Archive for the ‘drunk’ Tag

Hello DC: Rubix Cube Party   Leave a comment

I’m at a Rubix cube party.
We all know the Rubix cube. It was a genius little device invented in the early 70’s by the Hungarian architecture dude. You spin the faces, line up the squares and make the colors match. We know how it works. At this party, we are the colors, and by the night’s end, we must be wearing one color of clothing. In a sense, we are squares on the cube.
Earlier in the evening, I was happily munching on Chicken Tibs at a local Ethiopian restaurant. I was eating with a good friend of mine. We spoke frankly about the diatribes of broken relationships, growth and Sean Penn’s new Movie, “Milk”.
Afterwards, we stepped out into the darkness of DC’s winter cold, and I bid her adieu. Then I hopped on the 70 bus towards Columbia heights. I spent the trip listening to dancehall, and watching the dark blobs that represent rowhouses go past in a dull blur.
I was sitting quietly, (like most people in the bus), but I was listening to sexually charged, uber-voilent dancehall music. I’m sure my hipster pants and trucker hat hid that fact nicely.
It’s really cold when I exit the bus to head towards the party, but there is something oddly stimulating about it.
Maybe it’s the feeling of the wind biting my fingertips, the little brown leaves that rustle above me whenever a gust of wind flashes by, or the fact that I’m underdressed. My fingers are burning me, and my jacket (stylish as it is) has no outer pockets for me to slip my fingers into.
I walk fast.
When I reach the party, there is no one milling outside. This makes perfect sense. Even the smokers are happily huddled inside, accepting warmth instead of tiny doses of nicotine, cyanide and a dozen other harmful chemicals.
As I step in, a guy wearing red tights, and a red dress walks past. His eyes are glassy with alcohol, and he has a wry smile. “I need your hat!” he says to a girl walking nearby. She is wearing dark leather pants, a red hat and a suede Jacket that looks straight out of a vampire movie. She chuckles and disappears into the small crowd of people occupying the space.
I personally am out of place with my outfit. I’m technically wearing full black, (even though I wore a yellow shirt to throw my outfit off) but I am determined to find matching yellow pants. I see one person dressed in yellow, a short girl with dark features. She is wearing what appears to be a yellow jacket around her waist, webbed yellow shoes, yellow stockings, a yellow hat and a yellow shirt. I groan, as I have nothing to trade. The idea of taking off my pants right there to put some yellow tights on isn’t stimulating yet. I need to get some alcohol.
I meet and greet the hosts, and I find out it’s a birthday party. I was invited by a girl I know, Ash, and she is decked out in a full red outfit; large red shirt that reads “Ameican Heritage”, red tights and a  red baseball cap. At some point later on in the night she will be completely blue, complete with a blue wig. “Would you like some whiskey?” she says to me as I step inside.
For a moment I pause, and my mind flashes back to Halloween weekend a month prior. I saw a blur of people, faces and felt the heat of different bars and houses on my face, then I remember waking up and not knowing where I was.
“I think I’ll get a beer.” I say with a smile. Ash starts talking to the girl in the full yellow. Behind me, a guy says. “She (yellow girl) looks like a creature from Final Fantasy.”
I spend the next ten minutes trying to remember what creature she  looked like. I was never a huge Final Fantasy fan, but I knew a few of the creatures.
When I was in high school and Playstation (not Playstaion two or three, not even PSOne… PLAYSTATION) was all the rage, when Final Fantasy seven came out, it was lauded as one of the greatest RPG’s of all time. I didn’t have a Playstation, I had an N64, and I forever regretted not feeding on the frenzies of my school mates. I wished I could have huddled under the tree where the nerds hung out and read backstory on the FF universe, talk about little creatures and boss fights and escape in that world of fantasy. Instead, I played games like Bomberman 64 and Turok. I’m thinking about this as i walk through the kitchen looking a cup, then a word pops into my head:
Chocobo.
That’s the thing the girl in the yellow looks like. It’s a little bird sort of creature. I walk down a narrow hallway and through six active conversations. Outside is  a keg, and I get a drink. The temperature feels like its dropped another six degrees, and I hurry up and go inside. After my first beer, I’m determined to get some yellow pants.
The music isn’t very inspiring. It sounds like slow lounge music mixed in with upbeat country or old pop songs. No one is dancing yet. I see the birthday boy (who I incorrectly called “Jesse” for most of the night) and say hello. He is wearing a hodgepodge of colors. He has an orange shirt on, tiny blue shorts and black socks, and he has an orange bandana tied on his head. “So, you are twenty five eh?” I say. “Yeah, maybe in a week it will hit me and I’ll either be like “oh god!” or “oh yeah!” He says with a laugh. “I’ve been there,” I say. “I’m definitely in the “oh god!” stage right now.”
He disappears down the same long hallway with two girls and I eye some cake. Lately I’ve been avoiding a lot of pastry, and I don’t feel like digging into a suger-laced cake while I’m drinking. Ash is standing beside two more girls who are working the Rubix. One is wearing full blue regalia and has a blue wig on. She does Madonna style poses as cameras flash in the background.
I smile and survey the rest of the party. It’s a weird mix. Some people are dressed very normal, in the usually array of jeans and jackets. Then there are a few hardcore guys, who I call the “Rubix dudes”.
For some reason, they are all wearing dresses, and I think their oufits were elaborate plans engineered by the women at the party (they are in the majority). One guy is about six foot three and wearing a green skirt, a green halter top, what looks like a shiny set of green leaves on a string around his neck and (I think) a green necklace. Another fellow, who I later find out is Mark, is wearing small,orange boy-underwear, what look  like orange tassles around his waist, and a v-neck orange shirt (above a green one) complemented by a knit orange hat. He has sharp eyes, a playfully expressive face,a moustache and goatee. He looks like Robin Hood, if Robin Hood left Nottingham to join the broadway cast of Mama Mia! And ended up doing West Side Story instead.
There are a few other guys who enthusiastically get into the Rubix-mode, but the guy that took the cake was a short, broad-chested fellow wearing a full white female outfit. It was his manliness—hairy chest and broad flat features—that made his outfit the funniest. A tiny white haltertop barley fit on his chest and he wore a small white dress, and what looked like a white hairnet…. Or head tie, I’m not familiar with what all forms of female clothing are called.
They Rubix dudes were constantly taking pictures, smiling and laughing. I was on my second beer now, but I didn’t feel like clothes swapping that much. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I wanted to get my yellow pants. I started talking to Mr. T, a friendly-faced guy with a classic Midwest disposition. Ash told me he was apparently, a rubix cube expert.
We started discussing the dynamics near the front entrance. By this time I was on beer number four or five and sipping on a Bacardi ginger ale. Needless to say, talking about the concepts behind multiple planes and matching edges were lost on me. The music changed, and I started dancing with Ash.
At some point, I start a conversation with the tallest women at the party. One looks Scandinavian, and one looks German. I mention this to them.
“Hah! One laughs. I’m Swedish.” She says. “I’m German.” The other replies.
We talk for a few minutes about their amazing athletic abilities. (The swede did decathalon, long jump, high jump, 200M ,800M and deep sea shark hunting). The German did shotput, discus and javelin. (I guessed discus correctly).
Then the German speaks about one year of celibacy, and its implications as it relates to meeting people for “who they are.” I smile as she says this. “I wanted to know how it felt you know? To just not experience that for a year.”
I laugh, and say.”Most people know that feels for a good ten, fifteen years. I think they are too aware of celibacy.”
“Ten? Try twenty!” The Swede says with a laugh.
Ash is now in blue mode, and is dancing amongst friends, laughing and taking pictures. I wear the wig for a few minutes.
I go to the kitchen, and talk to two girls wearing black trucker hats. “What do your hats say?” I ask, squinting to read the writing on them. “Hah! You though it was Japanese didn’t you?” one of the girls says.
In fact, I didn’t think that, because I can read some Japanese. I was thinking it was some kind of Arabic language (and in my defense, the girls both had that “dark-ish” look. Long black hair, sharp dark brown eyes. Which means they could have Persian ancestry or just be from Manhattan.)
“It’s a hat our friend made. Its actually in English.” She points out what it says, and it becomes as clear as day. “ohhh….” I say. Then I look down, and see that she is wearing YELLOW PANTS.
“I said I’d get some yellow pants tonight.” I say seriously. “You have what I want.”
She swaps pants with me, and we snap pictures with her friend, who also has the pants on. Technically, they are little boy shorts, but I rather refer to them as pants.
I parade around in the pants for a while, and smile broadly. Ash comes over, she rubs her small hands across the small of my back. “I see you got your yellow pants.” She said. “Yes I’m a happy camper!” I reply.
I spend the next few minutes taking pictures of all the other emasculated men, including those I’ve named the White Russian, the Green Giant, Robinson Hood and the Black Tight. Outside where the keg is, people are huddled around a grill, talking about nothing in particular. I snap a few more pictures and go back inside.
The girls in the trucker hats are heading out, and I return the yellow pants. The party is beginning to thin out, and everyone is heading to wonderland. I feel a twinge of regret as I head out with Ash and Mr. T to wonderland. I was hoping I could wear my yellow pants there.

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:::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, old friend.   Leave a comment

I’m sitting in Tryst, a cool little tea/café place in the warm, sweaty bosom of Adams Morgan.
I’ve always fantasized about having a sweet little laptop to bring to this place; this place with its hidden speakers playing random selections from groups like The Who and the Fuguees, while occasionally glancing at the semi-yuppie crowd eating expensive brownies and gulping down green tea.
I’ve achieved this goal, but the sense of victory is lukewarm. I’ve been using my sleek little Macbook pro for a while—multiple countries of use not withstanding—and coming to Tryst with it doesn’t feel like an incredible achievement, but hey, I’ve done it.
Being back in DC is like stepping into the shade when twilight falls over the earth. Okay, maybe not that dramatic. There’s a sense in me of extreme familiarity with my surroundings. Outside, a cool, gentlemanly breeze blows in a way that makes me feel like I’m being caressed by a thousand hands. There was no one on the street when I walked around earlier, so the wind felt like mine and mine alone.
Compared to the savage, endless pace of New York, DC is like a breath of chocolate Fresh air. Already I’ve “run into” several people I know, within the span of 24 hours. A few walks here and there, and I hear “Marcus!”. Today I spent two hours with my tall Serbian friend, watching her laugh as we chat about old times. (Old times being six months prior). She saw me walking on the road, and with cute pink ipod and olive skin in tow, followed me to Tryst.
On a phone conversation with my father, I said” New York is rapid, rapacious and filled with a convalescence of high-energy individuals living in a contiguous environment.”
Oh okay, I didn’t say that, but I did use the word “contiguous” at some point.  Maybe I feel relaxed in DC because I have no more trappings here. Maybe I feel relaxed because a warehouse of memories are contained within the borders of this tiny city. Nasty, sexual memories, memories of brutal physical pain, quiet, internal agony and thick, viscous depression. I’ve run the gamut here, and my mind and body know it.
When you are familiar with a place, your mind extends in all directions. You can’t get lost. You can only get robbed. I can walk for hours and know exactly where I am, not question what side street is this, I know the price of that, and “let’s not go to that place because I might run into so-and-so”. You know the deal.
But it seems, this reunion of Jamaican and American city has some pyrrhic undertones. I feel I am truly saying goodbye to this place. In more ways that one. I used to be somewhat afraid of coming back to the city.  The memories I’ve had here roam the spectrum pretty well, but my last few months here before my departure to Europe (and many a drunken night) were filled with a kind of emotional despair the likes of which I don’t’ want to experience any time soon.
Coming here, I’m reminded of my maturity and how this place has solidly contributed to it. I remember giving the wrong kinds of girls a nice letter, the wrong girls thoughtful gifts, being unintentionally mean to an old person on the bus and promising never to do it again. I remember almost fighting a bouncer and glad I didn’t. I remember tearing a ligament in my knee, and spending ungodly hours in pain. I remember some of my cute girlfriends—they feel like old, dusty photos—and I remember people who have flickered in and out of my life, like how holograms look in science fiction movies.
But this isn’t some huge goodbye to the chocolate city. I’m sure I might return here if I have good reason to. But I have more reasons not to return.
This is a city of schools, non profits and people with politically inclined careers. For the mad artists like myself, who feed on visions of purple candy and being famous for “drawing and designing stuff”, this isn’t the place for me.
Either way, this isn’t some bard’s goodbye, or some classic like Ode to joy. This is me sitting in a little café, writing in the dim light, on my sleek, shiny (and relatively new) laptop.
Hello again DC. May you send forth your maidens, so that I may defile them.

