Moldies But Moodies

2003 Dancing In The Hallway

It’s been a fun week this week. Had Monday off, memorializing. A three day weekend making a four day work week is quite tasty. Tuesday was a return to the drudgery of work. The paranoia lingers in the air, who will get canned next? It was the first day of summer casual which made dressing for work, lighter, yet more difficult. It’s much easier to put on a suit and tie rather than looking for the right khaki’s and shirt. And with the way the weather has been, it’s that much more difficult. I know, what a chore, right?

The plan for Tuesday night was to go see the hardest workingman in show business James Brown playing his first ever free concert in NYC at Battery Park. I called up my friend MG that afternoon to see if she wanted to go. She said she’d think about it. The plan was to meet up with El Rey somehow.

It kept threatening to rain, but the plan was still on. I spoke with El Rey and the plan was that he’d meet me downtown at the gate. MG called and said she was going to go, so the plan was to meet her at Fox News where she works. On my way there she mentioned that her brother JG was joining us. That was fine. I met him once before for about 5 minutes while hanging with the Rastas of Sixth Avenue.

We decided on the train that we would take and got to the gate about 7PM. It was more crowded than I expected, as things usually are. We ambled up to the gate and started to walk in with no problems only to find that there was a line that went on for a few blocks but was moving quite nicely.

I called El Rey from the line, he was sitting in a bar a block or so away. I kept looking for him when I hit a wall dressed in a blue shirt. El Rey. After the introductions we all got into the park, had our bags checked and given AMEX water bottles and folding binoculars.

The ground was wet, but not muddy. Just nowhere to sit. Antibalas was opening up and they were a cool percussion combo from Brooklyn. They had the crowd grooving. We kept moving from spot to spot to get a good sight line. Or at least I was looking for a sightline; the others were looking for a good view of the screen.

At one point I turned around to see an ex roommate’s ex girlfriend walking by. She saw me and we did the usual game of catch up, carefully not mentioning the guy that we both had in common. She asked why I was dressed so conservatively. Black wool suit jacket and trousers, blue shirt. I explained it was how I dressed for work, which is right around the corner from where she works.

‘I never see you’ she said.

I must confess that I had seen her once before, while talking on the cell phone with El Jefe. But she was in a hurry and not introducing the people she was with, so I didn’t introduce he people I was with. Though I was once with El Rey when I worked at Farfetched around the corner from where she lives, or lived. So she knew him at least but being the flighty type…
The Godfather of Soul hit the stage, doing hit after hit. Songs I mean. He may have done more hits after hits when he went backstage between every three of four songs. It’s funny, Eddie Murphy doing ‘Hot Tub’ while imitating James Brown, sounded a lot like the real thing live. It got a laugh from my crowd.

After Tammy Rae did her set in the middle of James’ set we realized that it was getting time to go. I figured I’d take the ferry to Hoboken since I was right near the pier. I guess I was smug when I told El Rey, MG and JG. Of course it didn’t work out that way. I got to the ticket office to find that the last ferry was 10 minutes before.

I ping ponged El Rey and MG on their cells, and found that they were walking up to City Hall since the subways by the Battery were getting sardine like.

They waited for me and we all strolled up Broadway, past Ground Zero etc. El Rey never takes the trains, he drives everywhere, and so this was all very new to him. It had been like 9 years since the last time, and will probably be 19 years till he does it again. On the way up we all took turns singing ala James Brown about there being no ferry service for me. The odd thing is, no one said, Take it to the Bridge.

Split up from MG and her brother and got a ride to the PATH from El Rey. Home by 11:30 with a bowl of cereal awaiting me before slumber.

Wednesday was all about my feet and lack of proper sleep. Could barely walk since I was wearing dress shoes all night on uneven wet ground. Limping around all day. Triple-5 came over that night and I went to bed early, around 11PM. Started drifting off to sleep around 11:30 when I heard yelling. Triple-5 was yelling at some sports clip on TV and roused me from sleep.

I yelled out that I was trying to sleep and he was quiet from then on, but I couldn’t get back to sleep. Felt like I had taken a 10 minute nap, and now Triple-5 comes to bed, and as usual, within minutes of his head hitting the pillow…..zzzzz zzzz zzzzz.

Not for me though. I had to get up and go read something to at least tire my eyes, and ease my racing mind. Of course this affected Thursday’s work. Dragging my ass all day. The day wouldn’t end soon enough. When it finally did, Rocky from the building where I work, and Sarah the woman I work with strolled downtown smoking and talking and winding up in Bryant Park for a spell.

