the lost man chronicles
the daily chronicle

the whetting strokes of a cold wet glass
(keeping ennui company)

I sped about New York at rush hour yesterday in a mad search for some entertainment. I ended up sitting alone at a bar in Hell’s Kitchen.

Nursing my drink at a frugal speed of nine bucks an hour, I listened to the bar glass salesmen trying to hock his wares to one of the owners. I did not envy him, and what I imagined to be his nomadic, empty motel room life.

“So, that’s two cases of lowballs, two highballs, and four cases of shot glasses, right?”

The merchant and the marine fought it out on the undulating sea of bargaining until she had shaved off five cents off every glass. At 48 pieces a case, that came to a grand total savings of $95.

I suppose since the place had just opened up its doors a few weeks ago, every nickel counts for a while, at least until they make their first black dollar. The way things go in the Big City though, I gave them six, maybe eight, months before they flip-flopped, belly-up, pack-up, bankrupt—go under.

(blub, blub, blub)

However, apparently there was some cash to burn. For at 6:30 I was still the only patron in a cavernous space that extended into three spacious rooms. They also strew fresh pink and white rose petals everywhere—along the bar, around the votives set on the little makeshift tables, and atop the bathroom basins. The place was decorated a la Moroccan with black wrought-iron lanterns with stained glass windows hanging everywhere, and little two-inch votives alighting the bar and the surrounding space.

Sitting by my lonesome, quietly reading and stroking the wet glass which whet my senses with every slow stroke of cold condensation, I overheard everything that the staff was saying.

“Her ass is huge! No, her ass—is—HUGE,” exclaimed one of the skinny-assed waitresses.

“No, really?,” replied the guy who had been carrying on about some porn magazine or escort ads that they were flipping through. He lauded, “Hey, I know her. I KNOW her,” pointing at her breasts with his stubby finger.

I caught only little bits and pieces of their prattle thereafter, and as I was missing so many parts of the puzzle I did bother to make much of an effort of tuning into the inadvertent eavesdropping I was privy to. And so, at this twilight hour, I exerted my lulling energy towards scrawling my thoughts into my notebook instead.

Although the colors of the furniture, walls and floors varied as widely as the hues of all the liquor labels, a rich yellow pervaded the place, complementing the smooth-mellow mood my Absolut-flavored inebriation had instilled.

Although meant to be a cool picker-upper, the scratchy-pulsating soundtrack almost put me to sleep because its rhythm cradled me in a euphony that made me feel as if I were watching a metronome ticking time.

A crying baby’s wail strollered past the open doors at the entrance and I transitioned for a moment into surreal mode, Daliesque by all droll accounts and the dull dreams I was having.

Losing track of time and hungry, I decided to head out, to wander about in search of some good food to cure me of my urges.

I ended up at one of them Mexican Fresh Tortilla joints run by Chinese immigrants. Their skills at making tex-mex have always impressed me. I had a number eleven—the grilled chicken fajita with guacamole and fried peppers and onions.

Waiting comatose at the counter, “two dorrar and fiftee cent prease” suddenly shook me from my dazed stupor, one which I had been lulled into by a long day at the office, a cold-cut and dry vodka martini, and a puff from puffin-stuff the magic dragon and the one-hit boy wonder which I port about with me everywhere in a mini-mint case, just in case of an emergency.

I relished my two-dorrar dinner even more after dosing some Vietnamese Sriracha Chili Sauce on my soft taco, admiring the brand recognition of the pointy green spout atop the big clear red bottle with the lean and white cock (rooster) on it. I actually didn’t have a clue as to the brand name until now, but otherwise knew the taste of this prolific hot sauce very well. And that sufficiently qualified as impressive marketing prowess for me.

I walked up two blocks to a sad little café which recently opened. The white half-sheet fliers at the counter oversold the establishment touting itself as the “Cupcake Café, Casa Cupcake, an espresso revival house in the old case Italian bakery, ‘An Oasis for Coffee.’”

Once again, I was the sole patron, and if it weren’t for the transients milling about outside I would have felt as if I had missed The Apocalypse or something else like another RNC that emptied out the city once again.

I had a sharp double-machiatto—the richly roasted cocoa flavor lingered more than half an hour later, as I could still taste it ripely upon my tongue as I disembarked from the bus to walk home.

The bus driver was apparently in a mad-hurry to get home himself. Because he honked at several stalled vehicles and had to press hard on the brakes before the bus squealed to a stop a few inches behind one of them. Exciting and reviving as it was, I was still glad to get off in the end.

Besides, a sleep-inducing shower and a small post-dinner appetizing plate of Manchego cheese, mixed green and black olives and a few strands of Prosciutto awaited me, and I was eager to indulge in both.


Epilogue: In retrospect, I’m elated that I end up spending so much time alone. I would unlikely pay so much attention to the little wonders of my surroundings otherwise. Besides, I rarely look forward to having to feign attention or interest, as most average company will eventually begin to bore me to tears sooner than soon. This occurs often enough that sitting alone is usually the healthier choice and conversing with myself ends up being much more entertaining and enthralling than the alternative to keeping ennui company.

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