“Will I die if I do this?” I whispered frantically into the phone from a toilet stall in Long Branch, New Jersey. “This” meaning the little packet of white powder I nearly dropped into the bowl. 1970. 1990. 2020. Some things never change. People are still clumsily dropping little packets of white powder into toilet bowls, especially after several double shots of Don Julio.
“This guy is crazy,” she said. “It’s a Tuesday during a pandemic. I’m frightened for what he’s like on a Friday.”
“I don’t think it’s his typical Tuesday,” I said, although how much do you really know about someone you met a half-hour ago? On Tinder?
“What happened to the anesthesiologist? Did he dump you for yelling GET ME THE MICHAEL JACKSON DRUG”
“No, and that was a joke. He’s on his boat. He’s always on his boat.
This boating thing is like a rich white people epidemic. All summer, I was turning down boat invites. I get seasick and not in a cute “baby, please get me a ginger ale” way. In a “horking over the side of the boat while praying for death” kind of way. I didn’t understand half of what these guys were talking about anyway. Boat-speak sounds like Klingon. The only thing I know is, “I like the cut of your jib” and “Chips ahoy!” which I’m pretty sure doesn’t even count.
I had just started dating again, after taking off 18 months. Anyone who online dates will understand why I needed a break. It’s emotionally draining. For every fifty people you match with, you will find one plausible candidate. Online dating, however, is quite convenient during a quarantine. You can lose your faith in humanity in the privacy of your own home.
Online dating hadn’t changed, only this time I was different. I was selfish about who I gave precious free time to. I won’t spend time with douchebags, when I have important things to do like watch Mark Maron talk to his cat on Instagram.
Now when they annoyed me, I deleted them rather than date them. They revealed themselves early in the conversations:
“Are you bikini ready?” – Sexist asshole. Delete
“Let’s meet at Home Depot” – Is this a date or an episode of Design on a Dime? Delete
“What are you cooking?” – For a second date? Delete
“There really is no pandemic. This whole thing is a hoax.” – Scary Tinfoil Hat Conspiracy Guy. Delete and Block.
“I think Trump is fantastic” – Block, delete, and wish him dick cancer.
The man I was out with hadn’t said or done anything annoying, and furthermore, he wasn’t afraid to make dinner plans. So many men are scared they’ll get stuck picking up a dinner bill for someone who isn’t Playmate of the Month. That’s a man’s biggest online dating fear – that the woman will be 20 pounds heavier than her pictures. My biggest online dating fear is that I’ll end up in trapped in a cage by a psycho who’s dancing around with his dick tucked in while cutting a McCall’s sewing pattern to make a dress out of my skin. But this guy made reservations at a swanky lobster place on the beach, and although he didn’t know it, it was the night before my birthday.
When we first sat down, I ordered white wine, but after he ordered a double shot of Don Julio tequila with lime juice, I caved. Tequila is my kryptonite. Over dinner he showed me a bag of edibles he had gotten in California (did he fly home with those? Are edibles easy to smuggle? Asking for a friend). He also presented me with my own little baggie of cocaine (he had 10 of them) and suggested I go into the bathroom to powder my nose.
My date was funny, confident, talkative, just like someone with a snout full of cocaine should be. He threw around hundred dollar bills like they were condoms at Planned Parenthood. He tipped the waitress $100 before we even ordered. He’s that guy. I know, I know, things are really BAD for people these days. I shouldn’t be condoning such a vulgar display of reckless extravagance, but I found him highly entertaining. He had that “joie de vivre,” which is French for “Republican tax loophole.”
The problem with being a degenerate is that it’s impossible to turn down drugs, even when you’re middle-aged and at a five-star restaurant. No one would ‘just say no’ to blow while watching the sunset over the beach, eating lobsters the size of puppies. Well, maybe some people would, but those are people with 401k plans. My financial plan is “work till I die.” Which brings us current to my phone call from the restaurant bathroom. No, gentle reader, I did not have a heart attack. What I did have was a trickle of white snot dribbling out of my nose onto an upper lip I couldn’t feel, and the ability to drink myself senseless without passing out. Remember those days?
