Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Week That Was


Joe Lally of Fugazi, Eric Slick, and Yanni Papadopalous performing Saturday evening, December 16, 2006 at the Lit Lounge in New York City

So after last leaving you with that gruesome post about Gary, who is doing okay though still full of bruises and lacerations and generally pissed off at our lovely society right now with its skewed sense of what's important and what's not (i.e., money for war and not public education; gun violence...I could go on and on), I am going to backtrack and tell you the whole story of my weekend in New York and I dunno, I'll see how it pans out. Whether I will go into more Gary detail and keep this whole thing in chronological order I have no idea...I'm just writing as I go but it's been a rough couple of days and I don't think I want to revisit what happened nor does Gary...we just want to let it go and move on. But do know that our family thanks you all profusely for all of your warm emails/blog comments of support and good wishes.

Alrighty then. Saturday morning Julie and I woke up at dawn and raced to to the bus station (yes, she made me take Greyhound and not Amtrak because she is cheap and I squander money) where there was already a huge line for the 7:00 a.m. express. I was having heart failure that the bus would be full by the time they got to us and we'd have to stand in line for another hour for the 8:00 local, but I can't believe it, we not only got on our bus of choice we got the last empty seat for two so we didn't have to sit next to any strangers.

Luckily, by the time we sat down, the bus had already been boarding for fifteen minutes and the guy behind me was asleep. Why do I say that? Because about ten minutes into our ride, I leaned back against the cushion and my seat went 3/4 of the way down. I pulled on levers, pushed buttons, stood up and tried to physically make the seat go back straight, but no luck.

Julie of course thought this was hilarious. I was practically reclining on the sleeping man's knees behind me.

I felt like that episode in the Simpsons where Homer is driving, his seat breaks, and he continues to drive flat on his back while eating a donut.

Me: "Julie, I'm never going to be able to ride two hours to New York this way. I'm gonna die."

Julie: "Go to sleep, Mom." Meanwhile, she's laughing her ass off.

Me: "I can't sleep on busses. If I fall asleep, we'll crash. Don't you know that's the law?" (My daughter has never read Fear of Flying)

Julie: "Take a nap, Mom. And shhh..."

So I'm on my back and I'm exhausted from practically running two miles to the bus station and much to my shock, I did in fact fall asleep and the next thing I know, Julie is shaking me awake like I'm a little kid.

"Mom, we're here. Wake up."

"You're kidding me."

"No, look. We're in the Lincoln Tunnel."

Best bus ride ever.

We got to New York in an hour and a half -- an all time record by bus -- and went to New York School of Rock to drop off cookies for Paul Green -- which has been a yearly tradition since Julie and Eric were his very first students back in 1998 -- before there was even such a thing as School of Rock.

Anyway, Paul showed us around the New York school -- well, Julie had seen it before, I never did -- and it was very impressive and cool. Paul decided to help us out with our "tourist plans" and gave us a little map of the Upper West side/Central Park because believe it or not, Lennon fanatic that I am and frequent NYC visitor, I'd never been able to bring myself to visit either the Dakota or Strawberry Fields.

Julie being Julie and the consummate researcher, had already mapped out our day's activities which somehow included a walk from our hotel at Times Square (43rd and Broadway and oh my god do I have a story about that place) to Zabar's Food Emporium, Fairway Market, and Citarella Foods between 75th and 80th Streets and Broadway...all the way down 5th Avenue for upper scale visits to places like Saks Fifth Avenue...and then, she actually had plans for us to then walk to 2nd Avenue and 5th Street to the Lit Lounge where Eric was playing that night. I'm guessing if you take into consideration all of the sidetracks she also scoped out on side streets...between her plans and Paul's, we logged twenty miles of walking.

But I digress.

Naturally after we left Paul (which was at 45th and 9th), we were starving and desperately needed coffee. Unfortunately, all we saw were Starbucks. I can't drink that stuff - it tastes burnt and loaded with crystal meth, which is my only explanation for the long lines that appear in every single one of their evil shops every morning, even intersections where there are four on each corner.

