Valentine’s Day was short but brief and I spent most of today in a fog.
While I’ve heard more horrific tales from my friends of their Valentine’s day, my evening involved going out with Johnny-Jon-Jon and my best friend Frank.
As Johnny-Jon-Jon put it: “happy women don’t go to bars on Valentine’s Day. Miserably depressed women go there–and that’s where you swoop in and exploit it.”
Of course, elided from that description was any mention of miserably depressed Valentine-less man going off to the same bars for similar reasons.
As for me, I could ascribe selflessness to my actions, or at least the illusion of it. Frank, a perennial “good guy”, was dumped by his girlfriend a scant few days before Valentine’s Day and had come to the city to escape from the menagerie of his college.
“Yeah, I mean, I’m almost over it,” Frank told me on the phone.
“It just kind of sucks because I hear her wake up every morning since, you know, she lives directly above me.”
So I decided since Frank had come all the way into the city, we had to find him some sort of drunken solace for the evening.
(To say nothing of myself.)
But I couldn’t do it alone. Something out to bars on Valentine’s Day, let alone any day of the week, in search of women-folk seemed awkward to me at best. I felt ill-equipped in such places, as if I was trying to hit on women using my high-school-level French.
“Alors, eh, est-ce que tu… m’aime?”
I called Jonny-Jon-Jon and asked him to come along but when he suggested bars, he suggested one where a girl we both had had affections for worked.
My rationale- “That sounds like a terrible idea. She’s probably just going to hit on you all evening.”
His rationale- “I need her to buy me free drinks.”
Jon assured me he was over her and that nothing would happen. I highly doubted this and felt a familiar queasiness about the situation in the pit of my stomach.
But ultimately, I felt I needed Jon to have the sort of drunken, outgoing time necessary to aid my friend, something I was so insecure about my ability to provide him.
The night, as I said, was short but brief.
We got there. We got some drinks. We found the girl. She came over. Made out Jon for about 30 seconds and then ran away to see her roommates.
Suddenly, the cause celebre of getting Frank some vanished amidst my own squashed-ness.
“Well, Frank.” I told him. “I think we should call it a night.”
We headed home.
I spent today, mercifully with no hangover, wandering the city trying to find the perfect place to read “Lolita” by Nabokov. If you notice the French in this post, blame him.
I loved the book and its prose, an invitation to insanity, a “bacchae” of sorts, an ode to pure pleasure that entranced you with the author’s hyperbole, self-involvement and self-deprecation. Ironically, I found the book more difficult to read, for all this. Because everything I read was so witty, so entrancing, I didn’t want to miss any of it and thus read every line, making every page take several minutes of my time.
I sat down at a tea-house thinking a mild buzz and a beverage might calm my senses and open me to reading. Instead, I found as the day progressed that not only had I read less, given the moments sipping tea, but that amidst the several pots I had drunk, somewhere I was allergic to something.
I spent the rest of the day feeling as if my legs would buckle under me, waving as I walked down the street like a car-show inflatable-clown.
A movie made me feel better, “The Class” at Angelika, or maybe just the time sitting down. But I left the theater to strange message from my phone.
When I began writing down my stories in this way, I talked of how I wrote a poem for a young lady, influenced by Catullus and Latin class, who summarily told me to stay “ten feet away” at all times.
That was in eighth grade.
Today, she replied.
“My dearest Nicolas,
After my roommate discovered your blog post googling me I became aware of a certain segment of said blog entitled “ladies’ night”. I was not aware until roughly 30 minutes ago that I was the subject of your eighth grade lust. At the time I was unaware of the poem’s true essence and thought in my eighth grade mind, surrounded by fair-skinned, upper east side beauties, that the poem didn’t mean you wanted to do away with me but instead that you wanted to DO me. Unfortunately for you, my response was that of a very frightened and confused adolescent. I apologize for my response of “stay 10 feet away from me at all times” and have amended that into a full fledged restraining order. Just kidding. I’m sorry that I shot you down so harshly but next time you might want to write something a little less threatening and a little more hallmark.
Odi et amo: quare id facium, fortasse requiris. Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior
The original post is indeed called “Ladies’ Night”. I’d recommend checking it out if you have time, as I think it’s one of the finer things I wrote here.
But as I wander the city in tea-allergy-induced dizziness, as I find meaning-or-nothing with friends at night at bars, as I continue to write here/right here these stories, little experiences or reminiscenes–it’s strange for me to imagine a reciprocity with the world, my eighth grade scorner finding me and such.
In some ways it makes me discontent to see the changes in art and life and how a story can be affected. Everything seems like it’s melding or separating, a disjunction and reunion of past and present, fiction and fact.
But, as I examine it, I feel I make too much of it and decide, in place of thinking, to go Karaokeing instead.