This is a random Monday moment. One of those tick-to-tocks of disengaged eye-blinking that doesn't carry any estimable direction of its own beyond the props, problems and set pieces that surround it. Lean and you might just be going somewhere. A flea jumps on the leg and off again, and that is progress, that is the passing of time. If a pin dropped, that sound would be later, possibly in a moment all its own, but for now it's just a pin and it's dropping and what happens next is just that: next.
"How do you feel?" Tony sticks a wet finger into the stale air.
"Compressed? Depressed? I'm not sure."
There's a whole lot of "now" versus "then" going on in my living room. Tony's in a music-geek frenzy as my stereo transitions from the life-sucked synth production of the present's "Bulletproof," by La Roux, and into the maudlin breadth of the past's "Midnight," by Yaz, which was obviously richer and therefore better, but past trumping present speaks nothing of the future. For that, we'll need some help.
"Are you going to do anything memorable tonight?" Tony grabs the coffee-table Magic 8 Ball. "You can rely on it," it replies.
That's the trick, isn't it? Drag your intellectual carcass through the whiz-bang of advertised reality and hope that some glitter-chip detritus finds its way into your various crevices, later to be cataloged as how it was, and laugh and laugh and laugh. It's easier when you're drunk, obviously, so at least one of us will be if I have my way, which I won't because it won't be me. I can't rely on anything.
"This smells like my skin used to," I wince as I pour Tony's vodka poison. "Rotten-fruit gasoline, coming right up!"
And then it gets heady. I start explaining conversations that I've been having with myself lately in my non-inebriated downtime — something along the lines of "Change just happens to you, you can't make it happen. You're doing fine, chief" — all wild-eyed-crazy-self-talking … or menopausal — and this particular episode of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: The Series duly ends with the pop of a transcendental Xanax and a promise to get out of the goddamn house for some Orlando Monday-nighting. Time to engage and touch glittery things! Feelings or bust!
"We're going to a hair party!" my mouth farts. "There will be a hair stage."
"But will it be made out of hair?"
Unfortunately not. IBI Salon — an odd exercise in rubbish naming that seems to prefer individuality over syntax ("I be I?"), considering that their slogan is "freedom of expression led us to success" and what? — is propping open their grand-opening doors for a Thornton Park street party of sorts on a hairdresser-holiday Monday. But what seemed like a sensory cat's cradle of prizes, displays and big gay distractions in pre-hype Facebook parlance has materialized into a bunch of uneven haircuts standing under track lighting in close proximity to a plastic chocolate fountain and a "Margarator" blooping frozen margaritas. While a thump-thump dance mix of Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" middles the arched brows in attendance, some Ed Hardy Scissorhands in a fedora snips the split ends off an Everygirl with straight brown hair on a makeshift stage. She looks perpetually the same.
"That stage is not a hair stage," Tony frowns. "What the hell is this?"
"This, my friend, is 1987: the year that hair salon design mysteriously stopped." I can be a little ominous at inappropriate times. "And that is a chocolate fountain. And that is Jamesson Beane."
All of which are suitable clues that this moment has passed, with or without the benefit of residual glitter. Exit!
In the car, we both ponder how interesting it isn't that one can seem so overstimulated and yet feel nothing at the same time, a process that spirals in on itself into a numb silence. Momentarily.
"I want to feel something." Tony is not joking, so, because my car and Tony are both full of gas, we force our direction toward a Plan B. But where will B be?
Oh, dear. It's Will's Pub. Here, nestled among the low-dough Monday depression crowd, I fidget while Tony eyes the pinball machines for his perfect Jodie Foster Accused moment — "It feels kind of rapey in here," he snake-dances — and throws back a PBR. There are no real prospects, so he goes one better and pays the bartender two dollars to come around and spank his bare ass twice.
"Disappointment. I don't think she even left a mark."
Will anything? We decide that our final vault will be in the direction of Parramore, because maybe all of this sensory underload is just a product of pale complacency or something. It isn't. While pleasant in a gay New Jersey basement rec-room kind of way, Stonewall on West Church Street is also just another couch in a different room: same flea, same pin, same lean-into-slouch. It's Musical Mondays — some low-key YouTube projection of Broadway showstoppers without a show to stop — and it's me and it's Tony, and we're sitting while he drinks.
"Do you have anything from The Drowsy Chaperone?" Tony is gay, and I am a drowsy chaperone.
"I was just about to play that," guest host John Ryan leg-kicks back.
"I don't want to show off no more!" goes the chorus, and scene. It's over.
"That's it then, is it?" I Rosencrantz. "We've done nothing wrong. We didn't harm anybody, did we?"
"I can't remember," Tony Guildensterns.