It was midnight, so it was still early in the night. Most people were just getting to the bars. We valeted across the street from Fontaine’s and did the tour between Moe’s and Joe’s, Fontaine’s, and the others. Sam and Gabbi continued to drink, but Sam was winning the unspoken competition. Gabbi had replaced her need for alcohol with her need for dancing. She grabbed my hand, led me to the dance floor, and we danced until one in the morning. I usually do not prefer dancing, but Gabbi makes it better.
Gabbi was only getting warmed up and with drunken eagerness pleaded that we go to El Bar. El Bar is probably my least favorite bar in Atlanta. El Bar is the basement of the El Azteca on Ponce. It is slightly larger than a college dorm room and features live DJs, a small bar, and an even smaller dance floor. Maximum capacity: fifty people. We walked in to find the dance floor full of people. Hipsters danced and stood along the walls drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon, thinking they were above all of it. I cannot believe that the doorman had the audacity to charge a cover. Some Girl Talk knock off was working up a sweat on stage. Ugly people were everywhere. The fun was over for me.
The fun had been over for Sam. I ordered him a water and met Gabbi on the dance floor. She is a very good dancer. This is less because she is naturally good at dancing and more because she looks good doing anything. Confidence goes a long way as well. I do not like to sweat when I go out, but the bar was full of ugly people so I was not worried. Gabbi and I were dancing when she reached her arm back to grab the back of my head and pulled me closer to her. “Will you get me a drink?” “Sure." “You’re the best.” And she kissed me on the lips and slid her hand down my jawline. I do not like it when people touch my face.
I managed to get a spot at the bar and the bartender asked me what I wanted. “Two coronas, please.” “Red? or normal?” “What?” She pointed at the girls next to me, who were drinking coronas that must of had grenadine in them. Typical hipster trend. “Normal.” As I was waiting for the bar tender to ring up two normal coronas the girl next to me asked, “Are you models?” Referring to Gabbi and me, and I imagine Sam, if she saw us all walk in together. “No. Well, I’m not. She is and he is.” I lied, pointing to Gabbi and Sam. “I thought she was.” “Ok” “She looks like she’s a model” “She is very pretty.” I said. “She looks too skinny, though.” I have little respect for anyone that criticizes a person that clearly works harder than them. “Yeah,” I agreed. Women do not want you to be honest with them. They want you to agree with them. I went back to the dance floor and gave Gabbi her normal corona.
Gabbi finally got tired and decided to take a break and we caught up with Sam who was leaning against the wall and talking to two girls. He was explaining the stupidity of America's policy to give large amounts of money to Israel, a favorite topic of his when drunk. The girls were average looking at best and probably disagree with most of his politics, but are clearly happy to be talking to the most attractive guy in the bar. Even if he is drunk.
I walk up with Gabbi holding on to me for support. Sam looked like he could not make up his mind to be either sad or angry. Gabbi, on the other hand, had the expression of a drunk six year old. I looked cold and austere, which was also how I felt. It is a mindset I have practiced to perfection. “Samuel, don’t bore these ladies with politics.” “This is important. There is no reason we should give that much money to any country, much less Israel,” He says angrily. “Come on, Sam. We’re leaving.” “Aww,” said Gabbi tugging on my arm. She clearly wanted to go back to the dance floor. When Sam is upset and drunk it is usually best to just take him home because he tends to be insensitive.
I drove back to my house. Gabbi hummed and sprawled out in the back seat and Sam continued to look irritated. I was running through the list of things I had to do before I went to sleep. Wash face. Brush teeth. Stretch. Vitamins. Tom Waits was playing on the car stereo. I looked at Sam.
“Are you alright?”
Sometimes I live in the Country,
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
Sometimes I live in Town.
“I didn’t see Wallace,” said Gabbi, whining like a small child.
To Jump in the River and Drown.
“Can we just drop it?” said Sam, “I’m fine.”
Irene, Goodnight, Irene. Irene, Goodnight
“Was Wallace there?”
Good Night, Irene. Goodnight, Irene.
I kiss you in my dreams.
We walked into my house and Sam immediately fell onto the couch and turned on the television. Nothing was on. The dogs realized I was home. St. Clair started jumping up and down and wagging her tail furiously. Sweet Lou had his nose pressed against the glass door. I let the dogs inside. “Sweet Lou!” squealed Gabbi in a baby voice. Sweet Lou loves Gabbi. St. Clair was still jumping up and down. St. Clair loves everyone. Gabbi rolled on the floor with the dogs while Sam continued to search for something on television.
