Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Saturday was, by almost all accounts, the most uncomfortable day of my life.
First and foremost, this is because of the unconscionable heat that has been gripping New York City. I don’t have the statistics to back this up, but this has got to be the hottest summer on record. At the very least, it’s the hottest summer I can remember. Of course, summer is usually the time when I up my drug/alcohol intake, so I really don’t remember much of past summers. There was that summer when I was a kid when I got hit by a van full of paraplegics. That summer in high school when my Uncle Rick when on a bender and, long story short, I "fell" into the Delaware River after a card game. And that summer in college when I thought I had genital warts but it was just some old macaroni and cheese that got stuck on my bird. So summers are a blur.
But this one, for certain, is really fucking hot. I stress this because the heat is the backdrop for the entire day, and the root of all the crap (literally) that followed.
This Saturday started like most Saturdays do – with a hangover. I didn’t go out Friday night, because I had a long week of work (and got bombed on Wednesday) so I ordered in and planned to take it easy. After dinner, I had some vodka on the rocks. I don’t usually drink this unless I want to get super messed up, but I didn’t want to get super messed up on this night. I don’t know...I guess I thought I was being sophisticated or something: here I am, in my NYC apartment, a successful young man enjoying a vodka on the rocks. Nevermind that a few hours before I was sitting in a bathroom stall at work for an unprecedented twenty-two minutes in an effort to kill time. Successful indeed.
The first vodka rocks was tough, and it took me over a half hour to drink the four ounce drink. The second one was easier and took half the time. The third went down even quicker, despite being twice the size of the first. By the time the fourth rolled around, it was like I was drinking really cold Poland Spring that made me feel great and handsome. In a little over an hour, I was bombed and alone in my apartment, stumbling to the bathroom while VH1 Classic roared in the background. And yes ladies, I am available.
Exhausted, I passed out. Because I didn’t properly eat, hydrate, and asprinize, I had a pretty bad hangover the next day. This is the context in which I started by horrible Saturday.
I had big plans for Saturday. I had to buy a suit, I had dinner plans with some old friends from college, and I had a few parties to go to that night. Realistically, I didn't have much hope to accomplish these things, but I had big plans. And that has to account for something.
But as I mentioned, it was really, really hot out. Brutally hot. Heat stroke hot. I-leave-an-air-conditioned-room-and-I-want-to throw-up hot. The humidity was so thick you could almost touch it. I had soaked through my shirt about ten seconds after I walked out my door, my balls were making a sloshing noise while I walked around, and before long my entire body was wet. This happened so quickly that I wasn’t sure if I didn’t piss myself, as the sweat rolled down my legs. Gross.
My first mission was to buy a suit. I have a wedding next weekend, and I only own three suits:
* An excellent gray one that was expensive and makes me look like a sexy, sexy mother fucker. But this suit is wool and can’t be worn in hot weather, unless there is an EMT on hand at all times.
* A navy suit I got in college from an uncle that lost a bunch of weight. I forgave the insult ("Hey, I’m no longer fat, but you still sure are – you want one of my old suits?") because I was in college and needed a suit for job interviews. Despite the fact that it’s a hand-me-down AND double-breasted (which is about as old-fashioned as you can get), I wore it to a wedding recently. I knew the wedding was going to be a rowdy one and whatever I wore would get messed up, so I went with this one. The result? Merciless ball-breaking by my friends (Me: "Hey, do they have crab cake appetizers?" Friend: "No. You know what they also don’t have? Double-breasted suits, because it’s not 1985.")
* A black suit that I bought three years ago for like $150. I’ve never worn it, and dug it out my closet recently to find it has FIVE buttons on it. Unless I’m going to the Vibe Awards, I’m never going to wear this suit.
So I needed a new one and went to a large NYC department store to get one. Clothes shopping is one of my least favorite activities. If possible, I try to buy all my clothes online. I know my sizes, so why not? I don't really care if it fits right, because either way it's not like I'm going to look good in my Banana Republic button down shirt. I'm going to look like a fat guy with no sense of style who shops where everyone else shops.
Suit shopping is even worse than clothes shopping. This is because there's a lot more at stake. Suits are expensive and you're going to have them for years. It's a purchase that would make anyone nervous. Fortunately, I don't really give a shit about this. My goal was to go there, but a nice, normal suit, be out of there in a half hour, and then get home to the air conditioning to, of course, rest for my big night out.
[Please note that by "rest" I mean "drink lots of vodka red bulls with lots of ice".]
I got a quick measurement by the Puerto Rican queen holding down the fort in the suit section and found the suit of my dreams: a snazzy little black number with fine pinstripes (black + stripes = slimming!). I took the suit off the hook and tried on the jacket, which fit well. As soon as I muttered a "Hmpf" of approval in the mirror, the sales guy was upon me.
