"Where to now?"
"To Big Eddie's. Get in the car."
"Yeah, this place is giving me the creeps though. People of means have dirty minds."
"I know what you're saying," I chucked my back pack in the back seat and reached over for the shotgun lock.
"Passive aggressive personalities are the ultimate downfall of humanity."
"How so?" I looked back into the driveway, my eyes affixing upon my neighbor's dead winter garden. In the summer it was so beautiful but now it was only a dying relative of its past. I could remember its beauty. What the eye lacks in perception of color the mind makes up for in iridescence.
"It is the socially acceptable manner in which those of the intelligent class exhibit their immature defense mechanisms."
"Interesting point," I said.
"Have you ever been sake bombing?" Jerry asked.
"No," I replied.
"Don't. It's awful."
"Ok, I'll remember that from now on."
"What is the bane of existence man?"
"No my man. It's women. It's always been women. Even upon the sproutings of tiny little meth labs hidden in the hills of Arizona men would still rather fuck women than any other activity given for preset initial conditions."
"A wise statement. You ever consider writing a book?"
"Yes, but I won't."
"Because it will have been done before."
"We've covered this. So why don't you write a book?"
"Because I'm lazy I guess. Do you like French New Wave?"
"Yes, very much so."
Eddie lives in north Jersey, I didn't know until Jerry mentioned it as I was locking my house door. His mom is one of those people who I would never associate myself with. All she was bequeathed with was ignorance and a horrible set of bones. I wouldn't know this until I made it to North Jersey and met Eddie for the first time.
"You know, people are caged within their trivial morality."
"I feel like you set up things in a very grandiose manner."
"I like the foreplay. Now, would you agree with this statement?"
"It is not all as trivial as you would like to think."
"Oh please. Anything short of killing or dismembering someone is innocent enough to me. These are the types of theoretical situations that people will not transcend no matter how long we survive in this barren waste of a universe."
"Why so morose?"
"The sun is coming up."
And from that point forward I associated the sunrise with depression.
As soon as the last syllable fell off Jerry's lips I felt the emptiness of a hangover. The tie between the sunrise and depression was now inextricable.
"There is only a small bank of emotions from which to draw upon at times like these. My mind is so hollow and the stomach follows."
"Yeah my stomach feels a bit queasy as well. We could smoke some grass."
"That may help."
I pulled off the next rest stop along 95 and I rolled one up in my lap. Here is where the denial sets in. My priors are only enough to make me tell myself I won't do stupid shit until I inevitably do stupid shit. Once the ball was rolling it didn't stop, it snowballed and went faster. In the back of my mind I know I'm doing the same old routine but I've resigned myself to a life of intermittent recidivism. If I were a religious man I would argue that hell is on earth and the joke is on us.
The first moments of a hangover are brilliant, that is until the context has been severed from the feeling.
"This is some good herb."
"It's ok. It's a bit dull for my taste."
"Not potent enough?"
"No," I shook my head, "more that I don't think all too much the way I'd like to when I smoke this stuff."
We talked about music and Hemingway for a bit then opened the windows as we rolled out of the parking lot and back on to 95 in order to air out the car. Every moment was punctuated and separated into a robotic sequence of scenes. The fluidity in life is gone when the drugs run out. A stimulus will leave staccato resignation upon our senses. Do I like my life more like this? No matter what I can't catch or run from death. It is both elusive and inescapable. I just hope the Cubs don't win it all before I die. I would like to die with that at least.
"You know," I began, breaking the long silence between us, retrieving us from deep thought from a novel perspective, "a lot of times I get excited about things."
"Yeah, like really mundane things. Well, I don't see them as mundane when I'm excited. It's like being at a party. I'm either riding the wave of emotion in the room or I'm watching everyone and wondering what it all means or why it really matters."
"You're mind is becoming too distant from your body. What you desire isn't being properly translated to your mind. I worry that it is because you lack the confidence to access what you want."
"You're talking about sex..."
"Amongst other things, but namely."
"A lot of people are freaked out by sincerity,"
I blurted out.
"So therefore it is hard to present yourself to people without them judging you or if you do relate to them there is too much dissonance over conflicting beliefs versus actions."
"Yeah for sure. Sometimes I can make relating to them a part of me but it always seems to go away. Maybe that's just the grass though."
"When I am hung over I think it is all very questionable. I can't move past myself, much less ponder higher intellect and my affiliation with aestheticism."
"Decadence is a process," I pointed out.
"And so you will find your passion again and then you will saturate your passion and then you will lose your passion. Then again. Then again."
"Yes. Right now is a refractory period for my life."
"Right, and it's too bad because I take Eric and Duane for granted under these circumstances," I said as the turnaround transitioned into a pure blues slide solo from Allman.
"I firmly believe and purport that some of the greatest feelings in life are those that are not necessarily enjoyable. There are times when I think and remember and think and become nostalgic for a past I will never recreate, or a future I will never experience. We are trapped in the shell of but one life, but that life is in itself so complex and wonderful that it is hard to digest at any given moment. And that is all life is, the current moment."