We walked to Rockefeller Plaza and ooh'ed and ah'ed over the Christmas tree and the skaters but you know, we're kind of jaded and were pretty pissed off that it was so crowded the police had barricades up making it difficult to cross even the smaller streets and we're really jonesing for caffeine, when Julie and I both looked up and simultaneously shouted "Citarella To Go!". We went in and it's incredible -- the pastries and bagels were amazing...as were the lunches they were getting ready for later in the day -- huge slabs of roasted salmon, oh my god, I can't even begin to describe what they had -- click on the link and read the menus. Anyway, much to our dismay, there were only a few seats at a bar like thing and they were packed with tourists.

"Oh crap," I said to Julie. "I hate walking around with hot coffee. I want to sit down and have one of those huge bagels, too."

Luckily, we had a very nosy person in front of us in line who said "Oh, there's additional seating downstairs!"

Not believing our luck, we ordered two large coffees and two toasted bagels and headed downstairs.

Err...it was the subway. Julie and I looked at each other, totally perplexed, and then I saw a sign that said, inexplicably, "Ice Skating Rink and Banana Republic" with an arrow.

Me: "Maybe she means there are seats outside the skating rink? That's kind of cool. Let's follow the sign."

Julie: "Yeah, why not. I hope it's close, though. This coffee cup is burning my hand."

Me: "Yeah, me, too. Jesus, what did they do, boil this stuff?"

So we followed the sign to the skating rink and err, Banana Republic. And we walked. And we walked.

Did you know there are like three miles of stores under Rockefeller Plaza? I didn't. But of course they are all the usual stores you find at malls. It's so depressing. Why would you want to travel to New York City and go to the same stores you can find in malls in Topeka, Kansas and Cherry Hill, New Jersey?

Naturally there were also seventeen Starbucks down there, too, which is where we ultimately found seating. At this point I realized I'd left my camera home, which in reality was no big deal because we were in tourist hell down there -- it was kind of nauseating, actually -- but I did call Eric back in Philadelphia and asked him to please pack it in his backpack because he was leaving for New York in an hour to rehearse for that night's show which is what I did want my camera for. Which is why I was able to take the above pic of him performing on bongos with Fugazi's Joe Lally and the incredible guitarist, Yanni, not to be confused with Yanni the idiot new ager keyboardist who used to date the woman from what, Dallas? Dynasty? Whatever.

Anyway, Julie and I finished our awesome breakfast, laughed when we saw more signs pointing to mall stores, but then we actually saw a sign for Saks Fifth Avenue.

"How the hell did that happen?" I asked Julie.

"Because Saks is at 49th and Fifth which is a block away from the skating rink."

Julie knows all.

I get totally disoriented in these situations, even though I've been to NYC a million times. But again, I never do the tourist stuff...I usually walk down 6th Avenue because that's where the music stores are and then get to Saks that way.

We went into Saks merely because they have the world's best Christmas window/store designer -- it was literally turned into a winter wonderland with white/silvery branches across the ceiling and twinkling white lights -- if you have the chance to make it there before the first of the year, I strongly suggest it...it's really something to see.

Then the coffee hit and we had to, um, pee, which is another reason you want to be in Saks.

But before we reaches the elevator, we noticed they had a little kiosk set up with Laura Mercier creme brulee and coconut hand creams.

I own the creme brulee cream. It costs as much as a mortgage payment and is worth every cent, but Julie and I could not resist the urge to slather our hands with the coconut, which must be new. Out of nowhere, the young salesman from hell appeared.

He tried to hard sell us the stuff, and even after telling him we already owned it, he kept staring at Julie and then said to me "A woman as beautiful as her should own the gift set -- look, you get three jars for only $850.00 (slight exaggeration here but not much)."

Me: "A woman as beautiful as her? What am I, chopped liver?"

