I'm crying. It would be far too embarrassing to say just why I'm crying, but suffice it to say that I am. It's Thursday night, I'm sporting casually hip "fuck-me" drapery and there are wells of unnecessary wetness diluting my Aveda face moisturizer and dripping down onto my couch, my couch to nowhere. If I were a color, I'd be humility; if I were a tree, I'd be dead. It's that bad.
OK, I'll admit it. My tragedy is self-inflicted, designed by the slimy hands of Simon Cowell, wrought through a bulky reality television concept called American Inventor, but ultimately remote-controlled by me. A pimply-faced Francesco has just advanced to the finals for some kind of bike invention, and he's jumping up and down on his family, literally wrapping his left leg around his father's midsection and humping him. I should be laughing, but I'm a wet mess. I don't know why.
I do know, however, that new things scare me and therefore must be good. But no matter how often I subject myself to something new — be it American Inventor (inventions!) or a new bar (drinks!) — it always ends in tears. Tonight, while waiting for my reliable friend Tony and getting fat watching middle-class television, the whole concept of ambition is foremost in my squeezing head. No matter how much I try to get excited about going downtown to a "new bar" for a "new night," all I can actually muster is a nervous twitch and possibly a bruise from kicking the coffee table.
My reliable bruise and Tony in tow, I arrive downtown to little fanfare, just the squeaking of the "why bother" rats scuttling around in my head and sundry lower-bass registers from the car-bound musical exhibitionists who seem to be wondering, like me, how low can you go?
"Did this used to be Cairo?" a homeless man presses his head to the glass on the Central block.
"No, it was Knock Knock," another homeless man flutters away into further insignificance. Surely I dated both of them in the '90s.
Things change, though, and while I've graduated to a relatively settled monogamy, Knock Knock has turned itself into a 30-something bar. All the trappings are here at the newly named Suite B: stucco walls, couches, mirrors behind the bar, mural motifs, boob jobs and flat-ironed hair.
"I feel like I'm in a liquor commercial," Tony seethes.
"DiSaronno on ice?" I lick an ice cube suggestively.
"So nice," he snaps my spaghetti strap.
Bitterness aside, tonight marks the second week of Q-Burns' Totally Wired Thursdays at Suite B (a presumably matured version of his raucous Holy Frijoles night at Knock Knock), and I'm here to show support. I love Q-Burns, mostly because he's a big study in contrasts: messy, crazy hair and wild eyes attached to a deceptively sober demeanor. Plus, he's one (perhaps the only one) of the respectable purveyors of digitized ambience to survive the Orlando snowstorm of the last decade. And although there's very little that seems either "totally" or "wired" about tonight — deep house slowness is mostly just making people talk more loudly — he seems to be doing OK with it. Last week, heartold, was gangbusters.
"I had to stumble out of here," Q-Burns stumbles. "This building is haunted," he spooks before pantomiming a big glug-glug from an imaginary bottle.
Fun, then. Less fun are most of the people in attendance, some odd amalgamation of business folk in loosened ties, receding hairlines and the slip dresses that love them.
"This is Orlando," I characteristically overstate to Tony. "This is what happens when rave turns to realty."
Some leftover wigger troubles Q-Burns to my left about whether or not he has "a fader on his mixer," and although I want to hit him, I'd rather pee. Except I can't. There's still that Knock Knock bathroom situation where the whole block shares a loo, and I don't share loos. I'd rather pee in my own mouth.
Hmmm, the mouth toilet. Now there's an invention.
Attention spans and my bladder challenged, Tony and I decide to just give up (like we always do) and head toward the magnetic pull of the Bar-BQ and Independent bars. When I finally do get to pee at the former, I'm struck with what I consider the most ambitious, most inventive band name I've ever encountered, and it's written in Sharpie on the dirty bathroom wall. Seizure Palace. That's right, Seizure Palace. Genius.
But it's really not enough to go on, seeing as I don't even know if it's actually a band or a narcotic manifestation of indie rock pun impulses. I don't really care.
So Tony and I continue our drunkening descent into "Ghost of Christmas Past" social posturing, pointlessly lamenting the day that the dream died or the drugs ran out. Old hat, really. We're dying, you know.
But then something ridiculous finally does happen, even if it's not exactly the kind of ridiculous that we can really get behind. Across Orange Avenue, a girl who is with my other friend Tony — the evil Tony — screams my name. When I look, she practically blinds me by lifting her shirt to expose her perky, braless breasts. My heart races, my reaction skills overload and fail, and I have nothing to offer. If I were Mardi Gras, I would have beads.
Tonight, though, I only have firstname.lastname@example.org