Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fast Food Disasters: When Hunger, Drunkenness, and Despair Collide

On monday night I was so hungry and toasted and tired and angry that I went to McDonald's. I "ate my feelings." I even got bacon on my Quarter Pounder. I ate it on my stoop despite the fact that it was raining a little. I sat there and shoved a burger and fries into my face. I didn't even care that maybe my food was getting wet. It was a fast food disaster. A minor fast food disaster, but a fast food disaster nonetheless.

You may be wondering what the difference is between simply eating fast food and having a fast food disaster. Well, I'll tell you. Whenever you are on the go during your busy day and only have time to pop into whatever eating establishment is closest and most convenient to get a quick bite, that is no disaster. To be sure, you are committing an act of violence upon your body by ingesting this food. Sorry, as awful as it sounds, it's the truth. However, there is nothing nihilistic and/or inherently ridiculous about what you have just done. A fast food eating experience is elevated into a disaster when the following elements come together:

You normally don't eat fast food, but now you want fast food really, really, really badly because you are WASTED and it seems like a great idea because you are hungry. Really, really, really hungry. Which brings me to the next element:

You wouldn't feel this way if you had eaten a proper meal before going to all those bars you just went to. You would have been able to afford to do both were you not working a shitty job, and you wouldn't feel so shitty about your shitty job if you hadn't been working there for as long as you had. Hence:

Nothing matters, guys. Let's get two Big Macs and a giant dolphin tank-sized cup of Sprite. I don't even care how fat and/or constipated this will make me feel in the morning.

There you have it: the trifecta of badness. Prepare yourself, for you are about to embark onto some epic meal time shit.  I think that fast food disasters are the eating equivalent to binge drinking. The glee with which you will devour your food will disturb you in the morning. But, as is the case with many wild nights, it will also make you laugh your ass off. Or could it be that are we laughing to keep from crying?

I first recognized that fast food disasters were an actual thing right after Hurricane Sandy hit. As you recall, there was no subway service for a few days and we had to take the bus everywhere. Which is fine- I love the bus. But that's neither here nor there. The point is, I'd been drinking for hours with some friends of mine in South Williamsburg. The fucked-up nature of the storm and all of the havoc it wreaked drove us to drink, but we also overindulged because we were all going completely stir-crazy. When the night finally wound down, I walked to Borinquen Place to get the B60 bus home. That's when I saw it: The golden arches. That's when I realized: I am fucking HUNGRY and goddammit, I refuse to dip back into the vat of homemade lentil soup that i've been subsisting on for the past two days. 

So, I went inside and ordered food. I didn't go too crazy: I got a double cheeseburger and jammed out of there. I walked to the bus stop and what do you know, there's the B60! There's the B60... and it's pulling away. NOOOOO I thought, and I ran like a bastard. Busses are slow, right? They are hulking, lumbering pieces of machinery. Surely I could sprint five blocks or whatever ridiculous short distance that the average bus travels before it stops again.

Well, as you can guess, I wasn't as capable of this as I thought. I almost made it, but then it pulled away again. Undeterred, I kept running, hoping to catch it at the next stop. Again: failure. I gave up. I sat on a stoop with my burger. Before I bit into it, I took a moment to reflect on my life. I had just drunkenly run after a bus with a sack of fast food in my hand. Something about it seemed/seems very gross to me. I need to make some changes, I thought, sinking my teeth into my delicious/terrible/delicious burger.

Predictably, those changes I planned on making did not end up happening. A few months later, after drunk shopping at Brooklyn Night Bazaar and paying a visit to a friend off the Gates stop on the J, starvation set in. I was with my best girl, Kelly. We wanted fried chicken but fried chicken was nowhere to be found. Hark: in the distance we saw a- you guessed it- MCDONALD'S FRANCHISE. Jesus Christ, they are everywhere and I am doomed. Anyway, we approached this reprehensible mecca of crap and were devastated to discover that they were only serving people who were getting drive-through. Even though we knew it would be fruitless, we walked up to the microphone and tried to get somebody's attention. Of course, we were ignored. "Now what?" we wondered. But not for long: a green SUV pulled up beside us. The driver's window rolled down and a guy leaned out and asked us what we wanted. He offered to order it for us from his car so we could eat. Kelly and I high-fived and told the dude what we wanted. We gave him our money and hung out next to the car while he pulled up to the necessary windows.

As we waited for our food, K and I both agreed on something: this was the stupidest thing we had ever done.

While we were in line, a group of gay dudes approached us on foot. They were also hungry and about to have a fast food disaster that was on another level (you'll see what I mean momentarily). "How did you guys do that?" they asked. "We tried to order but nobody paid attention to us."