Salesman: "Well, um, yeah, I could see where you would have been beautiful once."

Me: "What? Nice way to make a sale." But I laughed and to his credit, he turned red.

Salesman: "I mean, you still look good for your age, what I meant was, when you were younger, you must have been really pretty."

Me: "You want to take your foot out of your mouth now? Or do you want to keep talking?"

He got very flustered which I enjoyed immensely.

Julie was actually thinking of buying me the coconut cream for Christmas.

"I'd rather walk on burning coals than give that guy a sale," I muttered, checking my reflection in a mirror and fully expecting to see a ninety year old crone staring back.

Of course that's what I did see but Julie reassured me "the lighting is bad in here, Mom."

I love my daughter.

Anyway, after hitting the ladies' room, we meandered through the "active wear" department, which included $600.00 jeans and thin little crappy t-shirts for $300.00.

There really is a sucker born every minute.

But we looked around for ideas and then headed for H&M on 5th Avenue where we proceeded to buy every single thing we saw at Saks for 1/100th of the price. It was hilarious. They had knock-offs which were identical.

But thank you, Saks, for telling us what the latest fashions are. Ha!

Meanwhile, while you can no longer smoke anywhere in New York or eat transfats, it is now legal to bring your dogs into stores. Well, it is in Saks and other suchlike places. I have to admit, I really enjoyed that. Especially the punk rocker who came in with a tiny dog dressed in diamonds and actual leather shoes.

Oh, where oh where was my camera when I needed it.

So we're meandering down 5th Avenue passing Bergdoff Goodman -- where we also made a ladies' room stop -- see, these stores are good for something -- when we hit the protest from hell. Now, I love a good protest, but there were at least a million people in the street, all carrying signs, doing what I love best, protesting police brutality. (This had to do with the man who was brutally shot/murdered on his wedding day by NY police) Well, I loved it until someone white in the march pointed at Julie and me and shouted "White supremacists!"

Who, us? Are you kidding me? I was ready to cross over the police barricades and join the march! Ugh, he had us profiled all wrong. Geez. If you are going to profile me, at least make me a hippie.

So far that day I'd been pegged as an aging, faded beauty rich person at Saks and a white supremacist. Nice.

But I was having a blast with my daughter and kept my spirits high.

Unfortunately, the protest was such that it totally prevented us from going any further down 5th Avenue, but as luck would have it, the detour up 58th Street took us right to Central Park! It was an absolutely gorgeous warm day for December and the park was full of people having picnics, rollerblading, etc. We normally would not have cut through the entire park but it was so lovely we just started traveling down paths, not knowing where we were going -- we stumbled on the carousel, the ice skating rink, and then finally, Strawberry Fields, which is directly across the street from the Dakota where Lennon lived.

I looked at the Dakota, then down at the marker in the park:



It was hard not to get choked up. I fact, I saw a woman weeping on her husband's shoulder and started to lose it myself. But then I saw all of these hawkers selling Lennon souveniers...like, a trio of framed pics -- the first being Lennon in his NYC t-shirt, the second being the Dakota, the third being the Imagine marker.

It was sickening.

"Mom, is this where Lennon died?" Julie asked, pointing to the spot where we were standing.

"No, honey, he was shot directly outside his apartment," I said, glancing up at the Dakota.

"You are kidding me! Right outside his house?"

"Yes. Please. Let's not talk about it." I was really getting emotional and finding it difficult to speak.

So I shook it off and we headed for the various foodie places on the Upper West side.

But not before stumbling on Tavern on Green, which, because I don't do the tourist stuff, I'd never seen before. I have to admit, it was impressive, and we peeked inside and gasped at how gorgeous the holiday decorations were.

"Let's go inside and see if we can look at the menu," Julie said.

"Yeah, okay. I also want to see the whole Christmas decoration thing up close, too. It really looks spectacular in there."

