the Cocktail No. 6 at Stanton Social

Cocktail No. 6 at Stanton Social. Lower East Side. Manhattan, New York.  06.06.14.

Cocktail No. 6 at Stanton Social. Lower East Side. Manhattan, New York. 06.06.14.

Since we were in Jay-Z’s city, I got a cocktail that had D’ussé, which I always associate with Hova’s lyrics.

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What we got left is just me and you

“I’m the worst.” Gemma sighed, her shoulders stooped in defeat.

“Should I guess what you did while you wrestle with your guilt?” Adelaide locked the door behind them and sat on her couch.

“Isn’t that what best friends are for?” The taller girl flung herself to the floor.

“Are your theatrics warranted this time?”

“Yes.”

“Last time, you just shrank that cardigan you wore every day freshman year –”

“I lost my car key. Clicker too.”

“Don’t you have a spare?”

“Lost it last year. Instead of getting another made, I swore I’d never lose the original.”

“Where did you last have them?”

“…”

“Gem.”

“Ade, I had half a bottle of tequila –”

“– and lost your car keys in Chad’s pants.”

“Chad’s apartment. Or somewhere between the street and his apartment. I’m not really sure.”

“Call him so he can find them.”

“I dunno know where my phone is.”

“Use mine.”

“Don’t have his number memorized.”

“Y’all hook up whenever either of you need drunken ex comfort sex!”

“I took your advice and started using technology more — I had his number saved to my iPhone favorites.”

“Facebook message him.”

“He’s not on Facebook.”

“Being a Luddite is yet another reason that asshole should be denied your time and pussy.”

The doorbell chimed.

“You should get it, Gem.”

“Your house, Ade. I’m your guest who’s comfortably laying on the floor.”

“You’re closer to the door.”

Fine.”

Gemma didn’t bother checking the peephole before swinging the door open.

“Chad.”

“Gemma.”

“I’ll be in my room avoiding this awkwardness if you need me!” Adelaide left the non-couple in the doorway.

“You forgot your keys and phone when you bolted this morning.”

“How’d you know where I was?”

“You and Adelaide always go to each other for help. Or to talk shit about us terrible dudes.

“We don’t talk shit –”

“…”

Okay, we do — only when it’s well-deserved.”

“I know I messed up before, but I meant it when I said I was sorry.”

“You apologized for hurting me. Really, you just felt bad that you got caught fucking someone else.”

“But –”

“Don’t call me –”

“What about –”

“No drunk texts, no stoned smoke signals, or no sober letters sent by carrier pigeon. It’s over.”

Five minutes later, on Facebook:

Gemma Johnson: The greatest part about losing my keys & phone was witnessing a grown man(child) sprint away from my “menacing” best friend as she threatened to punch him with brass knuckles. 

44 likes, 1 comment

Adelaide Jacinto: #badgirlsdoitwell

“These guys sing so fast, I can’t understand them.”

My boss is hard of hearing. Against his doctor’s orders, he only wears his hearing aids at court or on a conference call. This leads to frustrating conversations where you have to repeat yourself frequently. But there are three instances when this has worked in my favor.

One
“Hey Sam, can you take a look at this for me?”

“Definitely!” I flipped through the pages. “When do you need this by?”

“Before lunch would be great.”

“I’ll finish this email and edit this next.”

My boss paused at the doorway, straining to listen to the music playing quietly.

Poppin’ that pussy’s a dance for the ladies
Straight from the south, into the 90’s
Freaky bitches are the ones I like
In g-strings in the middle of the night

“These guys sing so fast, I can’t understand them. Plus, the beat’s so loud — it drowns out the words.”

I laughed awkwardly. “This song is by 2 Live Crew.”

“I’ll look ’em up.”

Two
Like many of my older coworkers, my boss is a fiscal conservative who reminisces about President Ronald Reagan’s “glory days.” He knows that I was heavily involved in Young Democrats in college, so we don’t talk about politics much. One afternoon, I was listening to Killer Mike and cranking out a particularly tedious set of reports, when he popped into my office.

“How’re those reports comin’ along?”

“I’ll have them done in an hour.”

“Great, thanks!”

I’m dropping off the grid before they pump the lead
I leave you with four words, I’m glad Reagan dead
Ronald Wilson Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan

He beamed. “This fella’s singin’ about President Reagan!”

I winced. “Um…yes.”

“What’s his name?”

“Killer Mike. He’s from Atlanta.”

“It’s real cool that he’s got a song payin’ tribute to The Gipper!”

Three
Sometimes, I’ll stream music from certain artists’ stations on Rdio. (Rdio is a music subscription service that predated Spotify.) That afternoon, I was listening to the Lil Kim station and working on billing.

“I sent you an email about a pre-bill — could you re-run that for me real quick?”

“Sure. Do you want a hard copy or PDF sent to your email?”

“Hard copy’s good.”

My neck
My back
Lick my pussy
And my crack

“Listenin’ to lady singers today?”

I discreetly turned the volume down. “Yeah, this is Khia.”

“I should start wearin’ my hearin’ aids around the office, so I can hear this hip music you young folks listen to!”

“Who’s that broad Molly?”

I try not to write about where I work very often, for fear of my boss finding my blog. As mentioned in my poem yesterday, my office is in Buckhead and as I wrote in my rant about the verdict for the Trayvon Martin case, many of my coworkers are conservative white men (the majority of whom are middle-aged or older).

