Archive for the ‘women’ Category

Marcus Bird’s “GAIJIN GIRL” Ebook, Great in-flight reading   Leave a comment

This is a collection of short stories that span the globe from Jamaica to Japan. Please read the story when you get a chance, and feel free to e-mail me feedback at the address included in the ebook sampler. Thanks in advance.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/28255995/Gaijin-Girl-Ebook

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Hot Japanese Mom & The Ribbon Girl   1 comment

A Daquiri, I say, Is a sweet drink. It usually has strawberries in it, or some kind of fruit. You blend it with vodka, ice and a little sugar. In front of me, nodding and somewhat understanding, is a bartender at Planet Café. I’ve been trying to explain for roughly twelve minutes what a Daquiri is.

I’m here on a Sunday, and I feel bored, even though my day has consisted of watching Terminator: Salvation at noon, passing through a barbeque with some friends and hitting up a video arcade. My city restlessness has a new face.
At the bar are a few people from the reggae parties I’ve seen around. A DJ from the T.P sound system crew, his girl and Gully. I order a gin and tonic after giving up on my Daquiri. As the bartender made my drink, he laughed and asked me to write down the ingredients for the Daquiri. I’m waiting on Ribbon girl, the one I met at the party last night. We chatted on the phone briefly after I went to my Barbeque. When I spoke to her, a twinge of excitement had trickled through me when her number popped up on my phone. At the time I was sitting on the sidewalk, chatting to a friend about nothing in particular.

 
I took a sip of my drink, when a flurry of activity beside me grabbed my attention. Two gorgeous girls with slim bodies and long brown hair came to the bar coasting on a sea of giggles. I thought one of them was a girl I met the night before, at the reggae party.

“Hug.” I said.

Nani?” (what?)she replied.

I said it again, more Japanesey. “HUG-OO.” I said. She hugged me, and then I realized I’d never met her. I also realized in the same thought she was very drunk. Japanese girls never hug guys they don’t know. Unless of course, you are famous.
“Hi.” She said exasperatedly.
“Hey.” I replied.
She was pretty, with movie actress looks and flawless skin. She wore a stylish outfit that screamed high fashion. Her friend smiled as I talked to her, but chatted to one of the bartenders and left us alone.
“Where you from?” she said.
“Jamaica.” I replied.
“Really?” she said.
She said this with absolute surprise, in the way a child who swore he failed a test  realizes he actually received an A. I told her I was a designer. Incidentally, I was wearing one of my own shirts.
“I want to buy one.” She said, rubbing my chest. “I am a mother!” she exclaimed triumphantly.
“Very cool.” I said. “One child?”
“Yes, I have one. But I am twenty-one!”
She said this with a bright expression. I held her hand and without getting up, beckoned her to twirl. “Very nice.” I said.
She was. If she hadn’t told me she had a kid, it would be impossible to tell.
“You think I am nice?” she asked. Her eyes were filled with desire.
“Yes, you are.” I replied.
A part of me wanted to exploit this situation, but as a rule, I never like drunk women. The only way it works is if I’m equally drunk when I meet them, but at present I was stone cold sober. Having a sexy mother of one on my speed dial would be cool, but alas, Ribbon girl would arrive any minute.
I was right. In the periphery of my vision, I glimpsed her. She was looking very cute, with huge designer glasses. She wore a black and white dress over a pair of tight jeans. I could see the taper of her body through the layers. She had lip gloss on and a purse that resembled a ribbon. The theme continued.
I saw her pause as she said hello to some of the people from last night. Her eyes were on me, but I didn’t move. I’m not the type to play too many headgames, I was just observing.
The hot mom disappeared with a guy onto the the dance floor, and I turned to Ribbon girl. “Hey! You been here long?” I said. She walked over. She gave me a weak hug and stood by the bar. Close up, I could see the glow of the bar lights on her lips. She put her bag down. She seemed a little nervous. I chatted to her about my day and ask her some questions about herself.
“I don’t do much.” She replied. ” I just like to dance.”
Ah, I said in my mind. She’s a party girl.
I’ve messed with party girls before. One word always comes to mind when I think of a party girl.

 
Dangerous.

 
Party girls always seem to have nothing to do, are often sexy and probably slept with a few guys you’ve met before if you go out a lot. This generally means it’s a bad idea to think you’re special if she likes you. Sometimes this can change after a few sexual encounters, but not always.
She reached into her bag and pulled out a small camera. The LCD flashed brightly as it came on. With her glasses and jeans, she looked like a shadow of herself the night before.  The image of her leaping on me, her face pressing against my neck and the smell of her shampoo flooded my senses quickly. It faded quickly, like a puff of cigarette smoke.
She showed me pictures of her in Jamaica. “Maji de??”(Really?) I said. Then I remembered somewhere between tequila shot eight or nine she had mentioned living in Jamaica for a month. Through her pictures I was catapulted back home. I saw the bright glowing faces of people with dark skin and short curly hair. She showed me the hot spots; Stone Love’s headquarters for Weddy Wednesdays, Lime Quay beach for Sunday afternoon, Devon house for tasty ice cream, and more. There were pictures with famous Jamaicans, and a few of her Japanese friends going wild at big parties, like Passa Passa.
I playfully joked with her, but she was shy, different. She ordered Chozou, a popular drink (sake mixed with water). I didn’t know why she was nervous. After she put the camera back into her bag, her entire focused drifted to the UNO game the people beside us were playing. I hinted a few times at going to dance, but she kept saying she was watching the game.
That’s an incredibly fascinating game of UNO, I thought to myself. Then I remembered. She was a party girl. I’m new to the scene. Disappearing with her on the dance floor might put her on the bad news bus. While we were looking at the pictures, she mentioned some party on Friday she was going to. She watched the UNO game, and I sat, bored on the stool. I got up and left.
As I exited the bar, before the door close I heard my name. In a movie-scene way, the door slammed in front of her as I glimpsed her looking at me.
“I see you Friday night?” she said.
“Yes.” I replied.
She went inside. I laughed a little, because she had practically chased me out of the bar. Party girls are different, I thought. I left the underground passage leading out of Planet and heading outside, back into the nighttime and towards the bowels of the city.

