Saturday, August 02, 2008

Citizen Cane, Or: Behind The Velvet Dope

Good evening to you, ladies and gentlemen. We are coming to you live from the newly reopened Acid Ballroom here in the heart of the spectacularly appointed Reflux Hotel, broadcasting to you from the usual cubbyhole at the corner of Disdain and Misanthropy.

The overcast sky is teasing me with the promise of a rainstorm which, at the moment, would have the sad and unfortunate effect of washing out this evening’s soirée at the estate of M. and Mme. Drunkass, the revelry from which is bouncing off the side of my house like a pimple ball of malice.

But that is not for you to suffer.

I idly wonder what Proust would have made of these garish marionettes and their haunted hierarchy of imbicilism. Would he have immortalized them better than I in some sort of A La Recherche Du Temps Baboon, reliving their bloated bellies and empty laughter as he munched his madeleine?

Of course from the sanctuary of his cork-lined room, Marcel wouldn’t have been bothered by the least of sounds, let alone the symphonic hymn of inebriation that is a Drunkass affair.

I am not so lucky.

But you know, they are the rule and I am the exception these days. Between television programs that present the sorry spectacle of competitive vomiting and an uneducated electorate that seems to think that the Antichrist is running for President, you and I, dear friends, are now living in a veritable monde du Drunkass, a global condition that threatens those of us who are still capable of raising an ice cream cone to our lips without accidentally mashing it against our forehead.

And the rain has not yet come.

And as I wait on my next line, I find myself twirling this new cane of mine.

I haven’t mentioned it, but with the recent trouble with back, legs, etc., I have begun to use a cane to get around.

Now I can’t tell how much this helps, to be honest. Some days it seems effective, others not so much.

But I must tell you, it has opened up a world of perks.

People are eager to help you, exceptions are made, and in general the world becomes a more hospitable place.

Just to give you one example, we went to a concert recently and asked whether or not I might be able to have a seat somewhere as this was a standing venue. In truth, I cannot stand for very long these days.

The surly looking gentleman at the door immediately seemed to become less grumpy. He happily led us inside the theatre an hour or so before it would be opened to the public and offered us any seat in the upstairs balcony, usually reserved for VIPs or guests of the band.

Having made our choice, another fellow came up behind us and cordoned off our area with a velvet rope so that no one would bother us.

Finally, we thought. Finally, someone is treating us the way we ought to be treated.

Throughout the show, we’d glance backwards at the crowd now straining against our rope, discussing whether or not to let this one in…or perhaps that one.

It was intoxicating.

I was a little frightened by the swiftness with which I’d decided that I deserved to be there and these others did not. After all, I’d never been that guy, the guy who had an “in” or “knew a guy that knew a guy.” I’d always had to scramble for what I got, like everybody else. Part of me started to feel guilty and uncomfortable.

I wondered how quickly I would condemn the next congressman or senator who was found with his hand in the cookie jar. Could I blame them, after having had a little taste of it?

As wonderful as it was, it felt a little like an admonition: Be careful what you wish for.

Beware of what you could become.

Things are back to normal now, though, and tonight there are important people being ushered in through secret entrances; tickets are changing clandestine hands and making money out of love; and whispers are building confidences and empires.

But tonight, I am here with you.

Waiting, waiting, waiting for the rain.

Wait with me.


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