so after spending the first couple of days hanging around the place, I finally got out for a nice little Friday night. I went into Manhattan in the early afternoon, attempting to make my way to midtown and the huge public library on Fifth. I’m not one to ever have liked libraries, and that feeling is still alive and well. When I was younger, I wasn’t really a book person. I would get frustrated because I was such a slow reader, so I had a lot of trouble sitting down and taking in a good story. Dyslexia runs deep in my family, and I was the lucky one, in that it didn't hit me too hard. Still, words were a barrier in those days, not something I used for enjoyment. Somewhere along the way that changed. Not the slow reading, that’s still there, I just call it “careful” now. I suppose I could trace it to high school, where a couple of teachers got things rolling. But I think I can give the real thanks to my fellow business majors in college. Yes, I started as a business major at the University of St. Thomas. If I had not been so annoyed with these people, I just may have continued on the business course. They all would complain so much about doing the exact thing they were going to be doing in “the real world.” The only difference was going to be a paycheck. Keep in mind, at eighteen it wasn’t hard for me to dislike people. I was drastically confused as to what one was supposed to do with his life (does this ever change?), but the track these people, and I, were on didn’t seem to be the right way to go about things. That much I knew. So I began to search for something that would always allow me new opportunities to continue to learn, no matter what job I found myself in. After a brief stroll through the Sociology department, I ended up in English, and this time around I loved words. I loved words so much that when I would read them—no matter how long it would take me—I didn’t want to give them back. So, at this moment, I didn’t like libraries for another reason—I didn’t want to give books back. I wanted them to be mine.
So the library on Fifth didn’t really do much for me. It’s massive, and it seems like it has some unbelievable archives, but you need to be doing some sort of research and get cleared through an application to look at these. I snapped a couple of pictures on my phone (as soon as I figure out how to get them off I'll put them here) and headed out to Bryant Park behind the library. I sat in there outdoor “Reading Room,” and read a copy of Vanity Fair’s Africa Issue, where Bono is the guest editor and there are twenty different covers; dozed off a bit; and listened as the most annoying woman in New York yelled at her sister about going to a P Diddy party and their mother, a sweet, old, quiet woman sat there and undoubtedly thought, “How could I have raised these two horrible people?” I wanted to go take her by her old, loose-skin hand and walk her across the lawn, which was closed off, but I don’t think that, even in New York, anyone would have had the heart to tell this woman she couldn’t walk there. I’m glad I didn’t test that, though, because it’s easy to be disappointed in people out here.
Instead of that walk, I hit Fifth again, and started walking south with all the people just getting out of work on a Friday. There was a buzz, as there is anywhere on a Friday at five p.m. I cruised into Greenwich Village, and right into a bar on MacDougal for two-4-one happy hour. After the first two at a bar where the bartender acted like I had picked on him in high school and he was still holding it against me, I found a place where the people were much friendlier, and had a couple more. Then the call went into the social queen of New York, my friend Taya, who always, always has something entertaining going on. She was farther south, so I started walking again. After one more stop in a bar with two woman who had just gotten yelled at by a guy in a Taurus with Jersey plates, something to the extent of, “You f***ing C**t, get outta the road,” to which, in my four-beer, light-headed chivalrous manner, I turned around to defend someone’s honor. It’s not so much that this guy yelled, it’s just, c’mon, is there really a need to use that word in that situation? These two didn’t kick your sister’s ass or anything, guy. Calm down. Well, he was gone by the time I got back to them, which is probably good for me. They thought I was gentlemanly, so, since we were all going the same way, we stopped for a drink. After one eight-dollar bottle of bud (ahem!?), I bid them adieu, and went to meet Taya and some other friends.
The rest of the night is like a Guy Ritchie film: picture fast-forward camera shots, with drinks quickly moving to lips, glasses being slammed back onto bar, cigarettes burning from match to butt in a second, drunk people stumbling into friend's or stranger's arms (what's the difference at that point), all before a quick dance scene, all members of the party dancing in different manners, scarfing down an omelet at five a.m., and then getting off the train five blocks from your house where the world once again takes on it’s normal pace. This is where the last post came from. At the diner with the omelet we met some nice kids from Jersey, who were unsure as to how they were going to get home, and who proceeded to beat box and freestyle with a Polish kid who said he did this professionally. He could kind of beat box. Professional, though? I’m not sure about all that.
The rest of the weekend was low key. Went to Prospect Park again after picking up the new Miranda July book, No One Belongs Here More Than You, which is like Harry Potter for hipsters. Seriously, I can’t go anywhere without hearing about this book. It did come highly recommended from two people whose opinions on these matters I respect. And after reading the first three stories I can see why. Still, damn that’s a lot of buzz around a book of short stories. After reading for a while, I watched some cricket. I have no idea what goes on in that game. I can’t figure it out. How many freaking at-bats does one guy get? When is he out? Can he even get out, or does he just get bored standing up there for so long and let another guy take some swings? I suppose I'll never know. Or I suppose I could find out.
Now I’m home. It’s got kind of lonely around here. I’m glad there’ll be the usual minor bustling back tomorrow. I’m trying to figure out what exactly I’m doing out here. A friend called it a writer’s retreat, and I kind of like that. Still, it’s hard when you make this transition and try to do something with only the structure you are building. It’s even harder when you don’t have anyone to talk to all day and you just sit and think about how incredibly ridiculous some of the things you do with your life are. I actually had to think if I said one word at all yesterday. Turns out I did; I talked to my friend Zach. But that much time wears on your mind when you’re not sure of what you’re doing. Hopefully I figure it out. Obviously I’ll keep you posted.
In other news.
Two firsts: At my mother’s request, I had my first Italian Ice, and it was delicious. Thanks Mom! And, I sent a short story into a writing competition. I’ve done this with poetry, but never with fiction. Let the rejection letters begin!
When You Get Bored Here, Go Here:
- David Luke Doody
- David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (www.indigestmag.com), an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine (www.guernicamag.com). His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post, mnartists.org, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.
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