/* Blog reposted from my other site www.jamaicaninjapan.com */

Chinese Prostitutes, Strip Clubs and Jason Schwartzman   3 comments

I’m standing on a street corner, and a small Chinese prostitute is grabbing my arm.

“Do you want massage?” she asked.

“No thanks.” I said.

“Only two thousand yen. Come now, we go to second floor.”

“Seriously I’m good.” I replied.

Beside me, the same thing was happening to Rob. The two ladies were tiny, with intense eyes and relatively cute features. They were very aggressive, but finally we got away.

This is how the night started to wind down in Roppongi.

THREE HOURS EARLIER:..

I’m sitting in a pasta shop somewhere in Shibuya, chatting to a dancer that looks like a perfect ten model. Her name is Jeri,  and she’s in town for a dancing gig at  a club later on, somewhere in Roppongi. She is easily the hottest woman I’ve met since I’ve been to Tokyo.  She’s very friendly, and chatting to her is a pleasure. She reminds me of a dancer I saw when I went to club Womb a few months prior, but this is her first time in Japan.

“I’m from L.A, but the scene is really good here. I might come back.” She says.

She’s wearing a summer straw hat, a white skirt, and a tank top that reveals her voluptuous figure. She’s tanned and unblemished. Later Rob would tell me she’s mixed with a few things, but he couldn’t remember what exactly.

“I did this show,” she said. “With a  Japanese group called the MANEATERS.”

“Sounds bizarre.” I said with a laugh.

Jeri, Rob and I chat about traveling and our adventures, for a few minutes. “What are you guys doing tonight?” she says. “Maybe Roppongi or here in Shibuya.” Rob says to her. “I’m performing tonight at the Gallery in Roppongi.” She says. “You guys should check it out.”

Jeri was a professional Go-Go dancer.  Initially, Rob was confused.  “Is Go-Go dancing stripping?” he asked.

“No, its not.” She said.

I have to admit, I didn’t really know the difference either. But I was guessing Go-Go dancers were the hot girls who danced on elevated platforms in large clubs all over the world.

I got her number and she left. As she stood up, I was surprised to see how petite she was. She disappeared soon after, as Rob and I talked about what to eat. “Wow, what are the odds of meeting a girl like her randomly like that?” I said.
“I guess that’s  Tokyo for you.” Rob replied with a laugh.

Rob had come to Tokyo on a mission. To see the sights, go to a few museums and eat at a revolving sushi restaurant in Shibuya. We had no idea where it was. To describe Shibuya is to try and describe an endless concert with thousands of fans roaming the streets all the time, every day. Each time I travel to Shibuya, for a few minutes I feel a buzz in my head. So many people, so many lives and so many things happening at once really aren’t a part of my basic biological makeup I believe. When I’m there, I want to be a hunter-gatherer again, farming in the mountain with a gang of scruffy kids behind me gathering wood.

Rob asks someone where the restaurant is. The guy he asks is African, and like almost all the West Africans I’ve seen in Tokyo, he works in the area, promoting clubs or bars. He tells us where the restaurant is, a place where all the Sushi costs one hundred and twenty yen a piece. We step in, and Rob squeals with excitement. “We doing it son! Tokyo!”

A man in a chef’s hat points to a sign at the reception area. “You must eat at least seven dishes.” It read. “That’s cool with me.” I said.

We were ushered to a few seats around the back, and as we walked past the crowd a face stood out:  A small guy with a thick head of black hair and a very scruffy beard. I immediately recognized him as Jason Schwartzman, the actor. As we walked to our seat I rested my hand on his shoulder. “Hey man, are you a professional actor?” I said. “Why yes I am.” He replied. “Awesome, I love your work man!” I said while walking away. “Thank you.” He said with a smile.

The sushi at the bar was wicked delicious and I ended eating eight plates. Rob had nine. Beside me, a few feet away, Schwartzman was still hanging out in the restaurant. He was with  a slim blonde woman with delicate features; his wife. I went over. I chit-chatted with them for a while about Tokyo. He was in town to check out the opening of “Opening Ceremony”, a large store that has branches in New York and Los Angeles. “It’s opening Sunday. You should check it out, the store is going to be pretty amazing.”

Rob, who was behind me said: “Opening Sunday? Is that the name of the store?”

“No.” Jason said with a laugh. “The store is Opening Ceremony and it’s opening on Sunday.”

“Wow, the opening ceremony for Opening Ceremony is on Sunday when it opens.” I said.

We all laughed. Schwartzman was cool, and I snapped some pictures and got a video shout out for my webseries Marcus Bird :Jamaican in Japan . He was there with this wife, designer Brady Cunningham founder of eco-friendly clothing line, Souvenir.<>.

We said our goodbyes and he told me he’d checkout my website. This is one of the moments when I realized I needed a business card. I said peace, and he left the restaurant.

ONE HOUR LATER

Rob and I are in Gas panic. Blood red lights flood the room and people dance in the shadows. I explained to Rob that I’m a night owl, and that I feed on the night energy of Tokyo. He told me that since there are language barriers and it being a new country, he thought he’d rather see more terrain and sights that necessarily try to chat to women. This opinion changed rapidly when we started clubbing.

