Stuffy Noses

I tried to describe to John Beamer the other day which sort of weather New York was actually good in.

“The fall, obviously.” We agreed on. “But summer nights too.”

“Not so much the summer days.” John chimed in, questioningly.

“No man, it’s fucking disgusting here on summer days. The humidity just hangs between the buildings. But summer nights, it doesn’t get dark out until 9 or so and at that point your night has just begun. Plus it feels beautifully temperate out in Jeans and a T-shirt, like you’re walking around San Juan.”

“Summer nights,” John repeated. “I regret I haven’t experienced more of them here.”

“Plus, as my buddy Chadd would say, the girls wear less.” I finished.

This was all mentioned in the context of a cold, windy December day spent walking up to Old Navy to go pants-shopping, since for the many-ieth time, my jeans had developed a non-useful hole in their crotch and John, well, John was just a girl who liked clothes.

He had been crashing with me on and off for a few months now, springboarding back and forth from Palo Alto, where life had less trajectory and I was glad to have him around. It had helped, so far, in getting through the transition of being partner-less, even if my former partner was only a visitor in my home.

At least, it was someone I could give my spare set of keys to, so they didn’t sit on my shelf, another curio, next to my big red hair-ball (gross).

“I think I’m developing a cold.” John told me one night, spoken loudly from the ceiling-snug loft he slept in at my place, known as the “John-cave”.

“Fair.” I told him.

“Nah, it’s a bummer.” He said realistically. “But at least I know this, I’ll get over it soon.”

What was unmentioned was my own impending illness, a symptom of the season, but also of the proximity to someone sick. I used to joke with Eva when she came over that the sniffles I had were an STD foisted on me and that I’d be looking out on the streets for men with tissues while we walked, to stare at her accusingly.

I wasn’t fucking John (sorry, everyone?) but living in a small space has it’s consequences and I’d rather accept them than Lysol the shit out of everything, like I see people do at work.

“I feel like I’ve missed out on too many summers here.” John told me. “Too many things I could have been doing.”

“Well, you’re here now.” I told him. “Shit’s here. Stay.”

But John had other places, other friends, other commitments in his life. He’d be home for Christmas and he’d be back again most likely.

When we got to Old Navy, I almost got some flannel-lined pants, until a call to my father (and an unsuccessful attempt at my mother) pointed out to me that they’d be hot when I was inside.

“And I can’t take off my pants when I get places.” I told my father over the phone.

Which must have drawn some approval, parenting-wise, on his part.

***

I sent this picture one morning in the movie theater this week, to Eva, which I didn’t like thinking about later.

I used to send her pictures like this all the time and after hearing from her once in a brief text-message exchange that took place over a vintage Mrs. Potato doll, it felt hard not to send her something like this when I saw it, sitting reading by the concession stand, on a chilly, early morning.

This past week I’d experienced a couple of breakthroughs of sorts. I got a girl’s number who snuck me jungle-juice at a comedy club. I even chatted up a nerdy-cute girl I had a crush on in one of my comedy classes while sitting in a holiday-themed McDonalds, an experience that made me feel “electric” on my way home and stopped me from falling asleep, until I did.

When I went to my therapist, she had little in the way of advice again, hearing my torrent of confessionary information until finishing off with a “what now?” question, only answered with a:

“Nothing. You sound better than most people in your position would.”

Still I feel diverted, I feel wanting, I feel like I’m in withdrawal for something that feels all the more painful for my denial of its addiction in my life. Is love an addiction or was this one just one? Is it an addiction that’s ok to have?

Amidst the responses that I got to my last blog-post was a cavalcade of friends (and my mom) chiming in to let me know it was ok to relax, to recover that in Penny-Arcade reader Matt Chao’s unusually articulate words: “You can’t outrun yourself, no matter how fast you go.”

Still, the words that hit me most were just from someone I didn’t know posting under a pseudonym telling me that the relationship I had entered into was some sort of faustian bargain, where the pain of heartbreak was endemic to the joy of a relationship. That my feelings would fade into pleasantness and nothing and “this girl you dated when you were 23” would be just that.

I remember having a good day on Saturday, when I read my web-series adapted from my blog to my sketch-writing class full of stand-ups and actors and people who didn’t know me and they commiserated and felt for the characters. It was good to know that people outside my life could identify with it. But it’s strange to think how you stack an outsider’s word against your friend’s. How you wonder what someone who sees your life, your pictures, your facebook page thinks of you and your worries outside of your direct experience with them.

It’s a question I ask when I think about that still active, though less used, online dating profile from last week. But it’s also applicable here, where I write what’s on my mind, or near it, but there are invisible borders between representation and truth. Is the character I play in life more or less desperate for love and acceptance? More or less relatable? And how does this all translate to the way I see myself and my world.

