In Search of Lost Time

Days without an update: 18

Wow, time flies when you’re on drugs. At least I think that’s the case for my opioid addict boss, Hundo, who didn’t realize that it was no longer August. He was blind-sided by the Jewish New Year and took off for the holiday, leaving me a few work days without visiting every Duane Reade in the city. Happy New Year!

I haven’t behaved much better than (allegedly) Hundo has, with my alcoholism lapsing into black outs all over the city. Thus the lack of updates, time for both blackouts and recovery is all my social calendar can handle.

About a week ago I cleared time in my social calendar to meet with Georgia Ann, Times Square and a few other friends that I’d been neglecting. We all met at El Rey Del Sol on 14th and enjoyed ourselves, along with a pitcher of margaritas. Part way through the evening we began to notice that the seasons were slowly changing from summer to fall, that we’re all becoming more accustomed to the city, and that the guys sitting behind me were very attractive.

Ten minutes later I had become BFF with Carlos and whatever the other guy’s name was, and found my conversation at their table leading very promising places. My gaggle of friends decided to move on to Flannery’s (love it) and I decided to stick around for ten more minutes and a cigarette (which is practically unveiled code for “let me seal the deal first”).

The next thing I know, its 6:30 in the morning and I’m on the E train in Queens. No cell phone, no iPod, and no idea how this all happened.

After only an hour and a half of sleep in Harlem, the Harem awakens me and informs me that moving day is upon us, just like autumn weather and the winter of my discontent. I pushed through a brutal headache and managed to drag my roomies belongings down the steps of our fifth floor walk-up and into the moving truck before nearly passing out on a subway train to our new home in Brooklyn. Unfortunately surviving one headache meant sucumbing to a new one- Straight Boyfriend’s bed was too big for our staircase and could not be pushed up the one flight of steps into our new (huge and awesome) apartment.

There was a brief moment when I pulled the box springs over my head that I worried I might faint, but when Straight Boyfriend literally threw his bed and I caught it by the loose fabric and pulled it over our second story balcony everything turned out ok. Then I immediately collapsed on our new couch, physically exhausted from moving and mentally not quite sure what happened the evening before.

Eventually the clues fell into place- my friends had called all night because I had simply disappeared (though I lost my phone and couldn’t call them), my hangover never included the slightest twinge of nausea, my memory lapsed for an epic 8 hour span, my bar tab never increased during the night, and I only had two drinks of the margaritas…. at 9 pm! That does not explain feeling entirely out of your own body at noon the next day.

Too confused and perturbed to venture out on Saturday, I chatted with a friend over mimosas and goat-cheese omlettes about my night. The conclusion: rohypnol. Perhaps GHB. Either way, fantastic.

Less than a year in a city and I already can’t remember the boys I’m going home with.

Jokes aside, the entire event does shake your confidence. Nothing of the evening was out of the ordinary, nothing incredibly dangerous or unwise, just incredibly bad luck and the complete ignorance/naivety of a midwesterner attempting to meet new people and have some margaritas. The strange marks on my arm have healed, I’ve retrieved my phone after a lengthy time out of touch, and my friends have forgiven me for disappearing. I have all my money, I am disease free, I was not forced to ingest anything illegal, and I wasn’t sold into black market slavery (that would RUIN my night). I am pretty lucky for all of that, though. The next few weeks have brought a sense of normalty, and the new apartment is coming along nicely. I’m *this close* to buying a real bed! Party.

It’s a shame for the boys though, I would’ve spent the night without the drugs. Bummer.

[everything it seems i like is a little bit sweeter, a little bit fatter, a little bit harmful for me]

Advertisements

Mein Kampf

Days Sick: 7

Drug addiction is back like Britney.

After a few days of office illin’ I still refused to take any medication. A lifetime of watching my family pop pills and living with two pharmacist roommates has convinced me that medicinal drugs are the devil, or at least very bad conversation starters. Not all drugs, once upon a time I was the first person to put something under my tongue, but the FDA-approved kind.

My vendetta against prescriptions not withstanding, I quickly found myself hiking nearly a mile to a pharmacy in Manhattan to fill an order for my boss. By Friday treked to the pharmacy 4 times in the week, to pick up pills that cost hundreds of dollars and use my boss’ debit card. However, my boss’ behavior began to get more and more eradic. By the end of the week Hundo was back to being the sweaty twitchy intense mess that originally hired me, but had disappeared lately. The newly re-twitchy Hundo was adament that I keep quiet about my pharmacy hikes, that not another assistant or manager find out where I’d been going. I would disappear for nearly an hour and leave my other bosses to do my work, and when I returned I had to lie about where I had been. They caught on rather quickly. And that’s when they started getting worried.

Primarily used to treat opioid addiction, Hundo’s medication can also be prescribed to treat intense pain (which he has in his foot), causes mild euphoria and increased verbal communication, and is the most abused drug in Scandanavian countries. That explains why Hundo keeps singing the first line of “Climb Every Mountain” over and over again before leaving his office to jabber random things at me before singing again. Euphoria. Verbal communication. Climb every mountain, for eight hours a day.

While ignoring my boss’ obvious drug problems and refusing to actually tell any co-workers or managers about my worries might be a bad idea for his personal health, making blind accusations about his drug use is a much worse idea. I’ve decided to make my peace with his addiction. And I’m not getting anything to battle this damn sickness.

However, the world decided that my Friday needed to be as unbarable as possible, which meant my unmedicated sickness became incrimentally worse when I awoke. Hoping to shake the malaise before heading to DC for the day, I packed my bags and left for work a little early… Only to be sprayed with garbage by the damn power-scrubbing street cleaner after it ran over the curb. Great.

Once safely on the subway and away from (copious) amounts of airborn trash I was greeted by a lovely young street urchin who deemed me the “suit and tie nigga” and proceded to barate me for a good 15 minutes before my subway stop. Fortunately, my iPod can be turned up louder than this kid could speak in a crowded subway. Unfortunately, I felt completely defenseless. How do you possibly defend yourself to someone who clearly just wants to make a scene? How do you reconcile other people’s race expectations with your own career goals? How do you explain that race has nothing to do with the potential to succeed? That clothing doesn’t dictate allegiances? And how do you ignore the small ember in you that says maybe you don’t fit in with your race, maybe you’re as big of a traitor as this kid accuses you of being. Turning up your yuppie iPod that’s tucked into your faux-Oxford shirt certainly doesn’t do anything to prove this kid wrong, nor does it do a thing to restore the masculinity that you’re quietly letting yourself be stripped of. Gentrification is an ugly process, whether it’s on behalf of the whites who “invade” the neighborhoods, the minorities that lose “their” neighborhood, or the quiet mixed guy on the subway who looks like part of the neighborhood and dresses like the other half. Meanwhile, all I could think about was getting to work on time so that I could buy Hundo’s drugs.

After my subway neutering I made it to work on time and realized I had forgotten my phone. If I was going to spend a weekend in DC with Weather Man it’s vital that I get my phone to let people know where to meet me/ make weekend plans/ etc. After some intense finagling my roommate got my phone as far as 6th avenue, I just had to meet up with him to grab it.

An hour later I had skipped lunch, braved the rain, and retrieved my phone. My sickness was worse, Hundo accused me of costing the company $65,000 in cancelations- only later to realize I was in the clear and had done a great job, and it occured to me that I was not going to go to DC. I was sick, tired, cranky, sweaty, hungry, and wet. Sitting on a bus without food or a change of clothes for 5 hours would not have helped.

And that’s when I had to deal with Crazy Face. For weeks her work has been piling up, to the point that other assistants have helped her with small tasks to help her out. Earlier this week Hundo pulled me aside and explained to me that if I didn’t help Crazy Face finish all of her new orders, she would be fired. And that was a problem for me since I was going to be her supervisor.

Supervisor? Promotion? Already? Sweet!

Talk and work with Crazy Face? Bummer.

Throughout the entire day I was doing all of my own work at break neck speeds, avoiding the expensive mistake I made earlier this week (which turned out fine), and then doing Crazy Face’s work. …While she made copies, talked on the phone with her friends, and walked around with her Crazy Face. And then left early.

Bitch left early!?! Hell no. It’s one thing for you to get fired if you work hard, that’s sad. It’s another thing to get fired because you’re slow at your job and then leave early. She’s awful at every job she does and hideous along the way, she’s the freaking Chris Kattan of my office.

By the time I got home I was far too sick to do anything other than lay around. Friday night in New York City spent being sick and cranky on a couch in Harlem and watching Pretty Woman on TBS. That’s just about rock bottom.