Germany day 4: The Czech Republics, beaches and underground clubs   Leave a comment

 

Its Sunday afternoon. I just woke up with my head in my hands. I’m fully dressed, in my outfit from the night before. I hear room door open, and my roommate walks in and starts using his computer.

 

I vaguely remember a moment a few hours before.  I—

Burst into the room, obviously drunk and I struggle to take  off my shoes. My roommate, a Japanese dude named Yoshi, asks the obvious question: “Are you allright?” he says. “I’m fine.” I reply, then I flop into bed. A few seconds after hopping into bed, I feel like my head is spinning and I run to the bathroom. Yes, Berlin was that good.

This blog is in two parts: Day and Night.

DAY

For me, the day was somewhat introspective. A friend of mine was in Berlin for a few hours and I hung out with her. We shared a meal at a Vietnamese place near Weinmeisterstralle and chit-chatted about life. We traveled on the train a bit, took some pictures and talked about humanity and monogamy. She explained to me that her brother had been recently cheated on by his girlfriend of three years, and he was a mess. I said “damn,” to myself when I hear that, but that’s life. Who can really trust anyone?

Either way, after I said my goodbyes to her I hung out in Alexanderplatz for a little while. The best way to describe the place:

The area is the size of a stadium with no stadium. For a stretch of roughly half a mile, is nothing but pavement. Two massive buildings are on this concrete tundra, and people look like ants as they walk to and fro. It is almost like staring at infinity, or God’s empty paddling pool, its that big.

 

Yeah… so I was sitting there for a while just thinking about my life. Here I am in Berlin, sitting by myself. I’ve achieved a great goal by coming here, and I feel happy to be here, but my mind runs on many other things.  Occasionally, I think about my ex-girlfriend and wonder what she’s doing. I wonder if she’s sleeping alone, or with someone,  or taking a shower in the middle of a summer morning. I want to talk to her, but I’ve been afraid to call her lately. I don’t like feeling needy. I need to disconnect a bit. A statement I came up with for a book I’m working on has become a theme for me of late, especially since I’ve been traveling. This was supposed to be a statement in  a movie or something…. But basically two people are talking, and one person says. “You don’t know what love is like.” And one says,” Love can eat you, and love can sting you, but you’ll never know how small the world is until you are in love.”

This statement hit me profoundly (even though I came up with it). You can travel thousands of miles away from someone, but all you need is a thought to put them right beside you.

I didn’t mention it in my blogs when I was in France, but one night was really bad for me. A few years ago one of my best friends died, and  it has  affected me to this day. When I was in France, one on night in particular, I remember a conversation we had. “We are going to Japan.” He said, “We’ll travel, we’ll do it.” We had made plans to go to Europe as well, traveling, having fun sight seeing and living it up. That will never happen. I don’t know why that night in France that realization hi me so hard. In the middle of everything I was doing I started to feel like I was losing it—I wanted to network, to get into parties and have fun, but all I could think about was my friend.

Now I’m in Berlin, one of the places we might have traveled to. I don’t feel bad today, (not in the way I did in France) but sitting in this massive, expansive place can make a person think about things.

Sometimes I want to just forget everything I left behind. My past, my old apartment in DC, my past thoughts and memories. I didn’t’ really want to travel thousands of miles to sit and think about things I can’t change. I guess this is the real spice of life, sitting in a foreign country thinking about all things Marcus.

I also think about my family. I wonder what they are doing, how things are in Jamaica, and if they have any idea what I’m doing in Germany. I think of the future, a possible family of my own… and the next step for in my life. I think on these things for a while, then, I realize I need a drink. Fast.

 

NIGHT

I’m at the beach, in the middle of Berlin.

