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From Russia House, With flubb   5 comments

207977215_ed94bb97cb1On Thursday night I went to Russia House with a girl I met recently. I tried out some dark Russian beer, and chatted about life. Before I left, I saw my ex-girlfriend downstairs sitting with a group of people at a table. When I saw her, her face was animated and she was obviously talking about something of importance. It looked like she was at the tail-end of a campaign speech, or in the middle of proving a major point. Either way, I walked over, and waved at her. In her peripheral vision, she noticed me, but she looked shocked. Actually she looked exposed, but I don’t know why.
“What are you doing here?” she said.
“I can’t even tell you right now.” I said with a smile.
“We’ll talk later.” She said somewhat abruptly.
I left, and ended up partying in Dupont for the rest of the night. But the next day, her statement knocked around my skull like a loose screw in a car engine. We don’t talk. We don’t even gchat. I’ve probably received one unsolicited call from her in the last two years. Why would she talk to me after running into me at the Russia house? Her expression weirded me out a bit. She almost seemed frightened to see me.
This made me think about the nature of things people say, and what they mean. We are so tied up with the way we communicate; people act weird around people they like, most women are afraid of the men they love, but an interesting stranger is always a good bet eh?
This is on my mind for a little bit on Friday night as well. Its cold and I don’t want to stay home. Staying home alone on a Friday night reminds me of too many past relationships. Too many winters were I had someone warm to keep me happy as bitter cold raged outside.
Earlier in the evening, I had another awkward moment.
I was near Howard University, eating a chicken sandwich. For most of the day I’ve felt light-headed, and the sandwich isn’t helping. I’m sitting there, watching a re-run of Smart Guy on a flat screen a few feet away, and my phone buzzes. It’s a text message from a girl I know, Q.
We were supposed to go to a bar for some early drinks, but I guess the cold killed that plan. The text reads:
Why don’t you come to my house. I have Gin, but no Tonic.
.This request seems reasonable, because its God awful cold outside. But moments after I arrive at the house, I realize a few things were off.  The first thing she asked me was if I’d been to the house before. I said no (her roommate is a friend of mine). The second thing that happened was said roommate, D, came home roughly eight minutes after I arrived. When he saw me in the kitchen drinking a gin and ginger ale with his roommate, I could see he didn’t expect me to be there.
As time passed, I didn’t even feel like I was there. They talked amongst themselves about little things; a missing sponge, some smoky chicken that was cooked a few days back; getting drunk on a Thursday, typical stuff.

It was almost voyeuristic, watching the cute yet intimate interaction of roommates on a Friday evening. Occasionally I tried to say a few things, but I didn’t think I had much to contribute. I started to wonder if I was intruding in some way. Even though I was invited into the house I felt as if I had strolled in of my own accord, loud and insistent, violating space.

My social intuition told me to leave (by now I’m sure D assumed I was trying to hookup with his roommate, but later I’d find out he didn’t even care) but the cold kept me inside. I popped out my laptop at some point and diddled on the internet.
D started watching the Jim Lehrer news hour and Q started using her laptop. I was a few feet away, sitting in the kitchen.  Then I also realized I’d never seen Q in a calm social setting before. I had only seen her at wild parties, where we gave each other drunken hellos and sprinkled random statements over the moment like beer foam.

The evening progressed into a strange dialogue that made me feel as if I was spiraling into and old yet  familiar place. Even though we chatted about normal things; something wasn’t clicking. Whatever good intentions had brought me to the house, it was backfiring fast. Conversation lagged, and I tried a little harder to make things work. This didn’t work;she look bored and a little frustrated. With all my life experience, for a little while I fell back into a childish naiveté. I wanted to know where the dark cloud came from, what was happening and why the early evening was quickly slipping into darkness. This didn’t happen, and I sensed it was time to leave.

“I have to meet someone else pretty soon.” she said.

I nodded. I felt this was an indirect (albeit polite) way to say it was time for me to go. This didn’t bother me. As adults when we are in socially awkward situations, we don’t have to talk about them, we just nicely tell the person to leave. Problem solved.

I started putting my winter gear on. I was still curious about what happened. I paused in the doorway for a moment as I headed out. (Like I said, childish naiveté). Like a young psychologist, I wanted to know what was happening. Was it bad energy? Body language? Something else? I asked her. So I said, “I feel awkward. Is something wrong? If so, please tell me. I’m very curious.”
She stood up for a moment, and sighed.
“You are a cool and interesting and all that, but maybe I’m just not a nice person.” She replied. I paused for a second. I would have scratched my head but I had my gloves and a hat on.

I didn’t really know what this meant. I’m not sure if anyone has ever told me something like  that. I thought she was cool, the statement made things a little more fuzzy. I thought she was a nice person. We were supposed to hang out at a bar. I think it was the house. Something about being there made things weird. Bloody cold weather!

As I turned to leave, I felt slightly worried. I wondered if my friend thought I was trying to hook up with his roommate, and what the subsequent fallout would be. As I walked down some cold dark steps towards the street I heard her voice behind me. “ Have a good night.” She said.
I walked towards Georgia avenue, heading back home. In my mind I wondered, “what just happened?”
I wasn’t upset, because I know that some groups of people just can’t communicate. They are like fire and ice. Oil and water. We must have been like that.
I thought about how happily D and Q had chatted to each other. It was like watching a sitcom, minus the Prague laughter. I thought of my living situation. My house is quiet, and my roommates are all but invisible. There is no happy morning greeting, no laughs about a missing sponge or a smoky pot, no outings on a Friday night. The house like many in DC; large, empty and cold. Every now and then I might hear laughter upstairs, or the sound of a television from a room downstairs. Sometimes, there are breaks in the silent moments. I might play some music, or I’ll hear the blare of a siren outside. If it’s windy, the shutters will rustle. My space heater hums. When my micro fridge resets itself, I hear a little clink. That’s about it.
Maybe at D’s house I had stepped into that little comfort space that people normally don’t see. That intimate side of people who live together, only seen by the clock on the wall. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to see it. Maybe that caused the cloud.

