Sunday, September 30, 2007

Call Me Kitty X - Sometimes....

I'm on a roll here, so let's just post one more CMK and finish it off. This is the tenth and final installment. (Ed. Note: There is a trilogy that preceded the Kitty series, but these remain unreleased due to not wanting to confuse people like that bastard Lucas did with that Star Wars debacle.) So if you enjoyed your time with Dave, then you'll be happy to know you now have the complete set. If you never liked the bastard, then you'll never have to see him again.

Sometimes you drink and sometimes you fight. Sometimes you just laugh your ass off at other drunks. Or sometimes you laugh at others not as drunk. What makes them think they’re so great?
Sometimes you try to pick up chicks. Like Pablo Picasso. Who drove down the street in his El Dorado. Other times you just wonder what it might be like to be another species and develop a mating call. Most of the time you just try not to hit other El Dorados with your El Camino. El Rancheros may be Ford tough, but never looked as cool.
Sometimes you watch the game and other times you ignore it. If you’re watching the game, why can’t everyone just shut the hell up? And if you’re ignoring it, why would anyone else want to watch that crap? Father knows best but he's not here with the remote now, is he?
Sometimes you eat, usually something very unhealthy. Other times you forget and wonder which is worse. Sometimes it’s an afterthought and you eat burritos, other times you eat small hamburgers.
Sometimes you drink it straight from the bottle. If it’s beer, that’s the way it should be. If it’s over 80 proof, then you’re a bad ass and I want to be your friend. Other times it’s in a glass or a plastic cup. At least you don’t inject it. That would be very bad. But you wonder if the alcohol would sterilize the needle enough to make it safe. Sometimes you wonder too much.
Sometimes you tip too much. Sometimes you hope they don’t notice when you’re broke and you don’t. Sometimes you wish they would give you frequent flyer miles. And sometimes you just wish they’d give you a swift kick in the ass. But free miles sound better.
Sometimes it’s happy, sometimes it’s sad. Sometimes you choose, other times you don’t.
Sometimes there’s music and other times there’s really loud music. Drinking and silence are a rare combination. One might think that alcohol is the antidote to silence. And sometimes the music is so loud you wonder why. You wonder a lot. Not just about music. Just a lot.
Sometimes you stand, sometimes you sit, and sometimes you wobble. Sometimes it’s crowded and you want to sit. Other times you get there too early and your ass is numb from sitting too long. It’s not a dynamic activity. If you’re moving, stop and sit down or at least stand in one place for a minute.
You wouldn’t want to spill any now, would you?
And almost as if she were reading Dave’s mind, she sat down on the stool next to his and ordered another. He smiled, and he added a shot to his tab....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Call Me Kitty IX: Stumbling Starry Night

Dave fell to the grass and must have known subconsciously that she would follow. The subconscious continues to work even when the beer has clouded the conscious mind. And the truth in the subconscious was again not to be denied as she tumbled into the grass and rolled to a stop parallel to his side. She joined his gaze up at the stars and knew why he didn’t have to say a thing. You didn’t have to be a poet or a romantic to recognize the starry night’s beauty. Either the spectacle was so rare in the lights of the city or the urban activity served as a distraction from turning ones’ eyes to the sky that the haphazard sighting left them spellbound. The same alcohol that had them giddy, loud, silly, and drunk also in a weird way gave them the innocence to lie with one another quietly captivated by the stars above. Drunken ramblings suddenly yielding to hushed tones as they finally found the power to speak. Not out of a need to fill an uncomfortable silence, but only to have documented sharing this odd, rare, beautiful moment with another human being. The lawn they laid upon was not even their own, but it wasn’t being used to its potential by its slumbering owners. Hopefully they didn’t wake their temporary landlords with their earlier tumbles more reminiscent of a rugby game rather than renaissance astronomers. It was an uncommonly comforting way to come down from the adrenaline of the evening, like the rush of a skydive free fall giving way to the pop of the chute and a long gentle swaying float down to earth. The hushed and minimal conversation only an unnecessary color commentary on the grandeur above. Almost respectful commentary. It could have made one feel very small and alone, but the touch of a hand in another gave meaning to a quickly diminishing existence and perspective. Not a meaning in whatever relationship they shared, but meaning to their existence in the tiny world they traversed that evening. It was a humbling experience achieved in an inebriated state not known for creating humility in any individuals. That was the power it had and that they had felt. But the gentle ride down from their alcohol induced high was not a bummer; instead it was an elated feeling that overpowered the normally lethargic effect of the depressants. Their hands gently lying together, interlaced and comfortable. They knew they couldn’t lie there forever no matter how good it felt. But they tried to stretch that moment out as long as possible, living more in the present than they ever had. It was probably more fleeting than they realized, as such epiphanies often slow one’s thoughts to a pace in which everything becomes so obvious.

They eventually rolled their bodies upright and continued on the short walk back to the car, quite in contrast to the running tumbles that put them on the lawn. A contrast they were both capable of and admired in each other. The mesmerizing moment slowly faded from the forefront of thought as he reviewed the evening’s activities with extreme satisfaction, but he was again reminded of the power and majesty of that starry scene after leaving her at her front door with a simple kiss.

