Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Archives

Talking with a guy in a restaurant the other day, I was reminded of a few stories/exchanges from the last several years...

Randomness -

Snotty NYU bitch: "I'm never coming back to this bar. It stinks like vomit!!!"

As she turned away, the source of the odor she was complaining of was evident. The back of her skirt was covered in barf. I'm guessing someone lost their Chicken a la King on her. Oh, well.

St. Patricks Day -

A young lady staggered from the bar, leaned over the A-frame sign, and blew chunks in front of God and everyone. After her purge, she lurched over to the wall of the next building and proceeded to dry heave for several minutes. During this time, her dutiful boyfriend exited the bar to be supportive, hold her hair and do the "good boyfriend shit".

When she finished expunging the devil liquor from her system, she rewarded him in classic style. With a a hug and a kiss. He tried to pull away, but wasn't quick enough. When they separated, he had a nice racing stripe of barf running from the middle of his chest to his belt. Ah, young love.

Randomness II -

As I was escorting a young gent to the door for acting like an asshat, he stopped abruptly and announced "I don't wanna be here anyway! This bar SUCKS!!!"

Me: "You know, you're right. Let me fix that"

I took him by the shoulders and moved him out the door onto the sidewalk.

"There, now the bar doesn't suck anymore. Thanks for pointing out the problem, douche."

You're Parents Must Be Proud -

I entered the bar from a smoke break and saw one of the regulars flagging me relentlessly.

Ed: "That guy...PEE!"

Me: (looking at a guy at a table by the door sitting with his back to the wall) "That guy? What? When?"

Ed: "Now!!!"

(leaning over, I saw the monkey-fuck was, in fact peeing on the floor at that exact moment in time)

I casually walked towards the door. As I approached the failure in Darwinism, I grabbed the table and jerked it away. He was like a deer caught in the headlights...with his johnson hanging out. He tried to run by me, but I grabbed him by the arm and shoulder.

I presume he was fearful of catching a beating, so he collapsed on the floor and curled up in a ball. I quickly made an executive decision. Since he couldn't have weighed more than 150, I decided to allow him live, but endure a different kind of "walk of shame".

I grabbed one leg and his hair and began sliding him back and forth on the floor. I was, in fact, mopping up the pee with the little douchebag.

He screamed, and protested that I was "getting pee" on him. Well no shit, rocket scientist.

After several swipes through the puddle, I let him go. He was drenched on his back and side from his hair to his shoes in his own urine. Ah, sweet satisfaction. He left, crying, never to return.

He never bothered to put his tool away, even as he left. What a butt-munch.

Words of advice for when you go to the bar -

Have an idea of what you want. If you say "Oh, just make me something good." I'll respond "Oh, I'm sorry, I only know how to make drinks that taste like flop sweat."

It's more than a little silly to complain that a bar is crowded on a weekend night. If a bar isn't busy on a weekend night, they'll soon be out of business. Find something else to bitch about.

If you really think it's acceptable to recycle random drinks (ie pick up discarded drinks and consume them as if they were your own), please find the nearest national park, cover yourself in a blanket of raw meat and wait for wild animals to come consume you. You're too dumb to live in my world.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My 9/11

My day, 09/11/01

Shortly before 9:00 a.m., my roommate entered my room. She said "they blew up one of the twin towers". As I had been in the bar until 4:00 a.m. throwing darts the night before, I was not in the mood for her "stupid shit" and told her as much. "How could anyone blow up the whole building? You're overreacting". Several minutes later, she came back and told me the other tower was now ablaze. Infuriated at the interruption of my sweet slumber, I went upstairs and looked out the window, as our view of lower Manhattan was excellent. The towers were, in fact, burning.

I grabbed my phone and turned on the television. They were talking about terrorists. They were talking about possible attacks in the subways. They were talking about some seriously scary shit. About 9:20, all bridges and tunnels to Manhattan were closed.

About 9:45 a plane hit the pentagon.

I was trying hard not to freak out. Not only did I have friends working in and near the WTC, many of my co-workers at the bar worked as flight attendants for American Airlines. I had no idea where anyone was, and with the phone lines overloaded, no way to find where they were.