*  *  *
I go home and drop asleep for a few hours. When I wake up, there is a text message on my phone.
Its from a friend, Liz. My roommates and I are going to Wonderland, the text reads. I see it as a good sign. I head to wonderland, doing a light jog in the freezing weather to the metro station. I have a six minute wait at the train station. When I reach the bar, as usual its packed. I go upstairs and grab a drink. I’m still mulling over a few things in my head. I’m worried that I’ve somehow put a dark smear on my relationship with two people I thought were cool, and I keep thinking about what my ex-girlfriend said at Russia House.
.Its possible she saw the girl behind me and felt awkward, or maybe one of the guys at the table was her boyfriend and she didn’t want him to see me, I dunno. But something about what she said seemed rushed, and dismissive. I wondered why she looked so surprised to see me. I do live in DC after all.
.I grab a beer and stand watching the crowd. Tonight is not a night for dancing. The makeup of the crowd is a little odd. Mostly guys and girls with short hair cuts dressed like guys. It dawns on me that it’s a gay night.
The lesbian couples are semi-obvious. For the most part there is one girl dressed like a guy, then a cute (more “standard looking”) girl dancing with her. On nights like these, I feel as if I’m doing something fundamentally wrong. These women are happily making out, hooking up and going out. A girl who dresses like a man can get laid, but a guy who is simply a guy has to fight and cajole and twist things around to even get a half decent hello.
I feel like leaving, but Liz sends me a  text. (They actually went to Local 16 on U street). We are coming to the Wonderland now.
I chill for a bit and the music gets better. Somewhere on stage, a person hits the light switch, and the entire dancing area is cast into shadow. On cue, people start making out. A tall mocha-looking guy is making out with a short brunette beside me. On stage, a girl dressed like Andre 3000 is making out with another girl while they dance. More girls are kissing girls, and couples are kissing each other. I feel empty watching these people embrace. I would leave, but it’s so cold outside, and all I have is my quiet room to go to.
The DJ starts playing some reggae music, and I amuse myself by singing along. A scruffy looking guy comes over and hands me a flyer. “This is my party, we’ll be playing a lot of 70’s reggae music. You should check it out.” He says. I smile and say “Respect.” But I can’t bear to tell him I don’t really like 70’s reggae music. I find it depressing.
Liz and her two roommates arrive. They are both gay. It fits the theme of the night. They dance energetically to the music and disappear into the folds of the crowd. I see a girl come upstairs. I recognize her as Anna. There was a night last year she was all over me then gave me her number. I saw her the next day at a house party and she pretended not to know me. She is with her boyfriend. He looks like John Heder.
Guys in the bar are working hard to get laid, but I see that most of them will go home alone. We are such awkward creatures; we go to tiny spaces to consume chemicals that dull our senses, then stand in close proximity to other people to get a sense of community.
Freaky.
At some point, someone touches me. It’s a girl I recognize. She says a quick hello and disappears. A part of me wants to dance with Liz, but she’s betrothed to someone else, so I leave her alone. Her roommate is dancing very intimately with her, but he’s gay, so that’s cool.
After standing by the water cooler for ten minutes, I decide to bounce. I tell Liz goodbye and head downstairs. I see my friend. “I could really use a cup of tea.” I say to her. She lives a block away. “I have a long walk ahead.”She opens her mouth and makes the sound you hear when someone is feeling sad on 70’s Tv: “Whaap, whaap, whaaaaap.”
“You don’t have any tea?” I ask her.  She nods no. “No coffee?” she nods no again.
I realize she thinks I’m asking her to come over to her place using tea as a bogus excuse. “Hey its not like that, I’m just cold.” I say to her.
“Whaap whaap whaaap.” She says again. “I’m going to find my friend upstairs.” She says, and walks away without saying goodbye.
Whatever, I tell myself.
These things don’t sting me anymore. I don’t think people are inherently mean, confused or bad. I just think that as you grow older you care a lot less about things. Everyday you hear that people die, get shot, are raped, murdered, starving, bankrupt, homeless and ill. Can you really spend time caring about a negative statement? A random run-in? Or even think about someone you once loved? Probably not.
All you want on a cold night is someone to snuggle with. Someone to wake up naked with and smile at in the morning while you make tea and eat waffles after morning sex.
I walk back home, and surprisingly its not as cold. The wind has stopped and the blocks go by in a blur.  A few weeks ago on a night like this I would feel as if I wanted to escape, as if the events around me were a representation of who I was, but I know this isn’t true. Its just one of those Friday nights, when you have a few drinks, listen to a little music, and think about life.
Then you go home, crawl into bed and sleep.

:::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.

Hello DC: Who’s tortured?   1 comment

I’m standing in a library, and for some reason, I felt like looking at some of my blog posts. 

I was speaking to a friend today at length, and he said something that I found interesting. “Marcus,” he said. “I read through some of your blogs one day, and something struck me. Your writing made you sound like one of those stereotypical tortured writers that have this pressing inner turmoil they can’t deal with.”

