I was sitting alone at the two eleven restaurant and bar on West Broadway...thinking that its pretty ugly out there, and pretty ironic. All that remained for me now that my go-go years had subsided and all the glee had evaporated was a box of old, crinkled Dorothy Lamour photos and a tee shirt autographed by Camille Paglia.
I brooded...drinking wine then switching to Yoo-Hoos as my cash got low. Ugliness, irony, then -- topping it all off like some puffy dollop of Cool Whip -- a phone message brought to me by a surly waiter. Leesa, my roommate, (my mother would have been shocked - shocked!) had just chopped off a finger in the butchers buying half a leg of lamb. I thanked the waiter.
December is no longer perfect, I thought. Not the way December once was. Before puberty...before The Chimp Channel...before rampant neo-Dickensianism made sappy old customs like caroling and drinking eggnog seem like cheap, Hollywood affectations. I played solo point-counterpoint...trying to convince myself that the season still had much to offer -- gifts of free liquor from strangers...the sight of an army of Santas trudging to work each morning...the fact that it was the only month possible to order an Irish coffee without feeling like a hooker or a tourist. After all, I told myself, ritualized good cheer and ritualized generosity were better than none at all.
So I sat there, juicing it up and thinking I should probably get home to Leesa (my mother would have been shocked- shocked!) when Lorenzo Rabbit walked through the door. I instinctually tried to become as small as possible, holding my breath till he passed by -- and it worked -- he didn't notice me and I relaxed. I had known Lorenzo for years. He wasn't really a rabbit -- he worked for a mascot-leasing place and was assigned to some minor-league football team. He wore a really, really large furry rabbit costume. Lately Lorenzo had been having some problems. His costume was too big, and one morning as he tried to board a city bus to get to work it got wedged in the door. The head turned all the way around like Linda Blair's in "The Exorcist" and the right ear lost its flop, sagging along Rabbit's head like a cheap toupee. By the end of his bus ride Lorenzo Rabbit looked more like a mutant gutterbunny than a cheerful Rabbit. And so it was not surprising that when Rabbit approached a small boy at the game that day the child screamed and burst into tears. It was broadcast live, the whole ugly scene. I guess that was the last straw for the mascot-leasing company. Lorenzo Rabbit was canned. But in deference to his devoted service and singular ability to limbo-dance with a martini glass balanced on his forehead, the mascot company gave him a decent severance package -- the least they could do for a man that had viewed life through an air hole for 9 years.
But none of that matters...not anymore. I sat a bit longer, staring through the window at the dirty snow, and decided I'd best go home to Leesa. All of a sudden, I missed her terribly.
If my mother knew she would be shocked - shocked!