I jolt awake, fully clothed to my socks, which immediately feels wrong. I must have fallen asleep before midnight, which almost never happens: I could count the nights I’ve slept before 3am this winter on one hand. Either my internal clock is set to Pacific Standard or I am an alien. My New Year’s hangover still lingers; I barely set foot outside my bedroom yesterday. But whatever. New Year’s Eve is also my birthday, so I am contractually obligated to get twice as trashed. Lots of mushrooms, so as to carry one of my 2015’s most prominent touchstones into the new year. I used to have terrible times with hallucinogens—the first time I ate mushrooms was also the first time I watched Chuckie, which went about as well as one might predict. But something clicked last year, and they became soothing. Weird year. I strip off all my clothes and toss and turn, trying to trick myself back into sleep.
Not a chance. I scan through Twitter, already bored. My cat tucks himself next to me; he’s very sweet in his old age. I pick up The Diary of Anais Nin, the first one. I love her. I must confess I came to her initially through my obsessive love for Henry Miller, wanting to see him through her eyes; now I realize she might be even more fascinating. I desperately want to see myself in her. The first sentence I read goes “I want the key, the key to the lies” and I immediately think of DJ Khaled.
Reading a news story about a Russian man who woke up in a morgue after having been mistaken for drinking himself to death, then returned to the party where he had “died.” It’s lit. God please let me sleep.
Fumble for my phone, lodged somewhere under my pillow. It’s gotta be at least noon, but it’s not, so fuck all this.
I think I hear Future “No Basic” playing from the living room, or possibly from inside my soul, as I literally just dreamt about Future. I am a massive cliché. But I’m serious. It started with me playing goalie for a water polo team, which was horrifically stressful, but then the second part: Future premiered a new song that also soundtracked a shampoo commercial starring Kylie Jenner. It was a happy song. I dunno man.
Throw on sweatpants and sweatshirt, contemplate brushing my hair but not feeling that ambitious, and walk through McGolrick Park to grab a coffee from Variety. Living across from this park has made my life exponentially more lovely, even with all the leaves gone. There’s a dog park. I get an Americano with an extra shot and am 95% sure I run into El-P on my way out. I don’t say hi because I look like the Ghost of Hangovers Past. I contemplate leaving this detail out of my log because it is peak Brooklyn Douche, but I’m also a writer transplant living in Greenpoint, so I should probably let the chips fall where they may.
I keep re-reading this Facebook message I got on my birthday from an old friend, D. We hadn’t spoken since maybe 2010, but for two strange, dark years, we were inseparable. We took graphic design classes together before I dropped out of school (that was my fairly noncommittal life plan back then), and afterwards, I would overstay my welcome at his place. We were convinced we were the coolest motherfuckers in South Bend, Indiana, and would go on days-long benders, dancing to Daft Punk in his basement and trying to one-up each other in Photoshop with designs for our fledgling t-shirt label. (I know.) He introduced me to Hipster Runoff, Ableton, and the subtle art of letting ecstasy pills dissolve in your butt. Of course I was in love with him; then, I couldn’t distinguish between friend love and romantic love. I remember lying next to him in his small bed, listening to Air France No Way Down, trying to will my stimulant-addled heartbeat into submission. (There is still no better comedown music.) We were both crazy. I was needy, and he was at times cruel. I don’t remember why we stopped speaking.
Anyway, his message brought all this rushing back. He apologized for pushing me away, for not realizing at the time how influential our friendship would be. I’m overwhelmed because I had forgotten that the same was true of him. It feels like lifetimes ago, but I remember every detail now. My memory has been unusually sharp lately, plunging without warning into eras I had long since buried. It makes me want to write personally in a way I haven’t felt in years. I write him back and forgive him.
Shower, contemplate doing work for about five minutes—I have some freelance illustration work to finish, and my soul-sucking but $$ side job writing copy for a streaming service—then come to my senses and throw on an episode of The O.C. I re-watched season one recently and had forgotten what a perfect slice of the mid-2000s it was: Paul Frank sales and oxycontin and fucking Rooney. The other great thing about watching it as an adult is transcending the Ryan/Seth binary and realizing the only truly fuckable male character is Sandy Cohen, hot surfer dad with a heart of gold. I told myself I’d stop before the wildly inferior second season, but I lied.
After burning through my entire checking account in a blaze of compulsive online shopping towards the end of 2015, several crucial direct deposits have arrived [Young Thug “Check” gif goes here]. Lately I have come to believe that money is worthless unless you spend it impulsively and extravagantly [Charles Barkley “I am not a role model” youtube link goes here], so it’s burning a hole in my pocket. I decide to start the year off with a new tattoo. Put on some lipstick, velour leggings (2016 is the year of velour), pink turtleneck. Debate changing due to vague nipple visibility, but decide they are visible in a “chill way.”
Staring at a very well-behaved white dog with one ice blue eye sleeping in the corner of the tattoo shop as the guy works on my forearm. I’m getting probably my most “traditional” tattoo yet, to balance out all the dumb shit I’ve accumulated on my right arm. It’s a pin-up style rendering of a comic strip character from the ’20s, Tillie the Toiler. My grandma’s called me that for years; I thought it was just some cute old lady catchphrase, until I looked it up last month. Tillie is this snappy brunette who cycles in and out of a million different jobs—secretary, model, soldier—who’s always super chic and burning through eligible bachelors. The tattoo guy is chill; apparently he lives in the shop, sleeping on the floor with his dog. It’s hard not to feel vaguely turned on when a hot guy with face tattoos is digging a needle into your flesh, but I tell myself to fall back.
Walking down Manhattan, which is still lit up for Christmas—I’ve never seen a neighborhood so down for extravagant Christmas decorations as Greenpoint, which secretly melts my heart—I stop for an Old Milwaukee and whiskey shot. L has DM’d me, because she knows I never answer my phone: “Wanna get weird tonight?” The answer is obviously yes. I pick up a mediocre steak burrito and bottle of wine on the walk home. It finally feels like winter. When I get home I do my makeup in front of another episode of The O.C. Marissa just got a tramp stamp.
L arrives with a bottle of Carlo Rossi and we smoke out of my bedroom window and talk shit. I love her because she is a highly accomplished savage. We drink a bottle and a half of wine and jump in an Uber to the Commodore, where our friends are very fucked up, in a fun way. We promised that in the new year, we would consume more hallucinogens, and that vow appears to have been upheld. We sit outside in the cold with a pitcher of beer and L and I eat most of the chicken sandwich E ordered and chain-smoke. People I love keep showing up and I’m feeling sensational. I fire off some drunk texts to unnamed parties.
We move on to the Call Box, which has a TouchTunes and reminds me of my favorite bar in Chicago. I keep buying ill-advised whiskey shots and forcing them on everyone. G, who went to my high school, introduces me to a guy who turns out to be the last boyfriend of my sister’s current girlfriend before she realized she was gay. This amuses me to no end and I text my sister in all-caps, dying. L and I siphon dollar bills into the TouchTunes; she puts on Romeo Santos and I put on a block of approximately six Future songs. We take over the dance floor. I rarely dance but it feels right.