Thursday, March 09, 2006

As promised

Is there a point in life where those lessons you learn in kindergarten no longer apply? I think that's the same point at which the loud club disgusts you and you run screaming to the closest quiet bar. It's a resignation, sure, but it's not an entirely bad one. The one thing we should be prepared to face is the inevitable.

Mel and I hadn't been out dancing since Ms. McKay's birthday over a year ago--you know, the night of a million pantsless Santas.

So we decided that we'd give Scenic a shot, as that was the new location of the party we had frequented nearly Saturday night not such a long time ago. We agreed to meet on Houston early enough that the place wouldn't be completely filled with B&T assholes. I, of course, was running late, having been detained by a model who wanted my opinon on the photos I took of her and who wanted to fill me with Croation food and her father's grappa. How could I refuse that?

Well, the trains, as everyone knows, on the weekends, blow. The N was surprisingly fast, but the connecting F was anywhere but 34th St. Luckily, there was free entertainment.

As I decended the stairs to the platform I followed a blatantly drunk girl in a black coat who bumped into a man holding--but definitely not playing--a guitar. She apologized and promptly demanded that he play her something. I stood descretely to the side to listen. One poorly written song about what love is later, and during her glowing review of his work, another girl in a black coat stole the entirety of her attention. Apparently, they were friends of friends and had a habit of running into each other randomly. The bad musician slunk away and I went to look for rats.

There was little in the rat arena (despite 34th St. usually being a good place for them--once I witnessed a pretty serious fight between a young whippersnapper rat and a much larger (and definitely victorious) Master Splinter type). The real action was at the other side of the platform, where a Southern family of 5 cheered at every rat sighting.

Soon enough, the pair of black coatted girls secured a spot near the edge of the platform, which by chance was directly next to me. Black coat number one was very drunk, to the point where she had already cried enough earlier in the evening to turn her mascarra into deep eye bruises. I largely ignored their conversation until I caught that they approached the platform edge in order to see the rats better as well. I didn't hear much of their conversation, but no one could have missed when drunkie pointed at the rat and said, "You're diseased!"

Number one turned to me and said, "What's his name? Wilbur's friend?"

In New York, we're trained to completely ignore anything anyone says to us, particularly on the subway, so my brain knew she was refering to the book Charlotte's Webb, but my mouth hadn't formed the words before she turned back to her friend. Then she accused the rat of not being fat enough to be Wilbur's friend. I shifted my eavesdropping to the Southern family who had moved to my side of the platform, directly on the other side of me than the black coatters. They were talking about what happened when you put a fly in the microwave.

Charlotte (as I had named her) turned back, slapped me on the arm, and said, "TEMPLETON!" and after she realized she had hit me, "Oh, I'm sorry!"

I said, "That's okay. Sometimes I need to punch a stranger, too."

Time passed. By the time her literary conundrum was resolved, we had been waiting for 10 minutes, and another 15 went by before I made my exit. I cursed my lack of reading material. The girls discussed where they were going, and debated running upstairs and catching a cab. I noted that Charlotte and I were going to the same station, so when they finally gave up on the train, I stopped them. Before I finished what little spiel I had, Number Two (who to this day remains nameless) said, "Yes, you're coming with us."

We laughed a lot in the cab, and because Number Two wasn't going as far downtown as Charlotte and I were--and she felt ony the slightest bit of responsibility to see that her drunk friend got home safely--she got out first but left more than enough money to cover the entire trip. Charlotte and I made it downtown, she overtipped with her friend's money, shook my hand goodnight, and disappeared down a side street.

And they tell you not to talk to strangers.

I found Mel, and we went to Scenic. At just midnight it was packed. Mel had to sweet talk her way into the coat check because they claimed they were full (and I don't have the boobs for sweet talking). Upstairs, no one was dancing, and they were playing crappy music, so we went downstairs.

Downstairs, few people were dancing, and they were playing slightly less crappy music, but we found a corner where we'd have some space. Since it was a basement, the ceilings were about seven feet high, but they were padded. I'm unsure if that was for noise dampening or head protection. But worst, people were smoking.

But we hadn't been dancing in over a year, and damnit, we were going to dance! So we did, and there was even a decent enough string of songs to get us drenched in sweat and in need of a water break. The need was bad enough that we sat out through "Welcome to the Jungle". Had we known that would be the last good song of the night, I doubt we would have stopped at all.

We stayed for another hour, hacking through the smoke, trying to dance to the b-sides of the latest hipster bands, but it was useless. Not even two hours, and we were gone. In the heyday of Opaline, we'd be dancing until 4:30am--and that's when we'd go to Odessa for breakfast.

We left before any of this happened:

The good news is that on our way in, we passed an interesting looking bar on 2nd Ave. and Ave. A, and though it was a bit overpriced, its atmosphere was the exact opposite of Scenic's. There was room to sit, nice, calm music, and cute girls (although with it just being Mel and me, it was unlikely that anything could possibly have happened in that regard; great as she is, she's just no wingman (damn Eric and his monogamy)). And big windows--it had huge north and east facing windows, so I'm sure it gets great light all day.

I'm sure this wasn't the last night of dancing, but it was definitely a reminder that I'm not as young and stupid as I once was. I'm just as stupid, but I'm an older kind of stupid.


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