still would.

For some reason this morning I woke up thinking about my impending Atlanta trip, and eventually found myself checking Google Maps to see if I could find a picture of my old apartment out there in the Internets.

Unfortunately, Street View didn't quite make it there, I have no idea why, it's not like it's an unpopular area, I mean come on, Elton John used to own a house down the street for Chrissakes. And, though apparently "my" house was sold in March 2012, there are no pictures of it online. How do you sell a house these days without putting pictures of it online?

This led to me imagining myself driving down there ("down there" as in downtown Atlanta) and trying to clandestinely take photos of the outside of the house, and then quickly realizing that this would probably involve being shot at or at least Tased, bro.

So then I imagined knocking on the door and trying to explain myself without sounding crazy, saying something like: "Hi, um, sorry to bother you....Yes. I used to live here like 17 years ago or something and somehow I have absolutely no pictures of this house. I've looked. Lots of important things happened here and somehow I have no pictures. Well, ok, I have 3 pictures, but they are completely uncharacteristic and unrepresentative of my time spent here."

"One of them is of the sidewalk out front, standing with my dad, his hand is on my shoulder but I look like a cardboard cutout of myself, which is entertaining but not representative of my time here. Another picture is of my parents and Nan sitting at the dining room table (not the unfortunate glass one that my ex-girlfriend requisitioned, but its more modest wooden replacement) eating peanuts and potato chips and trying to throw them into each other's mouths."

"And then I think there's one more, but I don't remember what it's of. Oh maybe there's one of the bathroom from that time we gave me a mohawk and stuck clip-on earrings up my nose to make it look like I had nose piercings."

"But I have no pictures of the front of the house, not one, where we stood for a while that night we locked ourselves out of the house on Jamie's birthday. We told Jamie that the Party Bus was a bad idea."


Jamie was our "third roommate", a super nice and very-straitlaced kind of corporate fratboy type. Extremely tolerant, considering what we put him through.

When I say "we", I don't mean me and Mara: I mean me and O'Neill. Somehow it had seemed like a good idea to get an apartment with O'Neill after he graduated from law school. No, I mean, actually, this made completely perfect sense: he was my best friend, and had been since we were 13 or so.

Initially it had looked like our choice of colleges might separate us after high school, but neither of our original plans worked out and I ended up joining him in Tallahassee, Florida so we could drink shitty beer together every weekend and during the week we could bowl at Seminole Bowl (the Hotel Earle of bowling alleys, absolutely nothing functioned properly) and oh yeah we got meaningless undergraduate degrees in the meantime at that big school there.

I hadn't seen O'Neill much in the year or two since graduation because he'd gone up north to get some o' that fancy law school education in North Carolina (ambitious!) and I'd gone back home to Atlanta with absolutely no plan at all other than to move in with my aforementioned glass-table girlfriend and get some kind of job that she might approve of (less ambitious!).

And actually, getting an apartment with Jamie made pretty good sense too: he was in the cubicle next to mine at work and we made each other laugh pretty often about work things. He had a pretty good "put-upon/bewildered" act and an especially good fake laugh that he used when he was pretending to either find someone entertaining or understand what they were talking about. He was also quite conservative in almost every regard, but yis I somehow didn't understand this until later.

Anyway, each of them seemed to separately make pretty good sense as roommates: Jamie had a good job, O'Neill was obviously going to have a great job very soon (law school!). And I'd just diverged from glass-table girlfriend by sleeping with one of O'Neill's ex-girlfriends in North Carolina (not pictured, remind me to tell you about that someday, keywords "bad dirty talker").

Three handsome young entertaining young yuppie bachelors in the heart of gay Atlanta the city. What could go wrong???

Well. One thing that could've gone wrong would have been if, for example, O'Neill had been at college for so long that he wasn't quite ready for it to be over yet. If he, for example, kind of wanted to just keep on blackout drinking and inviting his/our blackout drinking friends over to drink and black out and (significantly) piss themselves in their sleep, a sleep that might be, for example, taking place on Jamie's brand-new couch like a week after he bought it. A piss that proved absolutely unremovable from the couch cushions, and believe me, we tried fucking everything. The piss had soaked into the couch itself in a way that concentrated itself in the center of the frame and thinned out towards the arms, so that the front of the couch now sported an indelible upturned parabola on its front side, a sort of smile-shaped piss ring.

This was maybe two weeks after O'Neill moved in. Things did not really improve from there, though they didn't get a whole bunch worse either. Please let the record show that I am not complaining about any of this, I'm just telling a story, and we'll wind this one up for now by saying that for the next year or so Jamie continued to be perky and uptight and over-responsible and O'Neill continued to be (at that juncture) a polite, aggressive nihilist and the two of them were incompatible in almost every way and it's semi-miraculous they never came to blows, I guess because Jamie realized that he would most likely be grievously injured and because O'Neill understood that it wouldn't have been a fair fight in the first place, b/c it never is when one participant doesn't care if they get hurt.


