I'm trying to embrace the monastic lifestyle in the city that lacks no temptation. And it's not that bad.
To say that I'm a monk is incorrect. I'm married--there goes chastity. I rarely leave the house--that knocks out charity but for my gracious internet gestures. So, when I refer to the monastic life, I'm really saying, "I'm poor." I'm between jobs at the moment and doing some temp work, but other than that I'm diligently trying to make peace with the city and my wallet.
I survived a week and a half with no frivolous expenditures and couldn't take it anymore . . . . Thus begins our lengthy saga.
I went to The Ding Dong Lounge on Columbus and 105th for a drink. I ordered a Long Island. Hey! it's only one glass. The bartender informed me with raised eyebrows and inflection rising: "it's ten bucks." I paused. Why did he tell me that? Do I look like a die hard beer drinker that decided to take a walk on the wild side? Do I look like an out-of-towner (I kinda am) that wanted to drink a beverage that was named after a certain region of the city? Do I look young and therefore unaware of the higher price of a Long Island in comparison to other cocktails (In my defense, I do have a fairly manly beard--good coverage, no major patches)? Or has this everyday bartender--middle aged man with longish hair and a black t-shirt that reads "F*** the Movement" stencilled in white letters on the back--tuned in to a higher plane of consciousness or spirituality reserved for monastic individuals and is signalling to me that I should refrain from this oath breaking substance.
I said, "no problem."
He brought me my drink and I tipped him nicely (to say, "Thank you," but not too nicely, which would say, "I'm an out-of-towner trying to fit in"). Then my night began. And I didn't finish my first drink until three hours later.
This is what happened:
The bartender was running his ipod through the sound system; his battery went dead, which immediately put the twelve clients into a disorienting rage. He ran over to the DJ stand where two turntables, a mess of dust, CDs, disheveled LPs and wires were all jumbled together helter-skelter. He couldn't figure out the system before he had to run over and make another drink. I asked him if I could help. He gave permission. I got the system going with one of the horrible LPs that was strewn across the shelf. I, then, ran home to get my one vinyl record (this will be explained in some distant future blog), that I had recently purchased on Bleecker, Wilco's Sky Blue Sky (this is chronologically before my previous blog in which I purchased Smile--yeah, I know, that's why I'm working on the monastic life now).
When I returned, another client had the same idea--had gone home to grab some LPs--and we cordially fought over the DJ position. Luckily, he was soused and I had barely started my single drink of the night. I proceeded to amaze the eight remaining clients with my subtle transitions and my sensitivity to their needs and moods. The crazy drunk that thought he could DJ had brought Aretha Franklin's Live at the Fillmore (which was very cool, and I had never heard), Johnny Cash's Live at Folsom Prison, some Mos Def album and some obscure jazz album. The man had taste. I interwove these sounds very nicely with the cross-fader and my slight of hand.
About an hour after my DJ career began, the tardy professional DJ appeared and took control (with CDs! amateur). And back to the Monastery I went.
To be continued . . .