“Really?” I said. 

In some ways, like anyone else, I have been tortured, and in other ways I am completely fine, but I decided to investigate to see what he was talking about. 

I call my form of writing “stream of consciousness”, because most of the blogs I ever write, I write them once, and never read them again. I occasionally check my blog stats and see how many people are reading, but I never really go back and read my own writing. 

What I saw surprised me to no end. Some of this writing was so…. personal I wondered what I was thinking when I wrote it? I read through some of my blogs on running, my time in New York, and my most popular blog every about my “near death experience”. 

It was as if I was standing by a fence, watching myself typing these blogs up in different locales. I could see myself at 4 a.m in France, blogging about the Cannes Film Festival. I could see myself cold and trembling in an old apartment, blogging about wanting to change my life. I could see myself in New York, sitting in a suit of wet clothes and blogging after a particularly bad night in the Lower East Side. 

Even though these blogs are all about me, when I re-read these, I feel like a stranger reading another person’s blog. They are so descriptive, so direct, it seems as if whoever wrote this blog was writing for money, or something else. Sometimes I can’t even believe its me. 

I’ve felt this way when I’ve re-read some of my writing projects from the past. I find myself sitting for an hour or so, reading through old stories i’ve written, feeling as if they were written by someone else. Maybe I am a different person when I’m writing, maybe I tap into a profundity that I am afraid to show in person, and possibly this profundity (egad, I said “profundity” twice!) comes from the source within my mind that is unfiltered, unashamed and unafraid. 

It is interesting to have a powerful glimpse into specific moments of time, the memories and the motivations. A person might ask, “But you wrote this, can’t you remember how you were feeling when you wrote X blog, or Y blog?” To that I will say a firm “No.” 

In the last three years, I have written over a thousand pages of work, from novels to screen plays and blogs. My average blog runs 1200 words. So far I have 108 posts. That’s 129,600 words. My first novel, which ran 250 manuscript length pages, was around 130,000 words. 

The emotions that go into each book, script, or blog are unto themselves unique to that moment. I realize I may get an inspired feeling after seeing a person walk across the street in a certain way, I might be trying to describe a feeling that is sitting within me at that moment, or I just might be venting after a bad night. Either way, like most people, these memories fade within my mind as soon as I slip the ipod headphones on, start watching a movie, or focus on something else. Looking at these blogs is like looking at the glimpse of the past, at various versions of me in different times, in different clothes.

I like it. 

It gives me perspective on my thoughts and helps me refocus on whatever it is that i’m trying to do in the present. If I was depressed three months ago in New York for a night because some really hot girl flaked on me, am I still like that? I can gauge. If I have a blog that talks about me trying to escape a certain kind of feeling or situation, I can ask myself, “Have I escaped that situation? Have I dealt with it?” Sometimes being able to look into the past, allows us to look at the present with an amazing clarity.

I never started this blog to record tidbits of my life. I started it to keep writing in between the heft mental weight or working on novels. I started it after I read Stephen King’s On Writing and knew that to stop writing, was to create chaos in my mind. 

After almost two years of sincere blogging, I can say that it had been a good thing. Sometimes I laugh at the things i’ve written about, like angry blogs about a malfunctioning computer, or the hilarity of a night from my “Jesus Cock Block” blog, and others. Sometimes I forget that I am an individual that ends up in a lot of funny situations involving drugs, artists and millionaires. Reading through some of these reminds me of who I am, what I attract and what I do. 

I’m glad my friend mentioned the blog today, or I wouldn’t have been able to take a step back and look at myself. 

I have no internet at home, and I’m at the library and its cold outside. I think its time to mosey on home, hop into bed, and dream about dancing sugar plums and pieces of Jerk Chicken that sing falsetto with necklaces that read “Barack the Vote” hanging from the bones.

if I have that dream, I promise, I’ll blog about it.

Hello DC: NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE…   4 comments

People always ask a person who’s almost died, “What were you thinking about just before the moment happened?” With a small level of certainty, I can (sort of but not really) answer this question.

 
Sometimes when I go to Adams Morgan, my mind runs on my ex-girlfriend, who lives in the area. Last night was a particularly boring affair, with me hopping from bar to bar and talking to no one. Like most nights when I’m in Adams Morgan, I take the bus home. When my cell phone displayed the magic time of 1:30, I decide to leave.

 
Strangely, the street is blocked off on one side, allowing traffic to leave the 18th street strip, but not come into it. I watch a bus rumble by slowly, and wonder if it is ever going to come back. I pace around for a few moments, watching people float by in various states of inebriation. An older African-American lady is sitting at the bus stop, with a small plastic bag in her hand. A few feet in front of her, with her arms folded is a tough-looking Caucasian woman. The tough-looking lady is standing and the other woman is sitting down. I lean against a part of the support structure of the bus stop.
So far I’ve been distracting myself by watching people, but for a quick second, I wonder what my ex-girlfriend is doing. Is she sleeping blissfully? Warm in someone’s arms? Or not even home? This thought passed through my head for a fleeting moment, then…

Shots rang out.

There were four or five shots. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! This was no more than ten feet from where I was standing. In that area, people scattered like cockroaches in a room when the light comes on. A few people, not sure what to do, simply stood up, like deer caught in the headlights. Some immediately hit the deck, and others streaked across the now empty street. Strangely, I didn’t move. I was leaning on the post, sort of looking straight up at nothing when I hear the first shot. Then I looked beside me and saw the clamor of activity. Most likely someone had been shot. The noises sounded dull and directed. Somewhere, only a few feet away, a person was probably dead. Only moments before, I had almost walked right there out of sheer idleness.

