I'm knee-deep in creamy, thematic double-stuff. Some sort of crack in the creative stratosphere, no doubt brought on by the echoing hems and haws of universal inertia, would have it that tonight, this very Saturday night, is to be an undeniable explosion of "things" to "do." Having foreseen this for about two days, I've already set to the task of abstractly blueprinting my schemata: little red dots littering the inside of my squished eyelids saying "you are here" and "you will be here next," coupled conveniently with a key that reads "you will be with: Taylor."
"I don't even feel like moving," rattles the Taylor telegraph over the cell phone. "Do you?"
And like so many hot potatoes tossed in my direction before it, I'm tempted to grab it, shove it up my own ass and pretend it never happened.
Only I'm not able to. Taylor's canceling on me, which means we can't enact our previously discussed plan of people-shopping for super-hot guys to join our fictitious death-rock gay-hate band, Rigah8us. Fine.
But why does Taylor canceling on me make me want to cancel on the rest of the world (or at least the rest of the night)? Is cancellation contagious? I think I have an itch.
"Cancellation is the new punk rock," my more available (but suspiciously not available at all) friend Jessica sloganeers over the phone. And she's right. What's more anti-establishment, more personal and independent than just NOT going where you originally intended to go? I'm totally cracking eggs in my hair and putting on my pajama pants.
Except I can't. I have a deadline.
Instead, I decide to turn my canceled hot potato into fermented potato-ade (vodka!) and head out early with Jessica for a night of premeditated debauchery starting with something called a Paparazzi Party at Will's Pub. It's a live-action, performance-art sort of situation — very New York loft with a twist of Warhol and an aluminum-foil finger cut — and although I'm expecting big things, a drive-by earlier revealed what can best be described as a deck barbecue for dirty people.
Because it's Orlando.
Still, the premise — a dress-up party disguised as a jab at pop culture's choreographed binge-and-purge — holds up nicely with my inclement cynicism and makes me feel just that little bit more like Nicole Richie than I was hoping to feel. There will be cameras. And there will be posing. There will, however, be no reasonable justification for any of it. Just shapes and angles.
"I count exactly one diagonally striped sleeveless T-shirt in attendance," Jessica surveys patterns.
Me? I feel strangely like Ric Ocasek. Hello, again. Around us, people who do things like this scurry about with a mock-up photo studio and some irony buffs brisk through with antique Brownie cameras draped around their necks, but mostly people just stand and drink like they do at Will's Pub, not letting on whether they're doing it as "audience" to the "event" or as drunks incidentally at a bar.
A band-with-ties one-fingers its way through a Gary Numan phase in the back room, and I search aimlessly for either my synthetic heart or a pill on the floor. Meanwhile, my mind is overreacting to the fact that it has just experienced a Gary Numan and a Cars reference this close together.
Something is horribly wrong.
"I have big news!" the ever-present Katie Ball snaps into the picture.
"Me too!" Jessica overexposes her.
Seeing as I have no developments of any significance to report, and that I'm a jealous bitch currently feuding with Paris Hilton, I do exactly what a celebrity in a paparazzi haze would. "OK, I'm pregnant," I baby bump. Beat that.
Over in the corner, next to a video game, a girl in a beret and horizontal black-and-white stripes crosses her arms and waits for her next patron to pastel. An exhibit of her previous works sits behind her, glowing in a peach-and-blue that recalls "The Family Circus" as sketched by the minds that brought you Beavis and Butthead. It's a chalky tragedy, really, and I can't decide whether it's intentional or not.
So I squeeze my eyelids for what's left of my blueprint and we head over to the unlikely venue of Amazon Hose and Rubber for the Fish and Flowers festival. I won't even get started on what this is about, because I'm more comfortable giggling about the Sapphic metaphoria implied by the title, but suffice it to say that there are no real fish or real flowers; only hoses, Christmas lights and a punch bowl. A largely shaggy-headed, beer-in-car crowd makes us feel old, and we barely stay 10 minutes. An early exit is easily rationalized by the fact that showing up two hours before that lucrative midnight-to-2 a.m. "happening" window is only one step above canceling, anyway. It's nightlife defeatism.
Over at the Peacock for a nightcap, bartendress Tammy overhears our cancellation theories and offers a really big smile with our drinks.
"You should totally do that to my friend Jared," she snarks. "He was told he could only have VIP if he could get Billy Manes to come with him. And he was all like, ‘Done. Billy Manes will be my date.'"
Cancellation is the new punk firstname.lastname@example.org