Thin slices

September 5th

I keep thinking about that cheese Scott and Meagan served at the baby shower: Whiskey cheddar. As the afternoon progressed in that sweltering Park Slope apartment, the whitish cheese began to sweat, beading up with a glistening gold liquid—like the oil that still oozes from a zit squeezed dry of pus.

When I awake on the horribly humid mornings of this godforsaken New York summer, a film of sticky, evaporated sweat all over my face, that's what I remember. Especially if I've been drinking the night before. I've kept a slowly diminishing chunk of that pungent cheese in my refrigerator all these long, hot weeks (I promised to turn the leftovers into a macaroni and cheese for the office, but never did), an ugly memento of a season that can't pass fast enough.

Later

I read Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower cover to cover tonight. It reminded me of so many of my high school experiences. I suppose for somebody who didn't organize those feelings and experiences in a journal, the plot and the letter writing device might have seemed to be more original. Maybe not. That didn't seem to be the point. But it showed me how important the novelty of those experiences is to making us who we are overall.

Soon I'll finally leave New York. I want the time and space and criticism to write better, more expressively, before that infernal editor inside breaks down the fleeting thoughts. Lose the audience. Damn—people should say that more often—the phrase frightens me.

June 9th

What an afternoon. I discovered I misspelled an album title for the length of an entire feature. The new Death In Vegas is called The Contino Sessions, not Casino. Fuck me. Further proof that I'm unable to concentrate here. I went to the drugstore to buy a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and this well-heeled Long Island matron held up the whole place for 10 minutes over a 25-cent discrepancy in the sale price of a 99-cent bottle of (ugly) nail polish. Finally, a manager explained to this lady that when you buy an item with a coupon, you're still taxed on the original price. That's just how it is, always.

"Well, I guess I never noticed because I never bought anything so cheap," she shot back haughtily.

Ten minutes to buy a goddamn candy bar. Nobody back at the office was shocked. One of the girls in the art department recalled a woman in line at the pizza place who wanted to come back and pay later because her nails were still too wet for her to root around in her purse.

June 10th

Brown liquor hangover compounded by morning rain. First the humidity, now this. If Judy can't learn how to operate the weather-controlling device soon, I'm gonna confiscate it.

Dinner with Paul from Red Hot last night. They were playing the 54 soundtrack—Sylvester watches over me. I had caramelized chicken with hot peppers and sticky jasmine rice. I'm eating way too much starch this week. Paul had the whole snapper. He tried to get me to eat the eyeballs, but it was just too gross. Snakes and snails and puppy dog's tails. I'd do anything for love, but I won't do that.

Went to see the Beta Band again. Last time I ran into Paul at the show and we had such fun that this time we made it a "date." But in listening to their album on the train yesterday, I wasn't gripped by the music like I had been live. Of course, the psychedelic lights helped, but . . . I still liked track 9, "The Hard One," where they invert the Bonnie Tyler lyric: "Once upon a time I was falling apart/now I'm only falling in love."

But they blew me away for the second time, even though the lead singer claimed he was sick. I had to throw all my preset jokes for the review—"what, no inflatable pig?"—out the window. They're all over the place. Yeah, moments were very Pink Floyd meets The Teardrop Explodes, but the rhythmic jams suggest what I imagine late '60s/early '70s discos must've sounded like. Except I wasn't surrounded by blacks, Latins, or gays. We fixed that later—went to the Phoenix for a nightcap or five, and I punched in "She's the One" from the Beta's The Three EPs. Strangely, this was the only jukebox selection of mine that played.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is published by MTV Books. The Beta Band and The Three EPs by the Beta Band are out now on Astralwerks. The Contino Sessions by Death In Vegas is out on Time Bomb/Concrete this fall.

 
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