Thursday 11/16/06. 6:25 AM:
I had no dinner last night, just the remains of a piece of birthday cake. I drank five pints of Guinness, two pints of water, one shot of Patron, and three shots of Jameson’s. I got home at 2 AM and, after three Advil and a glass of water, I got three-and-a-half hours sleep, before waking up and coming into work. It is now 6:30, and I feel totally well-rested and energized. Is this normal?
Stone Cold Sober
Dear Stone Cold Sober:
It is for you, Barfly.
After one of those awful day-job days that, if Dante were alive and working in corporate America, would consign investment bankers to their own separate circle in Hell, I go to BAM with DJ, Rob O’Neill and Rob’s friend Patrick to see the David Dorfman Dance Group perform a piece called Underground. It’s clever, funny, and thought-provoking enough to make us all decide to forego the after-show talk-back, where all the ambiguities will (probably) be explained and all the mystery will be (undoubtedly) rationalized. Because the show is only an hour long, we are all taking our corner bar stools at the upstairs bar at about 9:30, just as Dave is chatting up one of the many Jennifers who can claim to be Pine ex-waitresses. “Patron Boy!” Dave cries, which is his name for Rob, and before you can say “Which Jennifer are you again?” Dave has poured us all two shots of tequila, which is actually three shots for Rob and me because DJ does not do shots.
Farewell Angelina/The bar is folding
The bar is awash with the cast of Spurn, a revue that played the 13th Street Theatre for three weeks in October. The cast hit the upstairs bar after every performance and held their cast party up there on the final night, and tonight we are graced with Kristen the pretty blonde, Lara Jane the pretty brunette, Ross, Eric, the rest of the cast, and eventually Neil the director, but not whatsername the incredibly pretty stage manager, along with a lot of other irregulars. My friend Krish, who works at the Knickerbocker, shows up with his girlfriend Alexis around 10; Jon, who works at the Broome Street Bar, walks in with his girlfriend Emily at 10:15. And Marita, at the far end of the bar, is grilling me about Trish, who is sitting next to her.
MARITA: She’s great! Where have you been hiding her?
ME: She’s not mine to hide.
What I want to say is that she’s Dave’s to hide. Since the end of October, she’s been at the bar for every one of Dave’s shifts. Which makes tonight a little awkward, because Dave hooked up with Lara Jane the actress a couple of weeks ago, and he is so totally flirting with her now, even as he’s flirting with Trish. And Kristen. DJ goes over and keeps Trish company while I catch up with Alexis and Krish, who is not drinking at the moment; and eventually we wave Trish over to our corner, so she can join the theatre folks as we get pontifical, political, and pie-eyed.
TRISH: I met The Mayor tonight.
DJ: The Mayor?
ME: Hampton? Hampton’s here?
I can’t believe that DJ doesn’t know who Hampton is (but then she never hung out at Bernie’s Sunday Golf Bar), so I explain. Hampton is a good old boy who calls his (incredibly pretty) wife Lovey and generally roams the floors like, well, the mayor. I don’t know who gave him the nickname, but I do remember that Maddie was the one who called him that when she first pointed him out to me years ago, and I also remember a night when he staggered upstairs, swayed into the server station, and backed Angelina against the wall with his attentions.
HAMPTON: (talking to Angelina) She’s like Helen of Troy. (Turning to me:) Isn’t she like Helen of Troy, Matt? (Turning back to Angelina:) Helen of Troy.
ANGELINA: (holding up a veggie burger plate) Is this the lunch that faced a thousand lips?
Not to mention E.S. Wilentz’s 8th Street Bookstore
Randi comes up and informs Dave and the rest of us that there is going to be a memorial service in Washington Mews on Saturday at noon for the Professor, and everyone from the Pine who knew him is invited. She also says that the Medical Examiner’s office has ruled that, while alcohol was definitely a contributory factor to the Professor’s death, there is evidence that he consumed half a bottle of Glenfiddich when he got home that night. “Which lets us off,” Randi says, and again I get this crummy feeling in my gut, like the only thing Randi cares about is the liability, not the loss. For some reason, this not only hurts, but it makes me angry.
After Randi goes back downstairs, RobO and Patrick stick around for a while, talking theatre and whatnot, but as always seems to happen when I’m here with them and DJ, I drift away to other conversations. There’s a table of scene-tards at the back of the lounge who are evidently Friends Of Mercer; Dave’s not too happy with them because they’re evenly divided between those who believe that Tipping is a city in China and those who believe that the rest of us should be taking up a collection just to pay them to be seen with us. Like all scene-tards, they are easy on the eyes and hard to listen to (think Looks 10, Talk 3) but fascinating to watch from the rarified heights of massive amounts of alcohol and jaundiced memories of adolescence. If there are Gods in Heaven, they undoubtedly look down on me with much the same tipsy amusement and disbelief as I look down on these nattering butterflies.
I end up reminiscing with Jon about New York institutions which have closed (like CBGB’s) or are closing (like this place).
JON: And Tower Records. That one’s killing me. I can’t remember a time before Tower Records.
ME: That was the era of Crazy Eddie’s. And Strawberries.
JON: And this place. Why is there no room in this city for places like this?
ME: Boxers is closing. And the Collins Bar. And the P&G.
JON: Just like McHale’s.
ME: Just like Dan Lynch’s.
JON: Oh my God I loved that place!
And for the next 30 minutes were run every red light on Memory Lane in an orgy of Dan Lynch reminiscences. All while Dave is refilling Jon’s pint and Jon’s girlfriend Emily is gamely trying to get him out the door. This only happens, oddly enough, when Jon breaks off and asks me if I know anything about comic books. Which is like asking Richard Nixon if he knows anything about lying.. “There’s this new Vertigo comic, it’s based in the Bible, and it’s—” “Testament,” I say. “It’s good; there’s a collected edition of the first six issues out already. I’ll lend you my copy,” I add, but actually I’m going to buy him one for his very own.
And Kylie Minogue as the Absinthe Fairy
The night winds down. Sarah’s DC boyfriend hangs out with Sarah, Matt Lambert and Kate while the scene-tards adjourn to a better scene, and the Spurn folks split off for bars unknown, leaving Ross and Trisha and a Spurn woman who gave me her name three times and I still can’t remember it at the bar with me, all of us talking about Shakespeare adaptations, Baz Luhrmann, Julia Stiles, her atrocious Twelfth Night in the Park, and Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet. (The Spurn woman is Hayley; I wrote it down in my notebook. Smart drunkard. As Georgia was fond of saying, “If he doesn’t write it down, he’ll forget it in five seconds.” The only reason I remember THAT is because I finally wrote it down like the tenth time she said it.)
I end up leaving at 2:30 and getting home at 3:15. 2 hours later my alarm goes off. I hit the snooze twice, as is my wont, and twenty minutes later I am in the shower, wondering why my brain is neither fuzzy nor in pain. The fact that I am awake, aware, and a bundle of energy is really starting to scare the bejesus out of me.
Alcohol: Guinness (6) Patron (3) Jameson (5)
Song of the night (Angie is named for this, by the way)
Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells