so Aean and i started hanging out a lot, especially at like four or five in the morning at the diner on 10 ave which i can’t remember the name of. it was like 10th or 11th ave and 19th street, or something. it is basically sacrilege that i don’t have that embedded still after all those times of telling cabs to go there. but then that was always at about four when the bar closed. Aean and i were hanging out there but that was Dave’s place and he joined us and then he joined us when we met up before and then Mason started to join us and then the whole vibe just blew up because Mason was too literal, it wasn’t that he wasn’t open minded or cool, he was just too literal and everything Dave, Aean or i ever said when we were with each other was some kind of joke, or subtext, or metaphor, or hint, and Mason just couldn’t catch on. If you ordered a bourbon and ginger at the diner you would get it in a very tall thin glass with naked ladies blown into the glass all around. Aean and i bought glasses a couple times to take home, we flirted with the girls in the next booth no matter who it was, not seriously, Dave would flirt with any guy waiter who was muscular, but Mason had nothing to latch onto. after a while he just stopped hanging out with us.
i really liked megan, but it was a hard thought to betray jack. it was one thing with dan and michele where i kind of went crazy, kind of very unrealistically half-expected dan to be okay with it. this was jack, he loved me and would die for me, but if i stole his girlfriend, he might kill me un-tenderly. besides, in the end i couldn’t not have jack, the prospect was not really a prospect. but i really liked megan, and i knew their sex life sucked cause he told me about it cause he was concerned about it, which he should have been, which i could have told him, and did tell him actually. and in the end i just told him, remember clearly, sitting at a side booth with a window on barrow street at the barrow street place, saying, dude, she’s just perfect, she’s perfect, if it wasn’t you she was with, i would take her and steal her myself and try to marry her down the road. so, you should try your best with her. but in the end, jack, she’s going to move on from you, she should move on from you, you won’t be good for her …. that’s what i said to him, some version of that, it’s not verbatim, that’s the spirit i tried to convey cause its was a tough one.
So Megan was still basically hanging out with jack. Which was so incongruous because she was like some soft spoken pretty girl who came from a farm and wore pretty long dresses that were not in style but so sweet they made her appear super hip. And jack was this savvy asswipe who couldn’t transcend his own seriously limited and debilitated sphere of life sucking selfishness. I felt like I should do something to correct the injustice.
Dave had a friend, a guy, I forget his name. He was weird. He hung out with drag queens and did a lot of drugs. Sometimes Dave would hang out with them and we would go to their parties and every last one of them was gay so they automatically assumed I was, but I kept telling them, earnestly that I wasn’t gay so then after a while they thought of me as the gay guy in denial. Which was fine, I didn’t care, their parties were fun. I didn’t do their drugs because the heroin and Special K and stuff was too much for me. And no one was smoking pot. So this one guy, who I couldn’t tell by looking was a guy, was actually very pretty as a girl. But anyway, the conversation suddenly turns to Divine. And he’s like, “I live for Divine” in his exaggerated way and the conversation goes on for a bit and he suddenly says, “I die for Divine” in his exaggerated way and then the conversation goes on and he suddenly blurts “I live and die for Divine”. But nobody was listening to it. It was these off hand comments that just blended into the conversation with perfect timing and intonation. He was holding a cigarette and rolling his eyes and just completely outshining all the other queens.
the night came and the problem was that i fell in love with megan right away. but it wasn’t the same as when i fell in love with Michele. It was less likely of ending badly, more platonic and lovely, more admiring and astounding. and knowing that jack didn’t deserve this. jack was radiant, though, possibly just as absorption from megan. we all sat in a big booth, i think somewhere else, not the corner bistro, and they had those table juke boxes so we got drunk and it got dark and they made me do american pie, which was fun, but not as fun as the usual things. Jack was on fire, he needed to slow down a bit and megan was seeming in danger of figuring out what he really was like. but i loved her and i kind of wanted her to find out so instead of doing jack a solid and steering him right and intervening i decided to talk to Mason
jack and i were talking at the barrow street place about Justin’s novel, of which i had still only read that one chapter 22sophie. jack hadn’t read any of it. jack saying: if i was going to write a novel, it would really have to be something, a thing to end all things, think about how many novels are thrown away, written by idiots, mediocre, sort of okay but your life still isn’t long enough to fit it in. me: so how would go about that? jack: i would write like fifty novels, all of them being perfectly awesome as freestanding works, all the novels having something kind of related or similar, and then i would string them together and embed them in each other make the final product the best most mind boggling fucking book anyone’s ever read. me: that’s kind of a vaguely described concept jack: yeah don’t worry, it’s not likely to happen me: i figured that, but if you did for whatever reason suddenly decide to do this project, you have it all worked out, right? like all the details of the plot and narrative structure and how the fifty stories fit together to really comprise one perfect arc only evident at the end, and stuff like that. jack: oh yeah, its based on the fibonacci series. me: that will help, be good. jack: can you do bye bye miss american pie? me: when i’m drunk . jack: will it be as good as your susie Q? me: they’re really totally different vibes, man, i can’t really say. jack: will you have some moves? me: probably not, why? jack: i got this new girl, man, megan. she is so awesome, she’s a little shy and i figure your the best of my friends to introduce her to first. maybe at the corner bistro. and you could do some bye bye miss american pie and then she’d be totally knowing i was cool to move on with. me: i guess, it’s a little planned out, that kind of thing will only work if its spontaneous. jack: fuck, man, please just make it spontaneous. me: Okay, but you have to invite Mason too, and Pete. jack: fuck? me: It’ll be fun, that’s my condish … jack: yeah, okay, just make her think i look smart because i’m your buddy. me: yeah
Come on, what does this life tell us anyway? Be honest, it tells us, incessantly, over and over, without remorse, uncompromisingly, and relentlessly, that, make no mistake, whatever we have in our heads, in our dreams, in our hopes, in our hearts, is not really possible in this world. This life tells us this everyday, without compromise, without distinction, I don’t care how pretty, popular, congruent with your milieu, you are, you will always get that same unflinching message. That is true. That is why life wins, every time, even with the assholes, life wins, life wins except for humble someone who actually doesn’t expect anything. Just don’t be shocked. Don’t be shocked unless you are a) a chosen one, who need not worry ( you know who you are) b) or a person with realistic and nice wonderful expectations. Okay, at least now you think you are excepted, but you are not, unless you are Tara, so go ahead and weep. If you lack hubris, please weep now to save our existence, That’s what I do.
