Wednesday, June 25, 2008

something to blog about

on monday evening, dustin and i went to a place from which we try to stay far, far away, that place being st. mark's. i remember when i first journeyed down to st. marks as a first-year. i expected it to be cheap and dirty and sleazy, but of course it was none of those things. anyway, we were in the neighborhood because ben's final dinner on the town was being held at kenka, which is this really intense japanese place that doesn't serve sushi. it was, as ben later remarked, a rather masochistic dining experience.

we walked in and the first thing i thought was, it smells like fish in here. we were seated, and the chairs were very rigid and very close to the ground. the din of other, less sober patrons made it difficult to hear. accordingly, we ordered a pitcher of kirin ichiban. the menu was large, unweildy, and splashed with unappetizing, unflattering photos of the often-intimidating dishes that kenka had to offer. one of the menus depicted a woman gagged and bound and looking none too pleased. we couldn't make sense of who she was or what she was doing on this menu, but we guessed that perhaps it had something to do with the dish advertised on the same page, the one called "rape blossoms," whatever those are. also on the menu was a pretty self-explanatory dish called bull penis.

nobody ordered anything too adventurous, with the exception of a small dish of raw squid mixed into a tapioca-like substance that was the same brownish color as refried beans. i can't remember who ordered it, but dustin was the only one who got it down. it remained untouched for the rest of the meal.

after we had downed a few pitchers of beer, we all began to embrace the oddities of the place: the japanese nationalist music, the rape-themed menus, the unclearly marked bathrooms (mens and ladies were designated by japanese characters), the racket, the weird bowl of squid tentacles on our table, backache-inducing chairs, and the persistently unsettling odor of fish. in the end, the food was decent and a good time was had by all, but it's the sort of place at which you have to exert yourself, similarly to mars bar, another delightfully unsavory venue. dives: what can i say, they are strangely exhausting.

speaking of seediness (or lack thereof), i was intrigued by an article in the new issue of new york mag about those annoying punk kids who hang out on st. mark's place and just won't give up the dream. the article is called "punk like them," and even though it's the same old familiar story about misguided youths traipsing downtown only to discover that the scene no longer exists, it still makes me sad for them anyway. on the way over to dinner, dustin and i saw the main "punk" in the article (the fellow with the leopard pants pictured below) swinging into a starbucks:

punk indeed, i told dustin.

he's probably just using the bathroom, he said.

still, points down. whatever happened to peeing on the street? and this is coming from somebody who has peed outside, at st. mark's place, without getting caught. did i mention that i am a female and therefore incapable of the doing the fast, easy, considerably more subtle act that is male public urination? peeing in the wild for a woman is a risky business, but if you get out alive it's like you get this weird, manic rush, much like the rush one experiences after finishing dinner at kenka. with your check, the waitress gives you a little cup of blue powder which you can pour into a cotton candy machine located out front. and so you just stand there outside with your cotton candy and your sugar rush, laughing with your friends and it feels like you've fought in a war, and when you get home you can all laugh at how surprised you were with yourselves, how you have simply no idea what came over you.

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