friday 2/18


On Friday it was my last day of work on the old team. Light streamed in through my bedroom window, and I ate my breakfast of toasted brioche with jam in bed, basking and doing the crossword instead of working. The two laptops, clothes, and jumbled blanket cluttering the bed spoiled the decadence of the moment. My apartment sometimes feels like a testament to my inability to complete any chore in full, Halls cough drops from my Covid era still on the windowsill next to my bed, a pair of Doc Martens and a couple tote bags perpetually littering the dining table area, the Village Voice issue with Bob Dylan on the front draping awkwardly over a shelf because I still haven't gotten it framed. I took a virtual farewell coffee chat from bed as well, not really sure what I was supposed to be talking about since the other person made no move to set the conversation topics, even though our meeting was their idea. I was relieved when it was over and tried out some eyeliner styles for the Euphoria party later tonight that Kat invited me to. Nothing really got the job done since I didn't have rhinestones or super colorful eyeliner, but it was my first time putting this much effort into winged liner in months. At least I would reap the benefits by looking good at the dentist's office. At Tend I put in my headphones to listen to Al Green so I wouldn't have to hear any whirring dental machinery as they bonded my teeth. I mused about the (unfortunately) superior experience I was having at this dental office despite hating its existence on principle. I guess maybe because they're VC-backed they can afford all the new dental technology, and it made my visit entirely pain-free even though neither my attempts at mindful breathing nor Al could calm my irregular heart rate as I continued to anticipate discomfort that never arrived. Weirdly, when they did do some drilling, the vibrations against my teeth were such that they perfectly complemented the Al Green song I was listening to and I almost thought the sound was part of the string arrangement. Jen and I planned to meet at Cobra, a bar around the corner from the place we were getting dinner with a group of people I mostly hadn't seen since second or third year of college. As I got off at the Jefferson St. stop and stared at all the billboards overhead, I felt that I could have been anywhere in the US at that moment. The sight of people in leather jackets and beanies laughing outside warehouses-turned-bars and warehouses-turned-restaurants simultaneously was nondescript and made me feel like I was in a movie set from 2010 in the mustache/plaid/oversized glasses era of culture. I tried to imagine I was in a city where I knew nobody. Cobra ended up being more popping than I'd expected, more of a "raucous dive bar" situation than an "empty dive bar" situation. I stood near the door and tried to look nonchalant as I waited for Jen, thinking about how this would be a difficult and lonely situation to navigate if I were truly here alone. I wouldn't be able to do it. I leaned against the counter and stared at the episode of Ru Paul's Drag Race that was being projected on the opposite wall, observed the people trying to contain their frustration as they waited for the bartender. Most groups had ordered and taken their shots and left by the time Jen arrived. I Googled how long after getting your teeth bonded you were allowed to drink alcohol, the consensus being that I was probably good to go despite my top lip still being a little numb. At dinner Shereen and I talked about her upcoming trip to Zanzibar, which I honestly didn't even know was a real place anymore, my only referents being high school history lessons about the spice trade and the Billy Joel song. At the Euphoria-themed pregame I felt the mix of dread and drunken amiability that comes with making small talk with people at parties. A crew of four or five people that seemed a lot drunker than everyone else were singing and dancing in the corner against a backdrop of metallic streamers, screaming the lyrics to The Weeknd then Megan thee Stallion then, (seemingly) paradoxically, Give Up the Funk by Parliament Funkadelic. Their leader seemed to be a girl wearing a plaid button down and jeans and no makeup, not at all in theme, not even if she were trying to be Nate Jacobs. I guess I wasn’t doing much better. People were gossiping about the hosts’ two upstairs neighbors who had made an appearance. I said goodbye to Kat and her friends and took the G to Good Room, determined to make myself do this thing that I wanted to do even if I were doing it alone. The Bad Room where Queen Majesty was playing was sadly underpopulated; I guess people weren’t feeling dub that night except for a white guy in a tan hoodie who held a beer in one hand and occasionally raised a fist with the other. The music was really good in the main room, always a fun surprise when you’re listening to someone spin that you haven’t heard before and they actually turn out to be great. The group comprised three guys, and the one who caught my eye was this half-Asian looking dude who was objectively not that cute, but he was doing such a good job with the music and having so much fun that I found him pretty charming. As he looked out into the crowd I wondered if we were making eye contact and, if so, whether he found it creepy that I was staring at him. I feel like that’s part of the deal when you’re DJ-ing at a venue that’s very DJ-focused? A group of Indian boys who looked barely over 20 swarmed into the space in front of me out of nowhere and lost it as sound and vibrations tumbled out of the large speakers in front of them and echoed through our bodies. As I stood in the coat check line to get my jacket a really nerdy-looking guy who had been dancing near me earlier asked for my number. I declined, and he was so respectful about the whole thing that I walked away pretty impressed with how easy and short that interaction was instead of being insulted that he approached me in the first place. I looked up the DJs on Instagram on the L home and decided to take the train all the way to 8th Avenue, where I was greeted by yellow tape barring entrance to the downtown ACE platforms. As I walked home on Bleecker St, hoping my jacket could preserve all my residual body heat, a taxi pulled up next to me. “Hey miss, do you want a ride home?” “No, it’s ok, my apartment is right here,” I answered, sussed out. “It’s really cold, I’m worried about you,” the driver insisted, “Just come inside.” “No, I’m seriously fine,” I replied angrily. He said something I didn’t hear and drove off. As I approached 6th Avenue it seemed like he tried this again with two girls who were crossing the street, both wearing miniskirts and knee-high boots. The car behind him had also apparently tried to pick them up. “Keep it fucking moving,” they yelled at them from over their shoulders. I admired the confidence and safety they felt in being with each other, relieved when I got to the funeral home.