10:05 - the south tower collapses. A few minutes later, still another plane goes down in Pennsylvania
I'm able to get signal on my cel phone sporadically, and get through to my cousin in Atlanta, and tell her to let the family know I'm ok.

10:28 - the north tower comes down.

I kept trying desperately to reach friends. My boss and friend Gina was traveling to the Bahamas that day (on American) and I had no idea at that point where she was. I was bordering on frantic, but trying hard to keep it together. I knew, with limited phone service, staff and friends would eventually go to, or call, the bar to check in. No trains were running, though, so I was boned. The point was moot. Mayor Rudy told everyone to stay out of lower Manhattan about 30 minutes later.

I finally got ahold of Gina, and she had checked on the girls from the bar. To her knowledge, no one had been in the air. Now I just had to worry about where everyone was that morning. Partially relieved, I still felt I needed to get into the city. A few minutes before 3:00 p.m., Mayor Rudy said the trains would be back up shortly. If nothing else, I knew to take it to the bank that the trains would be up...Rudy said so.

I threw some things in a bag and hauled ass to the "L" train. I got there a few minutes after 3, and damned if there wasn't a train waiting on me. Providence. I was in the city 12 minutes later.

I came out of the subway to a surreal sight. No traffic. Just people. Dirty people. Crying people. People so obviously in shock I have no idea how they kept going. There was smoke and debris in the air...and a stench I can't describe. People were walking, running, doing whatever they could to get as far away as possible from what is now called Ground Zero. The Mayor had closed the city below Canal St, about 13 blocks away. The only way these people were getting out was on foot.

I went to the bar and found a regular sitting on the steps. He was, apparently, well into his 2nd 40 oz. "I'm sorry Matty, but I didn't know where else to go." Then he wept. I comforted him the best I could, then let him inside. We were followed shortly by my friend and coworker Ryan, who heard the same news about the trains and came running.

Throughout the day, regulars, neighbors, friends, and coworkers stopped in or called to check in and check on each other. I had been right. The bar was a second home to these people. We were family. Today, we were one.
Fortunately, the staff was accounted for and all were safe. A few regulars were not so lucky, and perished in the buildings near Broadway, though I wouldn't know it for a few days. As night approached, the horrors continued, however.
One of the guys from Ladder 3/Recon 3 (3 house of the FDNY serves the East Village and is located around the corner from the bar) was passing on his way to the house and I stopped him. He told me the attack had come at shift change. This meant 12 guys from our company had responded. None survived. A dozen friends, regulars, heroes had fallen from our block.

I wanted to break down, but I couldn't. My people needed me. The people in the bar weren't there to drink. They were there for comfort. I did my best to accommodate. I'd have to mourn my friends a little later on my own time.

The streets were deserted, except for locals, by 9:00 p.m. (no traffic was being allowed below 14th st. at this point). As the regulars began filing out, headed for their homes, Ryan and I closed up shop around 11:00 p.m. and went for a drink at another bar. We talked about what had happened with friends and tried to absorb what had happened. I thought of the boys from 3 house.
We didn't stay late. Ryan went north towards Queens, I went east towards Brooklyn. I stopped for a smoke before getting on the train. The streets were littered with debris. Assorted garbage, tons of soot and grime, random papers and debris from the towers were everywhere. That damned smell wouldn't leave for weeks. I saw a cane, the kind a blind person uses, in the street. "That's odd" I thought to myself. "How could a blind guy lose his cane on a day like this?" Ah. Question answered. A little further up the street, I saw a shoe. A little girl's shoe. One of those patent leather jobbies w/ the buckle.
That was it. I was done. It was my turn. I sat down on the sidewalk by the subway and cried. I had had enough.

I had seen pain and the worst humanity can offer. The days that followed would show me some of the best. New Yorkers were standing by each other as I had never seen them. It was "us" against "them".
Then I started seeing fire and rescue trucks from other cities and states. Then I started seeing benefits and relief efforts from other cities and states and even countries. "Us" had just gotten a whole lot bigger. People offered support, love and hope from every corner of the country and around the world. It was reaffirming.