We closed down the restaurant at 10pm, and he said,”LET’S GO TO ATLANTIC CITY,” and because I’m me, I said “SURE” Which is how I wound up hurtling along the New Jersey Turnpike at 11 pm on a Tuesday in a spaceship disguised as a Mercedes. When we got in his car, we face-timed with his two teenage sons so I would know he was not a serial killer, but don’t serial killers have families? I would have gone anyway. Who am I to turn down an opportunity to gamble in Atlantic City in the middle of the night with a cokehead Tinder date on a random Tuesday? You don’t just walk out of a Bret Easton Ellis novel.
On the two hour drive down we ate edibles, and he was playing Grateful Dead live concert tapes, which, if you know the Dead, contain no songs. Just long drugged-out jams which went perfectly with driving 90 miles an hour on a deserted highway in a posh Benz he had taken back from his ex-wife after she fucked the pool boy. The seats were massaging me – did you get that? The SEATS WERE GIVING ME AN ASS MASSAGE – and the instrument panel was flashing and beeping like we were on the deck of the Starship Enterprise. The whole experience reminded me of tripping my ass off at college, except in a car that cost more than my education. Very surreal.
Midnight, speeding along the New Jersey turnpike at 90mph, and I fantasize myself as Jackson Pollock. Drunk, angry, careening down the road in East Hampton, losing control at a curve, car plunging into the woods rolling over and over. Pollock at the driver’s seat, decapitated. A death like that is cinematic enough to suit me, except it’s only an artist’s death if you’re an acknowledged artist when it happens.
1:00 am on a Tuesday, and the casino was packed with debauched gamblers. Why? How? For what reason? I was filled with questions that I answered by ordering more double shots of tequila. “I’ll only blow a thousand dollars before I call it a night,” he said and began stuffing fifties into the slot machine.
And that’s how I wound up playing Wheel of Fortune in an Atlantic City casino till the sun rose into a gray milky dawn, the morning of my birthday. By that time, the edibles had kicked in, the room was breathing, and I was certain I’d find the meaning of life in the patterns in the carpet.
Please don’t think I have an exciting life. I was so bored during lockdown I started teaching my dog to do new tricks, only I don’t have a dog, so what was that about? I spent the last six months quarantined with a teenager. With a TEENAGER, people. The most dangerous thing I did was eat a gently expired cantaloupe.
This was a night reminiscent of the old days before I’d moved out of the city and become a Mother and a Responsible Human Being. It was an attempt to recapture something that I know is long gone, if only for a night.
I’m friends with my date, who I affectionately refer to as “The Human Snowblower” but I haven’t continued dating him because I don’t want to die. We text occasionally and when he mentions getting together, I make excuses, like “I can’t because I don’t want to die.”
But damn, that night was fun.
And I’ll never be that young again.
It’s been a minute, and I’ve missed all of you. Talk to me.
Okay, MAYBE your life isn’t super exciting, but it’s more exciting than mine. This was fun to read. Also, I’m glad you aren’t going to go out with him anymore because I don’t want you to die. XOXOXOXOXOOXO
Much longer than a minute. I was worried. Sounded like a blast of an evening. Don’t do it again. Keep saying “I’m a grown up now”. But yeah, now and again I miss ‘fun’ like hell.
My god I needed to hear about real Fun which is so far back in my life I Know I did crazy shit and survived but thinking about it makes me tired!
“Because I don’t want to die” at this point has become my go to line 🤦🏻♀️😂
You are my hero for going and sharing!
This single mama to a 10 year old (& I’m almost 50!) is so damn dull now and you are a fucking rockstar!
I’ve definitely missed your sharing you fabulous soul!
Keep Hope Alive!
Happy belated birthday!!
Ah the glory days, the gory days.
The fondly remembered drugged out days.
Would I relive one of those wild nights, one more time? Probably not. But I do look back and smile. I survived. Fun was had. And that is good enough for me.
