How on Earth Did I forget This Gem?

Going back to the theme of unknowingly going on “dates” with old, weird men, I remembered this guy tonight. It’s all so hazy too. I will have to phone a friend tomorrow to try and reconstruct details. What I remember is this:

I had been living in NYC for a year or two. I was very early thirties at the time. My roommate and I had decided we didn’t want to live with one another, so I had taken this dumpy sublet in Williamsburg (back before it was cool and cabs wouldn’t pick you up if you said you were going there)

I had recently reconnected with an old friend from my school days back in Oregon. Somehow he and I ended up hanging out. I am sure we were with other people, but I don’t remember them. What I do remember is we all went to Rubulad. Rubulad is still around in a different place (right down the street from me – in a much different form) but, at the time it was this big house deep in the heart of Brooklyn that was kind of like a DIY venue. ( kind of reminiscent of Ghost Ship, or whatever that place was that burned to the ground in CA a few years ago) There was always a line to get in, they collected a cover charge and I always marveled at how much money they must be raking in. People obviously lived there – if you went to the bathroom there were tooth brushes on the counter and probably dirty clothes on the ground. The place was like a maze due to the lighting and sometimes you might stumble into someones obvious bedroom. In the kitchen they obviously sold drinks, and weird food – like maybe someone made *brownies*, or maybe some corndogs, or some gross vegan shit.

There was a super sketchy and unsafe ladder outside somewhere leading up to the roof, where I think they screened movies of some kind, and if I recall, a fireman’s pole you could slide down to get back to where you started. Bands and artists performed in various rooms, and you just wandered around and took it in. Sometimes the bands were good, and sometimes it truly was the NY dream.

I remember on this night I had to pee really bad and told my friend “I am not waiting in that god damn bathroom line” and just peed on the street right in front of him.

At some point, some guy approaches the people I am with. His name was Johnny, or Jack, or something….He’s older – maybe 45-50 and seems to know them. Somehow, in this weird maze of a place, I get separated from my friends and I am stuck with him. We ended up in a big room listening to a band and he pulls out a vial of cocaine. “Want some?” he asks….. “Uhhhh, sure, why not?” So he just full on pours some out on the table right there and goes to town. Some guy from security actually came by and threatened to kick us out – because, like, everybody there is doing stuff like that, but… jesus, not in such an obvious fashion. (though to be fair, coke doing was probably the violation they should have been least concerned about, I think fire code may have prevailed)

He was asking me all about myself, and I ended up telling him about the shitty sublet I was living in, and how I had to find a real place. He perked up at that and insisted that he knew ALL OF THE PLACES to live in NYC and could get me a sweet apartment for a rock bottom rent. Somehow, he also gave me a wad of cash (like 75.00) which I cannot for the life of me remember what for (I ASSURE YOU, nothing physical happened). But, whatever, I took it.

Then my friends found me and we left him there to find his own way home.

I spoke with my friend a few days later and was like “yeah, that guy was clearly crazy, but he says he can get me a killer apartment”…My friend did not dissuade me, and said it may be true……

I looked down at the scrap of paper this guy had scrawled his number on and decided to call.

To be clear, I knew this guy was crazy, but I wanted an apartment and I had been taught that in NYC you gotta hustle for one….I was also bored though…

I contacted him to reach out about an apartment and also to return the money he gave me, which I don’t think I was even clear then why he did that. He talked a big game about how he knew all of the real estate in NY and he could find me the best place on earth for ridiculously cheap. “Want to talk about it? I’m going to a party tomorrow, I will pick you up?

“Okay, sure!”

When he arrived, he suddenly looked like he had aged ten years. When I got into his vehicle it looked like an episode of hoarders, only in car-form. There was a stuffed animal leprachaun, (yeah, I’m not even going to try to spell that correctly) in the front seat which he tossed in the back. He said it was there because he had just been in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade yesterday, and made himself out to be some grand puba, or like ferris bueller spontaneously taking over the helm and somehow being the hero. That was when I fully realized how crazy he was, as he made all of these grand declarations amidst his three month old discarded fast food wrappers and …regular old trash.As he ranted about how he singlehandedly saved Saint Patrick’s Day, I started growing very concerned with where he was taking me.

Strangely, he bulled up in front of a brownstone on the upper west side. “It’s my doctor’s office!” he said. And yes, next to the buzzer was a plaque stating that someone who lived there was a Psychiatrist. Bizzarely, we were let in, and he did seem to know everyone.

I had dressed like a 31 year old going to a party in NYC. So there may have been a skull and crossbones or something on my clothing. Everybody here was well over 40 and donned in cocktail attire. He introduced me as his friend, and I could just feel the recoil. I felt like everybody was wondering if I was a prostitute or something….. I wanted to shout “WHAT THE FUCK PEOPLE, LOOK AT HIM!!!! WHY ARE YOU FOCUSING ON ME LIKE I’M THE PROBLEM?”

I guess it was the age difference? It was just so weird. I could tell not everybody liked him, but were trying to be jovial. And I am still unclear as to whether these people were all psych patients of the doctor, or if he just happened to know a psychiatrist throwing a party. The whole thing was just so fucking weird. A couple of people tried to be polite to me, but then the guy ran off to do coke in the bathroom with another guest. While he was in there, I left. I walked all the way back to Brooklyn just to shake off the louse. Never got that sweet apartment, but I think I kept the 75.00, if I remember right.

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