Inside GAS PANIC, cute girls were dancing, but it was the music that really set things off. Contemporary hip-hop blasted through speakers I couldn’t see, and the place was jumping. Cute Japanese girls with hair processed to look curly did Atlanta dances like they were born in America. Rob watched with amazement. One girl in particular, in pink overalls really understood the rhythm. I had seen Japanese girls dance before, to reggae and hip-hop, but I could understand Rob’s feelings. This was his first time EVER seeing Japanese people dance like black people.
“It’s sad man.” He said to me.” That these people try so hard to look like us, and so many black people don’t even love themselves.”

I looked at the girls as he said this. One wore an Atlanta cap with hip-hop jeans on. They all had curly hair and sang along to every T.I song that came over the airwaves. But they barely spoke English, if any. It was amazing. We hung out for a little while longer, getting the vibe started. Then we headed to Roppongi.

TWENTY FIVE MINUTES LATER

Tokyo has an endless stream of beautiful women walking the streets. Every minute or two, Rob and I would see women that made us stop, or at least take a peek. He was starting to see what people were talking about in regards to Tokyo.  It’s one thing to see a cute girl every now and then, but in hours we had seen thousands.

We are on the train, and two girls in front of me are looking at my feet and saying something about my shoes. “Big eh? “I say in Japanese. One giggles but pretends not to hear me. She’s been eyeing me since we got on the train in Shibuya. Our stop isn’t far away and it seems the girls aren’t going to our stop. I exit the train terminal and see a face I recognize. It’s a tall, gorgeous woman I met two weeks before. Miki.

I walk over to her and she greets me with a squeal of excitement. Her long, gorgeous arms wrap around me for a moment. I feel her strength. She immediately decides to come with us wherever we are going. We dump our stuff in a locker and head out. Club 911 is the next stop.

In minutes, Rob takes over a little corner near the top bar. Ladies are dancing and smiling, and I’m watching Miki do Samba to a Justin Timberlake song. She is really, really sexy. She sips on a drink and flashes a quiet smile at me every now and then. She’s the kind of woman that I like. Tall and strong, beautiful and fearless on the dance floor. The club is packed, but after a while I start to get antsy. 911 is really small, and in an hour, it starts to turn into a sausage fest. I want Miki to head to a spot called Bar 57 with us, but she says she has to surf in the morning. A little guy the size of her drink hanging beside her says otherwise to me, but I decide to leave. An older Japanese woman was feeling Rob.

“One more drink, and that’d probably be it.” He said with a laugh.

“Well I’m glad you didn’t have that drink.” I replied with a  smile.

Bar 57 was closing when we reached. It seemed like a hot spot, with expensive drinks, a nice interior and high ceilings. The stragglers were all in designer dresses and high heels. I liked the feel of the place. Maybe next time. We went back to the strip.

FIVE MINUTES LATER

We headed back down the strip. Every few feet a young African man would come up to us, offering us exclusive admission to a club or a strip bar. We went to Club 99 near Odeon and went upstairs. Drunk Japanese girls were dancing on the bar top, but like most places in Tokyo, you get ushered towards the bar first. They say free entry, but if you don’t buy a drink you get kicked out. The spot was a bit lame and we headed out.

The prostitutes found us again somehow and kept pleading with us to get a massage. “Jesus Christ.” These women are persistent.” I said. One of them was actually pretty cute, but knowing what her day job was…

TEN MINUTES LATER

We are hanging in front of a bar near the McDonald’s. I’m on my phone, trying to find out where The Rippongi Gallery is to see if I can catch a bit of Jeri’s performance, but none of the Africans on the strip seem to know where it is. It feels like a put on. “Do you see that?” Rob says.

I glance up and the two girls, now about twenty feet away, are looking back at us.

“Should  we talk to them? “ I said.

“You better take one for the team because I’m not.” Robert said.

I saw what he was talking about. Of the two girls, one was blimp-sized. I took at deep sigh and waved for them to come back. They giggled and kept walking, but as they got further away looked back more. Eventually, they returned. They wore matching black and white outfits and wore gray backpacks. A little odd. The bigger one started asking us a range of questions. “You guys kept looking back at us, so we were wondering what was going on.” I said to the larger one. “I’m sorry, my sister here was interested in you, but she doesn’t speak English.”

“Oh?” I replied. “What language does she speak?”

“Greek.” The girl replied.

“Do you need Windex?” Rob said immediately.

The girl gave him a strange look.
“I’m joking, I’m joking. I know that statement was mad ignorant.” Rob said with a laugh. I started laughing too, but it would be an entire day before I remembered that Windex reference came from the hit movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

The girl introduced herself as Athena and her sister as Mina. What was weird about Mina was that she progressively got better at English within minutes of meeting us. Rob made a joke about Atlanta and she laughed. I made a joke that required certain knowledge of American pop humor and bad English grammar and she laughed. Then she started speaking.

“I’m thirty-five.” She said.

We balked.

“Impossible!” I said.

I paused as three tall, leathery Japanese drag queens stormed past. The sisters asked us If we wanted to hang out. I said okay, but I really wasn’t feeling like taking one for the team. We walked towards a bar called Vi-bar, a bar I went to the day before. The girls became quiet, and it felt a little weird. After we stepped inside, a man came to me and asked me what I’m drinking. “One minute.” I said to him. I turned to Rob.

“Dude, you think these girls are hustling us?” I asked.

He shrugged his shoulders. Their accent changes, the weird backpacks, the greek names and everything felt wrong. “Let’s bounce.” Rob said. “Cool.” We headed back out to the madness of Roppongi at four thirty a.m

At the top of the strip, a smooth talking guy named Joe came up to us. He spun a fabulous tale about a strip club where we could drink all we want for thirty bucks and be dazzled and dazed by exotic dancers. I’m not a strip club guy, but the night was going so many places I said, “what the hell.” Rob was in agreement but we entered under a simple condition. If we didn’t like the spot, we’d leave, if we did we’d have to pay.