 
I jogged a few feet away from the bus stop to Columbia road, near the ATM. That was probably a bad idea, because that’s where the noise came from. The gun-toting maniacs were probably running to Columbia Road as well, where the melee might continue.

A few dark bodies fled from the alley, and it seemed that every officer was now brandishing their weapons. A few officers fly out of the alleyway and run down a dark street, holding their guns. As I looked around, an odd quiet hit the air.

People who are genuinely frightened don’t lament or weep. They stand in shock, wondering what just happened, realizing their mortality. One wrong move and a stray bullet could end your life, or severely injure you. The cops looked edgy.

A person running a little too frantically was liable to be chased, and probably beaten I presumed. While observing all of this, I realized that I was the only person standing up (along with the police officer). Everyone else was hiding behind a wall, or lying on the ground. Even this guy I had jogged past, (he was at the second bus stop that faced Columbia Road holding his bike) was crouching on the ground, looking around warily.

The officer looked at me with indifference. I was standing there with my hands in my pockets, surveying the area. The shots didn’t frighten me. A part of me “felt” as if I should be frightened, but the trembling chaos didn’t enter me. I just think I’m one of those people that doesn’t frighten easily.

Once in Jamaica, I was almost hit in a head on collision by a SUV twice the size of my vehicle. It was driving directly towards me with no headlights on. The SUV hopped over an island in the road, and it was only 50/50 that I chose to swerve right and the vehicle went left. Shortly after, a police car came blaring down the road, chasing the vehicle. I didn’t feel frightened at that point either, but seconds after the cars disappeared, my left leg began trembling violently. I was afraid in some way, I just didn’t feel it immediately.

Tonight, or last night was different. I realized that should a shootout happen, a stray bullet could hit me, but that eventuality didn’t make much sense to me. Though I was near the epicenter of the event, and only feet away from where the shooting started, I was standing near all the police cars and heavily armed officers.

After a moment, I walked towards the crosswalk that leads to the McDonalds on the other side of the street. The African-American woman from before was lying on the ground with two young Caucasian women. She was crying from sheer fright. She was inconsolable. I don’t blame her. If I was ten feet away, she was no less than five feet. The two girls held her hand.

“It’s okay. They weren’t trying to shoot you.” The girls said.
One of them, a blonde with tear filled eyes kept looking on me. I recognized her, but I didn’t know from where. They told the lady she would be all right. I couldn’t hear exactly what the woman was saying, but it seemed she thought they were shooting at her, and she was also worried about how she would get home. The two girls said they would pay for a cab so that she could reach home.
I was standing there, watching them with my arms folded. They were crying and seriously frightened, and it must have seemed odd for me to be standing there so stoically. Maybe I will wake up tomorrow and wonder why I wasn’t frightened, and why the tear filled eyes of those three women on the ground didn’t move me to even say anything.

I wanted to say “The worst is over.” And touch the woman’s shoulder, and reassure the girls that they were safe because the police were right behind them, as were the police cars. But I didn’t say anything. I watched them in their humanity, consoling each other in the way that people do in a time of crisis.

 
I felt a piercing vulnerability at that point. I sensed that if I had been walking by there (as I almost did) or if I had been idly traipsing around, I could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bad luck, bad timing. It seems fit that minutes before this event happened, I ran into someone I knew and followed that person to a bar for a few minutes. If I didn’t, who knows?

 

The girls still haven’t gotten up. They are freaked out and scared half to death, and are still lying awkwardly on the ground. The older lady is still moaning and wiping her eyes.
For a fleeting moment I get a powerful urge to call my ex-girlfriend. For some reason, some aspect of the event made me think of going over to her place to take refuge. She was only a few blocks away I thought, and I’ll be safe there. I wanted to say to her, “Wow, can you believe that I was standing right by a place where some shots rang out?” A part of me saw myself going over there, standing by her door as she rushes out in the hallway and gives me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek, thankful that I am alive and well.

But then I realized what I was thinking just before this all happened. I was wondering if she was sleeping blissfully, if she was in the arms of someone else, or even home at all. It dawned on me there was no reason to call her, and there was also no place for me to go but my apartment.
Maybe the event didn’t frighten me in a way that made me run for dear life, or hide on the ground, quivering like a small animal, but for a second it took me back to a point in my life, when I felt I had a retreat, a safe haven from the world, in the arms of someone else. Maybe that’s the real scary part of the entire thing, the fact that I completely forgot that I was no longer with her and we no longer spoke, but hearing a few shots echo in my ears, and sensing my mortality, I felt a desire to see her and speak to her that seemed instinctive, dredged up from the recesses of my being that blasted me face-first back into the past.

In these situations, it is a great thing to reassure yourself that you exist by receiving loving words from someone else. A hug from a friend, a sigh of relief over a phone call, or a naturally heartfelt embrace, like the one shared by the three ladies lying on the ground. My desire to speak with my ex most likely represented my instinctive feeling to remind myself that I exist, and that I didn’t have to travel home alone to deal with the situation. Or maybe I just wanted someone to share the event with. Who knows.

I took one last look at the three ladies lying on the ground, and crossed the street. I hailed a cab and hopped in. “What happened around here?” the driver said. “Some shots rang out.” I replied.
“Really?” he said with an incredulous smile. “Yes, really.” I said.
“Where was it?” he asked. “

“Right by the bus stop. It was like five shots.” I said.

“Wow!” he said almost with too much excitement.

“Yeah, I was right there. “ I said, almost not even believing those words.
I told him where I lived and quietly watched the dark buildings go by in a blur as the cab drove to my apartment. I wondered again about that flash of desire to call my ex, and why it seemed so instinctive. As the darkness of the city loomed at me from the windows of the cab, I knew I didn’t really have a safe haven. All I had was my own thoughts to console me, and the emptiness of my bedroom. I thanked the cab driver, tipped him and went inside, immediately greeted by the darkness of my apartment.

 

****

Hello DC: Saturday Morning Afternoon Adams Morgan   1 comment

view from Coffee and Crumbs

view from Coffee and Crumbs

I’m sitting in Coffee and Crumbs, a tea house off 18 th street somewhere near Adams Morgan. I’m looking outside a half-open door, watching people and cars flash by in blurs of dark color. On my head, are a new pair of cheap stereo headphones I just purchased from a CD game exchange. I’m wearing a black polo shirt, and stretchy gray pants. I wonder if I look like the typical 21st century floater. Floating from place to place, with my headphones on my head to dull my senses, my nice shirt and pants to make me feel good, watching life go by.
Its been a very interesting last couple of weeks in the good old Nation’s capitol. I’ve found myself feeling completely different about my environment. After coming from New York, people always asked me, “Which is better? New York, or Washington DC.” To this question, I give the same answer. “They are different.”
I went to New York for the day yesterday, and immediately I felt a surge of energy course through my body. I was walking faster, I felt generally more alive and well, and everything seemed faster, and more exciting. I even felt more attractive. I tried to pinpoint the reasons for this.
I caught a late bus out of DC at 11:30 p.m. I reached New York at 3:45 a.m. It was cold, and I got slightly lost in Chinatown. After I found a subway heading uptown, I learned that those trains, (the F uptown) were not running from September 5th, through October 26th. I ended up hailing a cab and heading up towards Union Square, where I had spent the last 3 ½ months before returning to DC.

I spent the morning shuffling around in my Aunt’s apartment, grabbing a few things that I had left behind when I came to DC. I watched a few episodes of Entourage, the Chris Rock comedy special Kill the Messenger and slept for an hour or two. I didn’t do anything, but I felt intensely invigorated. Maybe it was the fact that outside, were stores, nicely dressed people walking about, and the noise of the city that never sleeps. Maybe it was the fact that even though New York whipped my ass like most newbie’s, I had enough good memories there to have a nice sense of the place. Maybe I liked the high buildings, the claustrophobic atmosphere and the noise.
I was only in New York until 8 p.m. I would have left sooner if there hadn’t been intense congestion, which delayed the trip by over two hours. By 12 midnight, I was back in Washington D.C. Then, the contrast was obvious.
As soon as I returned to DC, I felt slower, more subdued. I got a sensation of space and darkness. It was quiet, emptier and less energetic. I caught a cab in Chinatown and went home. I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered how long the “New York effect” would last. Could I hold on to that feeling of internal power that comes with walking through New York’s streets? Could I feel a little bit brighter and happier in Washington D.C?
By 1 a.m I had made it to Wonderland, a bar I like to frequent. There, I had one beer and stood up watching people dance. I’ve noticed one thing ever since I returned from New York. I don’t talk to anyone. Most places I go, I stand up, have one beer or sip on water (if its available), then leave. I left the bar at 1:35.
Therein lies the New York Washington DC contrast for me I think. New York made me feel good, but it was a social nightmare of the highest degree. Imagine a land filled with gorgeous progressive women who are 100% dedicated to putting their careers ahead of relationships. Then imagine a similar place, where the women are less attractive but equally dedicated to career first.
Some people would say those are two nightmares, but who knows? I don’t necessarily feel powerless. I think, like DC, I sometimes feel spacious, empty and dark, filled with little gaps and winding places that few feet ever trod.
In New York, I felt that the atmosphere was sometimes like a huge block of ice that I couldn’t break. Around me it seemed people were screaming at me, “Give us ice! Give us ice!”, but all I had in my hand was a plastic spoon. I couldn’t chip the ice.
DC in a way feels similar at times. The block of ice is smaller, and depending on what day it is, I have a plastic spoon, and other days I have an ice pick. As it stands, I think all I have in my cabinet are a series of huge, plastic, spoons.
But DC also feels like an old bedroom. Every tactile sensation in this room sparks a memory good or bad. Walking down this street triggers a memory of you laughing with your boy, kissing your girl, or raging with anger.
But the past, the present and the future are all inherently inescapable things. I woke up this morning, staring at the ceiling. It was cold in the room, and I sat down to meditate. The silence around me was thunderous and I had to get out, to get away.

So what’s the lesser of two evils? A temporary taste of fleeting self-power (as in New York), or that calm (albeit subdued) sense of self that comes with a startling familiarity? I have no answer. No tengo idea. Wakarimasen.
So here I am, sitting at Crumbs and Coffee on 18th street, typing this stuff up, looking outside, watching the world float by in a blur of color. While sipping on green tea.

Hello DC: Shorts Party in Adams Morgan   Leave a comment

I’m standing outside Asylum, a bar in the heart of Adams Morgan. I’m trying to pull up my pants to make shorts, because I’ve found a nice little party. I can see in the window the movement of lots of bodies; the windows is thick with sweat and I can hear the echo of indie music.
I see a guy I know, Mick and he gives me a one over before I go to the bouncer. The bouncer is a man with a gentle face—he could have been a hobbit any of the Lord of the Rings movies—and he has a long head of wavy, semi-straight hair. I could see him sitting on this stool thirty years ago, with a beard to accompany the hair, smiling at people with those fairy tale eyes.
Its been a slow night. Thursdays are like that sometimes (at least in DC), and I just came from Saint Ex where I was hanging with a few friends of mine. Since I’ve returned to DC a little cloud has been growing over my head. I’m not sure what it is. Part of me thinks it latent memories popping up and leaping to the forefront of my conscious mind, but I have a theory that involves pretending to be a superhero and eating lots of potatoes that might get rid of it.
Saint Ex is on 14th street and I walked the four block stretch to hit Adams Morgan, where I had no real intentions. Anyone worth their salt knows that Thursday night in Washington DC is much more happening during the lovely summer months. Now the nights are getting cooler and congress is in session, so all the happy-go-lucky Capitol hill people have to go easy on the booze and coke for a bit and actually process reality.
So, I’m ready to go into this shorts party. Intially the bouncer said “I think those pants of his are too tight to roll up into shorts.” I disagreed. After a little effort, my biker/hipster black pants became glorified shorts. They grabbed at my knees like a gleefully obese child, but they worked. I would only need them to walk in. I hand the bouncer my ID, and I’m in.
I’m hit with a wave of heat and a thick smell. This smell is common to almost every bar I’ve been in with lots of people dancing inside. Its like a slice of salami that’s been left in a plastic Tupperware case for a few hours mixed with beer suds. Depending on the night, and the number of people in attendance, this scent can be mild, or downright disgusting. Tonight, the smell is at code yellow: Tolerable.
The party is definitely indie for DC. That or a lot of college people are out and about. The first girl I see is wearing what appears to be her boyfriend’s t-shirt and her eyes are glazed with the veil of inebriation. To my left, two tall shirtless guy with beach bodies dance with bottles of champagne in their hands, sipping while doing a very Euro-gay movement to the rhythm. They aren’t the only shirtless ones.
Two more guys, dancing on a large leather couch with its back resting on a wall covered in mirrors are grinding like the women in front of them are tossing dollars bills their way. One is wearing swim trunks half the size of the doozy that Daniel Craig wore in Casino Royale, and the other guy seems like he’s tripping on drugs, because he’s look at the ceiling, rubbing his thigh and dancing in a way that suggest the ceiling is a woman he’s trying to bed and this is his only chance at getting laid.
Within seconds of doing this sweep of the room, a girl yanks my tie (I’m wearing my customary t-shirt and tie) and pulls me to her left (my right) as she walks by. I chuckle, but she really has a tight grip on the thing. She reaches back—I think to grab my hand—but she misses by a mile and just slightly touches my crotch. Then, just like she appeared, she disappears into the sweaty throng of dancers.
I stand where I am for a moment. The music is good, the vibe isnt’ bad, but I’m not feeling like letting loose. The cloud is still following me, sprinkling me with bits of rain like that unfortunate Carebear that was always depressed. Now THAT guy had issues. Imagine living in a happy cherubic land where you can get doped up on “good feelings” by rubbing your stomach and saying “CARE BEAR STARE!” and you are the one schmuck that gets stuck with a rain cloud that follows you everywhere? I wouldnt’ be surprised in that carebear had an E true Hollywood story involving prositutes, latent homosexuality and some connection to Kevin Bacon.
A bunch of guys that look like the perfect entourage for a low-key rapper are in the back. They seem drunk, and they are doing wild things, like tossing the balls from a ball pool located near the window into the crowd, and spraying Champagne and beer on everyone. This action startles me at first. People spraying the bubbly for no reason usually pisses people off, gets girls made about their hair being wet and kills the party. But not tonight.
These guys sprayed at least four bottles of Champagne all over the people immediately beside them and no one stopped dancing. It was like a strange sexual display, with people getting sprayed on and cheering by guys wearing dark glasses with huge, lecherous grins.
At this point, the shirtless guys have all united on the leather couch and are all dancing with bottles in their hands. The last time I’ve seen a display like this was at South Beach, where a friend and I happened to a see a purple box way in the distance as we walked down the beach on Spring Break a few years back. As we got closer to this purple box, it was actually a large structure. From this structure was music. Pulsing, pumping, trance music. I got excited because I was thinking “Beach party, yeah!” and as neared the thing we saw hands in the air, heard people cheering and I got even more excited. We walked past a port-a-potty where a long line of guys were waiting to pee. But then, not only were guys waiting to pee, but there were guys everywhere. In fact, there were NO girls to be seen. The purple box was a gay party.
At this gay party, every man was hairless and had a body that Brad Pitt would envy. It was a garish display of the Miami gay scene and also a reflection of what working out can really do for a guy. Either way, seeing those four shirtless guys on that couch, looking over a mixed crowd dancing and being sprayed with champagne was, somewhat awkward, but oddly familiar.
As good as the music was, I didn’t feel like dancing. I entertained light conversation with a few people and then left. Maybe I was tired from working out earlier in the evening, or maybe trying to figure out the narrative of a new book I’m working on is taking up more mental energy that I realize. Whatever it is, next time there’s a shorts party going on. I’m wearing shorts, and I just might end up shirtless.

Hello DC: Sex, alcohol and Easy Drugs   Leave a comment

“Hey Marcus, you wanna do a line?”

