Do you feel that? It's that prickly-skinned smack feeling of zeitgeist deflation, the odd swinging chandelier-heads mouthing along some hazy mantra of change, change, change before exploding into a million beautiful color bits and click-clacking their tinny rattle down the hallway to the new. Everything is somehow better, cuter, brighter and blusterier than before; I can hardly stand up against the numbing fantastic of it all! Am I high?
"I'm bored," Tony peeks out the window from his blue bomb shelter and narrates the charming experience over the phone. "I can look outside, but I don't think I can go outside. Too much change in the air."
"I faithlessly promise my faithful flatulence in the execution of your nightlife drag, Faith Hill," I John Roberts my sacred oath. "Faith, faith, faith, you gotta have faith, faith, faith!"
What's happened here is a big fat case of the inauguration blahs; while Tony got lost in last night's Sheryl Crow tendrils and white-rock White House braggadocio to the point of becoming a limbless punk rock shut-in, I've been spending today ensconced in the alternating dramas of 2 million incontinent folks crammed together with precisely one bathroom, and good ol' Teddy Kennedy seizing up over dessert. It really is all too much.
"I think I'm over it and we're all going to die," I pick a brain cell out of my ear. "What we really need right now is …"
"Oh, no," comes the slo-mo echo of telephonic reply.
"We need to go sit ourselves in the middle of all of this change in varying situations of self-celebration!" I pick another brain cell and rub it against the first one. "That will surely validate our considerable pathos!"
A few minutes later, Tony and a bottle of vodka are at my door — then on my couch — and both are pouring their depressant elixirs onto the already extinguishing flames of hope. Yes, it's all a setup. No, you can't trust any politician. Sure, this is a made-for-television movie guaranteed to have an apocalyptic CGI ending. But isn't blowing up what it's all about? Fuck The Day After. You won't feel a thing.
I've loosely arranged a misery trajectory of lifestyle watering holes in which to promote our decline, and somewhere behind my third remaining synapse I'm holding out hope that some kind of giant wet wave of belief will sweep us up into elation and out of stagnation. Then again, I don't usually hold out hope unless I want somebody to beat me and steal it. Oh, well.
"This doesn't feel like change," is Tony's first assessment as we launch into our first chandeliered stage set, Savoy.
"Oh, look," I dart my eyes and fidget, "inaugural balls."
There are your standard shaggy-headed blond boys dancing emotionlessly in blue underwear on boxes, salt & pepper sugar daddies walk-dancing nearby and hot, shirtless bartenders standing in front of televised, closed-captioned live footage of the Obamas and white rock and Will.I.Am and whatnot. Lining the bar are tiny little American flags in plastic stands, like some procession for miniature patriots who drink too much.
"Happy Obama Day!" shutters a vested lesbian with a camera in her hand. "How do you feel?"
To my chagrin, and probably nobody else's, I learn from my friend Mallory on the way out the door that there will be no drum circles for the black Jesus at Dandelion tonight as was advertised, because that was so going to be our second stop of hope-shame.
"What are we going to do?" Tony dreamcatches.
"I don't know, Faith," I drop a ball. "Sip?"
Around the corner at the newly christened Sip, which is basically Lava Lounge with lower rent and larger television screens, the spirit is similarly muted. In the corner stands a cardboard cutout of Barack Obama like he wasn't even invited to the party, while sundry choppy dykes and pretty gays mumble through their self-explorations like nothing even happened today. Tony and I get in a conversation with dreamy bartender Tadpole about something like the validity of wristwatches and something else about prison sex with cocaine in the butt as if the second hands on the world's watches had just crept past "change" without even hazarding a pause. What gives?
"Probably house parties," Tadpole checks his watch.
Then nothing happens at Peacock Room. Either that, or I'm already drunk.
By the time we reach our final destination, the Beacon, only my adorable doppelgänger, BabyBlue, seems bothered by the day's proceedings, and not even in a good way. Seems all of her Georgia Facebook friends have disowned her for hoping like Hopey and changing like a changeling. Ah, virtual despair. Then she offers me cheese. I hate cheese.
But I love dirt, and there's a little bit seeping out tonight! Somebody I know who can't be named knows something about the wife of somebody you know in public office and is dying to tell a secret about her inaugural shenanigans. She and her friends held a posh Depends party prior to their D.C. sojourn just to see how well their urine would hold up while waiting to let freedom ring. Amazing!
There's that wave of belief I was looking for. I feel everything firstname.lastname@example.org