So we went in, and yeah, it was beautiful, and they also wanted $23.00 for a BLT.

What was that I said about suckers?

Zabar's on 80th Street is everything you could ever want in a gourmet shop. But I wish to register a complaint. At like places in Philadelphia, speaking of Homer Simpson, you can run in and hit free sample counters on every aisle and basically eat a meal there for free featuring nibbles of imported cheeses, chunks of rustic breads to dip in small bowls of imported olive oils, etc. These places had nothing!

And of course by this time we were starving again.

We rambled around the Upper West side and stumbled on a place called The Earthen Oven which was amazing! It's so funny -- Julie and I always scope out all of these restaurants we want to hit when we visit NYC and we never end up where we expected...anyway, this place was a real winner because they had a prix fixe lunch served until 2:45 (which it was exactly) catering to both vegetarians and carnivores.

We started out with amazing samosas stuffed with potatoes and peas; then Julie had a mixed vegetable curry and I had a fresh fish curry; it came with a huge bowl of creamy lentils and massive slabs of hot Nan bread...so what you in essence did was make yourselves the ultimate wrap by spooning all of the ingredients into the bread and folding it up. Mmmm...I'm getting chills just thinking about it.

The lunch also included a choice of desserts...a bunch of stuff with Indian names we could not identify but at the end of the list was coconut gelato (which cracked me up) but it was exactly what we wanted after eating that hot, spicy food but for some reason, the owner came out with two totally different desserts, looking so proud that we were afraid of saying anything because he presented them to us as if they were gifts.

Mine was a bright, neon orange slab in a glowing red sauce.

Julie had a fried dough ball like thing swimming in a clear syrup.

We looked at each other dubiously and dug in.

"Um, this is interesting," I said, chewing and chewing and waiting for it to break down in my mouth. "I think it's shredded carrots, rice, and an entire bottle of honey molded together and floating in maraschino cherry juice. I don't know how else to describe it. Wanna taste? How's yours? And by the way, what is yours" I asked Julie.

"I think it's a fried sugar ball in sugar syrup," she said disdainfully, causing me to crack up laughing.

"Here, let's taste each other's," I said, and we dipped our respective spoons across the table and immediately started giggling again.

"I think we're on a sugar high," I laughed helplessly.

"Here, Mom, want the rest of my sugar ball?" Julie choked.

"Only if you eat my chewed up carrot thing," I giggled back.

"I really wanted that gelato," she said.

"Me, too. We should have said something. Maybe they were out of it. But the owner looked so proud, giving us this, I felt ungrateful saying anything."

"Yeah, I know. Oh well. The rest of the meal was really good, wasn't it?"

"Yep, I'd come back here again in a heartbeat," I agreed.

We then called Eric because it was now 3:30 and we figured he had to be done rehearsing by then and we really wanted to go with him to a drum store on 30th Street for his possible Christmas present (arghh...yes, I know, 42 blocks away, all of which Julie was going to make me walk, especially after that fattening lunch)...but alas Eric was still busy and told us he would not be able to meet up with us at all.

Bummer.

"Hey, Julie, what we really need to do is get back to Times Square and check into our hotel before they give our room to someone else. Check in time is at 3:00 p.m."

(And besides, I was ready to pass out from exhaustion and we still had to walk to the east village for Eric's show which was another forty blocks in the other direction from Times Square)

"Yeah, okay. Let's cut through Central Park again."

"Gladly."

It was getting near dusk and the park was breathtaking.

"Mom! Look!"

I looked and did not believe what I was seeing.

In the middle of Central Park, there were about 1,000 Santa Clauses. I'm not kidding. And then I glanced up and saw thousands more, coming from every direction. And not just any Santa Clauses. Oh, there were the regular, old fashioned kind...but there were Rastafarian Santas, punk Santas, porno Santas (don't ask -- just think costumes with strategically placed peep holes and women Santas with very big boobies). It was a mind boggling thing to see.

A cowboy Santa strolled past us.