I’m near Freidrickstralle, an area that reminds me of bad b-movies with great art direction. I’m meeting up with the English girl I met the day before, and some of her friends.  On my way to meet them, I waited at the wrong street for a while. I saw a Pub Crawl taking place. Seeing all those tourists walking to a bar was like watching a 2008 American pilgrimage.  I’m sitting on my bike sipping a beer—I still havent’ realized I’m in the wrong place yet—and I talk to a few fellow standing by the road. When they hear I’m from Jamaica, they seem to be in shock. “Dude, why are you in Berlin?” they say. I try to answer this question when another guy comes up and he also asks me the same question. Why are you in Berlin?

Eventually, I meet up with the guys. They suggest we go to this place called “The Beach”.

This place is like a dream, I’m serious. A huge shadowy building is in front, and almost all of its surface is covered in graffiti, in the shadwos and in the lights, are people, walking through sand, yes, sand and sitting on benches, under tents, drinking and laughing.

What’s dream like about the place is that (a) we have this huge old German building creating the perfect spooky grunge backdrop. (b) we have sand in the middle of a big city, plus trees and beach chairs (c) graffiti makes the area seem dangerous, but its all very chill.

I half expect to see a six foot seven German man in a leather jacket covered with trinkets point to me and then I get tossed out by a few smaller but equally swarthy cronies on the street. I would lay on the ground for a moment gathering my senses when a huge boot would kick me in the ribs and someone would shout in a BAD accent, “Go back to zer Amerika!”

Of course that didn’t happen.  At this point I’m starting to feel a good buzz since I was pre-gaming (alone…sad I know) earlier. Liquid confidence gives me the balls to approach random German people, which I’ve found isn’t a pleasant experience. Germans seem friendly during the day, but at night it’s a whole different story. I see two Slovak looking ladies sitting down and I say my one liner:

“Halo, vie geht es inen?” (Hi, how are you?)

The give me a look that makes me feel like a wisp of grass that accidentally landed on the table. I say “whatever” and find my group. Vanessa is with her long time high school friend Rich and they seem to be getting very chummy. I get a few signals that I’m not supposed to be there when she keeps asking me which girls I want to talk to.

I’m not worried… this is Germany baby! I head over to a small bar where there is  a large group of VERY blonde women. I BS and get a drink and initiate some conversation with two of them. They are from the Czech republic! They speak perfect English. It turns out they are on a class trip to Berlin and they will be here until Monday. I met a Monica, Martina, Elle and someone else. They were all tall, pale and almost platinum blonde. “We are from Prague.” Martina said.  I want to go to Prague now.

I joke around with the ladies for a little while and get a few nasty looks from some of the Czech fellows sitting nearby. I dub the ladies, “The Czech Republics”.

After I chat with the ladies for a while I go back to Vanessa and crew. Massive, the Italian with an Aussie accent is part of the group now. He recommends buying drinks at a corner shop outside to save cash. I agree and follow him. A bottle of Beck’s twice the size of the one I bought in the company of the Czech girls for 3 euros is 1.50 at the stand. I talk to Massive for a few moments about German girls. He too agrees they are kind of hard to meet, but once you get in, oh boy!

At this point I’m probably drunk. I can’t tell for certain, but I started doing some crazy things. I get annoyed with Vanessa for a reason I can’t remember and spend the next hour in the company of the Czech Republics. Unfortunately, I met the teacher of the students (Monica) and breaking in to that group seems like a very shady exercise. The girls were 18 and 19 respectively. Plus massive German guys swarmed around, full of that “I am very tall and very strong” swagger.

I give up on the Czech Republics and head outside for another beer. This time I’m walking alone. The street is buzzing with life. I get a different beer, this one is a Berliner. The lady working the stand looks like a seasoned participant in life. She is in her late forties to early fifties, heavy set with red patches from overexposure to the sun and a hard face. She cracks it open. “Danke.” I say.

I’m walking back to The Beach and I see a tall attractive girl eating some pizza. I make conversation and she tells me about a club she’s going to.  “You should come.” She says.  A fellow pops up, a shorter guy (shorter than me, meaning VERY short by German standards) and this is Benny. At some point I whisper to the girl (who’s name is Marie) and ask her if Benny is her boyfriend. She laughs, a cute, twinkling German laugh. “He is too little!” she says, pointing at him. Benny hears the statement and smirks. Another guy comes along, also shorter than me. He is Yohan. Yohan gives me some vodka to sip on.

The adventure begins.