Good to read your words again!
Happy Birthday!!! I feel hungover for you. Glad you had a good time cruising down memory lane, but be safe. I dabbled in the white devil powder back in the 80s. Thankfully I was broke and couldn’t afford to develop the addiction I knew was there if I’d only had the money. Glad you’re back, you’re an amazing writer.
This is Fucking Hysterically Hilarious! And Wonderful! And Awesome!
THIS IS EXCELLENT WRITING!!!
I cannot stop laughing.
I met my fourth wife and my most recent Girlfriend on eHarmony.
(I finally left her. Both of them actually)
I can relate!
I SIMPLY MUST SHARE THIS. WOW!
Well, WP and Facebook are both broken, so I am just gonna copy-pasta your Url…. I loved this story. You made my day! Thank you.
Well, Happy Birthday. I’m glad you had fun and survived the night (Dying in the middle of the party is SUCH A BUMMER!). Missed you too.
I love you. I miss you. And goddamn I adore reading your stories.
wow! What ever excitement you lacked during quarantine that certainly made up for it. I can’t even imagine. My life is so boring. I do not have stuff like this to write about. I haven’t even lived enough to get all the analogies, but also I don’t want to die either so maybe that’s a good thing. fun post, glad you are okay. 🙂 I too, love Tequila.
Happy Birthday! Glad you had fun and are alive to tell another story.
Currently the excitement in my life is deciding whether or not to take a part-time job at my chiropractor’s office where the interview gave me serious Keith Raniere, bitchy-harem vibes. I’d trade for a night of death-defying car trips, drugs & tequila any day LOL 😉
I’ve missed this blog! ❤
You’ve been missing for a long time too!!!
Aw, thanks! 🙂 How are you!? Yeah, I’ve been offline for a long while.
Sounds like a different job too. Hope all is well – or as well as is currently possible.
Same job – just slightly reorganized for this COVID nightmare Thanks and same goes for you ❤
I loved this post! However, I’m glad you don’t want to die so you will keep writing and entertaining us. I’ve missed your posts! And… Happy Birthday!! ❤
Sounds like a blast! And yes, one night was probably definitely enough.
Reminds me of a few decades back when I was single and had a handful of dates with a friend’s coworker. He was nice and we had fun times, and when he asked me to accompany him to Atlantic City for a weekend I thought, why not? Sadly, his car’s transmission blew and he cancelled our weekend. It wasn’t too many dates more that I realized there were too many red flags and I moved on. Fast forward a few decades and I met a woman who became my spiritual mentor and who is crazy psychic. One day as she was telling me about a guardian in spirit who hung with me when I was single, dating, (and often stupid), she saw that my guardian had a hand in making sure I didn’t go to Atlantic City that weekend with the guy. She saw that if I’d gone, I would have either been gravely injured or ended up dead. Needless to say, I’ve never been.
Did you ever figure out where that dog came from?
What a coincidence, I broke out of quarantine jail by online dating too. Didn’t meet any human snowblowers who took me on a spaceship to Atlantic City. Nope, just your run of the mill borderlines and narcissists; creations of exes who were cheats, abusers, and assholes. Who doesn’t love being love-bombed, ghosted, and gaslighted by perfect strangers for shits and giggles, right? Dating sure beat watching reruns of Full House because I’d binge-watched everything else on Netflix, Prime, Crave, and Crackle.
Well. That was worth the wait. I’ve been sitting out of the WordPress game for a few years now. Good to find you still here when a lot of the old voices have faded into the canyon. Stay hungry!
I LOVE this post. Had to revisit.
Samara, I’d love to reblog this, but I would never do that without your blessing and your permission. Let me know…Gracias.
Samara, why did you ‘un-follow’ my blog? That really hurt.
I didn’t unfollow you or anyone! I haven’t been on WordPress in ages. Is there a ghost in the machine?
Wow! Your primal energy took over, I see. So relatable. Sometimes that’s very much needed. Glad you had fun and came to your senses, until the next time?