Mike Moran gave a speech at the Concert for New York City the following month you might have seen. It went a little something like this...

...our friends, our brothers, our fathers are not gone, because they are not forgotten...

and Osama Bin Laden, you can kiss my royal Irish ass.
Mike was off the day of the attack. His father and brother, weren't. He lost them both. He never missed a day of work after the attack, and he spent every off day for months down in the pit. He never missed a beat and he never stopped being a stand up guy. He's a hero, too.

The Parting Shots:
For the record, I only thought I knew what hate was until that day. It grew several days later when they pulled the 3 rig from the rubble. This is what they found.

I still hate Bin Laden and his thugs...and I can't forget and won't ever forgive what they did to my city, and my friends. The rest of the country, and New Yorkers in particular, gave me hope for the future, though. That hope is what lets me carry on.
And one more thing I learned...never wait until it's too late to tell people you love how you feel. You never really know when you'll be out of chances.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Exile in Kennesaw

It's not quite how it sounds. I've intentionally stayed in/near the house for two weeks, now. The reason? I put down the cigarettes.

Now before you start being congratulatory and supportive, and all that crap, let me be perfectly straight...I would feed you into a woodchipper for a Marlboro Light right now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not jonesing so bad I'd smoke a menthol, but I see that day in the not too distant future.

I'm pretty annoyed about the whole thing, actually. For years, every do-gooder and "concerned" friend and family member has been riding my ass to quit. Finally, I gave in, due to my current domestic situation. A couple things I have found to be true...non-smokers generally have no clue what quitting smoking is all about, and I now want to punch the majority of everyone that told me to quit right square in his/her junk.

Allow me to elaborate. While no one ever said quitting would be easy, not one of my "quit buddies" ever told me about the following reactions that, evidently, come with putting down the smokes:

1) Insane headaches - not just headaches, these super-gripping ultra mau-mau numbers that grab you by the back of the head and treat you like a prison bitch on OZ.

2) Rolling pain in the legs - I don't even know what to do with this one. From my upper thighs down to the middle of my shins, I've had twitches, tremors, convulsions and general muscular revolutions for about a week, now. I had to Google this symptom, because I was convinced I had scurvy or SARS or some such delightful malady. It turned out, of course, it's just one of those side effects no one told me might happen...fuckers.

3) Sense of Smell - totally misleading. Everyone told me my sense of taste and smell would improve and I'd experience old sensations for the first time in years. Kiss my big country ass. The only new smell I've encountered is this sickly, moldy stink that I smell everywhere I go. Nothing good, just the rough equivalent of a bums foot that is suffering from rot. Oh, joy!!!

4) Blood Sugar - huh? I don't know too much about this, other than apparently, I'm compelled to eat more frequently due to it taking longer for sugar to be delivered to my system, or some such crap. Or I have an oral fixation. Or I'm just a hog. It depends on what pseudo-scientific monkey-fuck you ask. The vast majority of them, apparently, have never smoked so they're really just guessing. Bite me. As a result, my weight shot up quickly. Yay.

5) Just taking a break here to thank all the "quit buddies" that pushed for this over the years. I feel so much better now that my weight is up, my patience (which was never really strong) is gone, and of course there's the whole woodchipper thing. sigh

6) Bleeding gums - WTF? I'm told that my improved circulation is the culprit here. Huh??? I quit smoking, now I'm gonna bleed to death as a result? At least my breath will be minty fresh, right? Geez.

7) Chest pains - yep, chest pains. I'm 41 years old, my blood pressure pre-quit was so low, people were actually envious of my big ass. Now, I'm having chest pains and shortness of breath because I'm "getting healthier"...WHAT THE FUCK??? How in the hell is that supposed to work?

To summarize: Evil cigarettes are out of the picture, but now I'll most likely have a brain aneurysm while running for help for my scurvy/SARS affliction, assuming I don't pass out from low blood-sugar while smelling the unwashed ass that seems to be following me around and bleed to death via my gums just a little before my heart attack finishes me off.

At least my clothes will smell fresh. Bite me, you do-gooder asshats.