"Oh right, anyway, Jamie and the Party Bus night."

The Party Bus night. Not only memorable for the Party Bus itself. And here's where this post turns into what it's actually supposed to be about. After O'Neill moved out, Mara moved in. It's possible that O'Neill moved out because Mara moved in. Mara was (is?) O'Neill's ex-girlfriend. That wouldn't be why he moved out, that's just extra information.

O'Neill moved out, Mara moved in, and shortly thereafter Jamie decided to celebrate his own birthday by hiring a "Party Bus" and having it take him and a bunch of his friends around the city from fun venue to fun venue so they could drink their light beers and wine spritzers without having to worry about driving (that sounds catty, but you'd understand if you'd met his friends).

There were a couple of problems with this plan. One: it would seem reasonable that you needed to really want to "party" in order for this endeavor to make any sense. It was a big bus. Like a city bus. 20 people would've filled it maybe halfway. So, I'm sure it was super expensive. Plus you'd need lots of friends for it to not be depressing.

And what kind of night would you even need to have in order to require this kind of hardware? An unusually festive evening, I'm thinking, like Stevie's limo-chauffeured bachelor party that started at the Clermont Lounge and finished who the fuck knows where seven or eight hours later with multiple participants on their hands and knees in some parking lot throwing up. Now that was totally worth having someone drive us around.

Or the first time I tried acid and we ended up deciding to go see Who Framed Roger Rabbit at the Omni (Brian Carlson where the fuck are you?), completely without knowing that the 1988 Democratic National Convention was also happening at the same mall where the theater was, and we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by lots of "free" food and drink (we couldn't figure out how to pay for it) and menacing security people with big guns telling us we had to go somewhere else because we were dressed inappropriately (shorts and T-shirts) and Rice Krispie-textured pavement that would not stop undulating and breathing ominously.

Or the night of the company Christmas party when I very stupidly decided to drive home after playing 2 or 3 sets (with a full band) of extremely embarrassing and thus tequila-fueled cover songs (Bachman-Turner Overdrive? Yes.) and spent a good 10 minutes running into various structures in the parking garage and knocking most of the external features off of my car while trying to exit my parking space.

Those all either were or would've been good nights for a chauffeur. Jamie's birthday party just wasn't. It was mostly just sad. My lingering memory of the "party" portion of the evening is like 9 disappointed people ("I thought you said this was going to be a party?") trudging dejectedly down our long gravel driveway towards a huge empty bus parked with its lights on inside, while Mara and I stood together arm-in-arm on the porch waving and thumbs-upping and pretending to be supportive but mostly being relieved because we weren't on that lame-ass bus. We told him it was a shitty idea.

Maybe you think that sounds harsh. Apparently The Great Magnet also thought it sounded harsh, because as the bus pulled away lamely into the party-less night and we turned to go back inside to clean up and debrief, we realized that the front door had locked behind us and we had no keys.

And: I left something out. We were all dressed in "70s" garb. That's right, not only was there a "party bus", but everyone on said bus was dressed like Brock Landers. Two great tastes in one etc etc etc.

We'd gone along with the clothing theme primarily because we felt bad about pooh-poohing the bus idea, so our dressing up was a show of support for Jamie and plus we weren't planning on leaving the house so who would see us.

And yet, here we were, outside the house. With no wallets or keys or cell phones or anything. Mara had a giant Afro. So we had to get back in. The good news was that my bedroom had a little balcony and I'd left the door open. The bad news is that it was on the second floor. We went to the back of the house to assess the possibilities. AfroMara thought that if I boosted her up to where she could grab the bottom of the balcony, she could pull herself up over the railing. I was skeptical, but yes this was before our brush with acute polyneuropathy, and before that life-changing shit happened Mara truly possessed strength of insectile proportions.

One problem: her 70s garb was absolutely skintight. It quickly became obvious that in order to climb with any kind of insectile agility, she would have to take off her pants (but leave the Afro on). Though we'd been good friends for 10 years or so at this point, we had not been dating for very long at all, and I remember being directed to absolutely not look up while the boosting/insectile climbing was taking place. I'm very glad I peeked and saved that shit in my memory banks, because it was literally over in 5 seconds, she was up, we were in, and....yeah. Good times.


So......my question is: how do I explain this to the current occupant of 1315 Stillwood Dr, that this is why I'd like a picture or two of the house?



Klary said...

thank you... that's some good writing.

MEM said...

thank you...can't believe i hadn't written about that before. i thought of a few followups i need to cover as well...