Ross Scarano is an editor and writer from Pittsburgh. He lives in Brooklyn and works at Complex.
6:56 a.m., Prospect Heights: In a half-awake state, a bus accelerating on Vanderbilt sounds like a scream, so now I’m fully awake.
The temperature climbed after sunrise, and my bedroom is warmer, and I throw off the top sheet, which came untucked and is twisted around my waist. I don’t sleep with anything else. My thighs, especially where they taper into the knees, feel tight and dense from the gym Friday morning, and then the long walk over the RKF Bridge to get off Randall’s Island Friday night. It if were a weekday, I’d have been up for 30 minutes by now, so this is sleeping in, technically, but my legs want me down for a little longer.
9:28 a.m.: Finally up.
9:56 a.m., Flatbush Ave. Crunch: Nick likes gym-playlist conceits (Monster Mondays is my favorite, and always makes me smile when I think about it), and I sometimes use it as a means to revisit an old album. (The other week, I did The Life of Pablo and Cut 4 Me.) Set up on the Stairmaster in my typical fashion—water bottle resting in the half-pipe plastic cradle on my right, glasses on the pebbled rubber ledge below the information screen, apartment keys next to glasses, phone turned on its long side on the little lip jutting out from the information screen—I put on DS2. Thirty minutes later, I’ve stepped 180 floors, averaging 7.3 per minute by the final intensity setting. My entire head feels wet. At some point, I switched to Future’s self-titled and found that “POA” hits differently now that Dad explained that Nick has it, per the latest revision of the will. Still the hardest song on the album, though.
I spent a lot of time in locker rooms growing up, at the swimming pool we belonged to during the summer and at the racquet club where Nick and I would go with Dad on Sundays. The Crunch locker room is purely a functional space. At the racquet club, there were TVs and couches; older men watched sports updates and 24-hour cable news naked and griping to each other. There was always conversation; everyone knew each other, seemingly. Dr. Shatner, Chuck Thomas, Mitch, Dino, Billy Miller, Gene Grapes. It was an entire world. You could do a Scorsese long take through the space. I thought it was teaching me about how jovial and close spaces for adult males could be, but it didn’t; it was not representative, and did not prepare me for the locker room at the Crunch on Flatbush, which is an isolating, harrying space. No one interacts. You stand out if you don’t change facing into the space of your open locker, or by sliding your underwear up under your towel, which strikes me as totally ridiculous among adults. But if someone feels uncomfortable, I know I shouldn’t shame them for not wanting to mill around naked. It’s a bit of an illicit pleasure to linger for a second too long, toweling off naked before putting on clean dry clothes, like fuck you.
But it’s Saturday and I go home to shower.
11:05 a.m., Prospect Heights: First Dad picks up the phone, and then Mum. As I walk to my apartment, down Vanderbilt, we talk about next week’s wedding, and I’m told that there may not be a dance floor, that it could just be grass, and that it’s unclear if there will even be a DJ. But I know you think the music will probably be garbage anyway, Mum says, then tells me that Nick spent all last weekend trying to scuff the soles of his new suede loafers in order to not slide around. Those dancefloors they put down can be so slippy, she says. The word makes me homesick for them.
11:48 a.m., bathroom: Bobby Womack’s “Woman’s Gotta Have It” is a wise song. The bassline makes it a great getting-ready song, too.
12:11 p.m., living room: Nothing brings your day to a halt like a nosebleed, a habit I inherited from my mom. (They talked about performing surgery when she was young, the bleeding was so frequent and intense.) Instead of getting out the door to put together my wedding outfit, I’m forced to sit on my couch in my underwear with toilet paper crammed up my left nostril until it passes.
12:19 p.m., living room: I’ve stopped bleeding. Dressed now, in black Acne jeans, black chelsea boots, and a soft gray Everlane T-shirt. If I have a uniform, it’s this (or some slight variation). The jeans make me think of D because she once told me that most men she knows prefer APC.
12:29 p.m., Park Place and Vanderbilt: I spot Elaine walking to the subway from their job at Sit and Wonder, the coffee shop on Washington. We only hang out there, and I don’t say hello, because Elaine has trouble recognizing faces in unfamiliar environments. I’d rather let them enjoy their day than create something confusing or stressful.
