03 December 2007

I managed to fit both a Phil Collins and a Rod Stewart reference into this post. Patrick Bateman, eat your heart out.

“How many times have we taken the subway downtown for absolutely nothing?” I asked.

“We’re going on at least three,” Sarah said as we got back on the Q train. This was only an hour after we had originally deboarded at Union Square on Saturday night.

The time in between was spent standing in line in the (literal) freezing cold for Michael Ian Black’s show at Fillmore East, only to be informed the show sold out when we got to the ticket window.

I was heading back to West Midtown to drink a bottle of wine, eat a block of aged gouda cheese, and watch “This Is England.” Not a terrible Saturday night by any means, but since downtown had rejected us for the third time, I still felt like the subway owed us one. Sarah and Mike agreed.

And that night the subway did pay us back. Handsomely.

CHAPTER I: MAY 2007, In Which 12 Friends Take the Subway to 14th Street at 2 a.m.
I refer you to this blog entry, in which about a dozen of us walked around the West 14th Street area for a good hour looking for a strip club. Unsuccessful in our quest, we took a cab back to our hotel.

CHAPTER II: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2007, In Which 4 Friends Take the Subway to Despotic State “Aura”
A few hours into drinking at a bar in Midtown Friday night, Sarah’s co-workers decided to change venues; they were taking a cab, while Sarah, Mike, Joe and I decided to stay behind to finish our drinks, eventually taking the subway downtown to meet them in progress at the pre-determined location. This location was someplace at 5th Avenue and East 19th Street. When we got to the general vicinity, Sarah called:

“Where are we going—an apartment?”
“Is that a bar?”
“No. It’s a LOUNGE.”

We found Aura just a bit later and queued behind the “velvet rope.” Velvet ropes, as a general rule, send Mike over the edge. He started throwing out claims that this was no “lounge” we were lining up for, and that it was it was, in his opinion, a “club.” He then proceeded to make fun of clubs/clubgoers/this specific club within earshot of the doorman. The doorman who was supposedly going to let us in.

I bet you think that this is the part where the rejection comes. Wrong. This is what people in the writing biz like to call “a twist.” We did get over the threshold of Aura’s outer layer moments later (although much to the doorman’s chagrin). Sarah dropped the name of the party we were there for. Anyone could tell it pained him to let us pass.

Three minutes later, we were back outside.

Why? Not only are you REQUIRED to check your coat at this particular establishment, but you have to pay $4 to do so. I was so flabbergasted by this situation, I could not even verbalize the bevy of questions that this coat-check policy brought up. For example:

• Can’t you see that this over-garment hits above my hip, therefore classifying it as a jacket rather than a coat?
• Is this a coat check or a jacket check?
• Define “coat.”
• Can’t you see that this “jacket” is CLEARLY part of my outfit?
• What if I wear sleeves all the time because I have hideous burns on my arms? Maybe I have arm acne. Open sores. Wrist scars. Vulgar tattoos. Excess flab. Things that, if you’re so concerned about “image,” maybe the coat would be preferable to.
• If the old saying goes “Jacket Required,” are you telling me this establishment is “No Jacket Required?” If so, this gives entirely new meaning to Phil Collins’s solo career.

So we walked back from Aura, and went to an establishment whose policy is “If you’re cold you can wear your jacket, if you’re not, you have the option of taking it off. Unless you think your jacket adds a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the whole ensemble, then you can choose to keep it on. Basically when it comes to layering, do whatever the fuck you want.” House of Brews at 46th and 9th has said policy. They also had cheese fries and Yeungling bongs, which were more our style anyhow.

(I mean seriously, is there anyone out there that thought Phil DIDN'T mean "A jacket is optional--but not necessary--to listen to this album? What jackass is jamming to 'Sussudio' sleeveless in Minnesota because they thought Phil was making a call for no overcoats?)

CHAPTER III: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2007, In Which the New York City Subway Ultimately Redeems Itself.
Just as Mike, Sarah and I all nodded in agreement that the subway—particularly the N, R, Q, W line—owed us bigtime, a lanky old toothless hunchback, who also happened to be blind, stepped on board and started belting out “The Christmas Song.”

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jackfrost nipping at your nose…”

Performances of this nature are rather commonplace on the subway, but I’ll admit that this was a particularly hard one to simply ignore since:

1.) This guy had an alarmingly loud voice;
2.) You couldn’t help but feel really sorry for this guy’s teeth/sight/homelessness situation; and
3.) If, like me, you had to control urges to laugh at his crooning, the guilt pangs were tangible.

He finished up the song, finally…

“Although it’s been said, many times, many ways, ‘Merry Christmas’ to yooooooooooooouuuu, and you and you and [high note] yoooouuuuuu!”

[SEAMLESS TRANSITION] (And I really cannot effectively express just how seamless it was)

“If you want my body and you think I’m sexy, come on baby let me know!...”

If your mom didn’t listen to Rod Stewart when you were a kid as much as my mom did and/or your name isn’t Jessica Farmer, you might not know that the lyrics above are from the Rod Stewart song “Do You Think I’m Sexy?” which the old blind toothless hunchback continued to sing for the next two subway stops.

I hid my face in my collar to (ineffectively) disguise my gasping laughter and when I resurfaced for air about 90 seconds later, I had tears running down my cheek as I turned to Sarah and said, “That was payback.”

Q Train, your balance is back to zero.