No books, just blather

You live in a place for eight years, and you think you’ve got a handle on it — on the sights, the lore, the bars, the drugs.

Then you leave, and stay away for eight years, and everything changes. Your favorite bars close. The shitty part of town, the part you loved and mostly lived in, gentrifies. The hardcore bands die out. Drug habits shift.

If my man in Gainesville is to be believed, Lower East Side drinking establishments aren’t the only places you have to stand outside the bathroom, hopping from foot to foot in a sad adult rendition of the kindergarten pee-pee dance, while some joker in a track suit spends twenty minutes trying to do lines on his girlfriend’s compact mirror. (I’m not exaggerating. If I didn’t have the bladder equivalent of a camel’s hump, it’d be enough to make me take pity on Mr. Turtle Head.)

Even in Hogtown, cocaine apparently has replaced weed and heroin as the local drug of choice. A terrifying prospect in that kind of heat. My source also reports that all the men have Sam Beam-style beards. Which is, you know, fine — if it wasn’t fucking 90 degrees with 99.75% humidity all summer long.

When I lived there, none of my friends did anything during the entire month of August but sprawl across ratty couches, clutching their foreheads, and hoping somebody else would get up and bring everybody a beer. They were too lazy even to light the bong. Which is, from the sound of it, exactly the kind of existence Pat Hughes maintains these days.

I keep hoping I’m going to figure out some way to tie books into this post. No such luck. If this were a telephone call, I would’ve called you up at work, with nothing to say, when you were in the middle of some project you had to finish in an hour, and expected you to entertain me. (Right, Dana?)

Here’s what I really want to know. What’s the proper etiquette when your estranged, sociopathic father lives on the water in your hometown, and a hurricane is bearing down on the region?

Do you call him up and say, “Gee, I really hope you don’t die. Also, in case you’re wondering: yes, I still hate you”? Or do you just meet a friend for a drink and ignore the situation, even though you had a friend who washed up in a drainage canal after Hurricane Andrew?


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