"Sometimes life is nothing but a cup of coffee."
We arrived at Big Eddie's house in North Jersey. His mother stayed mainly out of our way but I distinctly remember not liking her very much. Her views were either absent or objectively incorrect and her personality was transparent. What made it worse was that, despite her collection of antique mirrors, she couldn't see herself.
We stayed in the house for about half an hour. Big Eddie's mom brought out a tray of Italian meats with beers. We made small talk while ingesting the salty fat of San Danielle and Lardo, none of it with anything regarding my quest, then we left. His mother did not ask where we were going or why. It explained a lot.
The car was silent for the first few minutes as I continued north towards the city. It was as if we were allowing for Big Eddie to make his introduction before we said anything else, something out of a baseless respect. But Big Eddie kept looking out the window without saying a word. His face remained listless against the transience of decaying trees along the highway. He looked pissed off at those
Jerry had met Big Eddie in the city a few years back while he was just a late teenager. They both held jobs in a record store on 5th Ave. until Big Eddie got drunk at work and broke some recording equipment. Jerry said Big Eddie was a genius. He was quiet, but his prose was terse and effective. He was a bit too absurdist for Jerry's taste but Jerry said he made up for that in dormant aestheticism. Jerry was a sucker for paradoxes. Big Eddie, Jerry said, was to be our muse.
"That's a nice house you live in Ed - uh, Big - Big Eddie," I offered to the back seat.
"It is a house. It shelters me from the wind and cold and precipitation. There is no snow here. Only precipitation," his face still looked outside.
"Right. Well, nice nonetheless," I confirmed.
"Where are we going now? I would like to fornicate."
"Keep your pants on Big Eddie," Jerry said.
"Where are we going?" Big Eddie continued, "To Stella's?"
"Who's Stella?" I asked.
"Madame Stella that is," Jerry said.
"Oh. I would definitely like that," I admitted.
"The women there are delightful. They aren't so beautiful that you fall in love and forget your purpose there, but are not nearly so repugnant that you find yourself questioning your presence. And furthermore the class of customer at Stella's is phenomenal. The social room is always a breeding ground for intellectual conversationalists."
"Overly sentimental enthusiasts in my opinion," Big Eddie asserted.
"Oh lighten up Ed," Jerry said.
"Life is for shit."
"Muse?" I turned to Jerry.
"I have no response," Jerry admitted.
"It's all the fear of death or the insufferable wait for it. This is a very good song."
"There's the Ed I know and love!" Jerry yelled. "No, the meaning of life is to fuck. Or to die. I'm happier when I'm hung over."
I began to feel a surge of lust for life as we flew north on 95. The excitement was like the nascent panorama of the city. Then I was given that panorama and the excitement was consummate.
"What bothers you more than anything in your life?" Jerry asked me as we made our transition into the City. The cars were angry, flitting little machines, unaware of their perfunctory little habits. The first section of New York was a mixture of projects and transportation means. I would never want to live there. But as soon as you made it to Manhattan you couldn't help but acknowledge your senses, particularly visuals. Not even Big Eddie could deny the city.
worst feeling, the absolute worst, is when my ego wells and shadows what is real within my soul. That happens every fucking day."
"Many would contend that without the ego life is meaningless."
"As evidenced in the back seat," I said petulantly.
"I don't deny the truth," Big Eddie admitted.
"That is a very complex matter. Without the ego there is no individualism, no ambition. But with the ego you forget nature and that of which is outside of yourself. You lose sight of what is real and logical and mix it under the scope of what you want to see for yourself and your future. The best is a blend of the two. You must allow yourself to experience life under the pretenses for which are relevant to your life, while you must also experience times in which you are detached and calculative. Sex is the most important human act that falls under the umbrella of socializing, which is the most important activity concerning those above the poverty line. When you socialize, in order to maximize your potential you must bring both your ego, for without such you are bland and indifferent - no offense Ed - and you must also bring your knowledge of the truth, those things for which you have analyzed fairly and without a cushion with which to ease your fall upon the impact of such enlightening, yet potentially aversive topics. With a blend of these two you will be striking and effective. You cater to the people with your ego, leaving the door only ajar for those to peek into your personality, an admission of human nature, while with harsh truth and veritableness you will be looked upon in awe for how you so nonchalantly acknowledge that of which none of us wants to acknowledge. The people will marvel at your seemingly pedantic, docile manner, and how that surface, conformed personality can not in reality live in symbiosis with such a progressive mind. Thus is the main of what I call an interesting person. You are letting your ego overshadow your individualism, thus corrupting your ego. They must be comparable."
"Does the immediacy ever relent between the teacher and the student?" I asked.
"Yes, it will. It will have to in order to prove your competence. Think of that as field tests."
"I look forward to it."
Keywords: Long, Conversation, Car, Jerry
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