ve the option to head back with me to Brooklyn for a wonderful night at the wonderful Full Circle Bar, but they all have work in the morning and opt against it.  I wander around a little bit, for New York is easy to navigate while underground, but a madhouse above with the humans, and ultimately find my way into the bar we’d patronized a few days prior.

            Tonight it’s the season opener for their skee ball league (the Skeeson Opener, as they call it), and Skeemelio Estevez is out in full force to win this year’s chalice.  The house Cream Ale is on bargain, five dollars for two cans, plus a hot dog, and so we get it going.  Tristan is there as a special and welcome guest, and the owners announce this to the entire bar, hailing him all the way from San Francisco, California.  I think he’s announcing the bus group for the way he’s gesturing, and for the first moment stand when the applause begins, but hopefully no one notices because that’s embarrassing. 

            Crystal and Edna are there, and they’ve brought their friend, Edna 2, who is attractive and with whom I immediately engage in conversation.  She’s all on board that Train to Williamsburg, talking about who is a legitimate hipster and who is not, who appears sincere and who is a poseur and I nod and go hmmm and tsk-tsk, but in my brain I’m realizing how unattractive it is to be so negative, and try to store it away for the future.  On that note, yeah, she’s still rather intelligent and mostly interesting to talk to, and so is everyone else – Crystal is loopy, whether drunk or just cheeeeeeeerful – and the night is a rollick of a time, even if I don’t toss a single skee ball. 

            Cornbread, The Beard, and Shmark are out at Prospect Park, where we saw The Swell Season, for Jack White’s The Dead Weather are playing a show on this night.  Tickets are forty buckskins, so the guys just sit outside the soundshell on the grass and take it all in for free; they say that it is an amazing show, and I’m slightly jealous of this, even if I don’t wish for Jack White’s stuff in my mouth in the way that they do.  In any case, they meet up with us at the bar soon enough and engage in the good times.  Apparently, before their concert and while I was dining and feeling gaseous with my dear and unrelated-to-physical-uneasiness friends, everyone was finishing off the bottle of Glenfiddich, so as the night courses and the 2-for-1 is pounced on, you get the feeling that everyone is eh pretty droonk.  That said, I’m doing alright, too, and am mostly spending the night chatting with Edna 2 while Shmark makes encouraging eyes to me from behind her back.  I also get to talking to one of the owners (Eben again) about the Rolling Stones and about the greatness of America (I guess I’m cured of my anti-patriotism?), and before I can help it, all the girls are gone, I’ve no phone number and I’m standing with my head hung, the guys all surrounding me, hitting me in the shoulder, telling me, "hey don’t blame yourself!"  Shmark is especially supportive, and it is interesting to note that he has a drunken alter-ego of a very concerned and supportive friend.

            We leave Full Circle and go to a bar with “pool” in the name, but it has neither billiards nor a swimming area, but it does have a cooler with water in it, so we sit on a planter and drink water for the night.  Kuntz is a mad man and he’s filling glasses, slinging them all around to each of us, bobbing up and down, dodging an invisible boxer, patting everyone too hard on their stomachs and posteriors, and a cup of water lands in my lap to where it looks like I peed myself backwards.  Kuntz grabs me squarely in the shoulders and begs me to wait one more day in New York so he can leave on the bus with us, and buys us rounds of beer (at the first bar he did, anyway, for it’s important to note that we just sat at this one).  Meanwhile another crazy man approaches us, a gangly Russian with flat eyebrows and an undershirt all yellowed and stretched out who points with his cigarette like a tweaked out Jude Quinn, shuttling between pensive gazes and effeminate poses.  He misquotes Trainspotting because he wants to sound like he’s able to keep up talking with serious men, “do you want me us go to shopping, or perhaps we go talk about the football?”  It’s hard to tell if he’s patronizing us, but we’re certainly patronizing him, and Shmark yells, “get the fuck out of here, you fucking idiot!  And give me one of those cigarettes!”  It’s a bit sad and hilarious, but it’s too damn late and Shmark and I get going after Tristan’s already left.

            I guess while we’re waiting at the subway, Shmark pukes once while sitting next to me, but I didn’t notice as I’m dozing off asleep, but I manage to get us on the right train, and make the transfer at the right spots, but it’s a while before we’re back and I sleep between each stop.  A somber, grey-haired black man gets on at one point and talks gravely to me about the coming station, and there’s something familiar and mysterious about him that I really love, but he’s gone and I fade back into sleep before bam!, our stop has arrived.

            We get off the train and I receive a text message from Cornbread, “tried to get into the apartment, don’t have the keys, where are you, I’m eating tacos and going to sleep in the cemetery.”  I’m laughing and showing this to Shmark, but he can’t quite perceive it and smiles like a zombie, before we all meet at the door, I jangle the keys around, and we’re all passed out in seconds, drunk, frightened, or otherwise.
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