Friday night I got off work and painted myself up in unicorn spit, fake diamonds, and the scales from a Mongolian Ice Lizard. I had to make myself look as little like a virgin as possible, because that night was the Annual Sacrifice to The Gods of the Coal Elevators and Cargo Ships, and at midnight they always throw a virgin hipster off the bridge, so the trick is to stay in the shadows and be old. I filled up two flasks and sparkled my way into the crowds. All the citizens were there, and I think I said hi to all of them, all ten million dark faces coming into focus, one after another. I needed to be drunk to smile that long, to say hi for five hours straight, to walk back and forth over the bridge, over and over again, hitching along to different wandering groups like a small fish trying to ride the wake behind a shark so big it can only be seen in focus from a distance. The entire social scene of one midsized midwest city gathered in one long parade. By hour three, I was trying to explain to people how exhausting it was to not be able to walk 200 feet without having to stop and talk to someone else, to do that shallow quick come up with conversation quick remember their name quick say hi to everyone they are with. It wasn't bragging, it was me trying to drunkenly express how overwhelming it can be to try and hang out with everyone all at once, how I wanted to sit and have real conversations with 58 of you but not all at once, the pressure to know how much small talk has been required and when to let flow of traffic take over again, how to not ignore anyone, how to not be rude or clingy or aloof. It was a lot of fun to glisten, but when it stopped being fun I happily left with my friend from Chicago to go outside to the rest of Cleveland.
We stumbled a few blocks to the bar, and thankfully ordered coffee and a hookah, watching a middle eastern quinceanera, 17 yr old girls in tight club dresses, their mothers looking on in tight club dresses, their boyfriends all in bright colored polo shirts their hair dripping with grease. The dj playing all top 40 until every once in a while he played something foreign and Eastern, and all the boys would dance wildly in a circle with themselves, stomping and throwing hands and feet everywhere, being the first children of immigrants and knowing how to do the folk dances from weddings and birthdays. We drank our coffee gratefully and watched the dancers in half mocking half admiring awe. Then I followed the group of stand up comedians I had thrown my lot in with, because of the one I knew from out of town, and we went to the Hot Dog bar for close, and later to another guys house to hang out. I don't know if you've ever hung out with 9 stand up comedians at once? It's fucked up. They know it's fucked up too, the way they are constantly trying to riff on something and throw out one liners and sacrifice each other one by one to the quick laugh. Someone told me once stand up comedians are the most broken kind of people, because they have to take all their issues and throw them out to the public for consumption, are basically in the process of being eaten alive all the time. Striving to be a funny Prometheus. They are odd nice people to be around at 4am. It is like being wasted around 9 little brothers who are also perverts and also actually teddy bears.
Saturday night I was pretty broken, physically and emotionally from things not related to here, so I stayed home and drank more whiskey and watched a lot of tv scifi. I do that sometimes. My cats appreciate it. Saturday pretty much did not exist.
Sunday I woke up with absolutely nothing to do, nothing at all. That means I could have been cleaning, there is always cleaning, there is always writing and filling out applications and a bunch of responsible things, but that kind of stuff doesn't count on the first day you wake up and don't have to work. I met my sister on the east side for brunch, and headed back to the bridge to watch some free music. I called no one. I made plans with no one. I wore something shadowy. I wanted to see no one I knew and just walk around and sit and be there. Nate was there, also doing the same thing, so we sat together and watched the bands. I never go to local bands, because my tolerance for mediocrity is old like me, and finally I saw a local band I love and would go see again, and that was nice. That was hopeful and inclusive, like this winter would be good too, which I was worried about, that my lovely awesome amazing summer would fade out to Cleveland bitterness again. It was lovely to be able to walk along the length of the bridge now cleared of people, and have a total and complete and ongoing conversation with a friend. We left when they kicked us out, and went back to his house, and finished the whiskey. His girlfriend showed us photos she had taken for her sister's Save the Date, a hip pretty couple I didn't know at all in fields and on fences and with flowers in their hair, and then we all talked about bands, and it was reassuringly normal and nice and not fake or hustled at all. So I left there and drove around the highways and some old neighborhoods I like to see every once in a while, and the sun was setting beautiful and gold, as if the whole weekend had been one long sparkling night and now it was the morning when you hadn't slept at all and it was rising as you headed home.