"Excuse me..but can you tell me what this is?" I asked. I'm sorry, I had to know.

"THIS IS SANTARCHY!" he shouted.

Okay....

A couple with a little girl were standing next to us and you could see the shock and awe on the child's face. She was about six or seven and I saw it all registering. Aha! So this is how Santa manages to get presents to everyone all over the world! There are more than one!

Anyway, for some fun photos and a cool write up about the event, click here. This is apparently a yearly occurrence and you'd better believe I'll be there again next year, this time with a camera.

So Julie and I are in great spirits as we headed for the hotel.

Now the real fun begins.

Even I wondered how I was able to find a hotel in Times Square one week before Christmas without an advance reservation. And it was outrageously inexpensive. So I looked at a few pics of the place on line, it reminded me of like a Hampton Inn or Red Roof or something like that -- Julie and I, used to staying at places like the W Hotel because, yeah, yeah, we are princesses, decided we didn't care because we weren't really planning on spending any time in our room, we were going to be out doing stuff so it didn't matter where we stayed.

A decision we would come to regret.

Our first realization that this hotel, which shall remain unnamed, was not quite right was when we walked in. Oh, from the outside, it looked very nice; in fact, it was just two doors down from the Westin. There was a man outside, polishing the brass door handles. It was brightly lit and decorated, though extremely weirdly, for the holidays. They had a panorama when you first walked through the double doors of figures lit up which made absolutely no sense...nothing religious, looked like statues you'd buy at the dollar store and backlit. But it was the huge, flashing sign which really did it for me:

"EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER WANTED IN TIMES SQUARE AND LESS!"


"Psstt...Julie...do you see that sign? Is that hilarious or what?"

So we go to check in, but while I'm handing my credit card to the clerk, a guest of the hotel walks up, an elderly lady, and she asks him to call her a cab.

"No," he said. And he said it rudely.

"No? You can't call me a cab?" she asked, shocked.

Julie and I looked at each other.

"No," he repeated.

"But..." she sputtered.

"Go stand on 7th Avenue like everyone else," he muttered.

Uh-oh. Julie and I again exchanged shocked glances.

He gave us our room key -- and we had to give him a $1.00 deposit.

Double uh-oh.

We got into the elevator with what can only be described as refugees from a trailer park who proceeded to tell us how scary and creepy this place was. Julie and I got off at our floor, terrified. It looked like a tenament...peeling walls, smells of mold...arghhh...and we're totally screwed, because there's no way we're finding another room the Saturday before Christmas in New York City.

With great trepidation, we opened the door to our room.

Okay, not terrible, there were two huge beds in the room but yikes...blankets which were supposed to be white but were now grayish yellow, a bathroom door that didn't close, a T.V. with three blurry channels and no remote...a phone which didn't work...and worse, a window that you could open...along which a huge catwalk ran...meaning the person in the next room could hop out his/her window, walk on the catwalk, and open your window and pop in for a visit.

No locks on the window.

I dialed up Eric.

"Hey, Eric, done practicing? How'd you like to spend the night with Julie and me at our hotel? We have two beds and everything!"

"Aw, that would be great, Mom. I have another rehearsal in North Jersey tomorrow so it wouldn't make sense for me to go home to Philly after the show tonight."

I felt so guilty I had to tell him the truth.

"Oh, I know the hotel you are staying at. It freaks me out! A friend of mine stayed there and they gave another dude his same room! He checked in, went out for a while, and when he returned, there was this dude in his bed."

"Oh my god."

"Don't worry -- I'll stay with you guys. It'll be fine. Anyway, I'm about to have dinner. You and Julie should get to the venue around 8:00 p.m., okay?"

"Okay."

The problem was, we were both fried from literally eight hours of walking but it was only 5:00 p.m. and there was no way in hell we were hanging around that hotel room.

