I've been living life so fast that I don't have time to write about. Inherently, that's a good thing. Las Vegas is supposed to be America's Playground. However, when I have to work in the playground, I have to seek out alternative places to substitute as my surrogate playground. Cities like Amsterdam and New York end up filling in admirably.
There was a Cheers episode where the principle characters went on a wicked bender. They stumbled into Cheers the next day all hungover and couldn't recall what they had done the previous night. Fraser suggested that they empty their pockets to see what that accumulated in order to piece together their rowdy night. Norm found a receipt for a tattoo parlor and hijinks ensued.
When I woke up this morning, I noticed that I had left everything in my jeans from the night before. I rummaged through them and took everything out. Like a scene of out Christopher Nolan's Momento, I slowly put the puzzles pieces back into place.
I discovered in my pockets...
One banking slip from CitibankI also checked the pictures on my camera. That's when it all came back to me...
One pack of Orbits Bubble-Mint gum with four missing pieces.
One ticket from the Museum of Natural History
One bottle of Visine
One crumpled bag of marijuana shake
One orange Bic lighter
One hand blown glass pipe
My TO DO list
One packet of tissues
One cellphone... out of juice
One digital camera
One business card
One Brooklyn Lager bottle cap
On Monday I woke up early after only three hours of sleep. I wrote for two hours then rushed over to the diner where I woofed down a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on a Kaiser roll with extra salt, pepper, and ketchup. I hopped on the train and headed towards 86th and Broadway. I had gotten paid that morning via wire and popped into the bank to transfer money between accounts.
It was 10am and I was supposed to meet Spaceman and Rachel on the steps of the Museum of Natural History at that time and was about seven minutes away. I called to tell them I was running late when I found out that they were walking through Central Park and took an interesting detour. They were at the southern most end near Columbus Circle, a good 22 blocks away. I wandered into Central Park to smoke on a bench for a few minutes before I sat on the steps and waited for Spaceman and Rachel as school groups and tourists shuffled past me into the museum. I was already hammered. My back and knee had been bothering me so I took a half of a muscle relaxer that the Poker Shrink prescribed to me the last time I was in Las Vegas.
Before we went inside, we had to take a minor pitstop. The Spaceman and Rachel had a couple of blisters. Like most people not from NYC, they don't do much walking and usually pick up a blister or two or the good old fashioned city shin splints from quickly switching from a driving culture to a pedestrian megapolis. They needed a quick trip to the drug store. That's where I bought the Visine and the gum. My allergies acted up and my right eye was dry and itchy.
We bought tickets to special Butterflies exhibition and were given a 12:30pm viewing time. We had ninety minutes to kill and went to the top floor to see the dinosaurs.
I took a few pictures and we headed down to the Butterflies. I had no idea what to expect and figured that there would be thousands of colorful and dead butterflies encased in glass. I was wrong. It was a live exhibition. There was a huge trailer in one of the galleries. Inside were thousands of exotic butterflies from all over the world. You had to walk through two sets of doors to ensure that none of the butterflies escaped. The temperature was in the 90s and I couldn't stop sweating as the butterflies flew all around. One landed on Rachel's head. I took a few pictures as I tried not to crush all the kids in strollers.
After the museum we headed over to the East Side where I stopped off at another drug store to buy more drugs. Legal ones. I picked up allergy medicine and felt much better after I popped one. We hung out with Karol at her apartment and I looked at her vast collection of books.
We drove out to Brooklyn. Spaceman wanted to check out Coney Island and Karol arranged a stop at Di Fara's pizza on Avenue J. That's considered some of the best pizza in the city and people wait an hour to ninety minutes for the pies. That's how amazingly good they are, that people would trek all the way out to Crooklyn and wait forever just for pizza. Dom, the old guy behind the counter freshly cuts pieces of basil on your pizza.
The oddest thing was running into Shaniac at Di Fara's. Shaniac is a professional poker player who lives in Hollyweird. He went to Horace Mann in NYC and even though we were both NYC guys we had never actually run into each other in the city. This year alone, I have seen Shaniac in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Monte Carlo, and Australia. Now I can add Brooklyn to the list. He was staying in the East Village and took the train out to Brooklyn just for Di Fara's.
Dawn met up with us and the five of us crushed two pies... one with mushrooms and the other with pepperoni.
Afterwards we made a quick drive over to Coney Island before we headed to Dawn's to play in a poker tournament. She lives about four or five blocks from where I used to live in Brooklyn many many many moons ago.
I played Chinese Poker with Spaceman before the guests arrived and went down to the bodega to pick up a couple of six packs. One of them was Brooklyn Lager.
The poker game featured some old friends I had not seen in a very long time such as comedian Charles Star, Ferrari, Maigrey and Toni. I used to play with Toni, Ferrari, and Charles a lot before I started traveling a ton for work. I had a good table to start and jumped out to an early lead when I doubled up against The Rooster. I made the final table I eventually finished in 7th place and did not make the money.
Final Table (courtesy of Karol)
I vaguely recall being shitfaced in Dawn's kitchen and eating Twizzlers with some guy named Fish. I stuck around and waited for The Rooster since we were going home on the subway together. He finished in second place and I hazed him the entire time at the final table. He played OK but I gave him shit for every decision he made. I must have used the nouns "pussy" and "skirt" at least a dozen times each to describe his play.
We took the train back to the city with Mary, who gave me her business card before she got off in Carroll Gardens. The Rooster and I switched trains at Jay Street a couple of stops later. We sat in dimly lit a car on the A train with six black guys.
"Yo Pauly Drama," whispered The Rooster, "where's the only non-brothers on this subway."
It was 1am. We were in Brooklyn and The Rooster was ready for a fight just in case we got jumped. I'm shocked that we didn't. He sported his "Cuban farmer goes to the discotheque" outfit and was an obvious target. I had been jacked up on muscles relaxers, weed, and beer all day and ubiquitously slurring my speech. I should have been mugged and The Rooster should have been beaten to a pulp for wearing white shoes before Memorial Day. Thank God the brothers on the train were not fashionistas and they let The Rooster live to see another day.
We got off at West 4th Street to eat late night drunk food. We wandered past the infamous basketball playground and headed down a lively Macdougal Street. I grabbed a slice of pizza while The Rooster walked down the street to find falafel. He skipped a crowded Mamoun's and we ended up at a place where all the Middle Eastern taxi drivers ate on their late night breaks. Several yellow taxis were parked in front and I swatted away all of the panhandler's who bummed for change as I slurped another slice of pizza.
1:30am and I was faded. We considered drinking at an NYU bar with plenty of soused coeds wandering around The Village. Then the memory went fuzzy.
This was the last photo that I took on my digital camera: