It was a good night.
I met Zach and Rob and Mike over at Two Bros Pizza-their place not mine–the sort of insidious joint where a slice is a buck, insidious and tasteless, but unfortunately suited to cater to the tastes and the expenses of the post-college graduate.
It was early, but we thought to head out–after all, this had been planned.
I wound up with the first one.
“This is embarassing.” I told my audience, my friends. Before grabbing and going.
“A lawng december and there’s reason to be-leave, maybe this year will beeee better, than the last.”
I crooned in my nasal faux-half-country twang.
It was my graduation party, or at least as much of a student (ex-student)-driven one as I was going to get. I knew I loved karaoke and drinking and doing so with friends, especially those who are into karaoke or at least willing not to half-ass their way up to the microphone, an honest effort is key.
As such, I couldn’t have picked a better bunch. Zach Weintraub, newly-moustached (a fact I was not in favor of), pounded out some heavy metal stuff with the appropriate vocal-bending “wows” and “awooooos”. Ro-beardo Malone managed a couple good ones including a Carly Simon song and something I didn’t know but Zach and Rob described as “that song from Jurassic Park. John Beamer showed up, friend-in-tow, at one point and managed to do his standard “Bad Touch” while the friend just marveled in a frozen-mixture of amusement, envy and disgust (Aside: Sounds like a Coffee Coolata).
Jason Lee showed up in time to try to do an amusing pass at “Higher” by Creed and Junior non-graduating animator Blake LaRue showed up but was either unwilling or unable to withstand the rigor of proper song-deliverance. Perhaps the greatest achievement of the night was the bespectacled Mike Sweeny, a one-time English-and-Philosophy major and full-time Ohioan who managed to pick up Karaoke for his first time ever and by his second song (fourth beer) he was grooving like the rest of us.
Even though I describe the Karaoke as such, with the enthusiasm the experience afforded me, I understand that Karaoke is one of those things that defies description through the written word. While it’s one thing for me to tell you that John Beamer, consumate Nor-Cal white dood, got up and did a dead-on Louis Armstrong to close the night, it doesn’t come close to the drunk-skeazy lounge-awesome experience of it, something that can’t be bought.
Speaking of what can’t be bought, the bar definitely under-charged me for the night and even with my promotion intended to encourage first-timers (Do a song and your first beer is on me) and the beers I bought for my friends beyond that, the charge was around a hundred dollars less than what I would have thought. Add to that the bartenders are some nerdy white guys, one of whom did an excellent rendition of “Parents Just Don’t Understand” by DJ Jazzy Jeff, makes this a place I want to come back to. Planet Rose is the name over bet. 14th and 13th on Ave A.
Like I said, my writing didn’t do it justice. But Karaoke is one thing though; having a fuckng-good time with your friends is another. My party was reluctantly advertised on facebook to try to attract whoever wanted to come (more friends/songs=more goodness), but no one who said they were going to come on Facebook came. There were like two maybes and a few who didn’t respond. I guess it meant more to me then, despite the failure of my half-hearted attempts at social networking, that a bunch of people did come and that we had a good-goddam time.
Like I said, it’s difficult to describe, but there’s little like joining in on the chorus of a Sum 41 song, banging into your friends crowded round a wireless microphone trying to belt out something about casualty and society, when you’re approaching too drunk to read the screen.
The party also felt good because of the morning I’d had.
My days had been vacillating somewhere between panic that I didn’t have a summer job, to intense self-hatred that I didn’t have a summer job, to general anesthitizing depression about the prospects for my life and general wonderings as to whether I should apply for a job at Starbucks or Pret a Manger (stock options/benfits vs. higher pay), before settling down to the conclusion that the question was moot since as a BFA student neither would hire me and instead I should just go home play video-games and eat month-old Newman-Os.
That said, I got kind of excited for my job interview.
It was for a company, one of those small production companies with cool indie-ish directors, where I’d be reading scripts and writing about them, something I did in fact feel qualified to do and something which it felt like did not take me away from the film-school education that now seemed less like an education and more like an extended game of Candyland.
So I took the interview seriously. I had writted a good cover letter. I wore a nice shirt. I arrived 15 minutes early and took a seat.
I was fine taking a seat. A nice receptionist greeted me. I felt confident. I reclined.
And that’s when the dog started barking.
The space was the sort of unseparated yoga-ball-type loft that some artsy-type places have and in the middle, between these unseparated desks, there was a dog, a toughed-up black lab, who immediately started barking upon my settling in.
I adjusted myself a bit up. Chill out, I thought, maybe there’s like another dog somewhere. Or a bird at the window. Or like someone is testing the dog and said “Speak, doggie!” and I just didn’t hear it.
Bark. Bark, bark.
No, that’s definitely me.
From the midway between the desks, the black lab started advancing on me barking.
The response was fairly quick.
First the production staff yelled from their desks at the dog, then they got up and patted him, then they had to restrain him physically, then they had to bring him into a corner where I was not in sight. Then finally, once they went back to their desk, the dog just ran out towards me again and the whole debacle begun anew.
My strategy throughout was to sit where I was, a strange, uncomfortable and semi-confident smile stapled to my face, like I was going in for an interview at Domino’s.
“Yes, I think I do value punctuality.” I would tell the Domino’s manager, smile-on-face, as he would size me up to be a fat, incompetent Jew and proceed to hire the high-school-dropout behind me.
Back at reality, the dog was settled and the woman I was interviewing with was ready to see me.
I tried to answer her questions honestly and directly–No I hadn’t done coverage before but I’d taken a class on Script Analysis and I had been a film critic for 4 years. Yes, I was from New York. Yes, I’d be around all summer, except for maybe a week for a film shoot. Yes, I’d done a few internships before.
But during this line of questioning, the dog returned.
I saw him from out the corner of my eye as he returned, placid this time and I exhaled my held-in breath.
“C’mere, Doh-gee.” The interviewer intoned and brought the dog over, stroking it’s black-lab head.
I just smiled and look straight forward.
I began to answer questions about my past internships.
“Well, I was more of an office intern at American Teen.” I told her. “I did payroll, some assistant editing stuff, logging and sec–”
A sensation. I stared down.
I have struggled in recounting this story on how to describe this and have come to only this conclusion, through some futzing around.
I was interrupted to find the dog aggressively licking my crotch.
I tried to laugh a little. I put on that nervous smile.
Later, my father upon hearing the story had told me: “You should have pushed the dog away. They probably think you’re weirder for not doing that.”
But I wanted to antagonize neither dog nor owner, so I just smiled and continued while the dog licked my crotch.
“Secretarial and office stuff. Really a lot of stuff really.”
The woman said she’d get back to me and send me a script.
But I haven’t heard back yet and I’m skeptical that I even will.
Thus is the world as I’ve come to accept it and I’ll keep on meeting and sending out resumes, looking for somewhere to go.
But I did have to wash those jeans.
As I said, I seem to go through these days in a sense of mania–from doldrums to up-moments and back down again into the dead-end-life of video games.
It feels like the summer, even though it’s the spring, which makes me wonder whether the rest of my life will be the summer; a time of waiting for things to happen.
I know that it won’t, that it can’t (I couldn’t eat). But as I contemplate Pret or Starbucks (Pret has better sandwiches, Starbucks better coffee), I wonder “is this the real life, is this just fantasy, caught in a landslide, no escape from reality”.
That would have been a good song to do.
But they’ll be more nights of Karaoke meanwhile.
Of that, at least, I’m somewhat sure.