And that’s when an old friend called, drunk, to inform me of what structures he was going to pee on. As he spilled his drinks he also spilled the beans, and accidentally let me know that a mutual friend had a severe addiction to opioid medication. And it had gotten ugly. And no, our mutual friend isn’t Hundo.

Everyone I know is doing drugs, while not doing any keeps me on this damn couch. For now, my only addiction will be Richard Gere circa 1990, and Friday will remain the worst day here yet.

[play that song again. another couple Klonopin. a nod, a glance, and half-hearted bow]

The Fuck-Up

Day 100!

New York City kicks ass and, not surprisingly, no city kicks your ass quite like New York. The good days are great, and the bad days are so frustrating that you find yourself considering the benefits of someplace remote like Russia or the Northwest Territories or even Jersey. My bad luck in the past few days is actually karmic retribution for poisoning my body with booze and no sleep lately.

The weekend went well enough, with my good friend Trivial Pursuit visiting from Chicago to destroy my liver. After a hard night of partying in Brooklyn and waking up in a cramped trough full of lesbians (don’t ask), I drank my day away with Trivial Pursuit and learned of all her continuing boy problems. She has a knack for choosing losers who seem like assholes but can be quite charming when alone… or at least that’s the story she gave. This time around a combination of pizza at four am and a discussion about indie pop music left her near tears. Apparently Trivial Pursuit’s latest widget is a member of the Hush Sound, an altogether wonderful Chicago band that clearly has good taste in women. The tears kept flowing as I heard stories about tour buses and love triangles, of course in my mind the entire scene was scored with the song “Honey” being played over and over again and all the characters were actors from Almost Famous. Brilliant! I’m told most of the band is very nice. Still, it’s hard to believe when the smartest girl you know is balling her eyes out on top of a perfectly good piece of drunkenly purchased Fat Sal’s.

After an entirely too early brunch meeting with Trivial Pursuit on Sunday we parted ways and I sat in my new Harlemn-centric apartment until receiving fortuitous news from my roommate, Straight Boyfriend, who had stumbled upon free tickets to the fucking US OPEN FINALS and happened to remember how I loved tennis. More than I even love nicknames! I even got to call Georgia Ann and rub it in her face that she wasn’t at Arthur Ashe while I was drinking vodka tonics (on a Sunday, thus the karmic retribution) and getting ready to see Serena kick Jelena Jankovich’s ass… then I called Georgia Ann back just to invite her, as yet another ticket was available. The entire experience was more incredible than I had thought; cheap food and fantastic seats shared with good friends and a great match up. I gave the over-under that Serena would take it in two sets, while a friend bet me a few drinks that Jankovich would take it in three. Georgia Ann was in a state of euphoria the entire time and never put her camera down, as we each yelled at the umpire whenever we felt it was appropriate. And somehow I accidentally ate a strangers entire bucket of waffle fries. Not quite sure how that mix up occured, but it was a tasty one!

By the way, Serena Williams and vodka-tonics were the evenings winners.

The next morning my body began exacting its revenge. After more than 3 months of constant social misadventuring and exploring a new section of the world known was Manhattan, my body has finally given out. Then again, it could have more to do with the fact that I’ve survived on four hours of sleep every night for over a week and drank 11 out of the last 14 evenings. That last statistic doesn’t bode well.

Needless to say, when I woke up I felt like I had lodged two golfballs in my throat (and not in a sexy way). Five hours after waking up I still didn’t feel like I had woken up at all, and the excess coffee that I chugged to catch a quick buzz proved to only wake up my slumbering intestines, which meant running to the floor below me to purge my alcohol saturated gullet (no one on that floor can recognize my fabulously scuffed up shoes). I survived the day at work and immediately went to my apartment where I could relax in peace, alternating between mini-marathons of Family Guy and the bathroom. Glamorous.

Turns out being sick in New York is just as dreadful as anywhere else. Only with people in the way. Which leads me to my next bout of bad luck-

Dear Bryant Park- please get out of my way. Your fashion week is likely fabulous (and accessorized with too many zippers) but you attract hordes of crowds who know nothing about fashion and instead far too much about Carrie Bradshaw, thus the bitchy gawker girls in Bryant Park who stand in my way while I go to work. Don’t these women have real jobs? And why doesn’t the city give you a complimentary battering-ram when you move here? I forgot about my bus ticket to DC this weekend, which might be emotionally damaging, but it will be nice to walk in a city without the urge use a flame thrower against the slow-moving public.