We walked back down the strip and stopped at a bar. I laughed. It was the same place the two “greek” girls had taken us to before. This time we went upstairs. A shady looking poster of a naked woman was at the door. We walked in, and it was empty, save a line of strippers standing in file facing us. It was a weird feeling, coming into the small, empty strip club with all the dancers watching us. One of the strippers was really hot. She had some sort of brazilian look about her. The rest weren’t so appealing. We thanked the staff and left.

Back outside, we walked back to the top of the strip and sat on a road barrier. The streets were still packed, but we knew the night was over. As we waited for the light to change, a pair of small hands grabbed me. It was the prostitute! Rob and I started laughing again. “Sorry, we go now. Back to hotel.” Rob said. We started crossing the street and one of them said, “I come to hotel with you!”

We laughed and turned around.

The night was over.

:::FRIDAY NIGHT GUITAR HERO-INES::::   1 comment

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I’m looking at three hands protrude from a lamppost.

It’s a photograph, and I’m guessing its somewhere in Adams Morgan, that proverbial mish-mash of frat-boy meets sunshine Blond girl, that place where a hot summer night ends up with streets lined with wet slices of pizza and guys fighting police. I’m a little chilly, and I chuckle, remembering that in my Jamaican-ness I still haven’t figured out the proper technique for dressing for moderately cold weather. In Jamaica we just wear what feels comfortable, as opposed to what’s necessary. In a cold climate there is so much structure to what one wears. Tonight I’m wearing thin pants, a long-sleeved white t-shirt and a pink and blue shirt (can anyone say Gay Euro?). I also have a track Jacket, which luckily isn’t a bad choice. There was one winter night I wore the track Jacket and the temperature dropped ten degrees. That night, I hated being typically Caribbean.

I’m at an art exhibit, looking at photographs from DC’s budding geniuses. The picture I’m looking is by a photographer named Joshua. He is a part of the Ten Miles Square group, which I’ve never heard of. Around me, people float around in various states of distraction. I say distraction because few people are reading the short blurbs of the photographers. Instead they are idly gazing at the pictures, occasionally pointing and smirking and then going outside. There is free beer outside, and I don’t blame them. Most people are dressed for colder weather, which I’m guessing is necessary. I’m being 100% Jamaican tonight, comfortable.
There is only one cold night I remember in Jamaica, and it was when I had a 103 degree fever, and my mother was dousing me in alcohol and cool water to bring my temperature down. It is also the first time I remember being delirious, and later I would hear I was rambling about video games and women with small breasts. (Okay, this isn’t true, but I wish it was, I was twelve).

Tonight is warm. I’m at Fight Club! A spot betwixt two large main roads in a back alley. This place feels like the scene from a really cool indie movie. The door to enter is a huge piece of Zinc, and inside has skateboard ramps, junk and lots of people that wish they were artists. DC people don’t dress artsy, nor do they act it. I talk to two girls while looking on a series of photographs that depicts people in different perspectives of distance. “I’m weird.” One of them says. I ask her why, and she tells me she is weird simply because it is, like the Gulf War happening and socks always smelling bad at the wrong times. Her friend, who is at least six foot seven, agrees that she too is a bit weird. Actually, she said she felt like the person in another photograph parallel to the exhibit we were looking at. It was a clown in various areas in DC. She said she felt like the picture where the clown was sitting by himself in a train.
I didn’t get it.

I go outside to get some beer and schmooze with the attendants. The kegs aren’t working, and the beer is mostly foam, but I smile and make sure to tip them each time I come for another beer. Like dressing for the cold, tipping is something I learned in America. Tipping in Jamaica isn’t comfortable, or necessary. The value of tipping works out later on. At the bar, I get smiles from three average looking blonde girls, and this guy who looks like a German trapped in an American’s body.

There is a skating room in this spot, a semi-cavernous area with ramps that allow boarders to skate on walls, the ceiling and wipeout in glorious 3d. Several of the very distracted photo exhibit patrons aren’t distracted in here. They are fixed with generous aplomb, watching skaters with tight pants threaten their skulls with possible concussions. I have a fond relation to skateboarding. A few years ago, I decided to become a professional skateboarder. I tried this for two years and then my knees began hurting unforgivably anytime I tried to Ollie. Now, like the distracted herd, I just watch.

By the wall is a tall girl, with a Winona Ryder hair cut peering through a set of bars into the skate room (yes there is a window with prison style bars erected). I ask her a lame question, somewhere along the lines of: Are you a photographer? She laughs and says no, and I can see her features more clearly. A strong face, with high cheekbones, a straight nose and thin lips. I peg her to be European. “I am no a photo-grapher.” She says with a slight accent. I smile, my international travels haven’t failed me.
“Let me guess where you are from.” I say with a wry smile. Her eyes open slightly wider, and I can see her brain sending calculations my way:
1)    Who is this guy
2)    How does he know I’m foreign
3)    Why is he wearing a gay Euro shirt.
“You are from France.” I say.
I actually think she’s German, but I say France to throw off the scary factor pegging her might bring. “I’m from Germany.” She says with a smile. She laughs, and shows a row of very straight teeth. Germany has good orthodontists.
When I ask her what she’s doing in DC, she says, “Oh, I make marketing for a large car company.”  I raise an eyebrow, feeling my playful side emerge like a rude kid in a unsupervised environment.
“You ‘make’ marketing?” I say. “Did you ‘create’ industry as well?”
Before she can respond, I grab her and laugh. “I’m just kidding!” I say with a big smile.

