February 6, 2010

canned laughter will get you far but a can opener will get your farther

Following the recent long overdue breakup of B and her boyfriend of a year and a half, I've been trying to be an effective source of consolation to a heartbreak that, while I can empathize out of context, I believe is energy better spent elsewhere. Considering they've been cohabiting, it's even messier. So many times since then, she's asked to stay over my place and I'm happy to oblige, but she never actually makes it over. But she doesn't stay home either.

Last night she invited me to the place that's been her refuge every odd day of the week. This swanky loft situation in the better part of town (which is conveniently right across the street from her apartment) that a couple of OG's occupy in their spare time. A European film student lives there as well. She has a flowery name that I like. I don't normally like flowery names but I like hers. Violetta.

When I arrive, there's a crowd of loitering smokers outside. The place is above a popular bar. A girl asks me if I'm looking for "The Cove." I say no, are you? She laughs and says she likes my glasses. I find the buzzer to "The Sitcom." Apparently everyone titles their apartments around here. I guess I would too, if I found a place like this.
The place boasts enough square footage to run laps if I wanted to. High ceilings with a balcony and lofted bedrooms. Stairs. Apartments with levels are jackpot fodder in Brooklyn. Good for making entrances. Or exits.

Everyone is sitting in the living room playing dice with glasses of wine. B is queuing up a Conway Twitty playlist. I find a seat on the couch next to a handsome man who looks like the villain from a Sean Connery movie. He has slicked black hair and is wearing a black turtleneck and asks me what do I do soon after I sit down. This is the most boring question in the world to me. So I give him the most boring answer that comes to me in the moment. I get a sinking feeling that it's going to be a night of discussing "what we do" so I prepare myself to call it an early night.

B's friend who is the keeper of this space for the time being casually reveals the owner as a member of a famous band. He tells the man next to him that they're planning an after party here for Spoon when they play a sold out show in the city next month. I know I should be impressed but I never actually got into them. I'm interested, if only because I rarely hang around the type of crowd that has any real weight to throw around. Socially, anyway. I've never really hung around a crowd with names worth dropping if you wanted to make a splash or induce envy. I never really had that ambition. When you walk right into it, it's a nice surprise. When you seek to be in it, it's generally disappointing and never enough. Besides, it's not like I was invited anyway. Small talk is currency in this city, and I prefer to invest it rather than splurge it.

"How come you have nothing in front of you?" A asks, in false dismay.
"I have everything in front of me." I smile. Or at least I think I do. Generally I waste no opportunity for a cheeky response. I use to think I was being defensive but had to later admit that I just that big of a kick out of myself sometimes. I don't know which is worse.

I stare at the pack of American Spirits on the coffee table in front of me and think about bumming a cigarette since I have nothing to do with my hands, but then I remember that I don't really smoke so I just fold my hands in my lap instead. Actually I don't participate in any vices tonight. I probably come off as haughty or pretentious or maybe just a scaredy cat. They're all true at one point or another so I can't really mind, I guess. I'm not gonna kid myself and call it mystique.

B changes her outfit in a guest room. She leaves the door open.
"This is called the shag room," she excitedly tells me. I can see why. The walls are hot pink and the carpet is red. And I mean really red, like fake blood red. There's one stripped-down bed, a coffee table with an arrangement of champagne flutes on it and a wooden rocking chair. Give me a glass of milk and I'd be in a Clockwork Orange.

Violetta pops in. "Well if we are going out, I have to dress up too!" 
The host joins us and B yelps, "What are you doing in here!"
"What, it's not like I haven't seen you naked," he teases. Man's got a point. "So why are you leaving again? And why are you getting all whored up?"
"Because I'm so broken-hearted I can't stand it!" B shouts while pulling a sweater over her head. "I have to whore it up and go out and scope dudes."
"You should come," Violetta pipes up.
"Well, entice me then at least."
"It's a bar full of young ambivalent hipsters. You'll probably hate it," I deadpan.
"Way to sugarcoat it."
"Why lie," I shrug.
"You aren't going to leave your little sister alone with these crazy girls, are you?" Violetta asks.
"I'm not even sure who you're talking about at this point," he says.
 
Everyone is flirting with everyone in a way that suggests in a tired way that they've all probably slept with each other or at least are very intimately acquainted and I recognize that this is the norm but I feel 13 again and I don't know what a blow job is yet.

He flops onto the bed and plays with a stuffed alligator.
"Is B a crazy girl?" he asks the alligator. The alligator nods vigorously.
"Should I spank Violetta?" Nods.
"Is Violetta going to bite me if I do?" Yes.
"What if I do it harder?"
"I'll bite harder!" she retorts.
"Is B going to find dudes tonight in her whorey outfit?" The alligator shrugs.
"Is Sable really as innocent as she seems?" Shrugs again.


We move to a bar and then another bar and another and then find ourselves back where we started. On the way back, Violetta's ear caught the sound of a Barcelona dialect and we are joined by three dudes from Barcelona, one of which goes to the same film school as her.
B and I make tea in the kitchen and Violetta puts on some eurotrance music. One of the guys is wearing pants with a Replay logo on it and it reminds me of Italy. He has hair like an anime character. A faux-hawk with a mullet of dreadlocks. Otherwise he's adorable. He talks to me about film school in a thick European accent and I try not to do that thing where I talk louder and slower, thinking he can't understand me when he totally can. He says he likes my glasses.

I get a funny feeling. Maybe because it's 3AM, maybe because I didn't eat dinner and my blood sugar levels are depleted, maybe because it's nice to spend time with foreigners and strangers, but I totally understand why it's called The Sitcom now. I wonder if most people get that on their first visit.

1 comment:

DJ Berndt said...

That sounds like a cool place and a fun night.