On yet another day of being ill while in the office (Office Illin’ as it has been dubbed by Steen) I discovered that I am quickly climbing the ranks among the more long term assistants at the company. Also, I discovered the new Jenny Lewis album doesn’t come out until September 23… the internet lied to me. I want the damn album now! I also want my lunch hour back, Barnes and Noble! Anyway-back to work. After the Jenny Lewis lunch time disappointment I got to meet a few clients from Seattle and had my first opportunity to swear at an assistant on the phone! It’s like being Ari Gold only with much uglier clients. And I don’t have my own Lloyd. I am Lloyd… sad. My toughest boss even complimented me today, and as we both put in a little bit of time after 5 o’clock it seemed for the first time that I was sure my no-shouldered boss liked me. He handed me a personal order he had sold and asked me to imput it as he grabbed his coat to go, and even stuck around a few minutes to talk, socially.

And that’s when I cost the company $52,000 in 30 seconds.

The mistake seems to be irreversible and no one is sure how it happened, but at 5:15 it became clear that I destroyed two orders that are (were?) each worth 27-thousand dollars. My boss, who’s comission went up in smoke, was not happy. Our friendship, coincidentally up in smoke, quickly devolved. The next 30 minutes were spent with my boss angrily trying to fix my mistake as I scurried about grabbing papers and making phone calls. He yelled “Lloyd!” and I scuttled my gay ass into his office for yet another assistant-like task. Fucking up paper work, pissing of the boss, all things I dread. Combine that with occasionally disappearing to the 21st floor to go to the bathroom… wreched.

US Open induced sickness, 3 months of over-extended exhaustion finally taking it’s toll, Bryant Park fashion gawkers, the great Jenny Lewis lunch time disappointment, a pending weekend in DC, and a 30 second mistake that may cost twice my salary. This is all Jelena Jankovich’s double-fault.

[why must I spend my time filling up my life with facts and figures that never add up anyway? they never add up anyway]

Return of the King

Days since computer was fixed: 3

My roommate was briefly laboring under the delusion that she was pregnant because she could smell a man’s breath on the subway. “Super smell occurs in the first trimester” she explained. The idea that a man on the 1 train to Harlem had noticeably bad breath only occured to her after her body proved to her that she wasn’t pregnant.

That’s a good introduction to where my life has gone since my computer blew up in August and has since been returned to me as a functioning piece of machinery (for the time being). Since then I began my new job, working on the career path means walking along the unpaved parts, which is a more poetic way to say I’m an assistant. My manager, Hundo, is absolutely unhinged and I think he’s brilliant. Today I walked past his office and he yelled “What’re you doing here this early, Burkeman, ya big pedophile.”

At 9 am I was not equipped with a response to the random name-calling. Clearly, I need to bring my A-game.

Other fun character at work include Racist Nakeema, a girl who used to give me the black power fist every time I ignored a white co-worker… Then there’s Taffy, a man who seems to have been born with shoulders or at least the good sense to buy clothes that provide the illusion of shoulders- he’s also my direct boss and a fantastic mentor, if only I could tell if he liked me or actually hated me. It’s a tough call. There’s also my Office Love, a woman who looks so uncannily like Jenny Lewis and says “fuck” so often that I cannot resist her charms. She’s making me monkey bread on Monday! Monkey break Mondays, hell yes! Also in the mix is Madonna Lover, a masculine guy who seemed heterosexual until a 3 minute speech about how “fucking sweet” everything about Madonna is. He’s from Long Island, everything is swishier on Long Island, even the straight men.

