One time my friend James staggered out of the bar I worked at, I happened to be off this night but was just popping in for a drink. This was maybe around 2004(?), not quite sure about that one, just like I'm not quite sure about most years unless something incredibly significant happened, or, which I always realize off and on that the only way I remember anything is by writing about it. Before I get to writing about something it's just sort of this Leviathan up there (down there?) and all that saying that would mean. But I've never liked memory, therefore I've had no use for it, unless I'm doing this which is an attempt to kill any memory I might have by a mix of euthanization/classification of said memories. And since I obsess, whatever that mechanism is has hijacked my memories and only lets me have the bad ones, and then force feeds them to me like a foie gras farmer fattening up a goose on grain alcohol. And then like that goose I'm distended and deranged and ready to be killed.
Obsession is a nasty business—now, of course it's the same thing that's forcing me to do this right now, which, I guess time will tell whether this was worth anything or not, or means anything to anybody, or if it even gets far enough through the rest of the muck to even begin to mean something to anyone, but, whichever of those things it is, obsession does make you do shit like this... which of course (again) is only something that crazy people would be doing in the first place. I mean, right now I'm sitting in a room by myself, which I've planned on doing all fucking day, and here I am vomiting up my head onto a computer screen because...
I have no idea! That's what makes it insanity, is because there's no because. But a lot of people envy this—this right here. Well, maybe not these exact words, but the ability to sit here and be crazy to you, or having the "discipline" to be crazy enough to let obsession get to me so much that I have to do this as my only consolation to not being able to live life in the right order. Which, if you're a writer then you know that you aren't capable of a real life.
You see, as I think I've said before, I always, always hate whoever I was yesterday. That's how mortified I am of my behavior in the company of others, and to make it even the least bit tolerable, I do this to try to make some kind of sense of whoever the fuck that was and whatever the fuck they said while in my stead. And there again is the hijacker, because when you obsess you can't trust yourself to be whichever "yourself" you might actually think you are, or maybe the one you like, because you're obsessions are who you become, and obsessions don't act like humans, they act like the little mind viruses that they are. And as far as I know (which obviously is not that far), viruses don't speak English. Or have manners. So whatever that thing does that goes out wearing my skin (the few times it does go out) sure does act like a fucking idiot asshole.
But, writing is my memory. I'm not sure if that's why I do this, but it makes that memory-Leviathan calm down. It makes me hate the me from yesterday just a tiny bit less. And I know I say that whole thing about hating who you were yesterday as a sort of way to ensure that I am making some progress everyday, but I don't think any of us is capable of becoming entirely new people, especially with the pressure of having to do it day in and day out. But, this is also the only way I'll ever know what fucking year it was that anything happened to me, so let's think...
Okay, it was either 2004 or 2005 'cause that's when I was working at the San Francisco Rose on Greenville, which you might remember previously described as THE WORST BAR IN THE WORLD.
So James (who went by the name Flawless, or as Jack Donaghy would say, "Not Jim. Not Jimmy. (Lisps) Jamesssss."), who I knew shouldn't be drinking because he was a self-acknowledged "disgusting drunk," staggers out of the bar. Which was unnerving because by that point not only was he my friend, but he had also become a family friend. My Dad worked with him, and my Mom and him would talk on the phone for hours. It was actually the first time I'd ever seen my Mom excited to have someone she wanted to call a friend, so James staggering out of the bar with his car keys spilling out of his hands was a sign of something that could very well upset my whole family.
I yelled at James as he tumbled past me. Something like "James, what the fuck are you doing?" or something like that, and I just remember him just yelling, not in response really, but just yelling, "WHAT!" And, you know that your friend is ripped-up fucking wasted so you just do what you know you're supposed to do, so I said something like "Um, okay... can I drive you home?" because that's what friends do in the movies, right? So he just yells (again) back, "WHY!" And that's when you have to stop what you're doing and then get like all authoritative, you know, so I did the whole, "Okay James, you're really drunk, give me your keys" thing, right, and just, nothing, no response from him. He's too busy just trying to keep himself upright anyway, and (as we all did in Dallas mind you) tried to keep possession of our vehicles so we wouldn't have to wake up without them, whether it meant maybe killing somebody else or ourselves didn't matter nearly as much as having access to one's car in the morning.