I had made this box. But not as good as shana’s. Anyway, hers was like stainless steel. I don’t know if she made it or designed it and had it made. But hers was artwork. Mine was a function of under lighting my animation. Mine didn’t look spectacular but I did use a router to create a perfect groove for the glass so I was proud about that. It was basically a large light box and now I needed lights. Which was going to be another huge extended neurotic journey. Jack and I were totally cool, I had dropped my rendering bullshit to create the box, which he had approved of. Mason was now aware of the Pete debacle and I felt freed up for that. I decided to put off the lighting search for a bit of peace. Peace fermented to boredom. Boredom fermented to drinking, masturbating and watching braveheart over and over until I fell asleep. So that wasn’t Quixote enough for me at that time but then I met Aean who was a fellow bartender just hired. He worked mornings and he got to listen daily to the discussions of like old timers who talks about good parking spots and old cars and what they used to be up to and jokes about coupons and riding bikes and plane ticket prices and golf shit and gated communities that had depressingly zero relationship to the future of earth and humanness. But Aean and I hit off. We both hated sports even though we somehow knew so much about it and we both felt the revolution was at hand, or hoped to bejesus that it was. Watching life circle through a bar is so educating it’s beyond enlightenment, it is truth. It is happiness and beauty and as depressing as your worst day extended into a realm with no sense of time. But there’s nothing on earth to replace it.
well i finally caught up with Mason after like a few weeks of calling and canceling shit at the last minute. there was some brother of hugh grant who worked in his department. and hugh grant was in trouble in new york for some reason. anyway, mason needed my help, because although i was now unemployed as an investment banker, or rather, employed as bartender, i was still better at understanding options pricing than him and he needed my help for a contact that he needed to show the compliance guy at his firm later that night and then okay the deal for his boss early the next morning. he didn’t really get the cash flows, but neither did i, but i could see that the overall borrowing rate they were getting was better and they had enough collateral for default, so it should be fine. but i was just bullshitting, it might have been a horrible dangerous deal for the bank, but if i knew the deal would be moved along from bank to bank before it ever defaulted, and anyway it wouldn’t. so mason was relieved. ’dude’ i said ’ i thought you had some hard options math for me, but that was just looking at borrowing ratios and easy stuff, you can’t do even that by yourself?” anyway, he said, it was a big deal. ’anyway,’ i said ’ i want to talk to you about pete’ - mason was very close to pete. pete confided in me more, but he liked mason better and they hung out more. what? mason wanted to know, so he hadn’t heard about pete’s really quite unsavory and unsustainable routine.
So Pete was so fucking crazy now, in my mind, I think I did a sort of write-off and told him that I hoped he stopped drinking, went to rehab, and reclaimed whatever Pete he had before all this. But he was in a bad way. I could see it. I couldn’t be at deep down bottom of my belly optimistic for his plight.
Pete was saying that the key was to not eat food. Serious. Pete wasn’t married, no kids, but he had a very structured existence. He worked in finance, he worked out a lot. He traveled a great deal, he maintained a very healthy diet, and he was in the national guard, which he spent a weekend or whatever with training every so often. So he starts telling me, the key is to get up early every day, to work out at the gym first. Before working out don’t drink anything but water. Work out hard, run at least 6 miles within 1 hr 10 minutes or spin or swim at least 60 laps 500 meter laps in 20 minutes. So that was all impossible for me, but this was all theoretical, or pertained specifically to him. Then go to work. You must drink water. All morning long. Like a total of almost a gallon. Work like a motherfucker, get so much done it seems like you’ve done a weeks work in 3 hours. Then go to “lunch” and hit the bar. He claimed as long as you don’t eat you can maintain this all day and never get tired. And, you’ve been productive enough in the morning to justify wasting the entire day drinking and taking drugs. He would then let the day go, drinking, joking, happy, take aome valium or oxy equivalent. Smoke some weed, whatever. He would fall asleep at 9 happy as a nitwit after hitting the bars and maybe hooking up, whatever. And he said he was consuming more drugs and alcohol daily than he thought possible for a large guy like himself. 6 or 7 beers, after 2 whiskeys and a beer at lunch, and smoking weed in the morning after the workout, and all the prescription shit. He needed to go to rehab, he’d been doing this for months. He said it all worked because he didn’t eat food. And he looked like a details magazine abs model. It was hard for me to fault him for his choices, except from a very distant,’this might not be the best thing’ perspective.