Monday, June 2, 2008

The Rest of the Weekend

As for Saturday and Sunday, it somehow felt like more than just two days. Saturday was it was supposed to rain, but it didn't- at least not in the day time. I spent it basking in the silence of my empty apartment (Molly was at school and Ralphy was out and about). I took a few cat naps, ate lunch, gabbed on the phone with my cousin Atya and took some weird camera phone pictures of my stomach. When Molly came home and announced that Marshall and Los were having yet another cook out, I was immediately up for it. I'd laid around quite enough, it was time for beer and hot dogs.

It was about 75 degrees outside and humid, so Molly put on a sun dress and I had on shorts and sandals. But as soon as we left the house we noticed the clouds canvased above us threatening rain. It was still hot outside, but it was sure to get wet. We hovered across the street deciding whether or not to go back inside and change and eventually decided to just ruff it. By the time we got to Los and Marshall's house on Madison, we were almost completely soaked. Los, Marshal, Ralphy and some guy I didn't know yet named El were all perched under the picnic table umbrella. An old school boom box sitting on top of the table surrounded by hamburger fixin's and a pitcher of Jungle Juice was the source of entertainment. I noticed behind us through a gate was another cook out. One with way more people and a few more uumbrellas. I didn't know people actually had cook outs in the rain, but the idea appealed to me. It was so random, so spontaneous. Once the rain stop, the jackets came off and I wiped down the bench to sit down. I introduced myself to El and complimented him on his tee shirt. It was a vintage-style faded brown tee with a black pick up truck slanted downward as if it were tossed in the air. The bed of the truck had all kinds of guns falling out of it. "I wonder if the artist was thinking of a pocket knife when they drew that," Molly said pointing at his tee-shirt, "Cause it definitely looks like one to me." El looked down at his tee shirt and squinted. "No. I wasn't thinking of a pocket knife, but I see why you'd think that." He said with a hint of a Spanish accent. We all shared an "Oh" moment and I finally realized who El was. He was the artist Marshall was always talking about, he did the artwork for all of Marshall's tee-shirt designs. Eventually our conversation went to another form of art; writing. He said he needed a writer to help him develop an illustrated story. So we exchanged info and decided to meet up the next day.

Sunday. The day started as any other. I lounged around with my room mates, took a few naps (perhaps a few too many) and contemplated doing laundry but opted not to. Around 6pm I got a text from El, "Lets go to Habana Outpost for drinks, around 8ish." Perfect, I thought. That was the place Molly had told me I absolutely HAD to go to, because it was so cool. 8ish turned into 9ish, but eventually I got on the C train and got off at Lafayette. There was a huge crowd of people outside the entrance and the monstrous patio behind the gate was even more crowded. I headed in and spotted El by the door to the patio. It was movie night and along with drinks and dinner, all the patrons were treated to a screening of "The Last Dragon", the old kung fu movie from the 80's. It was perfectly warm outside, I didn't even mind standing the whole time. El was there with his two friends, Mike and David. Mike was tall and looked a lot like John Favreau : from the Iron Man), David was an even taller, thin white guy with huge funky nerd glasses and an old school baseball cap hiding a mess of curly hair. I greeted each one and received a "your-in-the-city-now" peck on the cheek/ handshake. After the movie was over and El and I had upgraded our Coronas to Mojitos (which was by far the absolute best Mojito I've had in my entire life), the four of us comizzed on where to go next. There was some discussion of getting a car, and then possibly going somewhere called The Belmont which David said "Is Jamaica" on Sundays.

After David parked (aided by me waving him into a tight park space as if I was guiding a plane on the runway), we went into Belmont and instantly it was as if we entered a different world. Everyone there was the milky complexion of mocha, every one's skin glistening from the humidity, people swaying in dark corners to island beats and grinding against each other on the dance floor. We walked all the way through and out to the back patio where the beats filtered through large speakers on the outside walls. We surveyed the scene mutually impressed with the huge turn out. "Hey," David said, tapping my shoulder, "There goes Ashy Larry..." We looked over at a man dressed in a red tee-shirt and black pants and it was in fact Donnell Rawlings from Chappelle's Show cutting through the crowed and heading back inside. We wandered back inside and found a spot near the bar, I couldn't help it, the music was intoxicating, I had to dance. I sandwiched myself between El and David and danced to the music closing my eyes in submission to it. Before we knew it, it was 4 am.

I woke up this morning at 8:20. Mind you I start work at 8:15. After a frantic call to Beth, my manager and some fake coughing I grabbed some cloths out of my closet and literally got dressed in the dark. I didn't realize I had a hang over until I was securely on the A train headed to work and started feeling the vile creeping up my throat. The only good thing I can say about throwing up in my mouth on the train is, thank GOD it was only water and very little at that. As for cook outs in the rain, throwback movies projected on the side of buildings and hot, sweaty Jamaican clubs....I guess I can say it's all worth it.