Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Last Friday I went out after work just like always, liberated, with limitless possibilities and mysteries ahead. Jason and I met up with Christina in front of the Ciel Rouge on 7th Ave., and it wasn't open yet of course, so we walked down to 14th Street and found an old Irish bar with a long green awning. "It looks like they might have beer there," said Christina.

Inside it was dark and cool and it smelled dank and dead-flowery somehow, a sharp, rich stink from industrial-strength cleaning agents and hundreds of man-years of bad cologne. It seemed like we were in some other city in a faraway state – when we left I said maybe the Southwest somewhere – the place was too cold and spacious and empty for Manhattan.

After one drink there we went up to the Ciel and sat in the back garden and P. C. came too, and Jake, and Jason's friend Ed and Lis and Nora finally, and I drank mojitos and picked wet mint from between my teeth, and everyone talked and had a good time. Christina went to the Knitting Factory and Jason and Ed left, then everyone else got up to go and it was dark now and I hadn't even noticed. Jake and P. C. and I met P. C.'s friend Bret and this other guy Tom and we walked to a pool hall nearby. It was some weird new-looking place with a bar upstairs and tables downstairs and everything was chromy-clean and slick and awful. Jake left and the four of us played, Tom and I beating Bret and P. C. in a few games, and I guess I drank Heineken, I'm pretty sure. 

The interior architecture seemed to preclude conviviality or even the most incidental human contact.

We walked farther east now, to Paddy's. I want to describe how we knew upon walking in that we had to leave but I'm not sure how. The crowd was not precisely unfriendly but sort of leeringly territorial, flush with the idea of themselves. We turned on our heels and walked uptown to some other place, a place I'd been, and ordered drinks and sat like assholes in chairs by the wall, waiting for God knows what to happen.

Finally Bret left and Tom and P. C. and I met Christina back downtown at Bar 81. We sat around the corner of the bar and drank and talked and I was starving so I went with Christina to get pizza and we got back and drank some more and played pool. I was unhinged, dancing around the pool table. In fact did not play so badly. But I wish I had been more conscious.

After the first few hours of blackness I got hit hard in the morning. I craved sleep but it only seemed to come in fitful spurts punctuated by agonizing nausea. There was no comfort anywhere. I got up once and took some Advil and water and assessed the true scope of my misery.

Then I woke up at 4 o'clock and felt fine.