However, the true raison d’etre at work is a fellow assistant I affectionately refer to as Crazy Face. Crazy Face is, well, crazy, and I’m told in the past her nickname was Witchrat, which is meaner but no less accurate than the term Crazy Face. Crazy face is in her 30s, 2 years into a job that I couldn’t take past the age of 23.2 (which is also when it’s no longer appropriate to eat Hot Pockets on a regular basis). During my first week of work Crazy Face brought me not one, not two, not even three bookmarks- but five bookmars for absolutely no reason. I just kept saying thank you and putting them in my fag-bag, I later left all five bookmarks as a tip for a terrible waitress in the East Village. Perhaps it will inspire her to read a book. Or at least the bookmark. Crazy Face also gave me two Williams & Sonoma catalogs that I gave to my non-knocked up roommate, BYOB. BYOB was happy with them, as Williams & Sonoma is the closest thing to porn that women can read at the dentist office. Crazy Face is a hardcore Republican who thinks Palin is a good choice and gets unnecessarily angry if you play a video of Barack Obama within earshot of her… it’s fun! Did I mention her face is crazy looking? It is.

The social life has been picking up, but not really. The hold-overs who stuck around in the city after our fellowship ended now comprise my entire social circle, which I don’t mind because they’re great! This weekend was a mix of gay bars (fun and alcoholic and cheap! minus that three hour line that turned into the worst night out ever), hikes through woods, picnics in Central Park, museums, and scenic walks through floors and along rivers, sky lines, and booze. It is pretty much everything I wanted when I first thought about moving to New York, and it was well done with some friends! But with that comes spending too much money, waiting in long lines for clubs that get closed down by fire fighters (who are NOT strippers and will get angry for suggesting it), and the realization that you can never do enough (I want to go to the US Open, dammit!). The up side- the weekend was brilliant. The down side- I didn’t get to sleep until 8 one morning, and was not drunk the entire day. The promising- Rick & Steve and I have a vendetta against Hiro, a Sunday-only club, which means getting drunk on a school night sometime soon. Oh god, the idea of earning a gay bar hangover one night and facing Crazy Face the next day is almost too good to imagine.

I would never show up to work hungover, though, as this job leads to every professional aspiration that I have the energy to entertain currently. That is, after showing up hungover last Thursday, after 5 assistants all went out to the Black Finn and enjoyed a $20 open bar which ended… I’m not sure how it ended. All I know is that I somehow found a magic bus to Hoboken on an entirely different level of Port Authority and don’t know where I found it, Steen lost her phone and house keys, Kissy blacked out on the subway, and Average Joe left without any of us noticing… no one knows what happened to that other girl. Moral of the story, five hungover assistants couldn’t piece together a full evening. My manager, Hundo, believed that was a good introduction to sales. Mind you, this all occured a day after I swore off alcohol for 3 days. It didn’t go well.

I am enjoying the early benefits of being Hundo’s favorite- he bought me coffee, bought me lunch another day, lets me leave the office to run errands if I want to (or assigns them to others if I don’t want them) and gives me lots of tips. It’s great, but it makes things awkward between Crazy Face and me. However, that was quickly brushed under the rug after a lengthy discussion in which Crazy Face revealed she invented the word “badunk”. It was quite a while before she realized this wasn’t true.

In all, life is treating me well right now. I’ve moved from Hoboken (from the girls I fell in love with) to Harlem, with the Harlem Harem that I’m currently in love with, as we will soon become Brooklynites (moving in 2 weeks!). Perhaps the best sign that my life is exactly as it should be is one simple fact: while picking up my newly repaired computer, I met all 5 members of New Kids on the Block at their release party while a bunch of fans waited in epic lines like suckers. Turns out NKOTB hang out with the Geek Squad before signing autographs. How am I doing? I’m hanging tough.

[boy, you’re gonna carry that weight]

Something Borrowed

Days without computer: 14

With my computer on the fritz (Best Buy says another week or so) it has been increasingly difficult to inform strangers of the amusing events in my life. Tragic, right? I know, I’ve had to leave out all the unnecessarily fun details about my blinky-intense boss and the girl who sat next to me in training who wants to start a corporate race riot or the fact that four out of four of those of us living in the apartment are hungover at 3 in the afternoon on a Sunday. My first week of work was pretty calm, but it was just training so it doesn’t count. Apparently I have a reputation that has preceded me and the entirety of the salesmen/women in my sales team expect me to be the best assistant ever, and then become a sales rep in a year… I hope they’re right.

In the meantime, I live on an air mattress in Jersey. It’s posh. I live with three girls who all make more than me, except one who is unemployed and currently asleep on the wood floor of her room after I pumped her full of pepto-absymal. Being unemployed in Jersey, I feel for her. Granted, she spent last week doing temp work in fashion- for an entire day she got paid to help Martha Stewart’s assistant try on wedding dresses. Apparently it will be a very interesting TV special.