We explained to them that they needed to find somebody in a car to help them out as we had done. They were like, "okay," and went to the back of the line to wait for somebody to pull up. Meanwhile, Kelly and I got our food, thanked our guardian angel, and sat down on the curb next to a giant dumpster. Yeah: a dumpster. We reiterated to one another that this was, by far, the dumbest thing we'd ever done. Then we dove into our 20-piece Chicken McNuggets/Double Cheeseburger/large Coke/large fries with a level of gusto that some might find unsettling.

In the middle of gorging on all this shit, we spied the gay dudes walking across the parking lot towards us. The guy who was the most wasted was leading the pack. "Please!" he called, "there is nobody pulling up to the window! I'm so hungry!"



"No way, get your own!" said Kelly. "We worked hard for these fries!"

The dude was pleading and pleading as his friends began leading him away and mouthing apologies to us behind his back. The despair was palpable. I suppose we could have given him a french fry but quite frankly it kind of freaked us out how desperate he was. Like I said before, these dudes had fallen into a fast food disaster that had eclipsed our own. The only thing worse than eating a shit-ton of fast food while wasted is not eating ANY fast food while wasted and hating life because of it. Getting led away by your friends has got to be the cherry on top of the whole thing. Oh well. I suppose they probably didn't feel as shitty as we did the next morning. I had to go to work. Needless to say, it proved to be a rough shift.

Luckily, these are the only two (three?) fast food disasters of this caliber that I have experienced. It is getting dicey, though. I live right next to a twenty-four hour McDonald's. I have been going through this phase where I suck at going to the grocery store. As you can see, this is a recipe for a fast food disaster. It is up to me to stop the cycle. Today i dropped forty bucks at Food Bazaar in the hope that I will stop being lazy and get back into the habit of making my own meals in the comfort of my own home. When I wake up in the morning after having been out late the night before, I sometimes feel badly about the things I've done: kicking over traffic cones, falling down, sending hostile text messages, flirting with people I wouldn't normally flirt with, breaking things, losing things- all of this does not happen often, and when it does I get over it fairly quickly, but it still feels kind of shitty to think about for the first half of the day. I am still young, and I feel that I am not doing anything wrong. However, if I can eliminate something that makes me feel gross in the morning, I think it's worth it. Instant gratification proves not to be so gratifying in the end, and how much longer would it actually take for me to just get my ass home and make a sandwich? I'm happy to say that I did as much last night. Not bad for three in the morning, I'd say. 


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Another Long Walk

"my favorite thing is to go where i've never been."
-diane arbus

Last summer I went on a walk. Originally, it was my intention to walk from the apartment building I lived in at the time to another building, one that I almost lived in. The reason I didn't end up living in this building is because the roof was caving in, as we discovered on the day we signed the lease. It was very rainy that day and there was water cascading down the staircase when my almost-roommates entered the building. (We never spoke to one another again after the debacle was resolved.) I decided to take a walk over there to reflect on the whole episode, maybe take some pictures and file them away for a future piece of writing.

It took me about twenty minutes to walk to the building. I found, to my disappointment, that the sight of the building did not rouse any significant emotion in me. I took some photographs and it all felt completely perfunctory, completely arbitrary. It was very hot that day, but it was dry heat, and the wind was hot, too, and it felt good. I didn't want to go home. I wanted to see more than this building, to which I never managed to attach myself in any significant way. I decided to keep walking and to keep taking pictures. The possibility of me getting lost was real because I did not have an iPhone back then and plus my sense of direction is not always so good. But, I suppose one's sense of adventure sometimes prevails over one's sense of direction.

I walked all the way from Wilson avenue to Bedford avenue. All told, it took me about three hours, what with stopping to take pictures and also to drink a beer at Bodega. I wasn't entirely sure that I knew the way, but I found the way. It was all very significant for me, but even now I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it was the thrill of finally fully realizing where I was and how to get to where I wanted to go. One half of it was based on what I knew, the other on intuition. Whatever, it's the subject for another post. What I want to talk about in THIS post is my latest long walk.

On saturday I woke up X-TREMELY hungover and for some reason I thought it would be a great idea to get a giant iced coffee and a Double Cheeseburger from McDonald's for breakfast (???????????). After that I watched several hours of Arrested Development on Netflix, and then I decided to take a nap. After my nap, I was like, "okay, this is getting ridiculous." I wanted to take a walk, but I didn't want to go on the same walk I'd gone on last summer. I wanted to walk somewhere I'd never walked before. I decided to walk to where Newtown Creek begins (ends?) in Bushwick. I packed up my camera and my smokes and began my journey from my new home in Ridgewood. HIT IT:

This is in Ridgewood, somewhere on Cypress Avenue. It has occured to me that I should be taking notes as to exactly where I shot all of these things. Anyway, I wanted to get a better angle on this tasteful garden decoration but I heard somebody open the door and I got scared and ran away.