Most days, my coworkers’ offhandedly sexist or slightly racist comments frustrate me. However, there have been several hilarious occasions that have made up for it. (I’ll be sharing one today and others in future posts.)

Silence is the ultimate productivity killer for me, so I need to have music on while I’m working. When I’m chugging through tedious reports, I either listen to hip-hop or obnoxious dance music. About a month ago, I was listening to Trinidad James’s album when Old Jim walked into my office.

Old Jim is a brusque yet friendly man who’s close to retirement age. (The other Jim in our office is Big Jim, since he’s a huge man who acts like The Hulk during tax season). Old Jim usually asks me about pop culture so he can have some common ground with his kids.

Trinidad James was rapping in the background.

Pop a molly I’m sweatin’ (woo!)
Pop a molly I’m sweatin’ (woo!)

“Who’s that broad Molly? All the rappers talk about her. She must be pretty popular.”

“Molly isn’t a lady; it’s a drug.”

Old Jim pondered this for a moment.

“So can you smoke it like dope?”

I was too busy dying inside to reply.

Dave Grohl is right — the “guilty pleasure” music concept is bullshit.

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it. […] Don’t fucking think it’s not cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” […] Why the fuck not? Fuck you! That’s who I am, goddamn it! That whole guilty pleasure thing is full of fucking shit. — Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl is right — the “guilty pleasure” music concept is bullshit.

Everyone has at least one band (or genre) that is largely considered uncool, but still listens to it. For me, that genre is emo — particularly, Dashboard Confessional. I started listening to Dashboard Confessional in high school, when “A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar” was released. Like all emo music-obsessed teens, I scribbled my favorite lyrics from “Hands Down” (and later, “Vindicated”) on my Converse sneakers. I listened to that album on repeat while typing angsty posts in my livejournal. Later, I discovered that my favorite albums are the earlier acoustic ones.

In college, my journal-writing ritual was this: I’d crawl into bed, put on headphones, and blast “The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most,” followed by “The Swiss Army Romance.” If I still wasn’t done sorting through whatever it was in my composition notebook, I’d put on “Dusk and Summer,” and then “A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar.” There’s something so earnest about Chris Carraba’s lyrics and voice that’s lacking in similar songwriters today. Like Bon Iver — people will wax poetic about “For Emma, Forever Ago,” but fail to address his smugness about being heartbroken and the fact that his voice is terrible.

I digress.

I started listening to Dashboard Confessional out of curiosity, then quickly fell down the rabbit hole of becoming a huge fan. None of their music is a guilty pleasure to me. People think it’s lame because Chris Carraba sings about the full scope of his feelings. But I’ve always thought that was admirable. The root of why people listen to so-called guilty pleasure music is because it makes them happy. It’s contradictory that emo music would make me happy, but it’s the music I’ve always listened to while writing. It’s cathartic. As I write this post, I’m listening to “Alter The Ending” (the deluxe edition with the acoustic versions of each song, naturally).

At some point, you have to stop worrying about being perceived as cool. It’s exhausting to have to keep up with what’s acceptable to admit that you listen to and what isn’t. Most people won’t judge you based on your music taste. They have better things to do. And honestly, self-proclaimed music snobs can be pretentious yet shallow assholes. You don’t have to qualify why you thoroughly enjoy a certain band or artist with “well, it’s my guilty pleasure, but…”

Own it.

Your disregard for people’s opinions will trickle into other aspects of your life and you will be happier for it. 

Home is wherever I’m with you

XVII.

Home has never been a place, but a feeling. Five cities in less than two decades taught her to shapeshift; it comes naturally now — observing the locals and adapting to blend in.  This is only temporary.

There’s nothing to do in Alpharetta, Georgia.

It’s not because it’s in the middle of nowhere. It’s the standard suburban town — within a ten mile radius, there’s a mall, chain restaurants, movie theaters, and an ice skating rink. It’s the fact that she’s restless and craves adventure, but her mother doesn’t understand why.

The problem is that her mother implements the worst parts of Eastern and Western parenting. From Manila, her mother brought the idea that a daughter’s worth is measured by her purity and the extent of her obedience. Like the Americans, her mother sought a boundary-pushing, helicoptering, best friendship with her.

There’s no better motivation to get into college than wanting to escape.

XXI.

“Why won’t you come home?”

“My friends are having a Fourth of July party here in Athens.”

“You never prioritize the family! You’re always getting drunk with those friends of yours.”

“I’ll be there for Brie’s birthday in a couple of weeks.”

“You’re an ungrateful, insolent child. Never there when I need to talk to you about your father –“

“If that’s what you feel, Mom, then okay.”

“– always talking back to me –“

“I’m gonna go. It’s hard to talk to you when you’re like this.”

“– ponyeta! You do not hang up on your mother!”

“Bye.”

XXV.

There’s the realization that home is exactly as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros describe.

Alpharetta is a hostile place. She avoids it as much as possible, save for visits there with her siblings. Her mother wages emotional warfare to shame her into be there. The more she sidesteps the guilt grenades, the more her mother demands.

Atlanta is where she and her man began their adventures two summers ago. Easily, they had made the transition from college friends into being a couple. Though her parents are from the Philippines and he’s from Côte d’Ivoire, he understands the struggle — to establish your own life, not the one your parents planned. 

Home isn’t only a feeling. It’s wherever the person you love is. It’s something she never imagined finding with an amazing man.