The 5th of July
It is one in the morning on the 5th of July 2010. Independence Day is officially over and the fireworks ended hours ago, but people are still partying. My neighbor, Holly, says drunk people are dancing in the street to Skynard.
“Dancing to Skynard? How is that even possible?” I ask.
“When you’re drunk, anything is possible,” she says.
But I am not drunk. I am trying to sleep, but I can’t sleep because the nearby Hotel on Rivington is having a party in their penthouse bar. It’s a 21-story building made of glass that only serves to amplify whatever the douchebags inside are doing. I’ve got 2 earplugs in each ears and all I can here is boom boom boom, woohoo, boom, boom boom, woohoo as if their DJ is spinning “phat beats” on the edge of my bed. I’m assuming the DJ is the one “woohooing” though lately the neighborhood has been plagued by woohooers. “Woohoo” is the sound woohooers make when they come to the Lower East Side to par-tay. It’s a mating call for the Bridge and Tunnel set, code for, “I’ve had 6 Long Island Ice Teas! Let’s breed!”
My ass is fully chapped because I know the noise will go on for hours. I call 311. It’s a joke. I call the 7th Precinct. They tell me they’ve been by the hotel already. I call the hotel. They tell me they’ll tell security to tell the DJ to turn it down. It’s exactly like a game of “Telephone” only less fun. They won’t turn it down. This is one of the only certainties in my life.
I am not drunk and I am trying to sleep because I made the “adult” decision to stay in and write before going to bed at midnight. This way I can wake up at 8 and go to work at the bookstore without a hangover and thus save 1 of the 2 Xanax I have left. Going to work with a hangover often requires I tranquilize myself and I simply don’t have enough tranquilizers left to risk a hangover. I’m rationing my Xanax the way someone lost as sea rations food.
Back in my twenties, I would have never stayed home on the 4th of July. No matter how tired or strung out, I would have gone to as many parties as possible to satisfy as many friends as possible. But, at 37, I know my friends will understand. My friend, Kat, spent all week building “The Marshmallow of Liberty” a small replica of the Statue of Liberty made entirely of marshmallows, and she’s going to take a flamethrower to it. I’m going to miss this, but I know she understands that I can’t go to every party. I had a chapter to write and it’s not like it’s even a holiday that is really important to me like Professional Secretaries’ Day or Halloween.
The 4th is Americans celebrating our independence from the British and when I watch videos of teabaggers or listen to Rush Limbaugh, I can’t help but wonder if our independence is a good thing. Plus, I happen to be in love with an Englishman. I HATE the Atlantic Ocean that’s currently separating me from the touch I crave the way a crackhead craves crack. I want all of the continents to move back together the way they were when the Earth started. That way I could just get a car and drive to London, which wouldn’t be very far from New York if it weren’t for the ocean.
Tonight I hate the 4th and the ocean and the Lower East Side where the woohooers are still going and it’s now two in the morning. This is torture. Next time, the people who run Hotel on Rivington might as well just come over and waterboard me because it’s having a similar effect. My sanity is cracking. They could have just warned me, posted a sign or something: Dear Neighbors: We are gonna blast shitty house music all night long and there’s nothing you can do about it so you might as well drink and drug yourself into a comatose stupor.
I hold a pillow over my head but am too conscious of the fact that I am holding a pillow over my head to sleep. So, I start making posters. The first is in bold black font ala Frankie Says Relax and it simply says, “Hotel on Rivington Sucks.” The second is more creative. It says, “I Went to Hotel on Rivington and all I got was a Mean Case of Pubic Lice. ☹” I will post these in the weeks to follow.
Finally it is 3:30am, just a half hour after the demonic witching hour and the music ends. I immediately fall asleep.
to be continued…