Now normally I could give a shit about someone driving home drunk. This was Dallas after all, and driving drunk was just something you learned to live with. I'm sure it's like this in all cities that aren't New York (I actually wasn't meaning to fit this in here anywhere, I mean, I know this whole thing is supposed to be about New York, but sometimes I just don't give a shit and I just want to tell you whatever I thought of today because that's really the whole whole thing, right? I mean, this is my fucking life and so what if I've titled this "Justin Moves to New York" or whatever the fuck it's finally going to be titled, but it all fits in under "Justin Does (somethingsomething)" so leave me alone about how it doesn't make sense here or not... except right now I'm telling you that it actually sort of does, but just keep this in mind for other times when you think it's irrelevant and remember I've told you that it's not... even if I'm telling you it also is—but this is as good a reason as any to live in New York, or at least raise kids there... that is of course if you are someone who is stupid enough to have kids, which, whatever, you had them so you might as well attempt to give them a decent life, but if you haven't had kids yet then do yourself and the rest of the world a favor and DON'T! For the love of Christ and Buddha and the one that you can't show pictures of lest you get blowed up DON'T HAVE CHILDREN!!!), but if you don't grow up with taxis or Ubers as a regular part of your life, then a taxi is just another luxury that you are never going to convince yourself you need to afford (until you kill someone or get a DUI, two things I never did. And especially if you're like me (a normal fucking American) then you grew up getting wasted regularly by the time you were in high school. And since this shit country of ours (yeah, I do hate this fucking country, I fucking HATE it) is so backwards, we of course haven't realized that we are doing way more harm than good by keeping the drinking age at 21 (it's all about money, I'm sure if it were suddenly more lucrative to drop the drinking age to 5 then they'd do it by tomorrow, but somewhere in there there's some formula that means that by keeping the drinking age higher than anywhere else in the rest of the world, that the liquor companies are raking in millions more dollars per year here in the U.S., bet you a thousand dollars right now), and so there being no place that "underage" drinkers can go to drink, well, we just get used to drinking in our cars. I'm not saying that it's right or that I condone it, I actually think that alcohol is the worst fucking drug in the world, and keep in mind that every study you can find on the subject reveals the exact same sentiment, but that doesn't change reality any, and when you're a teenager there's nothing better in the world than drinking, and drinking in the only place in the world that you can call your own: Your car.
I know this is shocking to some people, but if this is shocking to you then you don't live anywhere near reality. Kids drink and fuck. And if you don't give them a place where they can do those things safely, then they are going to do those things unsafely. It's that fucking simple. Not condoning it. Just saying.
—and since we were so used to driving drunk, we knew our boundaries. And I know this sounds like bullshit and some of you may be shaking your heads or whatever, but I never killed anyone and I never got in an accident... not while drunk at least. And if you had your car with you that was you entering into a pact with everyone whom you might be driving home later that you would not get "too drunk to drive," which basically just meant that you would refrain from blacking out until right after you dropped everyone off. And if anyone ever was caught driving "too drunk" then they would know immediately because nobody would ever ride with them again, and nasty rumors would start spreading behind their backs. You'd become a pariah because you had put your friends in real danger. And a lot of us were respectful of the whole not drinking and driving thing for at least a few weeks after we got our driver's licenses, but there are some people who just like having their cars with them at all times, and after a while you realized that you weren't going to make each one of those people not have fun every single night they went out just so they wouldn't be driving home drunk, and those sort of people who most like having their cars with them at all times are teenagers who have just gotten cars. Because when you're still in high school, this isn't just a car, this is a mobile one-bedroom apartment! Not condoning it. Just saying.
And if ever, ever you were very visibly too drunk to drive home, then one of your concerned friends would take you aside, put a hand on your shoulder... and then shovel enough coke up your nose until you were straight. BOOM! Like it never happened! (Not condoning. Just saying.)
So anyway, James is propping himself up on something outside of the bar, and I'm doing the good friend deed—or trying to at least—of getting his keys away from him and then driving him home. And this part I remember clear as day so I don't have to fudge it, he goes, "Well if you're driving me home then I'm going to have to suck your dick."
I told him to be very, very careful and helped him into the driver's seat.
So now that I made a big deal about wanting to tell that story, which is just a prolonged old twist of the old joke where two friends go hiking and the one gets bit on the head of his penis by a rattlesnake and the other friend calls the doctor, and the doctor tells the man that he's going to have to suck the poison out of the wound, wherein the guy turns to his friend and tells him, "Doctor says you're gonna die," but it actually happened to me, and it's just different enough to be worth re-telling, now let me relate it some more to New York, since my editor (the little man what shacks up with Mrs. Kuntswerth in my head) is telling me that's what I should do.
Now if we were in New York, first off there would have been like one bazillion more gays around then just James, so James wouldn't have to drink by himself at the bar and be all sad and alone, so then the second thing would never have happened. And secondly, were we in New York and this still happened, James wouldn't have a car because—OH SHIT! This is a really good thing to bring up! If you do move to New York you won't need a car! Like ever again! I know it's hard to believe, but it's very, very true. So all the things about how everyone keeps telling you how expensive it is, well, think of how much money you save never having to have a car! It's an insane amount of money that you won't have to be spending, and you will fall in love with being able to do things like read while on your commute. You'll probably finish more books in your first few months in New York than at any other time in your life, and you will love New York for it.
Happy, fucking... editor... guy... ?