Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Belle of the Rock Bottom Ball


Okay, somebody has to get off this island and right quick before she ends up in a poorly lit rehab with leather-skinned fishermen and ex-Wendy’s employees.

I’m caged in this old house. Caged, I tell you.  And when I manage to break out, this Godzilla-style beast is unleashed in me. And I can’t control her anymore. Nobody can! And maybe, just maybe, nobody should.

Picture this:

You’re in your 40’s, enduring your first winter at the Jersey shore. And while you’re happy to be out of that nasty old city, this place is now a vast wasteland of howling, icy winds and empty beige houses. This is where souls are frozen solid.


And maybe that kind of atmosphere wouldn’t be so bad if you were contentedly married or a stamp-collecting introvert. But you’re not! You have raw life pulsing through that sweet bod of yours!


Besides, there are only so many episodes of Law & Order (though granted, there are a friggin’ lot). And what about fucking? Remember good old-fashioned fucking? Back in day? When you fucked like the other humanoids do?

So drag that ass of yours out of bed, run a brush through those locks and put on a little lipstick. Do it. There you go. Now go get ‘em.

You go to a local Manhattan-wannabe bar for Happy Hour, which after some overpriced wine, bleeds into Happy Hours. Maybe you should go home now. You did technically “go out” afterall.


But the beast convinces you to stop by the youngest brother’s new apartment where a party is in full swing. Kurt is in his early twenties with a Spicolli stoney smiley vibe to him. He and his friends are too young to deal with on a constant basis, but in doses it feels like a blast of fresh, testosterone-laden air.


The boy you are playing beer pong (yep, beer pong) keeps lifting his shirt up, attempting to distract you with his tight abs, as if he knows why you’re really there. This only improves your game. In between winning shots, you meet mid-table and make out with him. Go home heathen girl, go home.

Kurt invites you to take a hit from “The Gravitator”, a towering pot-smoking device designed to generate the biggest hit of weed ever. After coughing spasmodically for ten minutes, you realize that your wine buzz has morphed into an acid trip-like. Oh you’re in trouble now, you bad girl.


The floor tilts and realigns itself like a funhouse floor. The young partiers start to glow and pulsate. Are they angels? They must be angels. “You guys look really pretty,” you think--no you say--out loud.


Everyone looks at you queerly. You sit down because, well, you pretty much have to. A cute girl with a springy ponytail comes up to you and asks you if you need something. Water, please. Water. I think I’m going to pass out.

Now you can’t go home. It’s midnight and there’s no one who can help you because they’re just as wasted. And they’re in their 20’s! Their brains are barely formed, for god’s sakes.

Please, God, I’m sorry. Help me get home and I’ll stay put. I’ll be a good little shut-in, I promise.

You need to lie down so you make a mad dash for a bedroom at the end of a dark hallway. Stumbling around in darkness and kicking through piles of clothes, you find a bed. Score! You lie down gratefully. But that feeling doesn’t last for long. Because here comes...


The spins! Not the dreaded spins!! Please don’t let me get sick in that disgusting bathroom. Oh God, why have I done this to myself?


But God isn’t here. You have entered a godless land of tripping, puking inner demons. Your heart pounds and your breath, shallow. You hear the partygoers. Sounds like they’re chanting. You may be sacrificed so don’t fall asleep. You stare at a Bob Marley poster on the wall, waiting for his instruction. He is silent, pondering.


Bob…help me, man.

At 3 am the dreadlocked kid who owns this bedroom comes in, wrapped in a red blanket and ready to sleep. He stands in the doorway awkwardly. You tell him get out. Please. He leaves quietly with a defeated sigh. Devil.

Your racing mind drifts to a recent conversation with a friend who has noticed this strange new phase you’re entered. He thinks you’re trying to recapture your past.


No, I never had that past, you tell him. My past is now. A childhood burdened with adult responsibility, 20’s mired in drug-addled disconnectedness and insecurity, 30’s saddled with dysfunctional one-sided relationships that I sold my soul to maintain.


But now, you tell him, you feel free. Sure, a little crazy, but free. And one step closer to whole. So even if it looks like a fucking mess, it’s my fucking mess.

Trying to recapture your past? You're trying to capture your present for once.

It’s 4 am and you finally roll out of the devil’s bed, grab your coat and tell Bob Marley thank you and good night (he smiles knowingly). You walk into the living room and wake the young man on the couch. You tell him he can have his bed back. Thanks dude. The devil is gone now.


The remaining partiers sit at a bottle-strewn table staring at your bedraggled self. You laugh at their reaction but laughing makes your head hurt so you stop.

You could feel awkward or a little embarrassed but instead you feel thankful for the beautiful and bizarre hybrid that you’re becoming. Maybe only you can see her beauty. Maybe you’re the only one who needs to.

You look at the partiers before walking out into the bitter cold of the night and say:

This is what freedom looks like, boys and girls. It’s not always pretty.


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