Mommy, can I go out and CHILL tonight?!
The other day I was at the art museum PS1 with Malportado Kids, looking at that sick Zero Tolerance exhibit, which was art from and in response to various international protest movements and was super powerful and totally made me cry more than once. I had just met them that morning but we realized we had a million mutual friends, and anyway we got along famously because we’re all affable adult punk rockers. After the museum they were heading to Philly and I was bemoaning the fact that I’d left the show they’d played the night before too early to see them and they were like, “listen, just come to Philly” and I was like, “you know what, okay!” because I’m a fly by the seat of my pants young person. Or! I’m an adult experiencing a life crisis because I’m in my early-30s and I just spent three years getting sober and writing a book and I stopped hanging out with people and now that I handed my book in and I’m capable of hanging out with people and not drinking (I would even say I’m better at hanging out now) I’m tryna compensate for those lost years by constantly partying. Or maybe it’s something in between. “Who knows?” b/w “Whatever.”
I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to drive to Philly with me last minute but I went anyway even though it was pouring and driving on the highway is stressful ever since someone kicked off my driver’s side mirror and then I duct taped it back together so I have to roll down my window and readjust it every time I need to change lanes. BUT it was super worth it and so fun. Malportado Kids are the best band but you probably already know that. And if you don’t the deal with them is that they’re a digital cumbia band and they’re fun as fuck. I’ve been going to punk shows in basements for like, almost 20 years at this point and I’ve seen a lot of people try to perform non-punk genres in a punk setting and usually it SUCKS, but MK bring the magic and it is super vital and real and important and go see them.
And I got to hang out with my best dawg 4 life John McLean while I was in Philly and then the next day we took a cute walk through the cemetery with our old buddy Keith and it was a regular early-2000s Brooklyn dirtbags reunion. And then I got back to John’s house and drank coffee and got in the car to drive home and I was like, “that wasn’t so hard, Philly isn’t even that far and that was super fun. I should leave town for just a day more often when it’s possible!” And the world was a magnificent place as I drove towards a horizon of boundless possibilities, endless exuberance, guileless joy.
Well, staring out at a horizon of bp/ee/gj started to droop my lids a bit, so I pulled over at the Valerie Solanas Service Area off the Jersey Turnpike to refuel, if you will, with a steaming hot cup. I sat in the rest stop for a minute, (enjoying my coffee, texting my sister, you know), until I felt good and ready to get back on the road without killing myself or anyone else by falling asleep at the wheel.
Pulling back onto the Turnpike something felt funny in my front driver’s side tire and I thought maybe it was going flat, so I started to pull off into the shoulder to pop on the donut and take it to a gas station when BOOM! something popped and I heard my rim scraping the concrete. Got out of the car and sure enough, I had a flat on the front and my rear tire on the same side had exploded. #OyVey
Season of the Mensch
Well at least I have AAA! But turns out their tow trucks aren’t allowed on the Turnpike so I got another number and called it and after like an hour the tow truck came and dude was such a Marlboro Manly Strong’n’Silent weirdo. I was like, “cool thanks for coming can you tow me to a flat fix place?” and he was all, “nooooope…” and slowly chewed his gum (his gum!) and turned on the tow lift so I couldn’t talk anymore. Then he got in the car like five whole minutes later, which I could exaggerate about but actually five minutes is kind of a long time, and he explained that he had to tow me to some place and then AAA could come get me from there, so basically I was in that John Candy movie Nothing But Trouble.
Whatever, so that dude towed me to some shitty gravel lot and then I waited another hour or something for the AAA dude and I was so annoyed but then Bill Cashman called and offered to drive from C Squat to pick me up and that was the beginning of everything starting to rule all of a sudden. I told him not to bother because I didn’t wanna just leave my car in Jersey and then I sat in the gravel pit (a mystery unraveling) for another 45 minutes listening to that 4 song Sheer Mag tape over and over again until the next tow truck came.
Bill Cashman’s phone call had heralded the beginning of People Being Kind on this leg of my spiritual journey and the AAA driver was a peach. As soon as I got in the car he started small talkin me about how he grew up in Princeton and “those people think they’re better than me,” and I was like “FUCK them!” and he was like, “YEAH!” and he towed me right to the Pep Boys as it was closing which was a bummer.