We take a turn off the main road, Oranienburgerstralle and go up a dark, quiet street. I’m definitely drunk now, and just going along for the ride. I learn that Marie spent one year in London, which explains her good English. She said she just finished school… high school! She’s 19. The group stops at gate that looks like it was stolen from the Bram Stoker’s Dracula prop set.  Two men in black jackets speak in hushed tones to Yohan and Benny. They check their IDs and wave us in. I’m looking for my ID, but I realize I left it back at the hotel. The bouncer waves me in. I follow the group through a very dark parking lot and we enter what looks like an apartment building. After walking up a small flight of stairs, I can hear the music pounding through the walls. House music!

I ask Marie how much is the entrance fee. “Its about six euros.” She says. I nod after she says this, and I turn to the bouncer. “Halo my friend!” I say with a big smile. He is short, but very muscular. “Mi name ist Marcus, from Jamaica, first time in Berlin!” I say. “Thomas.” He says, shaking my hand. “I am happy to be here!” I say with more energy. Then I turn back to the group. The guys paid, and I look at Thomas and he waves me in. Free entrance baby!

 

Two things happen at this point. First, I feel amazed. I’m in a real German club now. There were no tourists in this place. The interior of this building resembled a mini cathedral. There were several dance floors all packed with people. The air was hot and wet.

 

The second thing that happens is I lose the group. I was following Marie around for a few minutes, then she disappeared. After that, I was on my own. I think, and I emphasize, think  I bought another drink at this point but I can’t be sure. I vaguely remember having a conversation with a German guy who happily proclaimed he was 197 cm tall (probably like 6’6). The music was good, but I couldn’t really dance. I was people watching. I was inside, but I felt exposed. I’m this drunk Jamaican guy running around with a polo shirt with a tie on! This is where the night gets blurry.

So I lost the group and listened to some underground music for a while. I don’t think I attempted to talk to anyone seriously. I said hello to a few girls, but I needed some air. All the beer and Vodka was getting to me now.

I’m directed to an exit that puts me on a street I don’t know. The sky is a purplish-blue. Damn, its almost daybreak. I’m not walking straight and I’m lost in the middle of Berlin! I curse a little and stop almost everyone that walks past me:

“Ver is der Frederickstrasse?” I say. (Where is Frederick street?)

People point me in the right direction, but I walk around in a daze for a good twenty minute before I find “The beach” again. I go inside but everyone is gone. No Czech Republics, no English crew. I unlock my bike from the entrance of the beach and start riding home. I don’t know why, but I’m hit with an overwhelming desire to call my ex-girlfriend. For that moment, her voice was the only thing I wanted to hear. I think that desire saved me.

I could barely ride the bike straight and I had about a three mile stretch from where I was to my hotel. This mind you, is through winding roads and streets, between underpasses, ten lane roads, and over routes where these large (and deathly quiet) tram cars drive. Dangerous.

I fuel myself with thoughts of my ex, and this keeps me semi-sober for a while. Twice, I crash the bike. The first time, I almost rode into a wall and a did a poor braking exercise. The second time I had a full wipeout about two hundred feet from my hotel. Even though the sun is starting to rise, it’s still very dark. To get to my hotel I had to navigate through a narrow path filled with lots of trees and hedges. I was doing a good job. “yes, I’m almost there!” I said gleefully. In moments I would be inside my room, on Skype talking to the one person whose voice I wanted to hear. Then, I lost my equilibrium.

My front tire hit a hedge and the bike shifted into the hedge. I braked up, but badly and I fell to the ground. Now I’m on my back and the world is spinning. I try to get up but I can’t, I’m too wasted. I laugh.

“I’m in Germany!” I say to myself with a weak chuckle. I lay there for a minute or so, catching my breath. I think of calling my ex again, and I find a second wind. I get up and finish the ride to the hotel. I lock the bike outside and walk to my room. All I want to do is sleep, but somehow I take my laptop from its case and open it up. (The next morning I would see the laptop on the kitchen table and wonder how it got there). I call my ex but I’m not successful. She doesn’t answer the phone.

At this point the blog begins.

I flop into bed fully dressed hoping to sleep. The Berliner and Becks I drank don’t want to stay inside me, so I run to the bathroom. I go into the room and fall asleep immediately.

