Wednesday, February 19, 2003

My Early Afternoon Drinking Binge

It had been a while since I got shit faced during the day, and although I didn't wake up with the thoughts of boozing it up today, I ended up spending a couple of hours in bars. It seemed like the "unemployed-writer-thing-to-do"... spend money that I don't have self-medicating myself in the NYC daylight. In between appointments with Matt and Bruce, I managed to pop into a few East Village establishments... Bar 81 on East 7th Street (one of Gil's favorite places to drink and shoot pool) and the infamous Cedar Tavern on University Avenue. Fifty plus years ago, the Cedar Tavern was the local hangout for artists the likes of Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Franz Kline, Philip Guston, and Tony Smith.

At the Cedar, I had a couple of pints of Bass Ale and read parts of the manuscript (my new novel) that I had been working on. After about 20 minutes or so, the guy next to me struck up a conversation. Within 15 minutes, he poured out his life story to me. It was slightly comical, and I didn't mind, because after all I was killing time. Normally I would have been annoyed with drunken banter, but I already had a nice buzz, so I welcomed the coversation. By the looks of him, it seemed to me he had been there since the Cedar opened. He was chain smoking Marlboro Reds, which he told me he got cheap at an Indian Reservation on Long Island. Michael C. was his name, and he wondered what I was reading.

"My second novel," I told him.

He noted that he once tried to write the story of his life, and it ended up a 1,200 page monster. He gave it to Montel Williams, Peter Jennings, and the author of Losing Isaiah (who's name escpaes me). Anyway, he also told me he was on the Montel Willaims show a few years back, after his wife blew $500,000 of his money and left him and their son, and hit the road. I dunno if I felt sorry for the guy, or I was just talking to him for amusement and literary purposes. Here I am, a few hours later, blogging our brief meeting, so I guess that's the real answer.

I stumbled out of the Cedar just before 2 PM, with a hearty buzz, and I jumped over pools and lakes of slush before hoping on the uptown No. 1 train.

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