When I got out of the tow truck this dude was locking all these doors on the Pep Boys store and I was following him from door to door trying to figure out what was going on, because I had been told that the place closed an hour later, but dude kept ignoring me and looking me dead in the eyes with an emotionless visage as he turned a lock. I checked about getting towed back to Queens but that was gonna be like $300 so I was like, “fuck it, I’ll sleep in my car,” which is not the end of the world except it was 18
°, so I walked to the fancy hotel that I could see across the parking lot.
The guy at the desk looked like Carl Winslow and he seemed skeptical of me, though not unkind. “Checking in?”
“Yeah, I mean, maybe? I mean, how much is a room? I got two flats on the turnpike and it’s been this whole fakakta thing getting towed all around and now I just got to the Pep Boys but they were closing and it’s gonna cost me like three hundred bucks to get towed back to Queens and I’d prefer not to sleep in the car in this cold but this place looks a little expensive…”
Homeboy was already tinkling away on his computer keyboard, but he interrupted me rambling like, “yeah, it is expensive, but I’ll see if I can figure something out for you. You live in Queens? You know Rosedale?”
“YEAH YEAH I know Rosedale! My best friend’s mom lives in Rosedale! And my grandparents used to live in Rosedale. What’s your name?”
“You from Queens?” I was stoked! I love making small talk about Queens.
And Melvin was like, “NAH I’M FROM PHILLY!” in an unnecessarily brusque tone, as if the idea of him being from anywhere else was an affront, but then he softened. “I used to spend my summers at my aunt’s place in Rosedale… Okay listen, here’s what I can do for you. I got a room for $50. A lady was in it for like ten minutes but then she wanted a different room, I don’t think she even put her bags down. Here’s the key, go check it out, if it’s gross I’ll have someone clean it out.”
So I went to my room and it was perfect, so I drank the rest of my weed tincture and walked around till I found a diner. Then I went back to my room, girl-talked on the phone with Cristy Road, and then watched Storage Wars on hotel cable for like 5 hours. A perfect night!
I woke up in the morning and went to Pep Boys and that guy who kept locking the doors in my face was right there! So I was like, “LISTEN MAN! That was really rude, you coulda just opened one of those damn doors for five fucking seconds and talked to me…”
And he was like, “I’m with a customer…”
And I was like, “…because I mean, I came in on a tow truck and it was so cold out and it had been a real crappy day and it just would’ve been nice to be treated like a goddamn yuman instead of an obstacle.”
(At this point I’d like to interject that I don’t make a habit of going into people’s jobs and yelling at them and also mention that I’m a waiter and people routinely come into my job and yell at me, and so I can acknowledge that I was outright WRONG in this situation, to go into this dude’s place of work and give him the business, but I was worked up on free coffee from my Continental Breakfast at the hotel and also sometimes you do the wrong thing and it’s not right, but it’s okay.)
ANYWAY he shushed me and sat me down and then the guy at the other register who looked like Zach Galifinakis playing a huge Phish fan who works at the autobody shop called “NEXT” and he started stage whispering at me super excited as soon as I walked up, “BRO! DUDE! Did you just walk right in here at 8:30 in the morning and just start yelling at my boss?! Bro that was so cool he’s
SUCH A DICK!
” And I told him about my flats and he went and checked it out and then he gave me $100 off my two new tires because I came in and yelled at his boss in front of him.
SO the morals of the story are: Malportado Kids are a great band; if you’re in a rut and then Bill Cashman calls you that’s an auspicious sign that things will change; making small talk about Queens can get you a cheap hotel room sometimes; yelling at employees is wrong but yelling at bosses in front of employees is cool; just because you got two flat tires on the way home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have gone to Philly in the first place.
1. People in New York keep asking me what my column is about and I keep telling them, “it’s my new livejournal,” so I just wanted to be clear on that with all of you, too.
2. This fucking band ALTARATLA from Providence. I don’t know how you can get their tape and they broke up like two days after I saw them, but if you see this thing laying around somewhere pick it up. Grim, dirgey rippers with weird vox. I’ve listened to this tape literally like 30 times in the past week. Kinda reminds me of Ratka, but also Quixotic, but also Ohnedaruth by Alice Coltrane.
3. As usual write me a letter at sliceharvester@gmail or Colin Atrophy / 442-D Lorimer St #230 / Brooklyn, NY 11206 and look at my shit on my internet website sliceharvester.com if you wanna.
OKAY I’M OUT! NO COPS! NO CREEPS! PEACE IN THE PIZZERIA! FUCK BILLY JOEL! FUCK YOUR NEGATIVE ATTITUDE! WE! ARE! THE PUNX!