Wicked night.

 

Leonidas Ain’t Got Nothing on Me!   Leave a comment

In twenty-nine days i’m supposed to be a Spartan. A friend of mine suggested we all work out and get ripped over a 10 week period and then head out to a halloween party in briefs, red capes, with fake shields and masks as our protection against hordes of inebriated women. For me this is a 60% reality. I don’t work out much, but i’m lucky to have the body type that makes people think I “might” work out, which is pretty cool, until I start bashing myself worse than a body builder who forgot his steroid injections.

I realize I’ve never even been to a Halloween party. To my knowledge we don’t (and probably still do not ) celebrate Halloween where i’m from, which is Jamaica. I’ve always read about Jack-o-lanters and pumpkins and what not, but other than seeing that stuff in kids books and on television, there is no way in hell that random Jamaican parents are going to let their kids roam the streets asking for candy. Its just not done.

In 2002, I walked around a shady neighborhood wearing the mask from Scream, dressed in full black. I felt powerful and anonymous, watching people through the tinted veils of some mad writer’s genius. But, I’ve never been to a Halloween party, so this year might be my first. I’m thinking about the choice of outfit. I can already foresee several other spartans in attendance, with many of them having beer bellies, hairy chests and tighter briefs than I might wear. I can also imagine one of these guys leaving with a girl for the night, while I, with my semi-okay six-pack, will probaly be sipping fruit punch and munching on condiments from the table beside the DJ.

Some aspects of being a spartan seem rather exciting, such as hearing a dancehall song play ( most likely this will be a Sean Paul song) and then someone raises their sword, shield, or fist and belts out, “SPARTANS!”. Then we assemble on the dance floor and do awkward Jamaican dances in briefs and capes.
“Oh, there will be blood.”

As I’ve always heard from a good friend of mine, Halloween is a prime occassion for people to hook up. Maybe it has something to do with wearing costumes and being relativley anonymous that gives people more confidence. A guy dressed like Batman might actually believe he is a billionaire with psychological issues, able to get any woman he desires with a swipe of his credit card. Or maybe the guy who dresses like a large teddy bear, is fulfilling some strange childhood fantasy involving himself, Teddy Ruxpin and several sweaty strippers. Whatever the reason, the rumours about Halloween hookups seem to have some merit. I think it takes a certain level of confidence or inebriation to go to a party as a Spartan. I mean, 99% of guys who watched 300 left the theater punching walls and ripping hair of their chests. Then they proceeded to engage in thousands of “Ambiguously gay” battles in their underwear, shouting “Tonight we dine in hell!” to which his friend might reply, “No! Tonight you dine in my ass douchebag!”

Maybe being a spartan will be a cool thing. I could be the one spartan that isn’t filled with bloodlust, uber-manliness and a need to savagely take out his homoerotic tensions on waves of very ugly marauders. I might stand up in the middle of the party, with my cape wrapped comfortably around my torso, debating Science Fiction with the guy who came in dressed as Orson Welles. Then I may offer my condolences to Neo for dying at the end of the Matrix, give Batman a high five and then smile lustfully at any girls dressed as Nurses or Playboy bunnies.

I could have a shield, but i’m not sure how practical that would be on the dance floor. Blocking hundreds of arrows and the sharp blades of my enemies won’t be necessary in the company of college students, people who work in non-profits and on the Hill. (Well, in terms of people on the Hill, I might need the shield.)

It would be fun to ben an intelligent Spartan, or maybe even a bipolar one. I could savagely kiss a girl i’ve never met, then run into a corner weeping because I acted like “less of a man”. I could be the kind of Spartan that keeps the uber-cool “I can kick your ass with my little finger” vibe while expounding on the laudable attributes of Halo 3. I could be that spartan.

Nonethless, I have been doing nothing towards this goal. I’m too tired during the day to really go to the gym, and like I said before, I am luckly to somewhat look Spartan-esque without doing too much work. Exciting as the Spartan thing is, I think I might just go dress in a white collar shirt and a soft pair of plaid pants. Then, when I am asked what i’m dressed up as, I will give the reply Wednesday did in the Adamms Family movie.
“‘I’m a psychotic killer. They look just like everyone else.”

Posted October 3, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

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