Friday’s Cognitive Dissonance

It began at lunch with the last of the married men in my marathon. I was prepared to be underwhelmed, the jaded cynic in me, perhaps. Instead I found myself on the verge of tears more than once, as The Poet posed personal questions. He observed that I was extremely guarded and spent time in pursuit of the “real me.” It was an interesting and emotional conversation.

But back to the dissonance. Here I was having lunch with a lovely man — polite, attractive, successful, engaging — who bragged about his honor student daughter and wonderful wife. But he wasn’t completely perfect. Because if I’d asked him back to my apartment he most likely would’ve agreed in an instant. And instantly become a cheater. Ah, perhaps not so lovely. But I kinda knew the circumstances going in. Which had me puzzling, in between sharing our life stories, whether good people can be bad.

By the time The Poet helped me to my door with an unwieldy package, met by the barking foster dogs, I was in a rush to prepare for my early evening plans. I had less than an hour to get ready, which included changing out of my Garanimals-like afternoon ensemble and into something more suitably punk rock. Once I’d applied heavier eye makeup and shrugged on my motocycle jacket, I dashed out the door to meet my friend Rob and his girlfriend at Joe’s Pub for “DanceNOW [NYC] Presents Alley of the Dolls, This is not a sequel.” The show was a bizarre mélange of performance art and dance, comedy and song, and a poke at show business, all loosely in homage to “Valley of the Dolls.” It had a sassy retro Sixties tang.

When the performance wrapped, we jumped into Rob’s truck and headed to Williamsburg for a chihuahua wedding. You heard right. The “puptials” of Rev. Jen Jr. and Taco took place in the spacious outdoor garden of Lucky Dog bar on Bedford Ave. The proud parents of the bride and groom, Reverend Jen Miller and Holly Waggytail DeRito (yes, the grande dame of the agency I foster dogs for) held the happy couple in their arms and read their dogs’ vows, with Faceboy officiating the ceremony. As one might assume, the festivities were attended by quite a colorful cast of characters, including photographer Alex Colby and his pretty Penthouse Managing Editor wife Christine, comic artist and dessert blogger Abby Denson, Carmen Mofongo, my Balloon Chain co-worker and Lucky Dog bartender Moonshine Shorey, and armloads of adorable dogs. Moonshine had the night off because he was on his way to his gig with Jugger Nut at C Squat. Which was where Rob, his girlfriend and I were headed next!

Approaching the block we knew immediately where the show was; the shitfaced  dirtbag lying on the sidewalk, slurring obscenities, made it a giveaway. I slid in the door and stood aside. Everyone was in an agitated state about the sidewalk scene. A droopy-eyed, stringy-haired hippy was telling the dreadlocked dude running the door, “I don’t know the guy, man. I mean, he’s not a friend of mine. I picked him up in Asheville but I gotta watch his back. He’s my homeboy.” Meanwhile, the guy is still rolling around on the sidewalk with everyone screaming at him to get up, get out, move on.

I paid my five bucks, got my hand Sharpied and waited for Rob and his girlfriend. They slipped in and handed me a 24-ounce PBR. Cracking up, I crowed, “I just became the hottest old broad in the building!” A guy nodded in agreement and said, “Yeah, you did!” We made our way toward the noise, stepping over half-passed out gutterpunks and straggly hangers-on. A small balcony overlooked a basement with walls covered in graffiti. Our timing was perfect; kids were shoving equipment around the stage in anticipation of Jugger Nut.

The room was like a scene from a movie: Sweaty kids were milling around, an old man was perched on a chair, hipsters were photographing each other with the cell phones. It was an impressive collection of nightcrawlers. And because I never go anywhere without running into someone I know, I bumped into Nicola.

Before I’d had a chance to finish my 24-ounce, the band came onstage in a cacophony of keyboards, drums, guitars and feedback. After a bit of ear abuse, the music was actually quite good! People were nodding and dancing or ducking for cover. My friend Moonshine isn’t a musician, he’s an adjunct to the band, a six-foot-plus performance artist of sorts, his painted face and voodoo accoutrements augmented by blood and chicken feet. He stalked into the pit and the parted.

I’m not sure I could ever find the right words to properly describe the scene and how it actually felt. It was like being in a time warp. Like being beamed back to the 80s. The floor was slimy with beer and a bedraggled chick in nothing but boots and a silver sequin miniskirt kept slipping in it. The crowd thrashed in the pit, slamming into each other just like the old days. The whole place smelled like sweat and cigarette smoke and beer. It was fuckin’ awesome!

The show lasted just the right amount of time and as the room cleared I couldn’t contain my excitement. “The underground lives!” I kept saying with a huge smile on my face. I couldn’t believe it! I was so invigorated I couldn’t just go home and go to sleep, so I strolled through Tompkins Square Park to Double Down. It was packed with too many irritating people but I wound up at the far end of the bar chatting with an interesting couple. He was in a heavy metal t-shirt and she looked like she maybe watched too much “Jersey Shore.” But we commiserated about the East Village asshole invasion and, astonishingly, Burning Man! He was leaving the next day for India. Sometimes life is full of surprises!

Anyway, I stumbled to the deli for a turkey sandwich which I didn’t remember eating the next morning as I marveled over my day of dissonance: the enjoyable Poet, dance show at Joe’s Pub, the chihuahua wedding, the C Squat Jugger Nut slamfest and the pleasant company over my nightcap at Double Down. It was an amazing dozen hours!

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