If you don’t want to read a lot of sniveling, self-involved, self-pitying blather, I’ll save you the time. Don’t. But I’ve gotta get this outta my brain.
Between bouts of extreme depression, I find myself blindingly angry. Our government is an embarrassing shitshow. Racial and economic inequities are horrific. The lines for food banks are stretching for miles. Yet here I am, feeling sorry for myself…I KNOW.
If ONE MORE PERSON who I haven’t seen in a decade or spoken to in years tries to give me advice…if ONE MORE PERSON who has never WORKED in a bar, never owned a business, never even BEEN to Lucky, never lived in NYC, or, for that matter, has NO FUCKING IDEA what it’s like to BE HERE NOW, I swear to fucking GOD I am going to LOSE MY MIND. Yes, I know bars are delivering. Yes, I know bars are doing to-go drinks. Yes, I know bars are stocking merch and becoming grocery stores and selling flour or whateverthefuck. I KNOW.
What I DON’T know are the many ramifications of the many things I don’t know. Of what I “could” do. Like being unable to pay rent because the government says I can’t be open…and then I open. Do I all of a sudden need to pay my full rent? Even 50% would be beyond my budget unless, miraculously, thousands of people come and buy a drink every damn day. Not likely to happen. What about crowds gathering on the sidewalk? Will that get me shut down? What about the food I don’t really have to sell? Will THAT get me shut down? If I do open, do I need to now stock all kinds of extra food products? That no one will buy? I feel like the very amorphous rules change daily. And will become more strict and reactionary as the weather improves.
YES I KNOW I have loyal regulars. And they are eager to help me. But if all they’re getting is a can of beer in a paper bag, why wouldn’t they buy that at their bodega? Sure, they’d likely buy one. Maybe two. But after that? Also I’m not a mixologist. This city is chock-full of very talented, award-winning, book-writing, recipe-creating, world-renowned bartenders. Given the choice, why would anyone buy a drink from Lucky? We’ve never delivered anything before. We have no precedent as a restaurant because we aren’t one. I mean, 99.9% of New Yorkers have no fucking idea who I am. If I WERE to offer delivery, who does the delivering? Me? On a Citibike? If I’m delivering drinks, who’s making them? Would anyone come inside to order their to-go drinks? Because one person can’t be behind the bar AND work the “to-go” window. If I were to hire a delivery guy how the hell am I supposed to pay him? With the $15 profit I make that day?
The bottom line is, it’s not like I haven’t been thinking about these things — ALL these things — 24 FUCKING HOURS A DAY, EVERY FUCKING DAY SINCE MARCH 15. Holy christ. I mean seriously.
Yes, I am lucky. I have a roof over my head, cable and internet, food in my fridge and money in the bank. When I need more — which will be quite soon — my family is there to help me. But here is where I find myself standing on the edge of the cliff: I have been the family fuck-up my whole life. Too busy having fun to get good grades, apply to a good college, find the right jobs. The jobs I DID get, I mostly got fired from. Or I walked away, in search of something better, more fulfilling. No savings, no IRA, no 401k, no “security.” And never all that much of a future.
When my sister found herself in a position to help me, she did, and I am beyond grateful. I’m sure she had no idea I’d actually be successful. (And I’m really not all that successful. Yes, I’m able to feed and house myself, but I haven’t been able to save a fucking dime. Like most small business, I barely get by.) I’m sure everyone expected this to be just one more of my fuck-ups. And now, the prophecy has been fulfilled. Sure, it took a global pandemic to do it, but I am no longer able to be self-sufficient. I KNOW I am fortunate to have help. I KNOW I am speaking from such an incredible place of entitlement that I should shut my fucking mouth. I know all these things, intellectually. However, emotionally? Psychologically? I am standing on the ledge trying to decide how much more I have in me. I don’t really know. It sure feels like not much…
Now, here’s a video shot by Jeremiah Moss, of Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York. It made me cry.
And this photo of Snow on Forsythia, by my friend Karen Heimann, is an apt metaphor for the day.