Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Knitting Factory

It was the hoodie that got to me, gave me the blues. I was here, ahem, to see my friend’s show, but after racing up pretty to see the place, I tripped my card at the doorway. Hunched-up bouncer hooked up to the wall, average & unimpressive, slouched in Aididas from head to toe. Looked like he fucked the store clerk. One of those girls who would call herself a “store representative”, ya know?

He’s covering up his stupid bald head, and either so stoned or spineless that he won’t look me in the eye at all.

I’m bubbling down heaven, just got off a five minute pitch of pure confidence. Joking around with Mick about Everything-and-Then-Some; I guess I’m ‘pretty cool’, if he thinks so. The street suddenly thinks so, too, when he says that. I brush up directions from some Italian hosts, call up a few friends and flick up a cigarette. I’m hilarious.

“Show ID?” asks Aididas.
“Uh, ok. Thought it was an all-ages show.”
I pass him the card, he glances at it.
“That’s a fake”.
“Why? It’s not. But isn’t it an all-ages show?”
“You can’t come in if you show me a fake.”
“Why do you think I showed you a fake? And..”.
“Because it’s a fake. So please step aside; this is non-negotiable”.
“Wait, ….friend. I’m here to see an all-ages show”.
“If it’s an all-ages show, you don’t present ID and you don’t drink. But since you showed me a fake, you can’t come in. Not tonight”.
“Why not?”
“That’s the policy.”
“Is it written down?”
“It’s written down.”
“Can I see it?”
“Do you want me to call the cops?”
“ …I’m just trying to understand what’s going on.”
“You can’t come in tonight. You could come in tomorrow night, or next week, but not tonight, even for an all-ages show”
“Well…I appreciate that, but my friend’s show is tonight”.
“It’s not negotiable.” “Why not?”
“Because you showed me a fake”
“I’m sorry- please, I’m just trying to make sense of things. Couldn’t I just not drink?”
“Not with a fake”
“What makes you say it’s a fake?”
“Do you have a passport on you?”
“I can’t carry that around….”

I sighed.
“Look. If it was a fake ID, which I am not saying it is, then I understand that you would be upset if I lied to you. Is that what’s going on?”
“I can’t talk to you about this”.
“Why not?”
“Can you stand over there?”
“Over here? By the way, my name’s Mona.”
“Ok…I still don’t care.”
“That’s not very reasonable. I’m just trying to be nice.”

Fuckers, ridiculous! Insane! Watch, babe, how dutifully the dick ignores me! Impressive, asshole, hardcore…
“Ok. I just still don’t understand why. It’s really in your best interests to let me in or at least talk to me. …..
“Or, I guess I'll have to keep you
company until my friend comes out”.

So I wasn’t being helpful anymore. It was just so terribly amusing and since I was here already….. a nice way to pass time. I figured I had five minutes. So I call up Dan and tell him my situation, all while smoking a cigarette, right below the bouncer’s ear.

I tell new arrivers not to associate with me, or risk their chances of getting in. I ask Mr. Hoodie-Bouncer about his job, the hours, what he likes to do…he walks inside.

He’s powerless to call the cops, or to do anything at all resembling ‘action’. The Hoodie-B can do is try to be the least interesting/engaging thing in the area, in the hope of scaring me away or boring me to death. Hah, poor choice.

I get worse as he comes back out. I stay on the phone, call Nellie, repeat. Talk about how ridiculous it is. Discuss how this man is listening into my entire conversation and still ignoring me. Offer new patrons cigarettes, debate current affairs with smokers in the vicinity.

One of Hoodie-B’s friends takes a liking to me; I tell him I’m a polyamorous lesbian with three girlfriends; one in Williamsburg, Chelsea, and Midtown. I create personalities for them, whole background stories. I get Teo on the phone and try to communicate my desire for him to pretend to be a lesbian. My subtlety may have given away the joke.
I’m still ripe for amusement. I ask the bouncer’s friend if I’m dressed allright, and when he shrugs I reply that I think I’m rather pretty; aesthetically appealing even!

“And modest,” says Hoodie-B’s jaded companion*
I curtsy.

I keep at this for forty minutes before I start to get cold. I keep thinking Jeremy’s going to walk out at any second, and we’ll all laugh this off. Another bouncer turns towards me, but glances over my head. I wish I wasn’t so short.

Jeremy’s bandmates come out, and we chat all friendly. Some of them head off to Brooklyn, others stay and discuss the show. One of those guys recalls that he owes me a favor, as I’d once let him run off with a bowl of shredded cheese. He was tripping on acid, and I was hosting a spontaneous late-night gathering, where I fed everyone home-cooked vegetarian black-bean dip, chips and burritos. He asked to keep a bowl of shredded cheese. I said ‘sure’- and I guess you never know how these things play out.

I acknowledge the debt, and I beg him to pay me back by asking Hoodie-B for his phone number. Please mention, I add, that I find him very attractive, excellent company, and a good listener.

Hoodie-B hadn’t smiled so far, but I figured if anything would do it, that would.