Four more times that night, I would say she “makes marketing”. Its no longer just a playful jab at her English, it becomes our joke. A little insider thing that we’ll laugh about in a year when I meet up with her in Munich. I don’t know how, but it will happen. I already see myself at the Schoenfeld airport (or wherever takes me close to Munich).We will hug, drink strong beer and take a tour of the city, then when we become intimate, I will stand up in my underwear and proclaim “LET US MAKE SEX!”

Her English is actually very good, and a tall, intense German guy behind her seems very displeased that we are speaking. At some point, I go to get another beer. For a second, stepping outside feels like being in Jamaica. It is relatively warm, the sky is over head and I’m drinking in the presence of a lot of people. Back home we call these kinds of outings Sessions, sans the psychiatrists and immediate diagnoses of Bi-polar disorder.

I’m determined to get my money’s wroth (its ten bucks all you can drink ) and I’m starting to get a light buzz. A slight drizzle comes down, and a girl in front of me says: “ Hey, do black girls drink beer?” (She is black). She is surrounded by five cute women. “Of course not! Black women drink mixed drinks!” I say with a laugh. Her friends laugh. Conversation ensues and I find out these ladies all went to school in Texas together. Like most conversations in Washington D.C after the first three questions, people start asking what each person does. The sequence is usually:
Hello how are you?
Where are you from?
What do you do?

I tend not to speak like that. I tell the girls that I don’t like asking people what they do seconds after meeting them, so one of them, a statuesque Mexican girl, improvises. “What’s your favourite color?” she asks. In the light drizzle, I’m temporarily taken back to high school, when things like “favourite movie”, “favourite color” and “what did you do today” plagued my phone conversations with girls. Everyone in the group chats about their favorite color. I initially say my favourite color is light blue, but after two minutes I realize currently its light purple. At this point, all five girls begin chatting about my shirt. “Purple would look great on you,” one says.”Thanks.” I reply.

The conversation goes in and out for a while. Everyone is lightly buzzed, and we are all talking about nothing in particular, and certainly nothing important. I tell the ladies I’ll be sorry to leave soon because I’m heading to Wonderland. “Wonderland? That’s where we are going!” they say with a twinkle. “Ah, it’s settled then, we are all going there.” At this point, a guy I know, Patrick comes in, and entertains the group with hilarious dynamics regarding African parents and the pressure that comes with Barack Obama being the President-elect.
Putting on a faux Nigerian (or proper depending on how you look at it, he is Nigerian), he says. “My mother would say, ‘Obama is now the president of the United States. You need to be President of a company.”

His voice is hilarious, but I realize now that in typewritten form these things might not come across as that funny. I run upstairs to take a tinkle and run into the roommate of a girl I once hooked up with. “You know,” she says. “Mercedes went back to California.” (of course her name isn’t Mercedes!). “Oh.” I said. (Mercedes fell off the map several months ago, this revelation is news to me.) I chat to her for two minutes then run upstairs. There are about fifty people in line, and they don’t look distracted, but intensely focused. I have to find an alley. I run outside and find a little spot between two huge Garbage bins.

In the near distance, I hear the chatter of a large group of girls. Its my crew. They are a little drunk, but still cute. Out of five girls, four of them are roughly five foot eight. They almost start walking in the opposite direction of the metro, but I tell them the correct way nicely. I’ve learned that some girls get unusually angry over trivial things if they are corrected, like the day’s date, their name and the location of obvious places. We play little games in the metro station while we wait for the train to come. It’s a thirteen minute wait, and we end up snapping at least two dozen pictures from two different cameras and I pick up two of the girls and playfully spin them around.

On the train, we walk in all beer breath and loud laughs. The train is filled with people, and they all give us the “these people are drunk” eye. In a way, I probably was a little drunk. We take more pictures, with me lying in the laps of three of the girls, one girl danced on a pole, and another took a random picture with two guys chilling in the back. When we reach the Columbia heights metro stop, I speed up the escalator and run outside. Time to tinkle again. I find another quiet area between two large garbage pans again.

Tonight is quite random, but somewhat normal for me. I am a floater, like a little piece of flotsam on the sea. I head back to the metro station and take a quick look back down the steps of the escalator, but I don’t see the girls. I do a light jog to Wonderland, and I don’t see them in line. The bouncer knows me by face, and I try and break the line, and he forcefully (but in a friendly way) tells me I can’t cut the line. Its okay, and I go to the back, then see the girls appear in the distance.
“Where did you go!” they said. “You ditched us!” the tall Mexican says.

In the line (as always), one of the girls sees someone she recognizes and they start talking. I’ve been in the line for five minutes before I realize that there usually is never a line at Wonderland. When I reach inside, the place is like a tiny rugby locker room with a full team inside. I’m holding the hand of one of the girls, the only one under five foot eight. She’s never been to Wonderland and I’m leading her to the bathroom to show her where it is. I exchange strange pleasantries with a guy in line, and the little one goes in. I see the others come inside, and head straight to the bar. In the line, the tall Mexican kept mentioning going back to her place and playing guitar Hero. It sounded like fun. Five girls in their jammies, playing Guitar hero till five in the morning, good times.

There were endless people upstairs. The music was good and everyone was dancing. I rarely dance these days, but tonight I danced with everyone. I had a moment with the tall Mexican against the wall on the stage where the DJ was. Dancing with the girl who asked “Do black girls drink beer”, we hit the DJ deck and cause the music to stop for three seconds. I danced with the little one somewhere near the staircase. I did drunk Salsa with the other tall one (the third of four) somewhere near a coat rack. In the mix were several random (and oddly, short) girls. I ran into a few friends that I see every other week. These are people that pop up like the Men In Black. I could be in Dupont, Adams Morgan, George Town, or Kayaking on the Potomac. They would always roll by and say, “Wow Marcus, I see you everywhere!”

