There are times when you are on the road that you find yourself without a place to stay. At these times, you pretty much take what you can get. This is the reality of The Road. Just such an event occurred yesterday. My place to stay fell though, and some people I know here in Denver jumped into action to get me another place. Within hours a place was secured; a couch in the apartment of two young women; one in her early twenties and one in her early thirties, friends of a woman who is the sister of someone I know from Portland. This is also how it works on The Road. You meet people very distantly related to people you know. I was so grateful that I even promised I would not write about it. From the moment I entered the apartment, I regretted that promise. The place was a gift.
Walking into the apartment is much like walking into a young girl’s dorm room. The entry way is a shrine to conversations past. The wall is lined with Post-it notes with differing marks in different writing styles. They record interesting or funny lines which I can only assume were spoken at the peak of drunkenness or highness. Christmas lights hang from tacks, screws and nails in the walls and cabinets, and, amongst other random flotsam, empty beer cans, about three or four glass pipes, and several tall prayer candles cover the large coffee table with a hole in the side where a drawer used to be. In the kitchen; more empty beer cans, different large decorative “pieces” extolling the virtues of alcohol and a poster of Gustav Klimpt’s “The Kiss”. Much like the scented pine tree hanging from every car that eventually gets repossessed, The Kiss can be found in every young girl’s dorm room or apartment. It is the mark of a woman who is at the maturity level where she is at the end of fooling herself into believing in fairy tales and just beginning to figure out how to rationalize her promiscuous sexual behavior. Speaking as a woman who went through this, I can tell you, this is a fun phase.
So, why am I writing about this? After I had vowed not to? Just minutes ago, one of the women, the younger of the two, came in and asked me if I had started blogging about them yet. When I told her that I promised not to, she replied “I don’t care, I want to read about myself!” So, yes, The Road is full of gifts like these, and after a while you learn to accept them without looking back. So that is what I am doing, hurriedly writing everything down that I possibly can before one or both of them change their minds.
Back to the entry: I am walking through the apartment, which is not dirty, but not exactly clean either. The best way to describe this apartment is scattered. Two cats slither around the furniture, a plaid, circa 1970s gold, orange and brown couch is littered with blankets and pillows of different colors and designs. Everywhere on the walls, attempts at decor: an eight-point antler rack serves as a display for a plastic Hawaiian lei and a straw cowboy hat. A very young Matthew Broderick smiles smugly from a long, framed poster of Ferris Bueller’s Day off. Aframed, illustrated and slinky Audrey Hepburn with her shoulder cat smirks from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and a poster of a lounging James Dean and Marilyn Monroe completes the incredibly cohesive yet messy environment.
The greatest thing about this apartment is an ingenious note, taped to the back of the door to the hallway that reads:
“To Whomever is exiting my house: Under no circumstances should the door you are about to walk through remain unlocked upon your exit. If you are leaving in the middle of the night, please, please, please be sure to wake up either Savannah or Amanie to lock the door behind you. I promise, it is a much better and safer alternative to leaving the door unlocked all through whenever while God knows who is doing God knows what in our building. Thank you. Sal + Mel”
I wish I had thought of that when I was having sex with random strangers from all walks of life. It would have made things a lot easier for a lot of people.
A bit later I settle in to make post cards, and roughly an hour after that, Sally comes home. Sally is the younger of the two, a cute but tough looking little blonde woman who looks at the moment like she might have had a long night. She has lost her keys. Evidently she put them somewhere the night before and has forgotten where. She puts on music. Led Zeppelin, followed by The Doors. I silently accept that for two days, I will be living the life I lived in high school and college, in and amongst the dregs of the last hard night’s party while waiting in the promise of the next. A nice place to be if you haven’t actually partied hard the night before and don’t have to deal with how fucked up you might be later.
Sally goes to her room and I continue making post cards. Several hours later, her friend Bob comes by, but Sally is sleeping, so I let him in and he goes in and wakes her up. Bob, like many of the men I have seen on the streets of Denver, is very handsome with braids in his hair. A lot of handsome men here from all walks of life wear braids or dreadlocks. I am still working on figuring that one out. Soon enough, they are in the living room, adjacent to the bedroom I am making postcards in, and talking about the events of the last few days. Bob calls in to me and asks if I want to get high. I reply that I have to get shit done, and say no. He says, “Oh, come on!” and I say, “yeah, okay.” When in Rome and whatnot.
We sit around and smoke out of a beautiful blue glass pipe. I might or might not have inhaled. I was too stoned at the time to remember much. We start talking about this and that, and it comes out that the night before Sally tripped on acid, a spur of the moment thing, and then went to work the next morning at 7 am. Bob is her manager at Starbucks. I want you to know that it gives me great pleasure to report this. At some point during the acid trip, while Sally was “tripping her face off”, she lost her keys. Bob and Sally laugh about the fact that she is normally late for work, but on the morning after her trip, she showed up 20 minutes early. At this point Bob looks at one of the cats cleaning himself on the couch and says, “if I could lick myself like a cat, I would be a sideshow freak and naked all the time.” We all fall out laughing, and then Bob wants Sally to find a Post-it to write it on, but she can’t find one. Evidently, they used all the Post-its they had the night before.
After we make a run to the local pizza place to get slices, I return to my room and finish making post cards. I make some of the most beautiful post cards I have ever made. Or, at least it feels that way at the time.
The next day, as we are all milling around the apartment, Sally divulges that she has been up and partying for 20 straight hours in this way:
“So, I haven’t been sober in like twenty hours, so, suck my dick.”
This too is the reality of The Road.