All I know is when I tried to write last night for my writer’s group, I just kept writing about the break-up, stopping, realizing there wasn’t enough time, before walking to Kinko’s and printing out a sketch I wrote earlier about an irredeemable Charlie Sheen. I felt bad just walking in the bar, though people showed up and enjoyed themselves.

Half-way through the group, midway through Alex Hilhorst’s historical-fantasy about lion-headed rape-goddesses, I felt my nasal passages occlude to a place where I could no longer breathe. I struggled and was absorbed as I often am when such things happen, lamenting the alcohol and fighting the symptoms, though I knew there was no stopping it.

A cold is a cold after all, and all that stops it is rest and the certainty that, after reaching a head, it will get better over time.

There was talk of Holiday karaoke afterwards, but I excused myself, even from that, to go home, to lie down, and fell asleep early. I knew then it was right to sleep.

I guess sometimes, in some cases, I capable of some common sense.

I woke up to a cold apartment, after a few snoring stirrings in the middle of the night.

John had unplugged the half-broken electric heater, which lost a wheel when Matt Chao sat on it, months earlier.

As Rob-it’s useful-this-time-of-year-to-have-a-Beard-o Malone would tell you, the loft gets very hot at night, when the warm air collects near the top of the apartment, amplified by its tight walls and mirrored body heat.

John couldn’t sleep with it on though sometimes, so I didn’t blame him.

“I have your cold.” I told him, when he woke up to his chiming cell-phone.

“Really? Sorry about that.” He commented groggily. “I hate that.”

“It’s alright.” I replied. “It’s not like you could help it.”

“I guess it just comes with the territory.”

***

I sat alone for a while, after an improv class with some time to kill before my next event.

John was getting up for a 2 minute 55 second stint at an open mike at the PIT, where I was taking classes, but my last class had gotten out, and though I didn’t feel too bad about it, I still needed somewhere to be in the intermittent hour between class and mic.

I tried sitting lobby in the theater, inquiring if it was ok, hearing an affirmative, but realizing that sitting in such a small place for an hour was still a little too sad.

So  I found a place with four-dollar Peronis and a combination Garlic-Knot/Chicken Parm Sandwich.

I remember in the days I found myself in the fashion district playing Magic cards, Cavallo’s Pizza was remembered as the lesser of the pizzerias one could go to, when compared with the late-game refinement of a brick oven place like Waldy’s or the sheer beefiness of a nuts-and-bolts joint like (New) Pizza Town.

Since Neutral Ground closed however, Cavallo’s has changed it’s game somewhat, keeping its unimpressive slices, but adding the aforementioned Chicken Parm on Homemade Garlic Bread sandwich at the impressive cost of 2.75, which is how much it’ll cost you for a plain slice at some of the overpriced joints in this city.

However, the kicker was the little beer selection, all 4 bucks, which beat out the local bars for me which all were crowded with sports nuts and the 35-plus crowd and would doubtless involve tipping and bad looks. Though I had a Peroni with this sandwich, in an act of lax will/deliciousness, I got two of these babies as well as two of a different kind of beer, a sort of IPA made by Italian maker Moretti (think Italian for “Miller”) called, attractively, La Rossa.

By the time I got to the PIT, 45 minutes later, my stomach was as filled with chewy garlic and sauce as my head was with a light easy buzz, which I would later regrettably compliment with several Bud Lights.

The headache the next day was beaten with a single Tylenol and a good mocha.

So I’ll call this one a victory.

***

CAVALLO’S PIZZERIA

Chicken Parm on Homemade Garlic Bread Sandwich w/your choice of bottled beer (Peroni shown above)- $6.75

NW Corner of 28th St and 7th Ave

1 to 28th St.

***

BONUS 1:

A successful appearance of the “McGangBang” (a McDouble with a McChicken between it, 4 dollars in NYC, 2 dollars elsewhere) and my first visualization of it, courtesy of local fast-food master and eternal 17 year-old Blake LaRue:

***

BONUS 2:

Please check out friend of the blog Nandan Rao (who never calls me anymore, asshole) and Zach Weintraub’s trailer for their new film “Tender is the D”. Obviously they should have cast me in it, but seriously, fuck those guys.

Link is here.

***

BONUS 3:

If you are a reader of the blog but missed this, I will be being (not) funny on stage for my UCB class show on Saturday, Dec. 18th at 2:20pm at the UCB Theater. Improv, the most reliable form of comedy, eh? See, that’s what you’ll be getting if you decide to come.

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