The rest of the night goes by in the usual blur. I am having a relatively good time, but I’m not ecstatic. My plan is working perfectly; that is, I planned to go to a photo exhibit and then probably hit up Wonderland afterwards. These girls were incidentals.

The girls say they are leaving. The Mexican mentions guitar hero again and her place. We leave, and I realize there are nine people now. Two very tall blonde guys are walking with us, as well as a short, strange-looking Ethiopian fellow. I don’t’ know where these guys came from, and what makes everything weirder is they aren’t’ speaking, just tagging behind. I found out the Ethiopian looking guy was a work colleague of the Mexican (or was it another one?) So he was in.

Its raining now, and a friend of mine is trying to get the play by play via phone. I foolishly keep texting him while rain drops are hitting the face of my phone. In a few minutes, the 4 and 9 button my phone stop working. Then, the phone starts mysteriously displaying random numbers on screen. Bad news.
I can’t text, and the phone shuts off a few times. We have been walking for about fifteen minutes, when the Mexican says, “I hope you have a way home, I’m not bringing you home with me.” I almost paused (if it wasn’t raining and I hadn’t walked god knows how far). “What do you mean?”
“You can’t come home with me,” she says in a sing-song voice.
“It’s raining…” I say.
“I’ve walked home in the rain before.” She replies, with an almost sarcastic smile on her face,

For a second, I wonder what’s happening. I wasn’t even interested in the Mexican, from early on she said she had a boyfriend. A few seconds after she makes her declaration of No guitar hero and pillow-fighting with five cute girls, we cross the street and everyone (except me ) goes into an apartment building.

I get upset for three minutes. I am upset mostly because my phone is not working, and it is raining and I don’t see any cabs. After three minutes, I laugh to myself. I’ve been in worse situations. Getting ditched by a few drunk girls a few steps from their doorway is child’s play. But I really wanted to play some guitar hero.

Lonely heart + Cold = Hit Song   Leave a comment

(me at the National Gallery of Art in late 2006)

 

I’m incubated.

I’m locked into that cycle of in the house doing work, out to class to spend hours in lectures, and then back into the house to do more work. I broke this down with my friend today. When an able-bodied young man finds himself watching 4400 at six p.m on a random Tuesday evening then you know something is wrong. But this is real life.The reality of certain things were unveiled to me when I moved off-campus two years ago. Firstly, when you live seven miles away from a social hub (i.e college). There willl be no one to speak to save your roommate, and no where to go. Secondly, you desire to do less. Basically everything else becomes important. How well food tastes, how comfortable your bed is, how funny that romantic comedy you watch by yourself is, etc. I was walking to class today listening to an Our Lady Peace album, Spiritual Machines, and it sounds like the soundtrack to my life right now. Track 4, “Life”, starts out with a few questions that everyone can relate to:

“How many times have you been pushed around? Is anybody there? Does anybody care?”

“How many times have your friends let you down? Is anybody there? Did anybody stare?”

Introspective questions run abound in this track, and then it goes into a melancholy (yet oddly uplifting) chorus, where leader singer Raine Maida tells me that ‘Life is waiting for you’. The Peace has been known to drop sometimes cryptic lyrics onto their fans, but I felt chills hearing these questions asked to me by someone I don’t know. Then, on track 7, “Are you sad?” it asks even more questions:
“Are you sad? Are you holding yourself? Are you locked in your room? You shouldn’t be….”

Too often I have felt like this person… sometimes a bit trapped by circumstance, or something else. Its the working grind of the world that keeps us in that bubble of limited social interactions.
Even though I do have classes with people I interact with THEN, when the day ends everyone goes their separate ways. I go home, and listen to depressed millionaires sing about their life’s discourses.

I think this is part of being a writer, or an artist. I’m not just sitting by myself staring at the ceiling, getting familiar with little cracks in certain spots, I’m being proactive. I sit, I write, I design, I do a lot of things. But as I told my friend from a class today, “If no one knows you, no one can ever know you are talented.”

I think I’m having an off day again. The work load of school is normalizing. This means for me that things are reaching a natural order where I know what I have to do to maximize my time in classes and so forth, but dammit it gets really lonely sometimes. Its also starting to get cold, meaning if I am going to get in the groove with some people, i’ll have to do it soon. Or I will be “holding myself” in my room, amidst the eerie pluckings of some faceless man’s guitar.

No one can really describe certain kinds of loneliness. It sits on your tongue like the leftover taste of flat soda, and tugs at your hair like an inattentive child. I’m sure the loneliness a business CEO with 14 hour days, millions in the bank and no time to socialize is uniquely different from a college kid who spends his days writing and doing classes. But at the end, they are both suffering from a mild form of social disconnect; a lack of options.

I don’t think i’m sad, but man, sometimes I feel like i’m halfway there. But I will press on… keep writing, with my eye on the prize.

The Futile Fight   Leave a comment

The project i’ve been mentioning intermittently in these blogs (Three Weeks and Hurricane) is my first real attempt at writing non-fiction. It has to deal with me, and me trying to find out my next step in life, by using a month in Jamaica for that EXACT purpose. Now, to make life easier next time I feel like writing non-fiction, I will write essays (probably short blogs) to capture some prevailing thoughts of mine, so that as time passes I’ll find it easier to write non-fiction. To me, even non-fiction must have some kind of story, or a framework someone can follow. I’m not sure if I have that specifically in TWAH. I’ll have to polish the story, and do some heavy re-writing (like any book) but I think the “theme” of non-fiction needs to be captured in a certain viewpoint, consistently over time. The Emotion can’t vary too much, nor can the feel.
So, I think this is me trying to document my thoughts for another project possibly in the future.

