Archive for the ‘music’ Tag

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.

Advertisements

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.

%d bloggers like this: