August being a month made memorable and worthy of commemoration, ultimately, for its time spent in bars among friends. Friends from work and friends from the past and date-ish excursions and friends from out of town. A highlight reel on loop in my head. Screenshots from a night in a family restaurant with several friends and a newcomer named R. who bought everybody’s drinks all through the night while drinking Smirnoff after Smirnoff himself and I remember that this night ended with somebody standing still and quiet in a swimming pool, maybe two or three hours before dawn, with fingers scraped and bleeding and trembling around a cigarette held so delicately between forefinger and middle while their companion, a rigid twist of nerves, sat poolside, smoking, knees at their chest with toes curled around the pool’s edge. Felt like the only sound in town was the smoke.
Asking a cab driver if he’s ever known other cab drivers to drink on the job. “No,” he says, “lots of them do cocaine, though. The ones who work at night. It is difficult.”
Another afternoon at a patio bar where the three women with whom I sit are curling into their own discussion about the criterion by which a penis is judged as adequate and saying that yes size is a factor but that so too are shape, coloration, curvature and vascularity. Elderly patrons pass us at intervals, glancing.
Again at the restaurant, this time with a friend from the past, and we’re talking about Robin Williams and then gender, somehow, with an occasional remark about the unconscionable enormity of the nachos we’ve just ordered. At one point, digressing from our conversation about the burdens of this social thing and that social thing, she reels with a smile, swivelling on her stool, and she gives my knee a quick slap and says, “You’re OK, though. You’re a good guy.” I dwell on this with a smile for the rest of the night.
Another night at the same restaurant with a group of friends. One of them was, for a time, the closest in my life. The two of us behaving now like strangers. I dwell on that too.
Running after a bottle of Jameson as it rolls down the slope of a roof.
Pulling back my comforter to see on the white bedsheet beneath it a calligraphy of long black hairs, scattered, looped, twisted, curled.
The person about whom I’ve just written a navel-gazing and less-than-professional profile drinks water while I drink beer and she tells me gently, in reference to that profile, that I make her sound like she has bladder problems. We look at the passage in question. I see her point. Laugh, wince, apologize.
Visiting a psychic and then meeting a colleague for drinks afterward and the colleague debriefing me, asking me why I went to see a psychic in the first place, balking at how much money I spent; agreeing, ultimately, that it’s probably worth doing at least once.
Drunk, he proceeds to tell me stories of things that he later confesses didn’t really happen that way.
A wiry brunette shares a frozen pizza and several PBRs and talks a polyphony of accents, melodies, dialects. She breaks spontaneously into song and quotation. She introduces me to Game of Thrones, and gin.
Jameson and quesadillas at a restaurant/bar before seeing a movie, Philip Seymore Hoffman’s last performance, at the end of which my companion cries. She happens to be dressed in black.
Visiting my alma mater; my friends, two years younger and still students, live in an apartment complex across the street. Crown Royale. We have some drinks and I join a friend on the balcony while he chainsmokes and tells me about his recent DUI. He finishes his story and tosses his cigarette over the railing, onto the roof of a duplex ten stories below us. “The cop was cool as fuck, though.”
Sitting at the outdoor counter of a Cuban restaurant at 4 am. Corona and eggs, scrambled, with ketchup.
A toothless panhandler sipping coffee behind me, seated on the curb, singing. Only cars on the road are semis and all the women at the counter are wearing heels and lots of makeup and dresses whose hems they tug at.
Alone at a bar before a movie, Thursday night, bartender sets down a beer and a plate of quesadillas: “You look pensive as fuck.”
“Got that meaning-of-life-look on your face.”
“What’re you thinking about?”