Sales guy: [in thick Spanish/homosexual accent] "It looks very nice on you."
Me: "Thank you."
SG: "Let me see."
[Sales guy steps in front of my body and begins tugging on the jacket, his face not six inches from mine, smelling strongly of the finest colognes that Latin America has to offer]
SG: "That's better. Would you like to try on the pants?"
I had no problem with any of this, as I am not homophobic at all. I have many faults, but my ability to get along with gay people, minorities, the elderly, kids, or anyone else that is not mid-20's white Irish Catholic is one of my main (and only selling) points. So I wasn't weirded out by his aggressive behavior, because he's a sales guy and I have a lot of gay friends. Also, as I've mentioned, my brother is bisexual, so it's totally cool.*
He took me to the dressing room and said, "My name is Juan. Let me know how it fits." Seconds later I was in the pants and feeling like I looked pretty good. Seconds after that Juan had barged into the room with a tape measure and was kneeling in front of me, one of his hands planted on the floor holding one end of the measure and the other hand extending the tape measure up my inseam to my crotch, dangerously close to the goods.
"32", he said, meaning that was my inseam. I was grateful I suppose, but that was information I already knew, not something that I needed a slim Latin man to gracefully - nay, sensually - drop to his knees before me to tell me. I didn't know what to make of the situation. Was it me? Was I being homophobic? Or was it Juan, who seemed to linger just a lil' too long with his left hand a hair away for my inadequate bird and gentlemen, looking up at me and saying "32" again?
Either way, the whole situation was uncomfortable. I said "thanks" and he asked me about the fit, the feel, whatever. He stood up and went to walk out of the room, but not before he turned to me and said, "It is a good suit. Stripes make a man look strong."
That was my cue to leave. Juan was a good-looking man and if I were drunk enough I probably would have let him have his way with me, especially if I needed a ride home, but that was not the case. I paid for the suit and was shortly back on the subway platform, where the temperature was approximately 131º.
By the time I got home, I was convinced I was having a heat stroke. And this was not because of my hypochondria, which has been kept in check since my stress test. When I got home I crashed on my couch and was so sweaty I could have nearly slipped off it. I drank a liter of Gatorade and a liter of water and tried to regain my composure. I retreated to my bedroom and the air conditioning and, having spent enough energy to last me a week, fell asleep.
Soon it was time for dinner, and I was up, showered, and ready to go. I was there with some college friends, two couples, who were in town visiting and who I rarely see. Joining us where some other college friends who live in the city, who I also rarely see.
And I don’t mean this to slight anyone at the table, but it was kinda uncomfortable. This is not a fault of the other people there, but rather the result of my own neuroses and shortcomings. But every time I hang out with people – people my age, my peers, people I have known for years – it becomes more and more apparent than everyone else is more of an adult than I am. All these people in serious relationships, engaged, or even married, those in grad school pursuing advanced degrees, and those far along in their jobs – all of them seem way more ahead of the game than I am. And it’s not even close.
Yet it wasn’t that long ago that me and the guys at the table were drunk and stoned out of our minds, throwing a mattress into a tree off our deck or making up songs about how two of us fucked the girls next door or running from cops because we were drunk and stole a jug of gasoline and were attempting to write "Poo" in the middle of Commonwealth Avenue so that we could light it on fire and watch our flaming "poo" from the roof of our building.
But things change very quickly after college. People grow up awfully fast. The same guys who wouldn’t necessarily have a problem spending a night in jail for a good laugh now concern themselves with things like lease agreements and mortgages. The same guys who once pondered such important questions like, "I wonder if it’s possible to shit in a condom so I can leave it on Tom’s bed?" and "Both Jay and I fucked Kim in the shower – does that mean we fucked each other?" are now consumed by the traffic on the Mass Pike and fret about planning a barbeque for their new neighbors.
I don’t want to give the impression that I’m not guilty of getting older and thus lamer. My hangovers are exponentially worse than they were five years ago, so I don’t go out as much during the week anymore. Next month, I will (hopefully) be promoted to "senior" analyst, something that makes me a little horrified ("Hi, Jason Mulgrew, Senior Analyst"). And I care about stuff like government and crap. Sometimes, at least.
But overall I don’t get it. Not only that, I don’t think I’ll get it for a long, long time. So there’s no need to dwell on it here, I suppose. Sigh.
I should point out that the meal was delicious. I got the crab cake appetizer, which was good, but the winning appetizer belonged to my friend Sarah, who got some goat cheese salad with bacon. I had never had goat cheese before and MY GOD. So, so rich. I got the sirloin steak for my main entrée. Delicious.
But as people were getting dessert and coffee, something started happening down below. The minute I felt it I recognized it and knew where it would lead and what it would do to the rest of the night. The machinations of a monstrous poo were under way.
I tried to resist to keep up appearances at the table, but it was soon obvious that this would be a losing battle. The restaurant was comfortable, but I began sweating bullets. This is nothing new to me; my battles with my spastic colon have been well-documented here. However, since I was in a mature setting, I decided to do something mature. Instead of sitting at the table waiting until my colon exploded all over the restaurant, I excused myself and went to the bathroom. I figured I'd get it out of the way right away, since I knew I'd ultimately have to poop.
I don't mean to gross you out with the details, but I would say that particular bowel movement was "strong". I've had worse, but I've had a lot easier too. And I wound up being in the bathroom for a very long time, because when I walked in I saw that there was only a little toilet paper left. The bathroom was a single bathroom, so I couldn't hop over to the next stall and I didn't want to risk the embarrassment of walking out of the bathroom to ask the waiter for more t.p. Fortunately, after a good deal of searching, I found another roll of toilet paper under the sink. When I finally wrapped everything up, I came out to find my table finished with dessert and coffee, waiting for me so they could go. Smooth.
We said our goodbyes and parted ways. I headed uptown to a bar for my buddy's party. I'd been to the bar before and it's ok. The party was to be on the roof of the bar. Normally, in any other summer, this would be nice. However, not this summer and not tonight.
When I got to the bar, I felt good. I thought I had defused a potentially dangerous situation by going to the bathroom right away. Sadly, I was mistaken. Very badly mistaken. I got a beer and had about four sips before it hit me again. My belly started churning, and it was on.
I tried as well as I could to hold it in. While I was fighting it back, I went to scope out the bathroom to see how poop-friendly it was. The answer? Not very much. The bathroom had one stall and two urinals. It was very small - maybe 6x6, and it had an attendant in it. Also, though the stall door closed, it didn't lock. Ouch.
I finished peeing and doing my recon work and went back out to join the party, determined to beat this thing back with sheer will and determination. Thirty seconds later I was pushing my way through the crowds to get to the bathroom, about to succumb to the overwhelming might of a great poo.
Now, friends, I don't consider myself an expert on a lot of things. I know a lot about being a fantasy sports, but I wouldn't say I'm an expert. I know a lot about being an Internet Quasi-Celebrity, but I'm not quite an expert on that either. And I know a great deal about beating off in the laundry of my freshman dorm, but would I call myself an expert? No.
However, I consider myself an expert on pooping and all things poo. I have had some tremendous bowel movements over the years, far surpassing the work of my peers in this department. Some have been good, some have been bad, and some were just downright traumatizing.
And the poos that I experienced for the rest of the night certainly fit into this last category. My first round was one for the ages: a fabled poo-wipe-poo-wipe again - all in one sitting. The famed double poo. When it was over, I was dizzy, and how could I not be? I spent about ten minutes in a hot, crowded bathroom, my life draining out of my heinie, bent awkwardly as I tried to wipe and simultaneously use my other hand to hold the bathroom door shut for unruly bar patrons looking to use the bathroom stall I was in.
I stumbled back to my friends, noticeably shaken and sweaty. I tried to carry on, drinking my beer, oogling women, acting naturally. But after about ten minutes it happened again. It's a horrible situation: trying to play it cool, feeling the stomach knot up, hearing it growl and yelp, like someone has reached inside you and is shaking everything up. Try focusing on the conversation about your buddy's new apartment when you're certain that something inside of you is dying, and it's not going down without a fight.
And so the same incident replayed itself: hot bathroom, holding the stall door, double poo. It was not good. Not good at all.
After I wrapped up, I left the bar. I made no effort to say goodbye and just took off. I could not be in a bar or social situation in the state I was in, so I caught a cab back home. As the cab sped throughout the streets of New York City, I took in the scenery with my glazed-over eyes and wondered if I had been finally defeated by poo. It seemed that I was.
I got home and spent the rest of the night drinking Gatorade and water in various stages of sweaty nudity, running to and from the bathroom. I would describe more of it, but I simply don't remember much. But I do remember that it was very, very...uncomfortable.
Sunday was better. I stayed inside in my air conditioning all day, but opened my windows to get some air when thunderstorms rolled over the city. This was refreshing and therapeutic. So I played with myself. And then I slept. Repeat.
And now, two days later, I think I'm finally fully recovered. It was a long, weird day, and this is a long, weird post, and I have very little interest in providing a good ending. So I'm just going to stop now. That is all. Thank you.
*The first three sentences in this paragraph are entirely false. The last is entirely true. Thank you.