This is how my Saturday night ends. I’m in a plush apartment somewhere near U street. Its so big that there are two couches; one near the front door, a beige couch that can seat three, and then fifteen feet away, is a black behemoth that can seat at least ten individuals. I’m at the tail end of a long night—several clubs and bars included—and now I’m being offered the tastiest of late night treats… coke.
I say no, because I’m not a coke person. I’m not a weed person either. People find it funny that I’m from Jamaica and I’ve never done weed. I find this interesting. I know doing coke, or “blow” as its commonly referred to in movies, doesn’t fit my regular racial demographic here in sunny ol’ D.C. People who make lots of money in high stress jobs tend to do a lot of blow. The ladies who live in this massive apartment are no different. They work for some massive business organization that probably pays them no less than one hundred K per year.
Me? I’m a lowly graphic artist who floats between interesting crowds. One guy in the group, a tall, burly fellow in a black t-shirt that reads “SECURITY” does a line. “Wow,” he says.” Its been like a year since I’ve done any coke.”
I stand there bemused. I’m in no way tempted to do coke—I’ve been in this situation many a time before—but I am feeling the effects of the alcohol I’ve been drinking throughout the night.
My night started out at Tryst, a small café in the middle of Adams Morgan. I was sitting there typing diatribes about my psychological issues with a good friend who lives in Atlanta, when I realized it was 10:15 p.m. I said a quick goodbye and hopped on the bus to go home. During this time, I received a text message:
Hey man, I’m on *** street and **** there’s a house party.
I think about heading to the spot but I’m unbathed and unprepared. Going home, bathing, heading back to the spot would take no less than 45 minutes. I’d reach there at no earlier that say, 11:30.
I’m heading out in a bit. I’ll let you know when I’m heading out. Is my reply.
I go home, briefly munch on some Candy Corn snacks (delectably disgusting) and then I don a vest, a pair of my favourite relatively tight pants, and an army green shirt, then I head out. While I walk to the bus, I’m listening to some hardcore dancehall music, which is the perfect fuel before going out. I hop on the bus five minutes later and feel my thigh throbbing. Its my cell phone buzzing. I answer, It’s my friend D.
“Hey what’s up man? “ I say.
“Nothing man, what are you up to?” he says.
“I’m on eleventh street.” I say.
“Oh cool, I’m on thirteenth.” he replies.
“Cool man, there’s a Rite Aid on thirteenth, I’ll ,meet you out front.”