"Julie, let's just start heading to the east village. It's going to take at least an hour to walk there, and we'll just stop in stores and stuff on the way. It'll be easy to kill three hours. I just can't stay in this hotel...it's creeping me out."

Julie totally agreed, though we were nervous as hell leaving anything of value in the room. Luckily, we just had some clothes we'd purchased and these insane truffles we bought at a craft fair we stumbled on in Central Park.

I was more worried someone would steal the truffles than the clothes.

Anyway, yeah, time does fly when you are meandering down streets in the east villlage and before we knew it, it was 8:00 p.m. and we showed up at the Lit Lounge where Eric was performing with Joe Lally and Yanni P.

The place was empty.

The bouncer at the door, who at this time was just a young chick hopped up on something -- Starbucks, probably, said "Oh, there are no bands here yet, just go in and have a drink."

So we walked in and it was pretty strange, being the only two people in a bar...I immediately ordered us two glasses of wine and we sat back and started to laugh over the events of the day, especially our hotel.

Eric finally arrived...because apparently the show had been pushed back to 9:00 p.m., but said he had to go downstairs where the bands would be performing... but yay! He gave me my camera. Julie took this shot of me while I was laughing and drinking wine at the same time -- something I do not advise:



But it does confirm I'm not a ninety year old crone, anyway.

Now the real fun began. The bar started to fill up, and people went downstairs. The smell of vegan latkes coming from the back was wonderful. But where was the dildo menorah? And why were there men wearing dresses and lots of lesbian couples? Not that there's anything wrong with that...and I have to admit, I loved this one guy who looked like a CPA except for the fact he was wearing a short black mini skirt and fishnet stockings and standing alongside a guy in a denim vest and a yarmulke. What I didn't know was that this was a rally held by Jews Against the Occupation in Palestine.

I thought that was fucking fantastic. I am so against war of any kind, and I've talked with people who live in Israel...they don't want war, either -- they also agree the land should be given back to the people of Palestine. But just like here in the United States where you have war mongers running the country...ack...never mind...I don't want to get on my soapbox now, you get the picture.

Speaking of pictures, here's a blurry one of our emcee for the evening, the self-proclaimed Miss Jewish Universe of the 14th Street Y, who had the tiara and sash to prove it:



I loved her. She was so vivacious and devoted to the cause...the vibe coming from the room was simply awesome.

And they even lit a menorah, which was, alas, not a dildo menorah at all...and someone was even kind enough to leave a comment on my blog about that:

"A dildo Menorah, DIY punk-style, consists of three Putz-n'-nuts shaped candles, purchased for Bupkes from the novelty rack of your local porn shop, along with a Dreidel received last Thursday at the Chulent party from a missionary of the evil cult known as Chabad-Lubavitch.

The party being on the second night of Chanukah, two candles were set up in a row. The third candle was set on top of the Dreidel, to act as a Shamosh. The candles were set up on the table with the Shondes merch.

The initial idea was for the anarchist rabbi to say some Hebrew mumbo-jumbo and light the candles, but someone said that it would be a fire hazard; so they remained unlit."


So that was pretty cool...I appreciated that, as well as their subsequent post about the evening. Make sure you click on that. Trust me, you'll love it.

Speaking of cool...let's talk about the music.

When Joe, Eric, and Yanni took the stage, it was mesmerizing. Joe started out by saying he wasn't Jewish (or something like that) but was totally against all war and his songs said as much. It was interesting and most excellent to hear Eric play bongos instead of his usual drum kit, and Yanni on guitar is AMAZING. So is Joe...what a nice, laid back guy...great voice, great songwriter, he had a Hoffner bass (see photo above -- just like Paul McCartney's)...and he sat down and chatted with me which was totally awesome. He just sauntered over, introduced himself, and ironically in light of what at probably was happening to Gary at that very moment, asked me about Philadelphia because he was thinking of moving here from D.C. And I of course talked it up bigtime and even tried to tempt him into buying a house in my neighborhood because it seemed to be exactly what he was looking for...Victorian homes with fireplaces in every room and the original woodwork, etc.

Crazy, huh.

Anyway, Julie and I were exhausted and even though we hated to leave the party, we were falling asleep and once Eric finished, he was headed for another gig across the street to see Henry Cow. Julie and I hailed a cab and braced ourselves for the midnight return to our lovely hotel.

Eric in the meantime got the bad news that Henry Cow was sold out so he hopped the subway and met up with us a half hour later.

Despite being terrified in our surroundings, we crashed until early the next morning. Julie and I ventured out for coffee, brought it back to the room, and said "Let's get the hell out of here."

But there was still the matter of Gary's Christmas present to buy, which, besides our annual holiday trip to New York and seeing Eric play with Joe Lally, was the main reason for our visit.

I can't give away any details about that now but I will next week after we've exchanged gifts. All I can say is, what a fucking story that is as well but I do believe we've managed to top all prior gifts to Gary and we're hoping this will help erase the evil which befell him at least a little.

So we spent over an hour at that shop and rather than return to the flea...I mean, hotel, we decided to take an earlier bus. As I said, Eric was hanging out in New York to meet up with yet another band for yet another tour (he goes on the road with Project Object in one week.

Julie and I raced to the bus station to take the 11:00 a.m. bus only to find out there is no 11:00 a.m. bus, damn it, there's not another bus until noon...so we waited in line and Julie said "I'm bored - want me to go and buy us some magazines?"

I thought that was a great idea -- I very rarely get a chance to read stuff like that anymore (yeah, yeah, I'm a snob who reads Ploughshares and Glimmertrain -- stuff you can't buy at the Greyhound Bus Terminal)...so I went for it and said "Yeah, get me an In Style or something like that".

Julie disappeared for what seemed an hour so I decided to call Gary on my cell and tell him we'd be home around 2:00 p.m. and could he please pick us up at the bus station.

"Hello," he said, his voice sounding distant and cracking.

"Hi! What's wrong?" Wife radar. I know the man since I'm 15 years old. Just that hello sent off all the bad signals.

He could barely speak.

"Gary! What is it?"

"We...we...we have a problem," he whispered.

My heart sank. I could not imagine what he meant. Oh my god. It had to be the dog.

"Is it Monty? Is Monty alright?"

"Monty is fine."

"Gary...what is it? Are you okay?"

And then he proceeded to tell me what happened. Okay, I'm not going to go into any details after all...my eyes are filling up just typing this. It's just that I cannot believe this happened to him Saturday night and he didn't call me...he didn't want to worry me and he knew I had no way of getting home.

Fuck me. I would have taken a cab to Philadelphia at 2:00 a.m. and put it on my credit card if he would have called.

So not only was he mugged and our car stolen, but our house keys were also taken. Battered and bruised, the cops drove him home and he literally had to break our door down to get in and then re-hang it which is the job from hell even in daylight when you are feeling fine.

He spent the rest of the night wide awake shaking and in shock until I called him. Can you imagine that? I can't. I really can't.

Oh my god, that two hour bus trip home was the most agonizing ride of my life. I could not wait to get home and see for myself that he was okay. I never heard him sound that way, ever. In the meantime, the police called him with the good news that they'd found our car and other than the broken windows, everything else was alright.

Anyway, to make a long story short, we have our car back, luckily, Gary is a very spiritual guy and just wants to let this go. He lives a day at a time and really, that's the only way to get through life...it's a brilliant philosophy and one that every human should follow. He who stands with one foot in the past and one foot in the future is pissing on the present.

So that's the story and I'm just glad it's over. To steal a line from our pal Adrian Belew, Happy Hollandaise to all.

The end.

Later,
xo

8 comments:

Myfanwy Collins said...

You are a master storyteller, Robin. I felt everything you wrote--the fun of the trip with Julie, the creepiness of the hotel, the fear about Gary. What a weekend--the good and the bad of it. The joy leading to terror and back again. I hope the Slicks have the best Christmas ever!

