Tuesday, May 30, 2006

20 hours in work boots

Not that I haven't done that before - it's just usually been all on one job.

My first commitment for the day was a job at 8am helping a dance company load into a theatre that specializes in that sort of thing. The theatre has house crew, so I wasn't actually hanging lights or building stuff. It was strange for me to watch other people work and not participate in most of it. Today I helped unload a truck, picked up 150' of light rope, sat, ate donuts, sat, ate lunch, sat, unloaded part of a trampoline from one truck and loaded seats into another, then finally unloaded the seats at a different location and put some other stuff into that truck. The main theme for the work day being sitting. I also figured out how to gain about an 18-point advantage in Mancala before allowing the opponent their first turn in one version of Mancala. There were also some tranny roommate jokes.

So after all that sitting and playing games on my cell phone, I was tired and hot. I was also in the neighborhood of my favorite bar. So I went there, calling my friend who lives nearby on the way. She was just getting done at work and agreed to meet me. So I got there and had a Corona with a lime and it was good. I was thirsty and dehydrated and drank it too fast, but we all have 20/20 hindsight. Anyway, I'm most of the way through my second one before I decide to call her and say that she needs to hurry it up or I'm walking. She says she's on her way, so I finish the beer and wait outside. I'm a lightweight and I don't want to start my third until she gets there. So she arrives, I have another beer, she has a Bud Light. I don't know why people choose to drink that stuff.

There's a place in the area where they sell pizza based on weight or length. The pies are eliptical. I had a pound of pepperoni and half a pound of vegetarian. Salad. My friend wants to see the Da Vinci Code and a rock band her friend loves. It's 8:15, and the next showing of the movie is already sold out. Also, the line's long. Among the things I don't believe in is waiting in a long line. So we go to Home Despot to replace a nail she's bent (!?) and a drill bit she's broken. Home Despot sells their drill bits on cards with plastic covers, and the little ones come in pairs. At least they know their customers. It's also easy to find drill bits that fit the non-adjustable chuck on the chick drills they try to foist on innocent, unsuspecting women. While I think there are sexier things than women with 18-V DeWalts, that's not because I have any objection to women having professional power tools. So we end up buying a set of screws and drywall anchors, a pair each of 1/16 and 3/32 bits, the cheap ones until she starts wearing them out before she breaks them, and a whole picture hanging set. I also bought myself a wire stripper to replace the one I'm still pissed off about losing the other day.

This brings us to 8:45. We were supposed to meet the friend at Arlene's Grocery at 8:30. For those of you who still think I'm smart, I discovered tonight that they have another room there where the musical performances are, and it's bigger than the area I thought was the whole bar. We got there around 9, in her car, which she's been driving around since she met me. I'd have parked it somewhere and walked for the rest of the afternoon, but then this story would have ended three hours before it does.

But before I get ahead of myself, the band was Lisa Jackson + Girl Friday. They rocked my socks off. Bear in mind that I'm wearing two pairs. I spent a while trying to figure out what Lisa Jackson's gender was (didn't know the name of the band until after) before deciding that ?e was some variety of transsexual, and if it was important to h? that I know, h? would tell me. Anyway, she cleared up the pronouns toward the end by introducing herself and mentioning she was a tranny, which was in connection to their genre being "queer rock." I'd already reached that conclusion independently - she presents as an 80's-retro rocker chick, not as a man dressed as an 80's-retro rocker chick, and the inconsistencies in her physical appearance said "transsexual." So it was nice to have that confirmed. Now all that being said, the combo rocks my socks off above and before any gender-politics issues need to enter the conversation. They have a sound that reminds me of Queen if Freddie Mercury, Billy Idol, Ozzy Osbourne, Lars Ulrich, and my favorite bartender had a massive orgy.

Next, we drive back up to Union Square, park, and go to the movie. I thought it was ok. She thought it was amazing. When we left the theater, things went sideways. Her car is gone. Into thin air. No broken glass, just empty curb. No other cars there either. Lots of fire trucks though. It was a little surreal. She asked a firefighter in one of their SUVs if he had any idea what had happened. He seemed to think it had been towed. At that moment, a NYPD tow truck passed. She flagged it down and talked to the driver for a while. About fifteen feet away, a taxi is idling, waiting for her to get in. It emerges that her car has most likely been towed for a parking violation, and is at the police impound on 12th and 38th. We walk straight past the taxi, my friend announcing that he has some nerve assuming she's going to need him, and she won't get in his cab. Now we're heading west on 14th. I ask her if she's going to take the subway or cab it. She decides we will take a taxi, so we flag one down and go looking for the impound lot. Turns out that 38th ends at 11th, where it runs into the Javitts center. We drive south to 36th or so, turn right and hit the West Side Highway. We've been driving North for half a second or so when I spot the sign for the impound. We follow the sign, and pull into a long taxi ramp. Get out. Security guard points us back the way we came. Next gate. It's closed. The one after is open, so we head toward the line to pick up vehicles. I see that there's a sign laying out the things she'll need to get her car back - license, registration, proof of insurance, and, of course, money. I ask her if she has that. She says that of course she does, they're in the car, and hurries for the door. I decide that it's not going to do anything to try to slow her down and tell her she'll need a special pass to get to them.

The office for picking up towed vehicles is a nasty little room with truly heinous fluorescent fixtures and eight windows. One of the other people there comments that we must have gotten towed too. I say that no, we're here for the lights and decor. It emerges that everyone else there (six people, in two separate groups) was at the same showing of The Da Vinci Code that we were. The guy ahead of us gets his paperwork, so my friend starts in on hers.
It didn't take long before she started yelling at the woman behind the glass to try her ATM card again, and to wrap it in a plastic bag and try it, because that worked when she was a cashier. I'm thinking that we're probably going to get thrown out and I'll never see my speed wrench again. Finally we end up having to go to an ATM.

Remember, gentle reader, we're on the Hudson River at 38th. My friend walks a little way uptown, where we hear there's an ATM, then decides that it's 2am in the middle of nowhere and she needs a police escort. She asks the guys who were behind us and couldn't get their car because it's the guy's father's car if they want to take a walk. No dice. We head another couple feet uptown and a traffic enforcement car passes. We backtrack all the way to where the very first gate we never got through was and ask if the parking enforcement guy can come along with us - he doesn't need to let us in the car, he can just follow if he wants. No. Finally we just walk the three blocks (short ones) to the ATM and my friend gets money. We go back, and she gets the car. There's also a guest appearance by a disheveled woman with a sleeping bag tied to her waist.

There turns out to be a special spot at Pier 79 for people caught up in the anguish of drivers. I had to wait there while my friend got her car. Then I said that we were going to eat. She said she wouldn't eat because she wasn't hungry and had had a huge tub of diet Coke and didn't need more calories. I said I didn't care if she was hungry - it would make her feel better. She insisted she felt fine, just annoyed. In the Book of Andrew, annoyed is not fine. Anyway, we went to the West Way on 44th and I had pie. I had hoped that she'd order something when I did, but that didn't work. At least I got pie. Then she drove me home. My roommate's best friend is sleeping on the floor across the path I need to use to get to my bed and I almost tripped on him and/or trampled him coming in. Remember, I'd put on my steel-toes twenty hours previous, and hadn't had a chance to take them off.

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