I come off the bus and meet D. D is a relatively tall, handsome Asian guy—wearing a trench coat. “What’s up with the coat?” I say. “Hey man, I thought it was going to rain.” He says. I smell the slightest odor of liquor coming off him. Something rummy. Something strong. ”Were you drinking?” I ask. “Hell yeah man, I”ve been seriously drinking.” He replies. I chuckle to myself and we start walking. After exchanging the basic pleasantries (I.e a quick recap of some of my New York adventures), we head to a bar called Salam. This is an Ethiopian restaurant by day, weird indie bar by night. An Ethiopian man who looks like he’s sixty years old is checking ID’s. He looks at my passport and I walk in.
Salam is small—in that typical DC kind of way. A small bar is in front of me, somewhere music wafts through a door, and ten to fifteen people are milling about, having drinks. I immediately know this is not a place I’d like to be. D and I both grab drinks—Red stripes—and sip them as we catch up. I already know that I need to head to Adams Morgan, that smorgasbord of sweaty bodies, dive bars and impressionable women, but D hates Adams Morgan, but I’m intent on getting him to go there. After we finish our beers, we head outside and lean against some evil-looking railings.
“So what do we do now. Where do we head to?” I say.
“Let’s head this way, “ D says, pointing towards fourteenth street. (note we are on fifteenth, Adams Morgan is towards eighteenth).
I cajole him over a five minute period into heading towards Adams Morgan, making a careful note to mention this is probably the last time I’ll be in Adams Morgan for a long time (which is very true, since I’m leaving DC and probably won’t be back EVER) and we eventually start heading towards the A Morgan. D gets a text message. “House party at ***** off **** street. “ I pause as he says this. This place is unusually close to the abode of my ex-girlfriend who I really don’t’ want to run into, but I decide to go.
We walk for about twenty minutes and he in the wrong direction after we pass through the madness of Adams Morgan. Bodies are everywhere. Drunk girls roam the streets, and people walking with plates with pizza slices way too big for a human to consume traipse back and forth. It’s a blissful walkthrough.
I run into a back alley to take a piss. Luckily I miss a cop catching me sprinkle on someone’s garbage can by seconds, then we head to the house party. The party, like most house parties in DC (in this area) is mostly white. Guys in plain t-shirts and polos run about. Girls with glassy eyes, nice dresses and cheap heels walk oddly about, stilted by drunken gaits. I don’t’ feel very comfortable.
I don’t’ feel comfortable because I’m very used to this scene. I see two other black guys. One is very preppy with a calm look about him. He probably goes to GW or Georgetown.—the other is tall, with a small afro and a lightly muscled body. He looks like the archetypal Ivy-league black guy, and he floats into a room near the front of the house and talks to a girl with a large smile on his face. I scan the area, and see no one I’m interested in talking to. Most people are drunk, and the only person who speaks to me is a guy named Eric who’s playing beer pong. I have a few drinks and go back outside.
D decides to leave—he does this a lot, and I feel stranded. When D has a headache, isn’t feeling the party, or wants to go home, he does. This usually leaves me wingless (or wing-man less, and I don’t like it, because if you want to roll with your boy and have fun and he bounces on you, you become the sober guy talking to drunk girls… which ISN’Tcool.) So I start hanging with his ex-roomate, D2. I call him D2 because his name starts with D as well.
D2 says they are heading to Adams Morgan and I’m good to go. The party is a little bit too preppy, and I everyone who’s there seems ready to leave, as am I. I have a slight buzz from drinking two beers and two cokes heavily laced with a whiskey I can’t remember. We start walking and run into two other guys—a tall, burly fellow wearing a shirt with “SECURITY” on the front (I’ve already mentioned him) and another guy, a short, stocky fellow named Matt. With two girls in tow, miss J, and another one who’s name slips me, D2 and his roomie S, we head to the A morgan. We don’t go very far. At the top of the strip is a club called Chloe. We go in. At first there is some hesitance to enter—the cover is five bucks—but we all go in. Its like a typical club. It’s a sprawling expanse of cheaply tiled space with two bars. The only girls I talk to are the bartenders and a waitress ( who I didn’t realize was working that night). I drink some water, a cranberry vodka and then we head out. D2 starts pitching to me the positive reasons for smoking weed.
“Look man, I want you to blaze tonight. I can’t believe you’ve never smoked.”
I try to explain that weed isn’t my thing, partly because I think I have an addictive personality, and I’m constantly searching for happiness—two things that I think would make weed (supposedly a happy-inducing drug) something I’d want day in, day out.
We walk for a few blocks and D2 continues to pitch me, talking about how weed positively changed his life, affected his outlook and is incidentally better than cigarettes. I believe him, but I’m not inspired to smoke weed. I can see myself being in Europe, lying in bed with a smoking hot brunette who’s wet with sex and has the kind of skin bronzed from years in the sun. I can see this women pulling out a very distinguished looking bong (or pipe) and saying to me, “Markus, vould you like to smoke vith mee?” then I’d say yes, and smoke with her a bit, then return to coital bliss. Me smoking with D2 on a random Saturday night?
No.
D2 warns me that the rest of the group will be doing blow, and that weed is the best choice. I tell him that I’d rather do blow that weed (this is true) and he says I shoudn’t. Naturally, I’m not interested in doing blow or weed, but I find blow more intriguing. Weed is in your mouth, blow is in your nose. Nose rules.
D2 tells me that where we are going (a girl’s apartment ) is amazing. When we enter (like I said before) she has two couches, nicely polished floors and a bedroom with gold sheets, and no less than twelve pillows. Her room looks like a miniature palace, not a place where someone sleeps, much less has sex. Having sex in that room would seem sacrilegious.
The counter (one of two ) in the kitchen has an assortment of alcohol on its surface. I grab some SKYY Vodka and mix it with some Coke (the soda!) At this point, a few people are trying to figure out the best way to do lines. “Use a twenty dollar bill” miss J says. This seems to work. A few Bank of America cards appear, and the coke is divided into tiny lines. These lines are less thick and obvious that the lines of coke that you see in movies.
Then the snorting begins. Again, this has no effect on me. I’ve been in rooms where people are doing blow/talking to me about world events. At this point, Mr. A, looks at me and says, “Marcus you wanna do a line?”. I politely decline.
A part of me is genuinely interested in the blow ( I mean, who the fuck isn’t interested in snorting some coke and flying sky high on a boring-ass Saturday night?) but I don’t listen to that voice.
Miss J has a hot, flat screen LCD TV. “I have free cable.” She says proudly. I actually marvel at this, because the apartment is at least sixteen hundred bucks a month or more, and the free cable almost feels like an oxymoron in a nice paragraph of prose.
D2 is sitting on the couch, staring seemingly at nothing. Mr S says he should like up his J (not to be

confused with miss J) and he says no. He shoots me a look, hitting me with a gaze from large brown eyes.” You wanna get out of here?” he says. I look around the room. One of the girls is on the couch, completely passed out. Miss J is watching Tv. She either wants to get laid or is floating on a coke high, and the other two gusy (high and drunk ) are also watching TV. Me in my semi-sober state wouldn’t’ survive another hour there. “Let’s go.” I say.
We head outside the apartment building and D2 lights up his spliff. We are walking on a public street in DC, and D2 is smoking weed. This is life.
We turn onto the main road and a guy on a bicycle and two other people walking see him. “Can I hit that?” one of the fellows says. D2 gives him the spliff, and he takes a huge puff. So does the guy on the bike. A converstation starts—where the guys on the bike are asking him where he gets his supply—then another person enters the fray. A guy who looks Italian, dressed in a dress shirt and ugly dockers is walking down the street with his arm around who I assume to be his girlfriend. He walks past us, then stops. “Can I hit that?” he says as well.

D2’s spliff has now united five people, all on a public street, in the middle of DC, where cops run abound. The Italian looking guy takes D2’s number, to figure out where to get some good weed. The other guys disappear somewhere near 14th, and I stop at D2’s house to take a quick piss.
I say goodby as I’m heading out, and start the long walk back to my apartment. I always pack my little ipod with me, to break the monotony of a long home walk, and I listen to hardcore dancehall all the way back home. I see the light on in my roomie’s room, (hers is right above mine) and I shoot her a text message. We have a light phone conversation where I basically say she has a dude in her room she’s trying to bang but hasn’t’, then I hang up.

I put on one of my favourite movies, Aladdin, and watch it idly. To anyone watching me, it would look like I’d actually done some blow. The alcohol has worn off (I need much, MUCH more to get drunk these days ) and I watch Aladdin on my LCD screen.

I’ve been in DC for 24 hours, and I’ve had drinks, Japanese green tea, horrible spaghetti, hung out with a Euro-girl, a few friends and offered coke. Let’s see what the next 72 hours bring.

Cheers.

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