Still in Ridgewood. 

Super kewl sign for a bar that is no more. I wish somebody could reopen it and restore the sign but that would equal more white people which would equal shittier rent so oh well.

(*not actually johnson avenue)

Eventually Cypress Avenue turned into Johnson Avenue. The tree-lined street gave way to a vast corridor of lofts and warehouses. I've never extensively walked down Johnson Avenue before. Crossing the street was stressing me out because there are like, huge trucks everywhere:

Well, these trucks are parked. But you get the idea: THEY'RE EVERYWHERE and they can't wait to to try to RUN YOU OVER.

I like graffiti on trucks because it's the closest thing to subway art that we'll ever see in this city right now. Having said this, I must admit that I am not a huge enthusiast of street art. However, whenever I'm walking around with my camera I always feel that I can't NOT take pictures of it when i see it. 

After traipsing down Johnson, I had to make a left on Varick Street, which smelled like unholy garbage. It was very desolate. I decided that it might be a good idea to take my headphones off, despite the fact that I was walking around in broad daylight. Perhaps a bit overly cautious, but whatever. Anyway, it would be a while before I actually saw newtown creek. Until I hit Metropolitan Avenue, the entire left side of the street was a "no trespassing" zone. The Department of Sanitation had a monopoly on that shit.

Walking down Varick was not so interesting. Not much to be seen besides sanitation vehicles, mostly-empty parking lots, and a bunch of industrial-looking buildings that obscured the view of the creek. These were the only two things of immediate interest on Varick Street:


Nothin' like some indoor furniture parked all up in an outdoor setting. I support this.


It scared the shit out of me. I had just finished taking the preceding picture when I turned around to go on my way. As it turned out, there was a rat sitting directly in my path. I almost screamed (I hate them so much), but then I realized it was dead and instead of screaming I was just like, "oh my god!" I did what any sane human being does when confronted with a dead animal: I took a thousand pictures of it. I kept having to inch closer to the rat to get a better shot. Some guy drove by on his bike and probably thought I was a psycho. Even though the rat was dead I was still afraid of it.  Every time a car drove by the flies went crazy. Look how bloated that thing is! Gross. I think it was a boy rat.

Anyway, I walked and walked and walked and walked and I began to think that I was in the wrong place and would never see Newtown Creek. But then I reached Metropolitan Avenue.

BOOM. There it was. I was kind of disappointed to find that the Gowanus Canal is way smellier. Whatever. North Brooklyn wins in so many more ways.

Newtown Creek: not much to see in the end. I was not even very psyched about possibly becoming radioactive because I probably already am, having dated a dude who lives in Gowanus. Radioactivity: OVER. LAME. Next!

Speaking of next... what was next? I was "helluv" hungry. I decided that the only thing that could save me was a Mother's burger. But first...

Haha. Just kidding! Can you imagine!?*

(*Contrary to what the above statement may imply, the author admits to having been to pumps and enjoying herself kinda sorta a lot-a.)


On my way to Mother's I saw a potted plant on top of a minivan.

A mechanic wanted to be a photo star.

And I found out who to call whenever I need A REAL GOOD PLUMBER.

I was simply famished by the time I got to Mother's! I ordered a veggie burger and a Mexican Coke. I applauded myself for not ordering beer. When I was sufficiently sated, I thought about how I'd get home. The thought of riding the subway sounded repulsive to me. The previous day was so rainy and it was too beautiful outside to possibly go underground. Even though I knew my feet/legs would hurt by the end, I decided to walk back to Ridgewood.

So, I walked all the way home, all along that path. Metropolitan to Humboldt to Grand to Bushwick to Siegel to Bogart to Flushing to Wyckoff. I like walking down Siegel Street because I like to pretend I'm in another state. Sometimes it makes me feel like I'm in Indiana.

(*this is from last year's long walk)

The last thing of interest I came upon was a Harley Davidson rally at Cobra Club:

Why didn't I go inside!? I vow to never overlook another Bushwick Harley Davidson rally EVER AGAIN, cross my heart and hope to die.

And then I turned onto St. Nicholas and walked the rest of the way home.

I always feel the need to close out any piece of nonfiction writing with some big lesson about life, but the only thing I have to say about all of this is that WALKING IS AWESOME and that you should walk as long and as far as you possibly can whenever you can. Walk someplace you have never been before! It will be worth it, even if the only interesting thing you happen upon is a rat carcass. You can get some real good thinking done on a long walk, don't you know.


popgun booking

oh, sweet. i can see SLAVVE and JIIIIIM all in ONE NIGHT. BITCHIN'.