Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Relationship Advice From a Junkie

My goals for Saturday afternoon were modest. A little light reading, a Bravo reality show or two, and Laundry. I capitalize Laundry because I hate doing it so, so, so much, causing it to pile up in the corner of my small East Village tenement room for weeks on end. Only when I can no longer open the door of my room without having to push a mountain of laundry out of the way first do I finally give in and steel myself for Laundry Day.  

(It was a lot easier when there was a laundromat on the ground floor of my building.  Now it's a USELESS ((sorry, boys, it's the GROW UP!)) video game store with a giant Mario out front, so I have to go all the way down the street and around the corner.  Listen, I know it could be a lot worse, but it's hard to adjust to after being accustomed to a certain lifestyle, you know?  Like when Teresa from RHONJ filed for bankruptcy.  I'm just saying I can identify.)

So after I've laid in bed for an hour reading the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel (Stop judging me.  It's Saturday.  I'm hungover.  I'll read War and Peace when I'm goddam ready for it, ok?) and the Real Housewives of Human Garbage marathon is finally over I huff and puff my way down the street with my two giant laundry bags held out like the Scales of Justice.  I don't even glance in Mario's direction as I pass him.  His mere presence mocks my struggle.  

As we all know, there are peaks and valleys of junkie activity in New York City.  On this particular Saturday we happen to be in the Indian Summer of a pure, unadulterated junkie heat wave, and on my street there is always the chance that you could stumble upon one or two (or 7!) little clusters of them. But surprisingly, no one is lurking on my way to the laundromat and all the nooks and crannies are clear on my return home as well.  Now all I have to do is go get my laundry out of the dryer, bring it home, and fold it while watching the RHOHG reunion!  Saturday will be won!!!

I have made it through almost all potential junkie land mines unscathed when I come to the corner.  I see two scruffy men planted under some scaffolding. Barely moving, they appear to be waiting for someone or something, a beer can sits at their feet. It's a pretty bleak scene.  Could this be an experimental production of Waiting for Godot?  One is an old, white, bearded dude muttering and swaying like a homeless flower in the breeze.  The other is a younger black man who, despite his company and current (lack of) activities, looks a bit more put together. He is coherent enough to notice my approach, and with a sense of dread I notice him notice me. As I'm about to pass by, the older man emits a loud indecipherable sound and I raise my eyebrows. The young man shouts at me, "Yeah, you wish!"

I stop. I know I shouldn't, but I do. "Pardon?"

He is surprised. "I said, 'you wish', little lady."

I ignore "little lady" to focus on the greater issue. "What exactly do I wish?"

This stumps him for a moment. "That...that I was with you."

The old man grunts his agreement.

I size him up. ", that's not true." And I keep walking.

He shouts at my back, "You-you Neanderthal!"

Wow! Ever a champion of sarcasm in confrontation, I turn back and say, "What you're saying really makes a lot of sense." 

As I'm loading up my laundry bag, I rue my decision to engage and antagonize the junkies. But I put on my big girl panties (figuratively) and walk out of the laundromat, ready for battle. I even take my keys out and hold them in shank position in case it gets physical. I try to remember the triangle choke my roommate taught me as I round the corner and the junkies come into view. I see they recognize me. I walk determinedly past them and say, "Hello again, gentlemen."

The black guy says, "You still mad at me?"

I stop (why do I do this?) and say, "I just don't know why you had to say anything to me at all."

"Oh, come on, I was just trying to say hello!"

"You weren't just saying hello, you were being rude."

I continue walking and he shouts, "Yeah, whatever, go fold your panties!"

"Gooahhgoorraagllleooslllahahaahhaa!" shouts the old man.

But then my would-be suitor hits me with his pièce de résistance, "THAT'S WHY YOU'RE SINGLE!"


I am so floored I can do nothing but ignore him and continue walking home.  And as I'm folding my panties, with the songbirds of Bravo squawking away in the background, I analyze our interaction. He makes me wonder...

a) Are Junkies psychic? 
b) Am I so single even a Homelessman (hohm-lis-muhn) can smell it?
c) What other insights might he have about civilian life?
d) Should I lower my standards?

I mean, it'd be convenient to date someone in my neighborhood...

-Kelly Wallace-Barnhill