Saturday, October 21, 2006


I didn't get there until after one. Not that I'd been doing anything. I hadn't. I'd gotten home around six and after five days of barely sleeping two hours a night I'd passed out on the floor in front of the TV - Seinfeld when I dropped off, edited-for-basic-cable Sex in the City when I awoke. When I first woke up I switched to some Premiership rerun, slugged through three glasses of ice water and two of small-batch bourbons, took a shower sometime in there, sat naked watching a 1960s French film on a three-digit cable channel, but it proved not nearly as nudity and sex filled as I'd remembered from when I saw it at nineteen. So I put clothes back on, and went out.

The hallway was empty. The stairs were empty. There was this brief fantasy that I'd meet Jessica somehow in the lobby, and then I thought of stopping on the second floor and banging on her door, but I didn't do that and she was not there. I walked out of the building and the block was silent with just an edge of moisture letting the street shine, and my shoes made soft rubber sucking sounds with each step on the sidewalk.

I walked toward the place called only "32" that was two blocks over and four down and thought about possibilities. I could take that not-quite-good-enough offer. I could just leave and test survival skills. I could stay and put up with it and sit around imagining that the dream job would arrive. I even thought about changing behaviors, switching the little things in hopes big things might change, but knowing myself I knew that seemed very unlikely.

32 was dark and mostly lit in blue-greens and I sat at the end of the bar surrounded by too many people, all talking and being and connecting, and I got devastatingly drunk.

Halfway through a woman approached, sat down, touched me on the arm, asked good questions, but I blew her off. I wasn't even pleasant. The bartender slammed another drink down in front of me and said, "She's really nice, she's pretty damn good looking, she was probably interested, and you're a fucking idiot."

Two hours later he kicked me out after last call. "You're not gonna live long this way," he yelled into the empty street. But I couldn't be sure enough that he was right.

copyright 2004-2006 by Ira Socol

1 comment:

Brenda said...

I really like this piece, and have read it twice over the course of the day. Ask me why? I dunno. I like the swagger of the guy. His lewd thoughts (well, not really :), his inner jumble over work (know that one), how the bartender sees him. He's kind of funny, likeable, charming probably, self-reflective, like most of us, only "devastatingly drunk" and more passionate perhaps.

Blogger's been acting up the past few days and just now insisted your site didn't exist even though I was looking right at it. Seems to fit the story, somehow. :-)