16 December 2007

A Wintry Mix

That's what they're called this unpleasant blend of rain, snow and sleet that's descended upon us tonight. We're also supposedly having a nor'easter, which seems like an excessively nautical term (yes, I know we're on an island and therefore technically at sea, but it's not very likely that we're going anywhere) for a storm that's blowing in off the ocean.

Though I don't suppose I should sneer so cavalierly at the marshaled forces of Mother Nature, since only five months ago they were responsible not only for flooding my apartment (twice in two weeks), but also for getting me evicted from said apartment (presumably it wouldn't have flooded if I hadn't been living there, or something like that). Now that I'm on the third floor, I no longer worry so much about floods, and have switched to fretting about the possibility of leaks developing in the roof or, more crucially, the entire roof being peeled away and deposited somewhere in Long Island Sound by the next hurricane.

But nonetheless I braved the elements tonight, first for a party in the city consisting of a slap-up meal (I don't really know what that means, but hopefully it means good and/or plentiful, because the meal was both, a re-enactment of the Judy Garland 1963 Christmas special with special guest star Ethel Merman (if you guessed there were drag queens involved in this extravaganza, you can safely append the initials M.O.T.O. to your surname), and some DJ dance music that started out promising but soon turned predictable.

At which time I headed back to Brooklyn on a jam-packed L train (breathing room only, and precious little of that). It was just like the morning commute, only consisting mainly of people who looked rather less likely to have jobs, i.e, half the population of Williamsburg. At one point, the train stopped without explanation and just sat there for about a five-minute eternity; the hipsters spoke loudly and agitatedly of panic attacks and reached as one for their Xanax.

Rather than rely on the none too tender mercies of the G train, I jumped, or rather squeezed out at Bedford, thinking I'd take the B61 bus to Greenpoint, but ha ha, once again the joke was on me, because it never came, and I walked all the way while talking to my old friend Wade on a mountain somewhere in Northern California.

By now the "wintry mix" was in full effect, one minute covering the sidewalk with the sort of slush one would find in a sno-cone (not sure which flavor, though), the next washing it away again. Got to the Lost and Found, where I seem to be turning up rather often these days in time to catch about half the set by the very intense and very good Max Levine Ensemble. If the B61 bus had turned up, I probably would have seen it all, but at least it was an improvement over Gainesville, where I missed it all.

Until David the Spoonboy's (there's a story behind that name, but I don't understand it) conked out, the MLE were on top form. They're a little more hardcore than the bands I normally prefer, but make up for it with surprising dollops of melody and sheer, overpowering energy and enthusiasm. I will see them again first chance I get. Afterward, spent a pleasant little while chatting with the Spoonboy himself, the continuation of a conversation/good-natured argument that started in Gainesville. Very smart guy, especially considering that we disagree on about 90% of everything.

Then it was time to make my way home, and by now the storm was in full effect. Just as I got to Manhattan Avenue, what to my wondering eyes should appear but the elusive B61 bus. Unfortunately, I was no longer going where the B61 bus was going, so I waved it away, and immediately regretted my decision. I could have, you see, taken it to the subway, and even if I had to wait a long time for the train, at least I would be doing so indoors where it was warm and dry. I could have also simply gone downstairs and waited for the G train, but just as I considered doing so, I heard it go by under my feet, meaning there wouldn't be another one for at least 20 minutes.

Instead, I very sensibly (not) waited a similar amount of time in the very windy, very wet and very cold outdoors for the B43 that was going to take me almost directly to my house (well, after the driver parked it literally in the middle of the road and went in to get a coffee and shoot the breeze at an all-night deli). When I got back to my block, drunken hipsters were sliding on the ice that now coated everything, all of which was jolly fun if, like me, you enjoy the spectacle of hipsters falling on their asses.

Speaking of hipsters and asses, the Lost and Found attracts a fair few of them, and tonight a couple of them decided that since the L&F practices a pretty laissez-faire attitude about almost everything, it would be fine if they lit up cigarettes while they watched the band. Maybe I'm spoiled by New York's (and now London's) generally smoke-free bars and clubs, but boy, did those two jerks manage to stink up the whole place for everyone else. A third guy, emboldened by the first two clowns, started rolling up a cigarette for himself, but when he went to light it, standing right next to him, I spoke sharply to him and he slunk away, leaving it unlit.

Why, you ask, didn't I similarly chastise the other two smokers instead of fuming about it off in the corner? Well, they were a lot bigger and meaner-looking, though perhaps I'm confusing "oafish" for "mean." Anyway, regardless of one's feelings about smoking in bars, my guess is that if this trend continues, it's going to end up with the Lost and Found getting shut down. All it takes is one complaint to the city and inspectors will be in there checking it out, and even if they don't catch anyone smoking, they're almost certain to run across any number of other violations which I don't need to name here, but which almost anyone who frequents the place will be aware of.

So, smokers, even if you don't care about being jerks and stinking up the place for everyone else, you might want to take your fags outside for the sake of not getting a great place for shows shut down. Unfortunately the two clowns in question tonight didn't look as though they gave a lot of thought to anything, or at least not particularly high quality thought, but I've misjudged people before and perhaps I'm doing it again. In any event, if you happen to be reading this: cut it out, please. It's not big, it's not clever, it's not cool, and it STINKS.

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