The other week, I went to meet my Big Sister and nephew for lunch. They were in town on a band trip, for which they were sequestered to a bus for umpteen hours or so, driving from the Midwest to New York City—or the Anti-’Mer-kuh.
“We’re coming to New York City!” she told me on the phone about a month earlier.
“Um, Ok,” I said. “What do you want to do?”
“Well, we get in Friday night at the hotel in New Jersey…then we have the Statue of Liberty tour on Saturday and ‘The Lion King’*… then we have to visit China Town and go eat in Little Italy…”
“Jesus fuck, they have you booked up.”
“Any of that near where you are?”
“Uh, no, thanks be to Jebus,” I said.
“Well, here we have a two-hour break on Tuesday from noon to two,” she says. “They’re dropping us off near Time Square.”
Ugh. Times Square. So on that glorious Tuesday, I set foot out of the 42nd St. R station into Hell on Earth. It had been an eternity** since I was last in Times Square, and I was shell-shocked by what I saw: Women with pink Capri pants, stretching at the seams; Skechers, Skechers and more Skechers; fanny packs on every man, woman and child! And everyone so fat!
’Mer-kuh. Fuck, it found me.
From time to time, I go out into ’Mer-kuh. The last time I went out into ’Mer-kuh there was a doofus who’s only dream was to go to Dave & Buster’s*** and a baby at the bar at 10 p.m., sitting on his mama’s lap while she sucked down a tallboy of Budweiser & Clamato, a hellish combination of pants-shit-inducing beer and disgusting fake tomato and clam juice, a drink that I once saw a white-trash girl actually try to bring into a hotel bar before the bartender kicked her out. “It’s amazing,” she told me as she sucked down the last shot before the bartender took the can away. “It’s fucking awesome! I can’t believe you haven’t had any before!”
Anyway, I digress. This last time I went back to ’Mer-kuh, dare I say it, but I had a fucking blast. Here’s the lowdown:
*Arrive at Des Moines airport hour and half late due to La Guardia – the other Hell on Earth in New York City. Promptly go to a Thursday night house party that an old musician friend is playing and see at least four fucking hot-as-shit guys. And by hot, I mean Midwestern hot, like tall, cornfed, scruffy-looking hot guys. There were like 12 people at the party, so four out of 12, puts that party in the 33 percentile-ish of hot-ass guys in one sitting. That blows away any statistics I’ve seen in Brooklyn as of late. I wish I could find a room to walk into with 33% hot-man ratio.
*First thing I hear from this guy I haven’t seen in like a decade: “The last time I saw you, you were swimming at that Iowa City hotel and that fat security guard was rubbing his belly, watching you, and then you had to share a bed with cock-block Kenny!”
*I remember why I wipe things from my memory.
*Then he says, “She is the one for me…And no worries about a church wedding!”
*Go to parents’ house in small town that is celebrating its 125 years of existence. Seeings as there’s about 300 old people—and a bunch of Methheads—who populate this town, I figure it’s the last celebration it will see. Dad is chairperson of event, organized a bunch of shit, including borrowing three of these here Gator tractors
from several dealerships in the area. Upon arrival, I immediately vow to steal these tractors later for drunken races.
*Go to town bar, a sad little hovel in which I’ve never seen more than three people at any given time. Bar is packed with locals—there’s even a garden and some karaoke out back. Locals get hold of karaoke and start with the commercial country & western—Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, etc.—Suppress urges to vomit.
*Go to bar. Ask the bartender, “What kinds of bottled beer do you have?” She looks like she’s about ready to have a brain aneurysm and cannot comprehend my request. “Bottles? Why would anyone want beer in a bottle?” Until finally she sorts it out, “Bud. Miller Lite. Bud Light.”
*Miller Lites are ordered. Three dollars a piece. Realize that this dive bar would be packed and make a fortune in Brooklyn, Seattle, Chicago or the like.
*Sisters and I getting drunker. Vows of stealing Gators revisited. Order a Coors Light because I like watching the Rockies turn blue from the cold-activated can action. “You want those cans open?” the bartender asks.
*Big sister calls herself a “BFH.” “What is that?” I ask, taking a swig. “A big fucking ho?” I guess it stands for “Bitch From Hell.” Who knew?
*The bathroom is so fucking clean!!! The toilet paper is plush Cottonelle. But no sink? Oh, wait, it’s outside the bathroom! That makes total sense!
*We rip into some songs, share a cigarette (only two puffs!), then saunter home with another guy I went to high school with and his wife to steal the Gators for races! Little sister goes into house, emerges with four Buds and four sets of keys. Drunkenly attempt to start all the tractors—it’s like that “Price is Right” game where you win the key and you have to guess which car it starts, and if it’s right you win the car! Well, it’s almost like that.
*Steal tractor, all four of us in it. Rip around small town of 300 at 2 a.m. drunk as hell—drive through lawns, the city park, the elementary school lawn, etc. Fairly certain at one point that Little Sister, who is driving, is either going to flip it or crash into the swing set and those stupid little cute animals little kids ride at the city park.
*Get yelled at next morning by Dad, when he is tipped off by the sheriff’s department that a certain couple of 30-something daughters of his were out in his Gators the night before, raising a ruckus. Avoid DWI and jail time for bazillion-ith time**** ! Suck it, Cops!
*Apologize to Dad, admit stupidity of actions. But still think it was a blast.
*Drive tractor in parade. “Do you remember how to drive a tractor?” I am asked. “Hell no!”
*Brother-in-law basically drives tractor for me, so it doesn’t really count. I only steer, like a three-year-old, which is pretty much all I can handle as I am still kinda drunk, and sing, “You’re motoring! What’s your price for flight!” “Settle down,” Brother-in-law says, “Karaoke is over.”
*Eat a lot—and I mean—a lot of pork.
*Text Roommate Jim: “Everyone so fat.”
*May or may not actually be ‘The Lion King.’ I can’t remember what the fuck they saw.
***Conveniently located at 234 W. 42nd St., NY, NY
**** In no way does this condone Drunk Driving, which is beyond stupid and dangerous.