Upon arriving home, a solitary message on his answering machine, from her, thanking him for the stars. Like George Bailey capturing the moon for Mary, he had succeeded in capturing a Frank Capra moment in the real world. Not bad for a fucking drunk.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Call Me Kitty VIII - The Lunch Bunch

It's been a while, so crack open a cold one and please enjoy the eighth installment of the Call Me Kitty series... Dave misses you all.

He was a regular at the corner tavern most evenings, but was a stranger to the place in the day.
Normal greetings thrown his way upon entering after dusk were unfamiliar to the staff on call before nightfall. They treated his entrance with no less indifference shown to any other customer that happened to have stumbled into their joint for a beer or a home cooked meal.
Other evening regulars might have made such an oversight obvious to the oblivious staff, but they too were replaced by stand-ins unknown to our time traveler.
This initial wave of twilight zone locale made him feel as if he had walked into his own home and found another's family. No doubt a comfortable environment, but with very unsettling circumstances.
Although still mindful, he was able to settle into an open stool, respecting the space between his chosen seat and those of the midday squatters. His territory was only marked during darkness, the daylight strangely screaming through the windows masking evidence of any nocturnal claims. So far masked that there was also a mild fear of encroaching upon his apparent daytime counterparts.
The kitchen was showered with light, showing the steel industrial appliances normally cloaked in the dark backroom. Not only visible, but busy producing baskets of custom sandwiches after being efficiently fed the ingredients by people he never knew were on the payroll.
He ordered that day, but his inexperience with the lunchtime menu and protocol still didn't endear him to the barmaids of the light. And still he ate, almost hurriedly, but in a manner not to draw undue attention to himself. The food, memorable, but perhaps even more so if it had been given the time to be properly savored.
The tab, settled quickly and with a generous tip intended to help excuse the intrusion that afternoon.
Out to the parking lot, the sun spewing a shot of solar flares at his unexpecting face and forcing his eyes to angrily adjust to ultraviolet noise that deafened his pupils. He pulled inconspicuously away, vowing to return only in his well-earned and properly appointed time slot. The moonlit landscape a more comfortable one, so comfortable, that there was no sense in risking any more changes of scenery.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Lonely Sid NYC - Part III (of III) (kind of like The Streets of San Francisco, except without the epilogue)

Speaking of The Streets of San Francisco, what's with all the hype over this show called The Closer? Police Woman was way better. Give me Angie Dickinson over Kyra Sedgwick any day, thank you. Dang, I've digressed before I've even started. Is that even possible by definition? Oh, yes, NYC...

Fortunately, Tim Russert did not call me to appear on Meet the Press that Sunday in New York, so I got to sleep in. Do they tape that or broadcast it live? I mean Meet the Press, since watching me sleep probably wouldn’t garner good ratings even if it were broadcast live. I don’t even have restless leg syndrome or anything else remotely entertaining, although I’m told that sometimes I laugh in my sleep. But can you really trust what a slutty teenage girl or Romanian prostitute tells you? Now that I think about it, is Meet the Press in NYC or DC? I should probably find out in case I decide to enter politics. But that won’t happen until I recover all the pictures of me and that goat. Hey, at least I didn’t solicit the goat in an airport bathroom. That’s just sleazy. But I’ve digressed again.

I couldn’t sleep in for too long since I had to check out and move my stuff to the fancy hotel around the corner for which work was footing the tab. Since everything in my Pod room was within arm’s reach, packing took about 17 seconds and I swooped around the corner to drop my bags off at the new joint. Everybody who works there greets you with “welcome home” which is nice of them, but annoying after a while since they didn’t seem sincere in offering me permanent digs there in midtown Manhattan. After ditching my bags I hopped the 2nd Avenue bus going south, my friend joined me at 19th Street, and we continued on to Chinatown for some planned dim sum. I had agreed to dim sum without knowing exactly what it was, and I was praying it wasn’t some ancient form of yoga or martial arts. The last thing I needed was to be torturously contorted or violently kicked in the head while trying to enjoy the weekend. However, I always thought it would be fun to dress up like a ninja and learn how to use a throwing star. But I’d suspect that a Ninja Throwing Star class would merely consist of an instructor simply telling us that you need to buy a throwing star, be like real quiet and stuff, and then throw the star at your enemy, and if that was it I would surely feel that it was totally not worth the $40 class fee. Unless it included the throwing star and a headband. But I digress.

Dim sum is like a Chinese buffet, except they bring the stuff to your table on a rolling cart. If it looks appetizing, you can request a small plate; if it is not to your liking, then you take a pass and the server commits hara-kiri as a result of the dismissal. I’m joking about the hara-kiri part – boy detective Encyclopedia Brown would have known that I was lying because that’s a Japanese custom, not Chinese. At the end, they take the little tally sheet at your table and then put a random dollar amount at the bottom.

