Like Chinua Achebe said, “things fall apart”.
In this case, they were plans for an evening.
Friday night, in New York City, continuing my summer funemployment.
No one has a job tomorrow, it’s a cool 75 degrees outside and the rain might even miss us, while allowing us the spectacle of cloud-to-cloud lightning.
What’s more, there was an opportunity for a redemptive Rubulad; a chance to make up for the poor time I had at my Rubu-Birthday.
Beautiful night, we’re young (and relatively horny) and there’s a cool-ass rooftop party to be had.
“Yeah I’m going to see the 9:50 Bigger Than Life at Film Forum” Friend and Stoner Similacrum Mike Sweeny told me.
Of course, now he wants to see a movie.
Actually, I couldn’t hold it against Mike, a brainy, pothead-looking Ohioan who’d warbled a joking “Your Cheating Heart” when I pranked him into doing it one night at Planet Rose Karaoke. He was a constant at my writer’s group, coming and giving advice to people, hearing them out, even if he was shy with his own pages.
In tbe strange post-college atmosphere of New York, Mike was one of my friends who seemed to have some sort of lingering, if unspecific, deadline hanging over his head. Some sort of assurance that if he didn’t “make it”, finding a job or what have you here in New York City, he’d have to return home to Ohio to do god-knows-what. Another friend of mine, facing this pressure prematurely, had already returned home to Maryland, to do god-knows-what with a Film education there. I guess to them New York City was the sort of place that you put your dent in or went home, while for me, New York was and has always been home, with no where else to turn, undented.
Anyway, I couldn’t blame Mike for his film-nerdiness (like the teapot calling the kettle black) and my friends Dan and Najia were headed off to a self-described “racist bar” to meet up for a bottle-service party, the sort of shindig I feared I might be hearing more of in the future. Ashna, of the recent escapades, told me she’d come out, but only after another friend, Mr. Anthony Jones’s birthday, which was being held at Brooklyn’s most conspicuous gay-bar. When she invited me out to that, I thought of a party I went to for a friend’s dance opening where a guy interupted the casual conversation we’d been having to ask me “are you a homosexual”, to which I shakily nodded no, after which he turned and walked away.
“I’ll see you at Rubulad.” I told Ashna.
I ended up there early, at Rubulad, as I often do. Not only is it cheaper (10 dollars versus 15) if you get there earlier, but Rubulad is also the sort of place I like to get to when it’s empty and leave when its crowded–since I’m a sweaty Jew, I’m no fan of cramped, hot places. I also love the party and the people who work there and I often talk to them before they get so busy.
This time aroumd, I had brought a bottle of wine.
The story behind that is that, after eating voluminous amounts of the spiral pasta that they sell at Rubulad, I had befriended the girl selling the pasta, Emily Beyer, a pretty/cool Rubuladite who had gone to NYU for “something like Philosophy”, she told me, and didn’t seem at all bothered to talk to a too-red redhead for a while. We became friends (or at least Rubulad friends) and on my birthday, I came in fairly drunk, fairly early to Rubulad and she gave me free pasta and ice cream all night long since it was my birthday.
Sweet, I know.
The only problem was: it wasn’t Emily.
Emily had stopped working as the pasta girl at Rubulad, a couple of parties back. It was her good friend Ashley Fischer (another very pretty girl), a Photo major from NYU who knew a lot of the people I did and who I had hit it off with well as well, over pasta and conversation. I had been calling Ashley by her best friend’s name all night that night on my birthday, while she not only put up with it, but gave me free pasta and ice cream.
So I brought the bottle of wine, a nice, uncomplicated Spanish wine by the name of Castano, for her as an apology. She wasn’t there, but I got there early enough to catch her Rubulad housemates who cooed and “aww, shucks”-ed at the story. I gave them the bottle of wine to give to her and if they didn’t, well Ashley, at least you can tell by my writing about it here, that I did.
But I ended up spending most of last night on the roof talking to gentleman and lady selling Samosas. Colin and Eliza, their names, were only doing this for their second time at Rubulad, having replaced the rooftop vendors selling Australian curry pies a la Tuck Shop. Colin was a pre-nursing student and we had talked during my Rubu-birthday about indian food. This time, we talked about a bunch of things, ranging from the indian fast-food places in my neighborhood, to british comedy, to member-only bittorrent sites, to the composition and construction of a half-decent Raita sauce (Colin, if you see this, you can let me know if I can spill the beans on how you made yours). The Samosas were great and the sauces, fresh-made, were better. Better yet was the conversation along with the food.
I used to dread coming to Rubulad alone, part of my fear of being a loser, of reverting back to who I was in high school. In a way, Rubulad was one of my first bulwarks against regression, a party I felt at home at and comfortable. When I think of the effect it has had on my life, that added bit of cool, I actually get a little teary, since I’d never been to a party before I came to Rubulad, having been excluded from all but the rote birthday/graduation parties of high school. Still, I didn’t want to come here alone, but I realized that if you’re a weird guy you find other weird people at a place like Rubulad, even if you do come alone.
Eventually, Ashna showed up with Mr. Anthony Birthday Jones in tow, followed shortly after by a raid from the cops. Though I usually leave early from Rubulad, I knew that it was periodically raided, a decision in no small part I know abetted by the party’s disapproving Hasidic neighbors. This night it was early though, before midnight. I ended up staying later, staying past when the cops came to help the guy who re-edits super 8 movies to show on the roof take his projector down the ladder. Ashna kept texting me to leave, but I told her she didn’t understand. I felt like I owed something to Rubulad and I want to help it whenever possible.
For me it was something more than a party, in it’s own fucked-up samosa-bearing way, it was a home.
Finally, in other news. I read this article today on NYTimes.com about Dash Snow.
I ddin’t know the guy, but it hit me.
Guy was an upper-class drug-so artist-type living in NYC, part of New York royalty as it were.
His exploits included creating a human gerbil cage and jacking off on the New York.
The article’s called a “Terrible End for an Enfant Terrible”.
In the article, they talk about his life and psychological issues.
How he went to rehab the first time and it was about what was going on his head, untill he went to rehab the second time and that time it was about the drugs.
Talking about him, his friends said that he was the kind of guy who could stay clean for a month, until he had a glass of wine with dinner, and then a beer and then a shot and then coke and then heroin.
He did some pretty rad things and I’m pretty sure my friend would think him Dylan-y, getting married as another woman was pregnant with his child: a daughter, aptly or ironically named Secret.
He wore a lot of hats and hung-out in downtown New York and loved his grandma.
He was 25.
My sister relapsed, abusing cough medicine in her rehab clinic in Florida.
It was a few days after her internet priveleges were given back to her, revoked after a previous relapse and somehow I knew when I saw her updating her facebook, there’d be hell again.
She told me a similar story once, about her previous relapse, going from a hit to something harder, to something worse, a spiral of drugs, that left her fucked up, threatening my parents and finally, facing prosecution, returning to her clinic.
“I know I’m the kind of person who once they start, they can’t stop.”She told me, trying to make the best of or explain her previous relapse.
She called my grandma yesterday to tell her she had a cold, but didn’t mention the other stuff.
It makes me sick to think that I fear for my own sister’s freedom.
She’s 20, but her birthday’s coming up soon.
3 Potato-and-Edamame Samosas (w/homemade sauces)- $5.00
338 Flushing Ave bet. Classon and Taafe, only on Rubulad nights.
G to Classon Ave.