Friday, October 17, 2008

Alaska Daze #1

For those of you following my comics as compulsively as I've been posting them, you may already know the story...

Saturday is Alaska Day. It is observed on Friday this year (today). That meant that the celebrating began last night.

Miss D organized a night of Alaska trivia and Alaskan prizes at the 'Vous, while the Alaskan stayed chill with the usual open mic. Though unintentional, I was wearing xtra-tuffs that day and as I decided going home before going out was pointless (in hindsight, I wish I had made the trip) I actually went to a bar wearing xtra-tuffs. Whoa.

I won an oversized Alaska mug during the first round of trivia and then brought it to the Alaskan with me to see the formerly missing Miss A. Miss A's BF Mr. C (this does get absurd, doesn't it?) ordered me a drink IN THE GIANT MUG! Tanqueray and Tonic in a giant mug? Oh heeeeyyyy! I also had the pleasure of sampling some 80's themed shots for the 80's party at the AK tonight. I recommend "Time after Time" but warn people that "Psycho Killer" may be very aptly named. The happy couple left fairly early, unfortunately, but not before Mr. C declared that he was going to hook me up with one of his friends who has a plane. Whether or not there is any hope for this is beyond me, but I will give Mr. C credit for being the one who introduced me to Mr. MM. I was baited into a political discussion by a supposed democrat who is supposedly leaning toward McCain but was saved by Mr. C and the arrival of Mr. Boss. Mr. Boss had been involved in a power hour with the other regionals, so he was already pretty drunk, but we sipped on drinks (another giant G&T!) and discussed Sex and the City (which was on the television).

When regular bar close hit, Mr. Boss and I headed across the street to the 'Vous again, where I was pulled into a round of Rock-Paper-Scissors in true 'vous style. I lost to the former love of a former roommate but had my giant mug of gin and tonic to console me. I also had lovely bartenders and friends around. Miss AB and I made breakfast plans toward the end of the night before Mr. Boss and I walked up the hill toward our respective homes. We stopped at the office briefly, but as I didn't need anything there (at least I didn't suspect I needed anything at this point) I sat on the stoop and waited.

Rendez-crew + a creeper or two - Winter 07-08

Once I made it back to my apartment and Mr. Boss had undoubtedly made it back to his sooner, I discovered that my keys were not in my purse. I discovered this standing, but just to be sure, I sat down on the steps in our covered entry and removed every item from my purse and felt in the corners and in every pocket. No keys. I did have everything else, so I texted my roommate with an apologetic plea to let me in. No response. Then I texted Mr. Boss with a plea to open the office so I could get my keys (which I had remembered leaving on my desk after a coffee break with Miss B). No response. Then I sent a text message to someone living near enough that I felt I had the strength to reach. No response. Then I thought about homeless people sleeping in entries and figured I could do the same until Miss J left for work. I curled up with my purse, my giant Alaska mug, and used my arm to cushion/protect my head from the filthy carpet. After what felt like only a few moments, my arm was obnoxiously sore. I repositioned myself a couple times, felt sorry for myself a bit, compared myself to people living hungry on the streets, and then I knocked on the door. I knocked again. Miss J, sleepy-faced and disoriented opened the door and frowned - undoubtedly upset to have been awoken less than two hours before her alarm to let in a drunk me.

I crawled into bed to sleep for four and a half hours before throwing on jeans, a Kodiak Coat Co. fleece, and my Xtra-tuffs (in honor of Alaska Day(s)) and met Miss AB at the Sandpiper for some delicious breakfast.

The amount of time spent in the entry: 1 hour.
The amount of pity for myself: Way too much.
The validity of a comparison to a street person: Not at all.

But speaking of my hour of homelessness:

I have become incredibly bitter toward the homeless* lately. Case in point: While walking to the Piper I took the stairs from Distin to the alley that connects with Willoughby. Usually this traipse down the grated steps smells like pot, but today the smell of - feces - a very strong odor of feces. When I neared the end of the steps, I saw it. A pile of POOP. Of course the ravens, who are drawn to anything fetid or festering, were surrounding it. And of course, the rain, which is constantly falling from the sky anywhere from a mist to a torrential downpour has caused a stream of waste to trail down the slanted road. Dis. Gus. Ting.

I remember my freshman year of college clearly. I took an anthropology class with this handsome visiting professor who did his dissertation on homelessness. We had a whole segment on homelessness in the class, we read a book called Shelter Blues and we visited Dignity Village in Portland. He lived on the streets for three or six months to research his dissertation and he made homeless people seem less creepy and more human.

More recently though, I remember tending bar during the daytime when homeless people, drunk on hooch, would stagger into the bar, reaking of alcohol and filth, spending pan-handled cash on alcohol instead of food or lodging, dozing off in corners, filling the bathrooms with stench, leaving without flushing the toilet, drinking in stalls, wretching in the toilets, and being generally horrifying examples of the lowest lows of human life. I remember getting cat calls on the streets, being begged for money, and asked for cigarettes. I remember the man who pushes his wheelchair up the hill when he is done pan-handling. I remember the piss and the shit and the filth and the disrespect and the alcoholism and the wretchedness.

*When I think about it, I can still differentiate between the drunken street people and the people who have some amount of self respect but no means. It is just hard sometimes to not get bitter and upset when the most glaringly obvious specimens are the most awful.

So, knowing that I am not some poor, disenfranchised, truly down and out person, I cannot really compare my hour of dozing in an entry with homelessness. Were I really left with no other options I could have booked a hotel with my debit card or called some other friends. I'm not down and out. I am a diva. An absent-minded diva with a penchant for strong spirits.

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