The Futile Fight

My friend and I are heading to a party called Wet in Georgetown. Its Saturday, and I spent Friday night at their place in Silver Spring to escape the noisy ravages of the Northwest DC. I like Silver Spring. It has a clean, well-combed vibe to it that always makes me think of family and kids. This is probably a biased perspective, because there is a particular area in downtown Silver Spring where they have Astroturf setup. On any given sunny day, you will see parents with their children roaming about, tossing projectiles and spilling liquids. My friends live no where near this area. They are about ten minutes up the road in a quiet housing complex. A friend of mine, a cool Italian guy who uses “Fuck” after every tenth word, tells me to head to this place called the Blue Gin for a free party.
“Come man, its gonna be great you know, fucking hot bitches and what not my man. ” I laughed as he said this. However, it was Saturday night and like many stressed out college seniors, I needed something to do.
Whenever I think of Georgetown, two things come to mind. A certain smell, and an image of a certain strip on Wisconsin Avenue. I’m assuming these two things pop into my head first because when I went to the Georgetown Mall for the first time, it had a very odd smell, like someone sprayed Gucci No.5 in a bathroom occupied by a troop of red bull-amped chimps. The second image i’m sure is based on my previous French Connection obsession (possibly 30% of my wardrobe is french connection) and that was one of the first stores I would frequent. My two images aren’t the common representation of the town. I’d say that most people (who dont’ live in Georgetown) think of two things when they go there, Money and stuffy people. I personally don’t like to cover everyone in a demographic under a certain blanket, but being at a club in Georgetown really does remind me of some of the really “uptown” parties I go to in Jamaica. The normal setup seems to be a lot of very nicely dressed people standing up, talking with people they are familiar with, and then ignoring everyone else. I’m sure this formula doesn’t hold all the time, but like most people who don’t live in Georgetown. I don’t care. That’s just how it seems.
I’m venturing to the club this night simply because the week has been filled with stressful night and annoyingly long classes. Like most parts of the city, finding parking is next to impossible and I end up going to the club first while my friend looks for parking. For September 15, it is unusually chilly and I frown slightly thinking of the grisly winter about to come. Blue Gin is in an alley between an Abercrombie & Fitch and Benneton store. I recognize the spot, the last time I went there was with my very assertive Moroccan friend who scoffed at the prices of the drinks and demanded to go somewhere else. After I schmooze with the bouncer a bit, he checks my name on a list to get into the private party upstairs and I go inside. Its a very nice, high-endish lounge with soft lighting, a few nice bars with plush leather couches and glass tables. The crowd is relatively mixed in the usual Georgetown way, a delicate sprinking of mostly white, mostly Middle-eastern people then a drop of two of any other minority groups. I go upstairs and greet my friend Mr. B who’s with his girlfriend. We have a few moments of small talk and in between I survey the crowd.
Everyone seems like the white collar types, milling about on their third drink. I see a lot of cute girls, but i’m not inspired. Its only 11:30. I’ll have to see if the mood of the place changes in an hour or so before I can dub the event a “flop” or “hot”. I get a drink and sip on it while I watch the crowd some more. The birthday girl is a slim, attractive blonde with pretty eyes. She walks around almost on her toes, smiling and taking pictures. I hear its her twenty-fifth birthday. I immediately assume she is wealthy, has a GREAT job and would never speak to me.
I tell her happy birthday the next time she walks past me.

By the time my friend finds parking and comes into the club, I’ve been talking with Mr. B’s girlfriend and her two friends and found some interesting information. One friend will be leaving on Tuesday to go to New York to be a producer for the MSNBC show HardBall. The other girl, when I asked her “What do you do?” she smiled, looked to the left as if to say ‘ How do I say this?’. Then her friend, Mr. B’s girlfriend touched me and said “She’s a dancer.” “A dancer?” I said repeated. “No, she’s actually a stripper.”
They both laugh and I take another look at her friend. She is attractive, with long jet black hair, and a shapely body, but I wouldn’t have pegged her for a stripper. I hadn’t even been to a strip club in DC yet. In between calling a strip club a “Gentleman’s club” and laughing amongst each other about something happening near the bar, I left and went downstairs. The music had started to pickup now,( meaning the DJ got smart and started playing Hip-hop) and I headed to the dance floor. This is where the “Futile Fight” begins. The first thing I notice is what I call the “defensive formation”. Like the Roman Phalanx, women who go to clubs have a formation I call “The Ring.” Its pretty explanatory. The girls form a ring and dance and laugh amongst each other while any guy who tries to break this formation generally gets rejected. The only thing I’ve noticed with this military exercise is that as ‘the ring’ grows in size if two or three guys come in all at once, its hard for the other friends to help them reject the fellow,s.

I’m on the dance floor and I see three rings. In the corner six very cute girls dance with themselves with their backs turned to everyone. Beside me, a gorgeous Euro-looking chick and her two Indian girlfriends are dancing three millimeters apart. Behind me, a gaggle of black chicks dance in a similar ring. To the left of them, a mixed bag of Asian and white girls are dancing as well, also in a ring. I see four guys try with different groups to get a dance, or to get in, and they are all shot down. I don’t try anything. I’m dancing by myself and having enough fun to not be depressed. I’ve seen “the Ring” so many times that if I go to a club where there are more than five rings I either dance by myself or leave shortly after. A friend of mine once told me, “Guys are so grimy in the club. All they want to do is grab your ass and try and sleep with you that night. When I go to the club, I go to have fun, so I don’t dance with anyone.”
To this, I chuckled. Of course there are guys who go to clubs to do just that, but most guys are insecure, working and have little time to socialize. They go to clubs to meet women, end of story. So i’m thinking, If I go to ten clubs in a night, and let’s say 90% of the girls who I like don’t want to dance/meet anyone. Then no matter how good looking you are (this actually might help ) you might be fighting an uphill battle. Add to that the fact that a lot of people dress and act the same, so there is nothing really to distinguish you from anyone else. 99% of the black guy in the club had shaved heads and had on similar outfits (light coloured dress shirts, nice pants). 90% of the white guys in the club were dressed in a similar fashion also. What distinguishes everyone? Well, for the black guys they had different heights, skin tones and builds. For the white guys, they had different color hair, heights, and builds. But let’s say for the most part everyone looks “the same”. What’s going to make you anymore interesting than me? Since all black men supposedly can dance, what’s to make a girl want to dance with me more than the next guy? Or, what’s to make a girl think this guy over here has a better job than that guy?

