A wasted Sunday gets in your brain. You question the point of existence and the imminently liberal use of 2nd person. You recline in your bed with plans to go to sleep early, but you tire yourself awake. You read a paperback, web surf, play with your pubes at length, feeling the coarseness, pulling at tufts like weeds, trying to discern if this one is longer than that one, checking your junk for oddities, taking in pleasure in the meditative act of blind, platonic fondling. No boners (or female equivalents) here. It’s your body, your mind. You lay so long you feel as if your limbs are frozen and movement of any sudden sort, while inevitable, will inevitably cause some tendon to snap. Visions of surgery, traction, sweaty-browed rehab. You remember shaking a leg out hokey-pokey style earlier in the day, wondering whether the unexpected noise that sprouted from the joint was the sound of severe ligament damage or a nearby car crash. You shook it again to be sure, it was seemingly intact, no harm done, but you know that’s false certainty. The damage is done indeed, like listening to music at rock concert levels as a kid, the hidden debilitation is biding its time to go into effect. Like dementia or impotence. You think humans should probably only have a 50-year lifespan, but what about all that’s been achieved by people after age 50. Maybe your best is yet to come. Selfish. Pathetic. Just another excuse to be lazy, waiting for the gravy train. Enough indulging. You move. It hurts, like hell for a long second, but nothing breaks, nothing’s broken. The subtle tears can heal. You’re not done, you’ve got more left in the tank, which reminds you, the car needs gas, and you’re out of eggs, people are dying, Wednesday’s going to be nice, a friend left a random voicemail, you pet a dog’s soft fur, you wipe your ass, you tire yourself asleep. You wake up.
Snippets from the past two days and nights.
- At a bar, drinking beer, listening to the pumped-in music. First, there was a song by Cake. A short period later, a long by Spoon. A spoonful of cake, so to speak.
- Happy-hour at a waterfront fish house. 50% off drinks and appetizers. We had conch fritters, conch ceviche, 1/2 lb of peel-n-eat shrimp and baked oysters with a key lime butter breadcrumb topping. There’s a reason why restaurants can sell their food half-off and not lose money in the transaction. As we walked away, I felt my stomach speaking to me in jabs. Luckily, nothing worse happened. The half-off mojito wasn’t good either.
- Walking around during the day. “I’m already sweating through my shirt,” I said to my wife. “So was that guy,” she said. “Which guy?” “That guy we passed.” I didn’t see any guy. “Good.”
- The only reliable signal (other than our hotel’s wi-fi) is the Starbuck’s wi-fi. We stand outside Starbucks for 10 minutes plotting our next foray. We don’t order anything. It’s okay, I stopped for Starbucks at least 4x on the way down. They owe me.
- Harry S. Truman had a vacation spot in Key West dubbed ‘The Little White House’. It’s not, as I presumed, a miniature version of the White House. It’s just white and smaller than the White House. We walk to the main entrance, curious to see if it’s free. It isn’t, but next to the gift shop is a free exhibit: two rooms off to the side with some Truman paraphernalia. We walk in. Pictures of Truman abound. There’s even a guayabera shirt encased in plexiglass next to a picture that appears to be of Truman in the shirt. Points for authenticity. In the second room, there’s a couple. A wife and husband, 50-60s, white. The husband is fat and sitting in a chair. I say hi, look around. There’s a poster with all the presidents ranked up until the latter Bush (from a 2009 C-Span poll). The headline reads, Truman ranked 5th in poll of best presidents. I look at the ranking and wonder why James Buchanan ended up last. The fat husband says, “Is Obama on there?” I say: “No, the poll was taken in 2009.” He grumbles. I keep looking for John Adams. There he is two above his son, John Quincy Adams. “Want to know where I’d rank him?” I think I already know. I sidestep: “Looks like people liked John Adams more than his son.” I leave the room, never to return.
- Eating another meal to wash away the taste from happy-hour, I order a beer, Key West Sunset Ale. “Is this a local beer?” I ask the waitress. Whenever I can drink locally, I try to. “It was local, but they got too big and moved to the mainland.” “Oh. Do you have anything else local?” “No.” “Okay, I’ll have that.”
- There’s a pair of sisters providing live music at dinner. One only sings. The other sings backup and plays keyboard. I tip them and ask them if they can play “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. The singer says doesn’t know it. The keyboardist laughs and says she’s never played it before. I say, “Me either.” When we leave 25 minutes later, they still hadn’t played it, but they were taking a break watching YouTube videos. I like to think they learned the song and played it later.
- We got caught in the rain on the way to the Tropic Cinema to watch Jason Bourne. The movie was a mash-up of the previous ones and would’ve been better if I’d never seen any of them. But they still did a bang-up job with the car chases. Get it? It was still raining when we left. We quick-footed it to a bar. Drank. I looked at my wife with faux-seriousness and said, “Tell me your dreams.” She didn’t. We got rained on the whole way back to the hotel.
I’m in Key West, Florida as of last night and for the next three days. To commemorate my visit I will be taking stock of my activities and encounters via this portal, to share it for all posterity. Amen. Let’s begin.
The time: 10 pm
The location: Cocktail lounge on Duval Street
The scene: A non-indecent menage a trois at the bar (one guy, two girls), a slightly hipster, facial-haired, non-loquacious bartender, a Zoltar machine from the movie Big next to the bathroom. Ceiling treatments. Miami hotel pool music playing (think Thievery Corporation). Cocktail menu. An ode to Hemingway (daiquiri, non-frozen). Nods to Cuba. Reasonably priced.
The eavesdropping: I walked in to an ongoing conversation on the ludicrous price of some bottles of tequila (or mezcal, wasn’t quite sure) by the same producer. Bartender said: “Of all of these, and I’ve had them all, I actually prefer the $400 one to the $1,400.” One of the women said, “I really liked that one [unclear which]. It wasn’t even that expensive, like $30 a shot…definitely not $50.”
The drinks: Expertly-made, could hardly taste the liquor (in a good way), well-balanced, nuanced.
The incidentals: A group of three girls entered while the bartender was occupied making our drinks. A craftsman, he took his time. When he finished, he went to the back to do something, not stopping by the girls first. They left without ordering. He came back in time to see them leave, he gave me a tilted look as if to say, win some, lose some. I didn’t play the Zoltar.