Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Caves of New York III


Sorry, sorry, so sorry for the two month break from my stories. I've been writing a play, auditioning, acting, getting ready to act, and helping a sick friend, to name but a few things going on in my life these days. And change. Change, change, fucking change.
I'm very excited about my play, but with all my piles of notes, I'm a little afraid I'm turning into that dingy looking guy at my library, who I see slumped over his scribbled-on note books, taking up the whole table. Piles and piles of dirty spiral note books, containing God knows what- madness or a master piece. Is he another Darger, or just a guy doomed to write down every random thought that comes into his head.
Maybe some day I'll ask him what he's writing.

Erin and I went to New York together in December of 1990. We stayed with her uncle, and his wife and two young daughters, in their condo in the Village.
Erin knew of my love for New York City, and I carefully planned our trip- mainly what clubs on what night.
My first trip to New York, in 1980, started at the World Trade Center, so I felt all trips should start there, so I've brought many friends down town over the years as an introduction to the great isle I love so much.
On a bench in Battery Park one early eve with Erin on that trip, watching the colors of a fading day reflect off the Statue of Liberty, I thought about how much my life had changed in the past ten years; it seemed if I squinted just right, a lot of my dreams had actually come true. And I was happy. But I was always happy in New York.
One night at her uncle's, were getting dolled up to meet our old friend Rex at his place, as the girls watched, among their toys, non-plussed a boy was putting on make up, on their bed.
Her uncle is a painter, and had applied his art to all the doors in their loft. I hadn't experienced such a spare home before; there was nothing but art in their living room, and a lone chair that hung from the ceiling. Well, there was also a large collection of shoes by the front door, for the big rule of the house was shoes off!, which Erin and I found funny and annoying, but if you have ever spent time walking the streets of New York, you could concede the point.
Despite it's minimalism, their home had warmth and a heart, due a lot to the art work, but also to the two little girls, and the frilly, pink clutter they can't help but attract.

Before we left for Rex's, and a night of debauchery, they insisted we go with them to see 'the real Santa', at Macy's. We took the bus uptown, the girls leading the way like we were in their backyard, off to see their club house.
This was my first time in Macy's, and the line to see Santa was amazing, scary, and fatally long, and thank God there exists the brilliant and now classic story David Sedaris gave the world, about his experiences there. Read Santaland Diaries, if you haven't! Who could have ever imagined the humor, pathos, tragedy, and human drama lurking under all that fake snow...
I begged off the three hour wait, and let Erin fulfil her auntly duties, to Christmas shop. I remember buying Scot an Andy Warhol coloring book, and getting a scary comment from a teenager on the escalator, about my twenty dollar Canal Street Rolex.
We finally met Rex at his pre-war apartment in midtown, which he shared with a friend, living the classic New York life: tiny apartment, huge wardrobe. At this moment in 1990, fashion was Gaultier, and they even had the necklace of his I had seen in The Face.
We went to Save the Robots, where the vision or a giant roomful of pink plastic pig chairs is forever burned into my memory, and where we met up with one of their gorgeous friends. He was the type of beauty you couldn't help but gawk at. He was like every guy in high school I ever had a crush on, all rolled into one.
I sat on a plastic pig imagining kissing his perfect feet, (he wore sandals in December!) until I was caught, and my only punishment was his wry, knowing smile.
Oh, to wield such power... I thought to myself.
Erin and I ran out of money, and went to a bank lobby ATM, on our way to the next club, where we met a woman who lived there during it's off hours. Hoping for a tip, she guided us through our ATM experience.
Erin promptly treid to help this woman change her life, and gave her some money under the condidtion she promised to go to social services.
People never really try to help me. She said. Thanks for trying.
We met up with Rex and his gang at an after hours club, where he put our names on the door. I remembered the name of that place until about five years ago...
For me, going back to the cities I'v visited over and over, as the years go on, is a little like going to Knoxville, and expecting the World Fair to be there: I miss all the old haunts. The Brain, The Saint, all the Junior stores... Thank God museums don't close; they are like old friends to me.
At this after hours club, Erin and I lounged bored at 4 am, in the vip room, surrounded by most of the people we thought we left back in Chicago. The only highlight was watching a fawn-like barback try to sneak a punch bowl filled with God only knows what, and attempt to flee before the crazy hoard caught a wiff of the free 'booze' and pounced on it like pirhana on a clumsy rabbit.

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