The venue of choice was a place called Golden Harmony. I knew it was authentic because it was approximately 95% Chinese clientele and the staff spoke little, if any, English. Dim sum seems to be a family event, so even though there was a wait it didn’t take long for our party of two to get squeezed in. We got some tea and I learned lesson number one – you’re never supposed to pour your own tea. So if you need more tea, you simply state something like, “This char siu bao is making me thirsty,” and one of your tablemates will respond by topping you off. Or you just ask the other party if they need some more tea, which is code for “I need some more tea, you clueless boor.”

Next the carts started coming around and I was overwhelmed by the unfamiliar dishes and lack of translation. Fortunately, Wendy was experienced here and knew what to look for and what to ask for and who to speak to. I just played along and ended up with some veggie dumplings, some shrimp noodle thingy, and some pork dumplings. All three dishes were awesome, although I was already starting to fill up. Lesson number two – a large group is better since you can sample more dishes without risk of exploding. Next up, she ordered some bok choi. I’ve never had this before and was a bit suspect, but since the Mrs. is always suggesting I eat more greens I figured I’d give it a go. Pretty good stuff, and it significantly improved my scurvy. The fried foods came by next and I was encouraged to give it a go. I requested a plate of what I thought was sweet and sour pork, but I’m not sure that’s what it really was. Lesson number three – if you’re new you might want to round up a Chinese speaking friend or two to translate. The “pork” was either the worst cut of meat and full of bones or I accidentally got a plate of deep fried chicken feet. I eventually gave up and just ate the pineapple and carrots, until the rest of the dish walked off on it’s own. I finished off with some lemon tarts and then called it a day.

Lesson number four – these joints like operating in cash. I paid using a credit card since I don’t travel with large sums of cash and reserve it for things like cab fare, even though they offered the popular “no sales tax” option on cash transactions. Even worse, I think I made another major faux pax (if you can do that in a Chinese establishment) by leaving the tip on the credit card, since I was chased down by my waiter and chastised for not leaving a tip at the table. Even though I was little offended by this, I told him it was on the credit card, after which he ran to the cashier to verify my story. But I still ducked out quickly to avoid any throwing stars coming my direction.

Next, I continued southbound on the 2nd Avenue bus down to the South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan. The museum there was featuring Bodies… The Exhibition and that sounded like a swell macabre time. You might be more familiar with Body Worlds – some wacky German dude took some human bodies, skinned and preserved them, posed them in all sorts of positions and took them on tour. The Mrs. and I wanted to check it out when it came through Chicago last winter, but we never quite made it there. When this exhibit started making money, other exhibitors realized they could do the same and now there are sweatshops in China employing med school grads to dissect more bodies for us to gawk at. I suppose it beats sewing swoosh logos on crap 18 hours a day. The exhibit starts out a little slow – skeletons and bones – like who doesn’t already have a skeleton in their basement (or closet). Then it gets interesting with some specimens stripped down to their muscles. Smaller body part specimens are all in glass cases, but the full body specimens are not enclosed or roped off so you can get as close as you like to them, but you’re not allowed to touch or lick them. There are also room devoted to the circulatory system, the nervous system, the reproductive system, and System of a Down. I’m not sure how they got in there. I spent a good couple hours plus in the place digging the human body, and I got to see a female vagina for the first time in my life. Totally worth the $27 entrance fee.

After leaving the museum I walked around the South Street Seaport area, which appears to be that very generic area in every major city that is a safe haven for unadventurous tourists that just want to have an ice cream cone and say they’ve been there. I didn’t feel like having an ice cream cone or watching the guy painted silver move around like a robot, so I took a self-guided tour of lower Manhattan. Wall Street is still making people other than me rich, and there’s still a hole in the ground where the WTC used to be. By the time I circled back to South Street, I had worked up a nice sweat and appetite and called my surrogate dining companion to find out if this Latin American joint she mentioned earlier served sweaty guys dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. I got an affirmative answer and hopped the bus back up to 1st Avenue to Boca Chica.

Boca Chica serves up traditional Latin American fare, which I learned consists of rice and beans or, if you’re feeling adventurous, beans and rice. I went with some sort of fish dish that was covered in all this stuff that tasted really good together. Yes, I know, I should have pursued a career as a food critic. Actually, I’m getting old and I can’t remember what was on my veal the night before and what was on my fish that night. I know one of them had avocado. Or was it artichoke? Definitely some red pepper. I think. Maybe on both. Just go there and figure it out yourself. Who do you think I am, Roger Ebert? All I know is that I cleaned my plate and had money left over.

I hopped the bus again back up to 50th Street, was welcomed home by the doorman and the bell-dude and the front desk guy, finally got my room key, and waited for the bell-dude to deliver my luggage. Upon arrival, he asked if I would like him to show me the features of the room. I had already managed to locate the bed and the bathroom on my own while waiting for him, so I just gave him $5 to go away. But now I’m going to live a life of regret wondering if I spent two nights there without fully utilizing all the available features. Like what if there was a fog machine built in to the A/C unit that was there for my entertainment?

I guess I’ll just have to get back to NYC sometime soon to find out.