Saturday, April 07, 2007


An Alabama Song

Whiskey Sours were my parents' favorite. They used to give me little sips -- plus the cherry -- whenever we were out in restaurants. There was one in downtown Flushing that broiled Salisbury steak just so. Loved it. At home there was wine with dinner on special occasions. But I can't recall ever really being interested in drinking until college. I loved the buzz -- the way it worked its way in, pushing slowly right to and over the edge of genuine intoxication. Rarely would I allow it to go any further toward outright drunk. At least at first. But then came that period of hanging with Bob and Lynn, and Fred and Ann. Late nights listening to music and getting bloto. Bob introduced me to the pleasures of fortified wine. A very cheap but very intense drunk. We used to go to graveyards in Brooklyn with his friend Joe (a very interesting dude, whose girlfriend was a drag queen named Nicole.) Once I even got drunk on it in class in the mid-afternoon. Stnk to high heaven yet maintained my composure. What in hell was I doing? Prolonging my adolescence. Drunk I didn't move. Drunk I didn't pursue what I knew I wanted to pursue but wasn't quite ready to go for.

"Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar,
Oh don't ask why,
Oh don't ask why. . ."

The turning point was with Don, a very strange classmate of mine. It was obvious that he was gay -- at least to me. And it was obvious he knew that I was too. Yet he persisted in playing rhetorical games with me -- bringing up gay places and people, and asking if I knew abotu them, which of course I did. Then he'd stop talking or veer off into another direction. One day he announced he was getting maried and I was invited. The bride was a fag-hag so classic as to be a walkign cliche. Fat and giggly. It was a standard Brooklyn wedding. Traditional in every boring respect. Then after the reception he took me and his new wife to gay disco. Somewhere in the 50's on the west side, I think. Then back at their place I passed out. The one and only time I ever passed out from drinking. Rather alarming. But a lesson learned.
Now I was ready to go.

When Act Two begins I'm found making the rounds of the West Village. Very cautious beers, and maybe a few gin and tonics. But never over the edge. Just enough to keep cruising along smoothly. Even at Tamburlaine I held it in -- which was easy to do as they watered the drinks. In L.A. my drinking was almost enurely in the afternoon. Sundays especially, working my way round Santa Monica blvd that ontoward to Silverlake. But all bad things must come to an end and my stroke in 97 finished my drinking once and for all. Odd that only days before I'd resolved to give it up entirely. I wasn't gettign as much out of ti as I used to and I was feeling sluggish.

Now I'm thinking about the last good buzz. Three a.m. in a hot tub in Palm Springs, looking up at nighttime sky full of stars while spalhing around with some porn stars and sipping Margueritas.

"Oh show me the way to the next little boy,
Oh don't ask why,
Oh don't ask why.
For if I don't find the next little boy,
I tell you I must die
I tell you I must die
I tell you I must die. . .

Oh Moon of the Cochella Valley. . ."

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