Sunday, July 30, 2006

fix your hair up pretty and meet me tonight in atlantic city

I have a very brief time in which to update this diary, to tell not only you, but my future self what it was that I did in these mid-summer days of 2006 while I was living in New York.

I have no air conditioning and that is not a complaint but really the key to understanding this summer I am living. People that live with a/c and people that live without are not experiencing the same thing, the same seasons at all. So there is a lot of sitting in front of my fan, a lot of cold water being drank, and a lot of time being spent outside the house. I love summer and the heat so much, although looking at how much I have updated this summer, I do think that in some ways the heat, the summer, make me less inclined to want to engage in introspective thought, make me not want to sit in front of a computer and type on a warm keyboard.

Rebecca was in town for a couple days last week and I got to hang out with her for brief amounts of time and that really did add a little shot of joy to my week last week, this appearance of one of my good friends from a past life, from those days when I was 18 and a nervous freshman in college. Friday night I was supposed to go see Leela James but instead I slept and slept and slept, and my friends, it felt wonderful. And all that sleep gave me a shot of energy come Saturday morning and the feeling that I needed to move move move, and so, in the early afternoon, I boarded a bus for Atlantic City. The bus ride was a dream as all bus rides tend to be when you have a window seat, and for the three hours we were in motion, I read from The New Yorker, talked to people on the phone, and thought about my life as I contemplated New Jersey's landscape.

I had told people the stated purpose of this trip, perhaps smugly, was mainly to go to the beach and to go to the casinos as a joke, for kitsch value. Well the casinos were this trip, and the beach became the afterthought. I spent a total of about five minutes on the beach toward dusk, dipping my toes in the Atlantic just so as to have actually done so since I had made this trip to the ocean. Then it was back for more of the nickel slot machines.

I had been in love with these nickel slots all day long. I skipped out on Bally's where the bus dropped us off and which gave us busriders twenty bucks because I was not having much luck there and because there were no cocktail waitresses bringing me free drinks. I went to Caeser's next door and was a lot more lucky with the slots and with the cocktail waitresses. I was fairly wasted by six o'clock, smoking up a storm, and pressing buttons maniacly, trying to win money. At one point, I was up twenty bucks, how much I had spent so far and printed out my receipt to cash out, knowing that it was time to quit. However, I got distracted my another slot machine and by the idea that I was on a lucky streak, and quickly lost that twenty.

That is when I called it quits and went out to the beach for those brief few minutes only to get the fever for slots again, and so I went to Trump, where I quickly dropped another twenty-five quite recklessly into the nickel slots, but somehow scored big and won sixty, winning back everything I had spent all day. I printed out the receipt and started walking toward the cash-out place, but you know the rest, you have heard it a million times, it is every gambler's story. I thought I could win more, that I was in the middle of a lucky streak and one of the machines was calling my name. That was soon all lost and finally I called it quits and got on the bus home, which was not nearly as pleasant a ride, being stuck in the aisle, being stuck right next to the smelliest bathroom ever, and being stuck seated next to a large man who took up a third of my seat and forced me to sit on the edge of my seat the entire ride back to New York. I listened to Leela James, who I did not see on Friday night, and fell asleep listening to her. I woke up when the bus driver turned on the interior lights as we pulled into Port Authority.

But that is not the story of summer 2006, it is one of them, a part of it. I have been listening to lots of old Van Morrison - Moondance and Astral Weeks - and that, more than anything, is what this summer is to me - those albums. I just finished watching all of the first season of The Boondocks, and should you be looking for something to watch, I could not recommend it highly enough. Aaron McGrudder, how I love thee. Also amazing is the UP Series by Michael Apted. I have watched the first three in the series so far and I have so much to say about it and will say it in some future entry because this, I also recommend. And there is that self-imposed time limit that I mentioned at the beginning of this and that is because shortly, very shortly, I am to go see Miami Vice and I am so fucking excited. My job is going really good, but I have started looking for full-time jobs. I am almost done with this Bolano collection, Last Evenings on Earth, that I will also have to talk about later. I bought some really exciting books at the Strand today. I love New York and walking around in the sunshine. I eat my lunch in Bryant Park every work day and it makes me so happy to sit in that park and watch people. Basically, things were pretty good during those days, future Charlie.

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