I’ve been bouncing around the city in my free time. A glass of wine on the west side, a few too many beers on 14th street, tons of sangria in Hoboken, a high ball in Hell’s Kitchen, and so on. It passes the time perfectly when you’re with friends, which I’m fortunate to have a few of here. The Femme Fellows are housing me, and they’re great, Rick & Steve have provided me with drinking amusement (and one really awkward Olympics viewing experience), an unexpected visitor made yesterday a good drinking night (and we didn’t even accidentally mess around this time!), and the Harlem Harem keeps me very busy and happy.

Speaking of the Harlem Harem, we are the hopeful soon-to-be Brooklyn Brothel, or perhaps the Parallel Parkers (yet to be decided), as we’ve applied for a fantastic place in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It’s gorgeous, but no use in getting excited until all the paper work goes through.

Work is starting, apartments are changing, friends are forming, I’m crashing people’s homes and commandeering their computers, and my bed is still deflating. Wine will help me cope with all these truths.

[and they say this is the job that people die for]

Fight Club

Days back in Michigan: 5

My computer blew up. Ass.

Home is an extremely bizarre place. There are entire fields of grass for absolutely no reason. There are stars at night… STARS?!?! And you can hear crickets when you’re trying to sleep on the couch of your entirely uncomfortable living room couch (not to mention that the house is without air conditioning). It’s kinda nice, though.

Needless to say, I am back in Michigan for a week before heading back out to the city. In a few short days the new job begins. Exciting! Until then, baseball games and Dominicans and ice cream and Project Runway. In that order. It is a far cry from the life I grew to love in New York, which culminated with Burkeman (yay!) and Dude Mathews drunkenly hailing a cab to La Guardia at 5 am. Bars in New York close at 4, so staying up the extra hour at a diner was no problem. Finding my ID in my bags while drunk in line to pass security, that was a bigger problem. When I tripped and fell in the Detroit airport during my layover I realized perhaps I should’ve slept a little before arriving home. Nothing says “you fucked up” quite like eating shit in the middle of a magazine store in an airport. Note to self: drinking on a flight is great. Drinking for six hours and then catching a flight- not so great. On the upside, the crying baby next to me on the flight stood no chance against my binge-drinking coma. I slept like that baby should’ve. However, that only lasted a half hour before arriving home, where my family was mildly horrified that I reaked of Jameson and hadn’t bathed in a few days. New York turns scion into a slob.

There is one large change between home and the city that I’m not adjusting to very well, I admit- my computer. Its on the fritz and cannot be revived until I am back in Manhattan. Only problem, I might not be going back to Manhattan…

While walking home on a Sunday evening Straight Boyfriend (of the Harlem Harem, a group I recently elected to live with) ran into three large men on the street. Well, he didn’t run into them so much as their fists. Multiple times. The attack is believed to have been racially motivated, as Straight Boyfriend is a large white Alaskan dude in the middle of a largely Dominican section of Harlem, but his attackers weren’t Dominican.

Forunately the incident was stopped before it could become to brutal, but he does have some bruising on his face and a severely broken desire to remain in Harlem. Thus the Harlem Harem may soon become the Brooklyn Brigade. It will be a journey.

Oh, and Weather Man will be back in the city when I arrive on Saturday. AND I’m living with the Femme Fellows in Hoboken for the month of August. And work, the first day of the rest of my life, starts on Monday (same day as Drag Queen Bingo).

It’s about to get very interesting.

[we are adventuring, we are adventurers]

The Merchant of Venice

Day 59

There are approximately 13 million Jews worldwide. Most of them currently work in television.

I discovered these facts when walking down the street with my NYC accomplice JAP, a lovely LA girl with family money and challah to spare. 13 million is a staggeringly low number, it seems like there are more than that in New York alone, but she informed me of these statistics the other day as we strolled down 14th street and talked about how we were under-represented minorities in our fellowship. Only two Jews out of 30 students in a New York based media fellowship. Thats pretty surprising, come to think of it. Even more shocking, our fellowship only includes two gays… it’s television in New York! How is that possible? Under represented, certainly.

