MY NAME IS STAN PART 1
Cleveland Ohio, 10PM Wednesday December 12th 2007. 27 degrees Chance of more shit weather.
I was sitting alone in a Mexican restaurant, getting ready to order a taco. The waitress informed me that her shift was over and that the bartender was going to be my server. I looked across the restaurant and saw two other people grabbing their coats. They walked out the door, and I realized that I was the lone customer sitting in a burnt sienna booth, next to a badly drawn cactus.
A horrific combination of wind, snow and rain, was slapping against the front window. There were some dirty glasses sitting on a table near by as the manager stared vacantly out the front window. He was probably wondering what ever happened to his dream of being a paleontologist. If only he had worn a condom.
The lights were dim and all I could hear was this awful version of Silver Bells, playing in the background. I took all this in, looked down at the menu for a moment and then suddenly glanced up and thought, "Shouldn’t I be lonely?"
And with that, I just burst out laughing. And I don’t mean a quick chuckle. I’m talking about slapping the table, head thrown back, just cackling. To hear me laugh you would have thought there were a group of old high school buddies, talking about some long ago incident, that today would be classified as a sex crime.
I can’t tell if I’m going crazy, or if I just see things for what they are.
The bartender was about to come over and bring me my drink. But once I started laughing, I could tell he was now pretending to be engaged in some other activity, when he was actually trying to figure out what my fuckin’ problem was. And the band played on…
….IT’S CHRISTMAS TIIIIIIIMMMMMMMEEEEE…IN THE SIIITTT-TEEEEE!
To make him feel comfortable I started to pretend that I was texting someone and trying to top the hilarious text message that I never received. About three minutes later the bartender finally came over. As he took my order, we began to have a context/subtext conversation.
HIM: "SO…WHAT CAN I GET YOU?" (Dude, are you crazy?)
ME: "AHHH…LET ME GET TWO CHICKEN TACOS." (No I’m not crazy.)
HIM: "ANYTHING ELSE?" (Are you sure?)
ME: "NO, THAT SHOULD BE FINE." (I think so.)
HIM: "OK THAT SHOULD BE UP IN ABOUT 15 MINUTES." (Back away slowly…don’t take eyes off of subject.)
…SOOOOOOON IT WILL BEEEEEE CHRISTMAS DaaAAAAAYYYYYY!
I don’t know why that song was bugging me so much. The voices on the track reminded me of the back up singers on that Ray Charles song, "Georgia on my Mind." In my opinion those singers ruin that fuckin’ tune. Whenever they sing, I have to turn the volume down. The problem is, towards the end of the song their bullshit singing overlaps Ray’s incredible voice, so you really have to try and focus.
Anyway, I’ve battled my way back from subtle depression to being right at the cusp of thinking positive. For a while, most days I would get on the positive side. Lately, I’ve been going the negative route. But one thought has stood firm throughout this long battle. I don’t seem to give a fuck either way. In reality, I know I do, or I’m supposed to, but I can’t seem to connect with that feeling.
I moved to LA and I’m having a great time. A large part of southern California burned down during the first month I arrived. It was awesome. The smoke carried for miles and miles. On final approach into LAX, I imagined I was flying over Dresden.
I always wondered what would happen if LA got bombed. Just thinking about all the famous people, flavors of the month, A-listers, and has-beens that would die would be incredible. It would be the ultimate in TV viewing. Pearl Harbor meets Anna Nichole Smith.
Not even TV snobs could resist the allure of hearing…
"This just in: The body of Grant Goodeve was found early this morning, on a hillside in Laurel Canyon. The 55 year old, former star of Eight is Enough, was on his way to Larry Wilcox’s when…"
(I just Googled Grant Goodeve and found out that the son of a bitch is happily married and living in Seattle.)
Speaking of happy: I met an old friend recently and he told me I was the happiest he’s ever seen me. That was like a month ago. It made me feel good at first. But then I realized that, that is how everyone describes a friend right after they find them at the bottom of a swimming pool.
"I was just talking to him….He seemed so happy. He was finally turning his life around."
What is it about turning your life around that makes the chopper you’re flying in slam into the side of a hill? It’s unbelievable. If you’re miserable you live forever. That’s life’s big joke.
Why did I book myself in Cleveland at this time of the year? At least I’ve got the Browns game on Sunday. What am I doing. What the fuck am I doing….
(PART 2 NEXT THURSDAY)