Love,
myf

Sholom said...

The "guy who looked like a CPA" is Rozele, author of the famed "No-State Solution" zine - an anarcho-Jewish perspective on the Israelestine issue.
The "guy in a denim vest and a Yarmulka" was me, although the vest isn't denim; it used to be my Desert Camouflage Uniform jacket.

Daryl Darko said...

wow..., just wowowowowow what things you open my mind and heart to... i've read this post over a several-hour period today, and i'm flooded with Zappa - so i can't respond too intelligently right now. ummmm, 42 blocks to get somewhere in that city? if you walked 42 blocks in San Francisco you'd end up in the ocean or the bay! i've never been in NYC, only at the airports. oh, and they celebrated Santarchy out here too. too bad about Henry Cow...

Daryl Darko said...

poor, poor Gary that he was so alone that night. there was no one else he could have called? will you guys please take my number down as one to use in such circumstances??

n.l. said...

Looks like we both watched our punk kids perform over the weekend.

The entire story is strangely beautiful and horrific: the expensives stores where lotion costs far more than my $400 dreamer beamer, the Santa clone fest, the endless walking, and creepy Norman Bates hotel.

I have to say I imagined your poor husband struggling with that door...ughh... yeah, we don't like war, yet society itself is the front lines for something these days...

Hope your hubby digs his present from you... sounds very cool. I wish I would have seen your son perform on that exciting night...

RobinSlick said...

Hi, Myf, and thank you so much! Coming from someone whom I really consider to be the master storyteller, I will take your comment as a supreme compliment and I KNOW the Collins/Dean family is going to have the best Christmas ever...well, maybe next year's will be a little better (ha ha)...

Thanks, Sholom. I hope you didn't take offense at my comment -- I loved you guys and now that I know you are the man in the yarmulke, I did see you in an intense liplock with a woman so I'm guessing your own blog remark about the three-way was accurate. And of course now I'm dying to check out Rozele's zine...and will.

Daryl, I love you. I really do. And thank you for the e-card. Gary is a very private person but if you want to shoot me your phone number via email, it would be nice to have in cases of such "emergencies" though it would be far nicer just to say Hi.

N.L. - How very cool! I owe you a huge email and will most likely get to it today assuming shopping doesn't kill me...if not, tomorrow for sure. I'm going to check out your kids now.

lisaannette145 said...

(Not so) Happy Hollandaise right back atcha!!

Speaking of creeping people out, that clip of Adrian's "Asleep" that's is not exactly the most festive holiday music to play right now, huh?

Oh, & great job on the repeat of Gary's ordeal part 2. I've been so busy taking care of my own stuff that I didn't have time to comment.

Your terrific writing skills have shown that the holdiays can bring out both the best & the worst in human kind.

I have been robbed repeatedly & my mother a victim of violent crime, not once but twice. Who knew HPD had an armoured tank??

About 10+ years ago, I turned on the 4 o'clock news only to see an armoured tank parked on my mother's front lawn as an armed robbery suspect - some guy named Eric something or another (my life is plagued with the Curse of the Erics)smashed out the windows in the French door of her backdoor & held her hostage INSIDE HER OWN HOME in BROAD DAYLIGHT!

Holy fucking shit!

What a nightmare for you - I truly feel your pain .

On to more pleasant subjects, I plan to add your buddy Ellen Meister's book, "Secrets of the Applewood PTA" to my mandatory reading list.

I read your review Ellen's book earlier this Spring (or was it summer - aw hell, who's watching the calendar?)

Anyway, I've got a to do list a mile long, so that's it for now. (Maybe I can squeeze in a couple seconds to to polish my tiara with some of that handcream!)

lisaannette

n.l. said...

Thanks Robin for the kind words... I'm still drawn to the Santarchy. Sorta inspires me to don a costume and run up and down my ghetto street like a maniac.