Now, exactly where all the homosexuals have disappeared to I’m not sure, but I’ve found all my Hebrew friends sitting right under my stubby-little-gentile nose. Of the 6 interns who work on my floor at *B& television network in Manhattan, 5 of them are jewish. FIVE! That’s a disproportionately large number considering there are only five of them left in the entire state of Wyoming. Turns out three of them all earned their internships through family connections with some higher-ups at the network. I’ve heard the Jews run Hollywood, but apparently they also run primetime television as well. The best part, none of them are even practicing Jews. Oye! So that’s why the descendents of David are underrepresented in my fellowship- they’re already working in television through family connections! Lucky schmucks. As an Irish Lutheran, I’ve got culture envy.

Not to worry, as the universe launched me some gay reinforcements in the form of my friend Weather Man, a former media professional who now dapples in internet technology. After a year of “friendship” and more than a few ups and downs, it seems as if the tectonic plates of our relationship have precariously balanced themselves for a brief time, allowing for a quake free weekend of boys’ nights out and the kind of conversation that can only be shared with a true friend. And anxiety. Lots of that.

Once before I was described as emotionally unavailable, which is funny because I’m perhaps the most available person in the world (except for my emotions). So as Weather Man began his torrent of “I love you”s and “I can’t stand being away”, I couldn’t help but think of anything besides being away. His loving grip became like a vice and I envisioned the concept of emotional claustraphobia, feeling your stomach and throat constrict- the more sweet his words were the more dizzy and overwhelmed I felt. What was supposed to be sweet and beautiful became dreaded and nauseating, which pretty much makes him the verbal equivalent of Janice Dickinson (eek!). But I have strong feelings for Weather Man… and I love Janice Dickinson… so what’s causing me to react to this intimacy the same way that guy reacted when he drank from the wrong cup in the old-school Indian Jones movie?

Word vomit.

That’s what makes me so queezy. I’m fine feeling these emotions for someone and perfectly comfortable knowing that he may feel something even stronger for me, but I just don’t need to hear about it constantly, bubbling out his lips like a fountain or raining down like the storm cells he used to forecast. If anything, I just prefer to talk about the warm front. Emotions aren’t scary, it’s the windy words that accompany them that make the thunder storm so noisy and frightening. But how do you tell someone that you cannot tolerate their emotional word vomit (hopefully not through a blog…  super eek)?

Fortunately many events that rescued me from the poems and soliloquies (moderate eek). Most notably the introduction of two of Weather Man’s close friends, who shall be dubbed Rick & Steve. They friendly and have settled in Manhattan as well. Unfortunately, they heard quite a bit about me (again, word vomit) before we met, so my introduction was followed with a knowing smile and a standard “Oh, you’re Burkeman” as if to say “so, you’re the face to the name I’ve been judging for the last year”. Greeeeat.

However, it’s hard to be the center of attention when you’re at a gay sports bar with a midget. Which I was. The friendly little person was a friend of Rick & Steve’s, and was a charming conversationalist even if he couldn’t see over the bar. The pint-sized pib-squeak of a homosexual may have been my saving grace, as engaging him in conversation kept me from being further judged by Weather Man’s friends (who’re still undecided if they should hate me and chase me with torches or love me and douse me with alcohol). I led them by example and doused myself with alcohol while chatting with the friendly little person, who turned out to be the most conversationally competent guy in the bar. By the end of the night Rick & Steve seemed to warm up to me and we even set a faux-dinner date for August when “life calms down” a bit.

Escaping the world of gay bars (which is uncommon for my time here in New York), I returned to the familiar territory of dive bars and met with my standard crew at McKenna’s for our LAST WEEKEND AS A GROUP. Tragic. McKenna’s low prices and stiff drinks quickly inspired the group to find a dance floor at Flannery’s… which just happened to be playing 80s music all night. By the time I got to Flannery’s the entire mess was on the dance floor and Take On Me was already in queue. Whatser Name was bopping around and on the prowl for boys, Times Square was doing the twist, Georgia Ann was going wild and shouting about calories, Stretch Armstrong was buying shots and the rest of the crew was breaking it down like the media nerds we are.

How could I resist?

Pouring myself into bed at 6 in the morning is always an exhausting experience, but with Weather Man in tow it was both physically and emotionally exhausting. It was hard to tell if the morning was going to bring word vomit or the real thing. That’s the danger of bingeing all weekend.

[there’s a gentleman who’s not so gentle cuz he’s too generous with his chit and his chat]