In huge building to the left a dude in seventh grade had an album with poop on the cover. Sex Pistols, I think. Anyway, it scared me. Years later, Johnny Rotten threw a piece of ice at my head.
There’s L’Absinthe, which used to be Le Comptoir where I saw Claus Von Bulow. Got my bike tires pumped up there. That’s an attractive woman in the sushi place even though she makes me think of the Sigourney Weaver–narrated documentary about monkeys I just watched. (Don’t know this yet but several days later the chimp in Connecticut will go on his rampage. Maybe I’m clairvoyant.)
Sixty-eighth to 71st is grim and hideous. Took a French class there circa ’92. No idea why. Ran into a young socialite here and told her to touch my face ’cause I’d just had an invigorating shave at Paul Mole and she recoiled in horror. Since then I think I’ve lost that bounce in my step.
Threw soggies off that roof, where I lived for many years. Sailed ’em down onto taxis and did my best to avoid hitting old ladies. It was the ’70s. Had shopping bags full of them. Guy in penthouse caught us, yelled “Hey!” and we bolted. On way down stairwell we came upon a hundred or so Playboys, scooped them all up into the bags and while divvying them up in my bedroom, doorbell rang. It was the super, holding a Nerf ball with my name on it. Co-conspirator left it on the roof.
Seventy-second Street: Ouch. Plimpton’s place down there. Used to mow his lawn in Sagaponack. Didn’t get the internship at Paris Review, screwed up the interview. Who are your favorite poets? I don’t know, how about you name one? Wallace Stevens.
Updike died at 76, too. Even if it’s excruciating, think I’d rather do a six-month fade out die than in my sleep. There will be tons of Demerol and TV and food and people making a big fuss over me. Always loved attention. Been famous-ish since age 3. When you’re hot, you’re hot, when you’re not, you’re not, when you’re sitting on the pot you gotta give it all you got.
Seventy-third Street. The Somerset. Went to school with a guy whose dad played the white guy on The Jeffersons. Saw him at Russian Tea Room. One time I was there with Mom and a guy came up to our table and said, “I have to tell you, your son eats beautifully.”
KFC makes me think Engelberg sitting on the pot in Bad News Bears sequel. Look, another Equinox, another Brother Jimmy’s, and Pain Quotidiens on every block. Need to sit down, take a breather. Wait, what’s this? Bounce is a restaurant and a sports lounge? Well, that clinches it: New York City is still the cultural center of the universe.
Seventy-seventh Street: Wow, the street life of York Avenue sucks donkey balls! Cultural wasteland. Spoke too soon, there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts. Look, a Chinese and Japanese cuisine restaurant and free wine! Oh, “with dinner.” In case any winos get bright ideas.
Eighty-fifth Street: Angry middle-aged white guy outside Bailey’s pub. Didn’t make the right decisions early on. Thought he could be a ski bum and the ’70s would last forever. And now all you can do is scowl at me. I can relate. Seriously, would it have been that big a deal for me to get absolutely everything I ever wanted?
Not sure Vanilla is best of all possible names for a hair and spa place.