It was a beautiful night, everything seemed just right. We split up and took the PATH home. Had a message on my answering machine. It was Helen. She was going to show my apartment that night, and just letting me know. Who’s Helen? I called the number but got Helen’s voice mail. Left a message but decided to call again when I got home. Then, when I got home there was a message from Vera, the landlord. Letting me know again that I was going to have my apartment shown that night. Who’s Vera? I called Vera and told her that this was John, not Steve and she said ‘Hello Steve.’ I explained that she had the wrong number and tell Helen the same thing. She apologized and would not be showing my apartment anytime soon.

Triple-5 wasn’t coming home that night and I was able to sleep a good night’s sleep but it sure was lonely with out him.

Friday flew by. I invited Sarah to a party Saturday night that Tim Daly the artist was having in Hoboken and she was game. We made plans to chat the next day. Work ended painlessly and I wandered about thinking about nothing in particular.

Saturday happened, but was rain rain rain again. Very Northern California weather. I sat around the apartment not doing much beside laundry. Triple-5 came home at 7am and went right to bed; I woke up an hour later puttering around quietly. Cleaned up a bit since I didn’t want to make any noise. He drove all night and needed to sleep as he would be driving again in the afternoon.

He split, I dropped off shirts, and the suit I wore to James Brown, and picked up shoes I had repaired. The week before leaving work on Friday in the rain I discovered I had a hole in my shoe, which turned my shoe into a leaky boat. 35.00 later it was repaired. Triple-5 made it to the bus stop waiting for his bus to work, I made it to him and gave him a kiss before he left and I went on to pay some bills.

Then I went home, and took a nap. Woke up an hour later, feeling like hell.

Got another message from Helen saying that the apartment was going to be shown again. Spoke to Sarah and told her forget it. I wasn’t going. She had a back up plan and that was cool. I sat around, feeling bad. Julio called and he was in so I went downstairs and hung out with him for a while. Had a couple of beers and felt better actually. Not up for the party until El Jefe and Gigglepuss called. They were going.

I tried backing out, claiming it was raining and it was raining but they reminded me of something called umbrellas. So we went. In the rain. It was a BYOB party so we BOOBed. Got to Neumann Leather where Tim Daly’s studio is and it was swinging. The wonderful Badly Drawn Martha Keavney was the first person we saw. Also saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen in years, Eileen Lynch, Scott and Andrea Harbison, and Martha Griffin as well as others. All looked well. Hadn’t seen Martha in the longest time and she said I hadn’t changed a bit at all.

Danced in the hallway with Martha K, El Jefe and Gigglepuss. My favorite dances were the Bat Dance with Martha K, and the Cell phone with El Jefe. All in all a wonderful night that was arrived at reluctantly.

Got Martha K into a cab a few hours later and walked home with El Jefe and Gigglepuss
Stumbling and slurring.

Woke up with a headache despite the Advil and the water. Rain Rain Rain.

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2003 Papa Don’t Take No Mess

I used to live for 11 years, in Weehawken. Had a roommate named B. Things were cool the first couple of months despite his repeated attempts to toss me out of the apartment that his Brother, Chaz told me about. And being stupid, or forgiving, I forgave, but as I’m writing about this years later, I obviously never forgot.

Anyway he used to be an artist, now he paints rich peoples homes in a trompe l’oile style. Which is fine I guess. A coterie of rich women advise and consent to whatever he likes to do to their boudoirs or whathaveyou.

But the point of what I’m getting at, is he is in danger of being evicted from the apartment we used to share. It was a nice place, but somehow he got the better deal, larger rooms, I got the proverbial short end of the stick. I had 2 rooms, he had 2 rooms, but after 11 years my rooms were shrinking while he fulfilled a manifest destiny of sorts, taking over the apartment.

No hard feelings. No feelings at all. After I moved I visited him and he of course took over the rooms I had emptied and left behind. It looked nice, sort of like a day spa in Fort Lee.

The apartment was over the landlord’s apartment, a brother and sister vaudeville act, known as Bitch and Moan. They had many issues, with the fact that some of my friends were not white, that some were gay, and that some were gay and not white. These two, this Chang and Eng type were/are tied together for the rest of their lives.

One night while Triple-5 and I were home after a lovely evening out, watching a very funny episode of SNL, we inadvertently offended them by Triple-5 laughing out loud. Triple-5 has a wonderful hearty laugh. One that shouldn’t be denied. The reaction was not to use the broomstick on the ceiling, nor a phone call telling us to cool it, but by sending an email stating in no uncertain terms that Triple-5 was only allowed to stay over 2 nights a week.

Or else they would be forced to take action.

My reaction was justifiably hostile. I wanted to scream at these tortoise people. But I followed their dictate, while looking to see what rights I had. I had no rights, because it was a landlord occupied building.

