Friday, February 03, 2006

The Dark Side of Amalthea

Sometimes my thoughts are just like a Bob Marley song.
Let's get together and feel alright.
At the moment it's not the case. I'm all over the place with flowery verbage and this entry will be peppered with swirling thoughts and head shrugging cliches. Some moments will make sense and others will abruptly end.

I had a meeting at 11am on Wednesday at the Borgata. I planned on getting up at 9am to write, shower, and get one last free meal before the meeting. I played cards until sunrise with a table of ghosts and vampires who had been up for two days gambling. I never wrote. Passed out in my clothes. I woke up at 10:54 and muttered, "Oh shit!"

I put on clean clothes and rushed downstairs to meet Friedman who left a frantic message on my voicemail. The meeting went well and lasted almost ninety minutes. I went back upstairs, finished packing, then headed to the front desk to check out. The only charges that they pointed out were for the internet service at $9.95 per day which I used 10-12 times. When I told the cute front desk girl the error she went into a back office and came out with a big smile.

"Everything is taken care of. I hope you enjoyed your stay."

Two weeks comped including free internet. Talk about a sweet assignment. All the pasta in the cafeteria made me ten pounds fatter. Maybe it was the gelato. Or the buffet with Spaceman.

I grabbed a cab to the bus station. The Somalian cab driver was pumped to get a $2.50 tip. In gambling towns like Atlantic City, it's feast or famine for cabbies. Either you're getting stiffed by cash poor losers or annoying drunks... or lucky cabbies hit a big score with a generous high roller tossing them a C note. $2.50. The guy was pumped and I was never more happy to see a bus station.

The bus station.

It looked new but the inhabitants were always the same. The bus stations around America featured some of the lowest forms of wayworn travelers. These were folks who couldn't afford plane or trainfare. You wondered how they scratched together enough cash to pay for the Greyhound fare. Even with the influx of gamblers from New York and Philadelphia catching buses back to those cities, there were plenty of sullen faces on the remainder of the people who silently sat in the brightly lit terminal. A few rows were crowded by street people bundled up in layers of clothing. They smelled like a combination of three-day old urine and rotten eggs as the aroma of depravity made me nauseous for the entire fifteen minutes I sat and waited for my Greyhound bus bound for NYC to arrive. I couldn't withstand the smell anymore and went outside to wait.

The bus showed up on time and I sat next to an old lady who brought ear plugs with her. She didn't want to have to listen to the Russian guys in the back bitch and moan about their bad beats for two hours straight. Plus the guy on his cellphone two rows ahead of us blew off the bus driver's warning to keep all phone conversations brief and polluted the air recanting his last 48 hours as he slowly lost his entire paycheck at the tables.

I listened to my iPod and zoned out. I'd wake up every fifteen minutes and find myself staring out at the window watching the landscape of the Garden State Parkway whoosh by. Two portly passengers diagonally across from me cuddled most of the ride. She looked like a 300 pound version of Whoopi Goldberg with six inch nails colored in seven shades of acrylic paint. She had her hands down her boyfriend's pants. He looked like Fidel Castro minus the cigar and hat.

Fat chicks jerking off guys on the NJ Turnpike.

It was Ground Hog's Day and I'd kill myself if I got stuck seeing that gruesome scene everyday for the rest of my life. I tolerated it once because as much as it sickens me to death, I have a morbid curiosity of the psychology behind explicit and random displays of sex acts in public places. It's one thing to see a guy get his rocks off on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. It's something totally different to see a guy get a beejer sitting in row 10 on a Greyhound.

* * * * *

Here are 5 random things that happened to me on Thursday:

1. BG sent me Nicky Hilton's cell phone number. I didn't bother to call her.
2. I lost $250 playing online poker.
3. Discovered that Seth is addicted to the pot on The OC.
4. I wrote an article and used the word "testicular."
5. I got my tickets to Phil & Friends in the mail.

Whenever I get back froma trip, I sort through my mail and packages. The mail is a collection of magazines, bills, and alumni newspapers from prep school and college. I found my Phil Lesh tickets and was happy to see those. The packages are always cool. Some are books that people send me. I'm mailed at least one free book a week from a publisher or PR person asking me to review it on my blog. Usually the books suck and I feel bad about trashing someone who busted their ass to complete a book. That's why I never write a review.

I ordered a few books. Once was a horse racing guide for my uncle that BG recommended. The other was on the philosophy of Bruce Lee that Friedman suggested I get. I read bits of it in Atlantic City and ound it for like $3 on Amazon. I also found a book that a guy from my high school wrote. Blue Blood was written by Ed Conlon. He was NYPD and a Harvard graduate who worked in the South Bronx. I was shocked to fnd it for under $1.

I didn't pick up my manuscript once while I was in AC. I avoided thinking about or discussing the book aside from one five minute conversation with Frank explaining to him the basic concept of my Las Vegas book.

"That sounds dope," he cooly said. "Even if it sucks, it will still be better than 90% of the books out there."

He made me laugh and gave me some confidence at the same time. I'm gonna dedicate one full week to finishing it starting Monday. Frank hooked me up with some amazing music that I'm excited to write too.

I missed New York City. The more time I spend away from it, the more I miss the energy. The first day home is always stressful and relaxing at the same time. Now that I'm here for 12 straight days, all I want to do is sleep and write.

Recent Writing Music...
1. Galactic
2. Ugly Casanova
3. Thelonius Monk with John Coltrane
4. My Morning Jacket
5. James Brown

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