12:47 p.m., Q train, crossing Manhattan Bridge: Way too close to showtime, but I don’t get kicked, and the three dancers remind me that I didn’t get kicked, so I contribute.
12:51 p.m., Canal Street: Nick texts me about Tone Stith, whom he got into before the Drake cosign. Some people who work in the industry don’t know as much about the latest in R&B as Nick. “It’s refreshing to hear some more traditional R&B,” he writes, “No drug talk, no sunken vocals/beats. I don’t even know if he swears, really.” Tone does say ass at one point, but it’s in a sweet way, and in such a boyish voice.
1:08 p.m., basement of NYPL, Mulberry Street: “I saw you in McNally Jackson.” “What?” “I saw you in the bookstore, looking for the bathroom too.”
It’s not my fault I see Heat everywhere I go. This curly haired tall guy is giving me the full Eady and I’m Neil, except we’re in the basement of the NYPL on Mulberry Street, waiting to use the bathroom because the storied toilet at MJ is on the fritz. I want to tell him I’m a salesman who works in metals. I really have to pee.
2:39 p.m., living room: I resume watching 9 ½ Weeks, a project that is now in its third session. Mickey’s feeding Kim, and a song that must be called “Slave to Love” plays while he spoons food to her face. No one prepares you for how distractingly corny and bad the music in this film is. His unfolding game song is “Strange Fruit.” He buys three hot dogs from a street vendor for himself, which is impressive and repulsive.
6:25 p.m., Sit and Wonder: Steven invites me to play poker tomorrow. (I take this note while he attends to a customer.) My many unlucrative high-school poker hands flash through my head as I try to determine whether this will be fun. I’m more and more interested in the arithmetic of determining fun as I get older. Every invitation turned over and examined from all sides. Increasingly I feel less certain of what will make me happy. We both probably know I’m not going to go.
7:15 p.m.: Steven feeds me a would’ve-been-trash sandwich for dinner and then puts on the new Arcade Fire album while he cleans up and shuts down the shop for the night. I read a few more pages from The Big Sleep, and we talk about the band and Funeral. When is this music for, he asks about the new one. There’s no good answer; it’s not effective music. Whom wasn’t Funeral formative for, though? It taught me about what cool rock music was and made me feel welcome freshman year of college. I remember hearing it in Andrew’s car and learning how to interact with it based on what he and Greg did, when the exciting moments where, how to move your body to it. They taught me a lot.
10ish p.m., Jimmy’s No. 43: Baldwin summarizes, for The Paris Review, the experience of washing out of New York. “Looking for a place to live. Looking for a job. You begin to doubt your judgment, you begin to doubt everything. You become imprecise. And that’s when you’re beginning to go under. You’ve been beaten, and it’s been deliberate. The whole society has decided to make you nothing.” I think about Kate’s washout from Lefferts and what Steven told me about Ryan’s upcoming washout. This place is no joke, and who knew that the best summary was in a Paris Review interview from 1984. Despite my best intentions, I don’t finish my Negroni. Teaching yourself to enjoy a food or drink you previously wrote off is a complicated, long journey.
1:35, a.m., Wise Men, on Bowery: I’m up on the couch with Eddy and Damien, both of whom I love dearly. We’re here because we love Frazier and Chopz. JLP got up on the couch first, though. (It’s his thing.) No way of knowing what song’s playing, but we heard “Bodak Yellow” at least four times.
2:49 a.m., outside 7-Eleven: Angel smiles when pointing out Damien’s shoes. “The John Mayer Visvims on.” It’s a moving combination of respect and ribbing in his voice and tilted body language, and who does that better than Angel? Nobody.
3:05 a.m.: Damien puts on “Nikes,” making this the first time I’ve listened to Frank since the show. It’s true that all of my favorite moments in New York are listening to music in cars late at night. Many of those moments include Damien.
3:14 a.m.: We zoom across the Williamsburg Bridge so fast, and he’s the only person in the world I can ride with without trying to press down imaginary brakes on the passenger side. I trust him completely.