I walked upstairs to the master bedroom. I undressed, washed my hands, then washed my face, then applied toner with alcohol, rinsed my face with water, then applied a toner without alcohol, after which I applied an oil-free moisturizer which I massaged into my skin. I then checked my hairline in the mirror and was disappointed. I took a picture with the digital camera in my drawer. First of my hair line and then of my face. I have taken photographs of my face and my hairline at least once a week since I was nineteen. I have over a one thousand. I compared my hairline to the picture from last week, then last year. They were exactly the same. I took a quarter of a Proscar pill just in case.
Proscar is the brand name for five milligrams of the prescription drug finasteride. It is used to treat an enlarged prostate. What many people do not know is that Proscar is the exact same drug as Propecia, only Propecia is only one milligram instead of five. Thirty pills of either Proscar or Propecia cost about fifty-five dollars. I get Proscar and split the pills into fourths. This lasts one-hundred and twenty days instead of thirty and the average dose is still higher.
I was doing yoga stretches and reviewing my list of words to memorize when Gabbi and Sweet Lou walked in. Gabbi sat on the edge of the bed and kicked off her shoes haphazardly. I did not say anything. She then wiggled out of her Zara jeans and tossed them on the floor. Again haphazardly. Sweet Lou picked them up in his mouth and then twisted himself up in them before he laid down. Gabbi laughed, “Aww, Sweet Lou. Who’s my good boy?” again in a baby voice. Sweet Lou wagged his tail, pleased with himself. “I’m going to check on Sam,” I say, “I’ll be up in a moment.” “Ok.”
Downstairs Sam was watching an old movie. St. Clair looked confused, but perked up once she found me again. My girl St. Clair followed me into the kitchen where I got a glass of water and took my vitamins. I fixed a different glass of water for Sam. “Are you sure you’re doing alright?” I said as I handed him the water. “Yeah. I’m alright.” Sam then took one xanax and one ambien out of his pocket. He put the two pills in his mouth, crunched down on them, and then swallowed some water. Sam has given this combination of drugs the nickname “xambien”.
"Are you sure you are alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, Lillum."
"Shhh shhhh shhhh"
"I'm trying to sleep."
"I know, Sam."
I walked back up the stairs and St. Clair followed me. Sweet Lou was lying in a larger pile of Gabbi's clothes. I turned on the overhead fan and slid into bed next to Gabbi. She was already asleep. St. Clair sat on my side of the bed and rested her chin on mattress. "Goodnight, St. Clair." I said, rubbing her behind her ears. She wagged her tail and then walked in a circle before laying down.
The next morning I woke up without an alarm clock. Gabbi moves around when she sleeps and the covers had fallen off the side. She was naked and shivering, but still asleep. Sweet Lou lifted his head. Saw me. Then checked to see if Gabbi was getting up or not. When he realized she was not, he put his head back down. St. Clair was already at the door. I quietly placed the covers back over Gabbi and grabbed my running watch and walked downstairs past Sam on the couch and into the back yard.
It was cool, not cold, outside, but it felt cold because I was only wearing a small pair of athletic shorts. I laid on the ground and first meditated and then began my breathing exercises. I practice static apnea every morning because it dulls the mind to suffering. I hyperventilated first then took a gigantic breath. I held my breath for 4 minutes and 23 seconds. That is two-hundred and sixty-three seconds. It was forty-eight seconds below my personal record and ninety-seven below my goal.
After more meditation and breathing, I looked at St. Clair and wondered what kind of day it would be. She already knew. She always knows. I was still lying on the ground when Gabbi walked out wearing one of my college track sweatshirts and my Saint James wool hat. She was crinkling her toes on the cold cement patio. "Why don't you have any coffee?" "It stains your teeth." "Oh." "Go back to bed, I'm going to take St. Clair for a run and then I'll get ready for work and drop you off at your place on my way there." "Ok."
When I was finished showering and dressed for work, I woke her up. She kept my sweat shirt on and just grabbed her clothes in one big pile. "What about Sam?" she whispered as were walking out the door. "Let him sleep," I said.
- Posted on: October 20, 2010
Midtown West Doldrums, Part I
- Posted on: October 6, 2010
- Posted on: September 9, 2010