Wednesday, October 27, 2004

ManhattanTransfer Is So Boring Ever Since He Quit Drinking 

I used to complain about Wednesdays. There was nothing to do. No-one went out on Wednesday nights. I could usually talk someone into having dinner with me but they always begged off the second or third after dinner drink.

Wednesdays always threatened dullness, and I was painfully aware of the threat because Wednesday was the limit of my sobriety. I could pretty much make it through Sunday night still high from too many cocktails at brunch. If necessary I could pop out at midnight for a drink at some dive in the east village where they let you smoke in the basement and kids sing along to popular songs. Monday nights were reserved for self-loathing and regrets about promises and hearts broken over the weekend.

There had been a time when Tuesday night was everything. It was theme night at the Village Idiot--that beer soaked barn-like bar at the edge of the meetpacking district that became each Tuesday the perfect place to make new barfly friends, down bourbon from dirty glasses, flirt with bartenders dressed like cops or schoolgirls or nurses and makeout with girls who smelled like bubblegum. But theme night had preceded the Idiot out of existence years ago, and Tuesday nights became a night to pay homage to normality. I would cook dinner at home, maybe entertain a visitor for a bit, maybe go to the theater or a movie, talk to friends on the phone, settle in to bed with a good book. For one night a week, I was a full-fledged member of humanity.

It was too much, obviously. By mid-day Wednesday I could feel the energy building up inside me. I craved fun, danger, drink and fraternizing with friend and foe alike. The order of life--with day following night, waking following sleeping, newspapers, Pat Kiernan, hellos, memos, coffee, sitting and standing, polished shoes and pressed shirts--cried out to be smashed. Chaos was calling, and I lived by the river.

Since no-one else would go out with me on Wednesdays it became a night to adventure alone. I made it a point to drink in unfamiliar bars and talk with strangers. I would bring a notepad out with me, and jot down my impressions of the city at night. Alone you can observe things that you pass over under the weight of social responsibility. You can linger in conversation or let your eyes remain fixed upon a scene for longer than a gaggle of friends or a lover would permit.

Some time this summer, Tuesday became my new Wednesday. Monday night at home was enough to press me out of doors on Tuesday night. In part, this might have been because I was spending each weekend out in East Egg, depriving myself of the special pleasures of New York City weekend nights. In any case, the quietness of Tuesday vanished altogether and was replaced by the noise of the city. This substitution felt good. It was as if I was closing a wound or bridging a trench that had been cut in my week.

Over the past two months, I built that bridge out a little further. It now stretches all the way to Monday, usually in the Cellar. What this means is that my weekend begins on Monday. It is a bit reassuring that there's nowhere left to push the weekend without actually pushing it back into the weekend, where it probably belongs in the first place. But it is disconcerting that I feel the need to destroy the order of the week even before it gets started.

It's more than disconcerting. It is tiring. I'm getting bored of anarchy, and starting to miss reality. So I'm getting off the drink for a while. Well, not getting off it, but laying it aside on Monday nights. Not that I won't be drinking at all on Mondays but I'm going to be drinking like the rest of you do rather than the imitation of Bacchus. I mean I'll still be palming a glass of Irish whiskey in the Cellar every Monday but I probably won't be flying off like a mad angel who has lost his pity for humanity.