It’s getting cold, and I’m running out of incendiary commentary. A guy exits the club with the trash; I ask the bouncers if they recycle.

“I’m getting tired, can I sit over there?” I ask, pointing to the doorstep.
“That’s a fire hazard. You can sit all the way over there” Hoodie-B’s friend points to the end of the block, relaying this information in a lightly belittling tone, graced with sincerity so that I know he’s not joking.
I tilt my head to the side to feign disclosure, “Oh, you know that wouldn’t help me, sir”.

Hoodie-B’s friend related a t.v. joke to another bouncer. Restlessly, I asked what show it was from. No response.

The scene began to bore me. I pulled out my phone to send someone a text. Another bouncer swiveled his head towards me, but glanced over my head. I wished I wasn’t so short.

People exit the club in a single-file stream, the place is nearly empty. I ask the rest of the band where Jeremy is, but no one’s sure.

Finally, I catch a face flashing glitter, and Jeremy appears, surprised by my presence. I smile.

I rung my arms around him, quickly, then blush. “Don’t kiss me,” I teased, “I need to shower- I’m sweaty after yoga.”
“Oh.” he says.
I laugh, reaching up to peck his cheek. “I didn’t have time. I ran round circles before I found this place. Took some useless directions from helpful Italians. Lucky’s supposed to be meeting me now”.
“Heading out?” Jeremy asks.
“No, I’m rejected,” I giggle, “They didn’t like my ID”.
“You know it’s an all ages show, right?”
“Trust me,” I laugh, “I know. It’s an entirely nonsensical situation. I’ve been out here amusing myself, though, mostly by keeping these guys company.” I raise my voice, “They’ve been wonderful listeners, and it’s just nice to talk to someone, you know?”
Grinning, I hugged Jeremy, “I just want them to smile, or say something,” I whispered. “I’ve been giving them a hard time.”
It’s insane, they’ve ignored me for an hour, so I pulled out my phone and called Dan, and Teo about it. I had Teo pretend to be my girlfriend at one point”.
“You’re ridiculous”.

Scene change. I drifted, unsure of myself. Jeremy smiled, shyly distracted. I stole a quick kiss and he took my hand but straightened his posture. As if to keep me at bay. I faltered, repentant and dampened my gaze.
“I’m just, you know, with my band”, he says, aiming his glance at the long-haired assembly.
“Ok.” I replied. Respectably, I recited ‘all relevant information’; “I was thinking of heading off to Brooklyn. To meet up with Brendan- he’d like to see you, though it is getting late”. Shrug.
“Teo wants to go to a party uptown…. with strippers”, I add on.
“I’m not going out,” Jeremy shakes his head, “I need to go to sleep…I’m tired, and I’ve got to get up really early tomorrow-
“-of course,” I cut him off.
“-because I’ve got a ton of stuff to do for the show tomorrow”.
“Yeah, I understand” I say, apologetic, “I might head off to Brooklyn. Probably not though, because I’ve got so much stuff to study.”
“Come to my place. It’s only a block away from here.”
“Oh, yeah. Are you going with your band?”
“No, I just need to say goodbye to them. Then I’m just going to sleep”.
I stumble, “I need a shower-
“You can shower at my place. I can’t go to Brooklyn, but just come back with me”.
I mumble, “I’ve got to study, though.”
“Oh, yeah”.
“I should get going then,” I shake myself off, and smile, “I’ll get some work done”.
“I’ll see you later then...” says Jeremy.
“Yeah,” I reply, “see you soon”.

I walk away. Shoulders relaxed, mock saunter of someone who is so not-running-away-right-now!
Hands in my pockets, protection by obsidian coat. My mommy got it for me, actually (I’ve been telling this joke to admirers all night). She’s good at it. In Russia, I guess they judge you by your coat.

I wasn’t invincible anymore… I imagine someone to talk to, how I would shake my head.
I was just being stupid. Don’t make a big deal of it. I took it too far. Why did I think I was funny? I could have made the whole band look bad. Shamed, I felt like a creep.
This situation was inherently ridiculous….right? I didn’t ‘fail to understand’ that they didn’t want me there…I just thought it was ‘funny’ to stay…..did everyone get the joke? Hello?

If it wasn’t funny, why didn’t some kind fellow tell me to stop?

As I walk by Lafayette, it’s so damn cold! I don’t even know why I’m rushing home, moving with such momentous tragedy. I had Jack Kerouc lamenting Billie Holiday, nostalgic weather stuck in my head. Holiday’s hand through her lovers hair; Kerouc hiding behind the bushes. Meanwhile, it’s freezing cold outside.
Pause. Ask, asking: ….actually, why am I going to walk home half an hour when it’s this late? I could study there. There’s the internet.

I couldn’t pause. Not to check for my keys, sneak a peek at my phone.
I just…..left. Just like that. Three bastard bouncers scorning my presence for an hour…but then, so easily- no effort required at all. No asking, at the drop of a hat…..

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