Futile fight? Who knows. But I left the club after an hour and headed to Wonderland, on 11th Street in Northwest DC. I headed upstairs to the dance floor and a slovenly looking man in a red shirt rested his hand on my chest.
“You’re overdresed.” he said.
I glanced at his hand. He patted my chest again.
“You’re overdressed.”
He walked away and I smiled to myself. In a Sports Jacket I was overdressed for Wonderland, which is a residential bar in Columbia Heights (everyone was wearing a t-shirt). But I was more comfortable. Wonderland broke the mold. There were no rings. I might not have a victory, but its not that much of a futile fight.

* * * *

IPOD – TOUCH ME   2 comments

Today isn’t a great day for me. As you can see i’m doing my second blog of the day. I’m hurting a bit right now, because of an event that happened on Friday night that I can’t get into. So, like most people, I’m trying to distract myself by either eating too much, watching tv, or spending money. As it stands, I really don’t want to go down a self-destuctive path, so I decided to research the new Ipod, a.k.a “The Ipod Touch”and blog about it. I wouldn’t call myself a technophile, and I am a skeptical early adopter (I learned my lesson after the Ipod Video came out). This new version of the Ipod excites me somewhat. Hey, I’m bored, single with nothing to do. A cool device that has a cyborg like sexiness has appeal in our wired world of today.

I’ve owned almost every version of the ipod ever made. This hasn’t been by choice. I bought the third generation thinking it was a godsend. I like the way little red lights lit up the buttons on the Ipod face, and even though it was pre click-wheel, it was still pretty easy to navigate. One night I went to a club my friend worked at. It actually wasn’t a club, but this cool Sushi restaurant called Japone in Dupont circle. Either way, I was chilling in the the back where there was a bar, talking to this cute bartender. As she commented on my hair (it was a huge fuzzy muff of blonde at the time) I rested my man-bag on the bar chair. I took a thirty second walk to the front of the restaurant and when I came back my Ipod inside the bag was gone. I was upset because I had never had a device stolen from me in that way, but it wasn’t that bad. The third gen had a terrible battery life (mine capped at 8 hours) and it would “crash” on me occassionally. A little while later, I sold a bunch of stuff on Craigslist and then I bought my fourth gen (with clickwheel!) That wasn’t bad, but I only owned it for one week. I went on a business trip with a few classmates to checkout the Investment banking world. Seeing all those droopy eyed, highly paid college grads only a year or two older than me made me cringe. Investment banking wasn’t for me. I did read the paper however, I see that a new “Ipod Photo” was coming out in… a week.
I almost screamed, because I had bought my Ipod just recently, but as soon as I got back to DC I put it for sale on CL and bam! It was gone. So I bought my Ipod Photo soon after, and I must say I was the most pleased with this Ipod (even more than the Video). The Ipod photo felt very sturdy and it had an amazing battery life, it went up to 21 hours on a full charge. I used this Ipod for at least a year, then I heard about the Video. I researched it for a while, hating the fact that the battery life was now a paltry 16 hours and that you couldnt’ adjust the brightness on the screen. “No matter,” I said to myself “It is new tech. And New tech is F-ing cool.” So I bought the new Ipod with most of the Photo sale money and I was very dissapointed. The screen was marginally bigger and the menu was cool-ish, but the battery life for me was almost cut in half and I didn’t like watching video on it. The screen was too small to really enjoy full length video, and it was a task actually putting movies on the device itself. So after owning the Ipod video for about two months, I sold it.
Later I would horribly regret this, when I eventually wanted a portable music player and had none. Either way, as a birthday gift I received an Ipod Nano and I’ve been using that for over a year now. Naturally my head works in tens of gigabytes, and its a huge drop from 30 gigs on the Ipod Video (or 20 gigs on the Photo) to a measly 2 gigs on the Nano. But, I organized my playlist, made sure everything was okay, and I’ve been using it ever since. My happiest accessory is a pair of those Bose headphones they sell at the Apple store for 150 bucks. (I bought mine for $85. Ah…Craigslist). I had no desire to ever get an Ipod video again. I knew sooner or later, Apple would drop an Ipod that would wow the masses again. When the Iphone came out earlier this year, I didn’t bat an eyelid. Only a crazy person (I thought) would camp out to get a device with slow phone service, severe data limitations just because it looks “cool”. I fiddled with the phone at the Apple store, and I agree it IS cool, but not 600 bucks worth of cool.
But now I hear about the Ipod Touch, and my heart feels warm. I’m so used to my 2 gig nano that 8 gigs sounds like a lot of space. I like the fact that it has more functionality as well for my money. The $299 price tag doesnt’ sound that bad either BECAUSE it has so much. I can access wifi points and surf the web, I can browse my music by tapping my fingers, and the battery life isn’t 16 hours, its 22. Its also thinner than the Iphone (take that At&t!). So if I can, I think I’ll be heading to the Apple store to get my touch and be an early adopter of THAT product. Then I’ll hear about the “Ipod Touch II” which comes out in January which has 20 gigs of Space for $299 and then i’ll rush to sell my little 8 gig. But until that time comes, we’ll see what happens. This has nothing to do with my usual blogging about writing, but I needed to vent about something and the Ipod gave me a really good excuse.

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