New Drunk City, Part 2
Now, you’d think that after an experience like that, I’d simply thank the gods of urban intoxication and make certain to never, ever do something that stupid ever, ever again.
You would be as wrong as I was about the treasure trove of public toilets available in Times Square in 2002.
Now it’s 2006. Your little friend here is a confident, experienced, jaded, bitchy New Yorker. Nothing surprises me, nothing scares me, and I’ve learned to take care of myself. I’m savvy and street smart and…still a drunk, and, as such, still as dumb as ever a good portion of the time.
On a recent drizzly Friday evening, I accompanied my friends Frankie and Tee out for a night of drinking on the Upper West Side. Thing is, I live in Brooklyn, and when it comes to Manhattan, I am decidedly a downtown kid. I work at 51st Street and will have the occasional drink in that area, but anything above that is foreign soil. Thus, I was slightly shocked and deeply disconcerted by the multitude of bra-on-the-wall, borderline white-trash fetish frat boy bars on Upper Broadway. But the beer was relatively cheap, I was in excellent company, and by the last bar we were utterly shithammered, so what the fuck.
Regarding the company…I must note at this point that Frankie and Tee are a married couple. Frankie is a white woman, and Tee is a black man. One would think that in New York City in 2006 this would not be a point that even warranted discussion, but keep in mind that we were in a bra-on-the-wall, borderline white-trash fetish frat boy bar on Upper Broadway.
We sat at a table in the back, drunk talking and taking in the scene. We were surrounded by young, white, male Upper West types. You know, the Docker-wearers who tell gay jokes at work and secretly dance naked to Justin Timberlake at home? Yeah. It was like an anthropological study of the species Uptownus Douchis Trogloditus.
“Imagine how many of these guys are total closet racists, and are totally pissed off to see two white girls with a black guy,” Frankie said. We were, in fact, getting some pissy stares from the sweater vests.
“Totally!” I agreed. “If there’s a KKK chapter in New York City, this is pretty much their meeting place.
At some point prior to this, Frankie had handed me a pen, because this bar in particular encourages its patrons to leave graffiti on the walls. She noticed now that I was drawing on the web of my left hand.
“What the fuck are you doing over there?”
I smiled, quietly completed my masterpiece, and held it up for them to see. It was a hand-mouth puppet. He was wearing a KKK hood, and had a thought bubble above his head that said “WHITE POWER!”
Thankfully, Frankie and Tee were amused. For the rest of the evening, the puppet continually interrupted conversations, interjecting with “WHIIIIIITE POWER” in his best Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo voice whenever he felt like it. (I think he was drunk too.)
“What do you think about Bush’s foreign policy, Helen?”
“Do you think the new James Bond is gay?”
I think the fact that none of the other patrons kicked my ass tells you pretty much everything you need to know about that bar.
Several hours and a few drinks later, I found myself walking to the subway in a torrential downpour. Mercifully, the train showed up within minutes, and I was on my way back to Brooklyn. It was 5:00 in the morning, I was still totally plastered, and my Klan puppet was long forgotten.
I must have passed out within minutes of sitting down. I awoke to the sensation of someone gently tapping my shoulder.
I jumped. Standing over me was a pleasant faced, middle-aged black man. He was looking at me with gentle, fatherly disapproval, and holding my umbrella. “You dropped this.”
“Oh., thank you sir!” I slurred at him. I reached for the umbrella with my left hand…you know, the one with the KKK dude drawn on it? Yeah. Whiiiiiiite power...
We both saw the drawing at the same time. Just about anything could have happened during the momentary pause afterward. He said nothing, but looked hard into my eyes, handed me the umbrella, and stepped off the train. Needless to say, my hand spent the rest of the trip back to East Flatbush shoved deeply into my pocket, and again, miraculously, I made it home without further incident.
Clearly, my mother is right. The angels that look out for stupid-assed drunk girls are alive and well here in New York City. And it’s a goddamned good thing, because I’m probably gonna need them tonight.