I later found out it was the 1st anniversary of their mother’s passing. She lived next door, and cooked and cleaned for them up until she upped and died on them. I found out while Chang and Eng were having dinner, they’d complain about everything, but mainly complained about me. Their mom stuck up for me every time, so when she passed away, my days of living in Weehawken were invariably numbered.

So here it was my roommate starting drinking his bodily fluids, Chang and Eng, were trying to get me out. B’s brother Chaz and his wife, Mrs. Chaz had moved into Chang and Eng’s mother’s apartment right next door. It seemed like a blissful situation for some, but not for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Chaz and the Mrs., they were unlikely allies when B would go over and complain about the fact that the PSE&G bill was astronomical despite my paying my half every month. B of course, didn’t and it would climb higher and higher.

Maybe the apartment Chaz and the Mrs. lived in was blessed in my favor. There would be no bitching and moaning about me while people were living there. The Mrs. would try to assuage my tensions by saying the B would move out and I’d get the whole place to myself, but I knew, oh how I knew, that it would never happen.

So the wonderful Julio told me about his place, or rather the building he lived in, and the availability of an apartment there. He said he was tired of hearing me complain about B’s habits, which now included drinking his own urine. And I had just turned 40 and I didn’t need a roommate anymore.

Of course, he was right. And the timing was right. And the apartment was right. So I moved out in the rain, Triple-5, Chaz and B. B helped because it was in his favor that I was moving out, so we loaded everything in the back of his pick up and made several trips up and down Hackensack Plank Road.

I was out of there. Out of the Garden of Eden. Over the 11years, B had built a lovely garden in the back with trellises and grapevines, and vegetable and all sorts of wildflowers that I mainly felt comfortable watching from my 2nd floor window. Never felt welcome in that garden.

Chang, (or was it, Eng) mentioned that they were surprised that I never said goodbye. Then Eng, (or was it Chang) said I was lucky the door didn’t hit me on the ass on my way out.

Ouch.

But anyway, now they are all in the process of being evicted. Chang and Eng had decided to sell the house, or both houses, and buy a condo in the Gregory Commons. And they told the buyer that they will deliver the house empty. Letters from the lawyer arrived, telling them they must be out by July 31.

Chaz and the Mrs. are bothered by this fact but are preparing to leave after putting A LOT of money into the place, and B will lose the most. His workshop in the basement, which could be described as sprawling, despite the graves coming up through the basement floor ala Poltergeist, and the garden which will probably fall into disrepair.

Chang and Eng will actually have to deal with reality after living for some 50 odd years in their parent’s house. That would be an interesting development. Who will crack first? Chang? Or Eng?

Well I am just glad I got out at the right time. Thanks to Julio. And Triple-5 is over anytime he wants, as he has his own keys.

Saw half of a cool one man show on Saturday at the Nuyorican Poets Café called ‘Spic Chic’. One half because I thought the show started at 8PM when it actually started at 7PM. Ran across town in the rain where a pair of Doc Martens that I hadn’t worn in a long time, and that was because they made my toes blister.

I tried to laugh through the pain but decided to try to catch it next week, at 7PM.

Hooked up with Sarah from work who is simply a swell gal. Triple-5 and Swell Sarah and myself limped home to Hoboken and watched some Python. Swell Sarah crashed on the futon.

Sunday morning Triple-5 went and got his God on, Swell Sarah and I had some breakfast at the Spa diner on Hudson st, where she confessed she is working on… a comic book!
Shock! Horror! Called El Jefe from the Spa and told him about it and Jefe and I decided they should all meet with that Badly Drawn Martha, and perhaps give her pointers. Martha? Are you there? It’s me, God.

After Swell Sarah split, I hooked up with Julio and his wonderful wonderful girlfriend, Stine who just came in from Copenhagen. She’s just so great. I love her. And she’s pretty and smart and a great cook. We went to Malibu Diner and I ate again, the standard Burger Deluxe, chocolate shake affair.

Went to Home Depot where my mind was promptly erased by the fact I was in a hardware store. My dad would always drag me to hardware stores on weekends and I would walk around dazed and confused. Such happy memories. So I wandered with Julio and Stine blankly while they bought pots for plants and some types of flowers. I kept thinking that we’d run into B but it never happened, unless he saw us first.

The funny thing is I offered to help Swell Sarah to buy some plywood for an art project she is working on, and I suggested going to Home Depot since it’s open 24 hours….D’oh! Anyway she needs my help and I offered so I’ll blankly wander around the Depot while she chooses the wood she so desperately needs.

Triple-5 made it to Hoboken after getting his God on and helping out his folks and we all had a super dinner prepared by wonderful wonderful Stine. Then we watched my imitation of a tree with a guitar when I gave Triple-5 a ring much like the one he gave me way back in September. They loved it, I cringed in horror.

Sorry if this week’s is all over the place but then again, so am I.

circa 2003

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