Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Randomness: A Conversation Between a Man and His Cheesesteak

“Please, please, please, you have to bring me back a cheesesteak from Pat’s,” a voice on the end of the line pleaded.
“Alex, it’s a two hour trip back and the thing’s going to be a soggy mess by the time I get back.”
“I don’t care.”
“It’s going to grow bacteria on the ride back and you’re going to get e. coli and shit yourself.”
“I don’t care.”
“Dysentery. Ebola. Mono. Cold onions. It’s going to be disgusting. I’m not bringing you back that sandwich.”
“Yes you are.” (Insert Jedi Mind Trick here.)

“Okay, fine, I’ll bring you the sandwich.”

(Goddamn you Alex.)
As ya'lls already know, I'm currently living on the Lower East Side with my wingman and polyamorous ex-lover a few blocks from Alex, the guy I was going to marry but bolted on when I (and then we) realized the walls of our sheltered suburban existence were closing in faster than the giant, swampy trash compactor that almost killed Luke and the gang in Star Wars. Remember that backstory? No? I wrote this post about it? And this one? And this? Still nothing, huh? Then you clearly haven’t been reading this blog and landed here via Google Images by accident, probably by searching the phrase “face herpes.” (Seriously. You would not believe the amount of traffic I get from those keywords. It’s really disturbing.) 
Anyway. Given the circumstances, a lot of people have politely asked recently how Alex and I are able to coexist they way we do--which is quite happily, at the moment, even with sandwich related demands--given all that’s happened. Some of it comes from living six blocks apart, sharing a social circle and having joint custody over a pit bull with the sweetest fucking smile you’ve ever seen...when you’re logging that much face time, you learn to coexist because the alternatives (stony silence, battles outside Alphabet City bars, passive aggressive Facebook statuses, etc.) are excruciating. 
Some of it comes from the amount of history we have: six-ish years, on and off, as lovers; three as a live-in couple; seven as the type of wingmen that get arrested and bail each other out of jail. (His was a felony charge, mine was a misdemeanor...just sayin’.) All seven years included him caring for me, sometimes alone, during bouts with a chronic degenerative illness, which is the kind of nightmare that bonds people beyond what anyone who hasn’t been through it personally can understand.
But mostly, it’s shit like the conversation above, and the subsequent one that's below. Sometimes, people get you, maaaaan.And when they do, embrace their randomness.
A little while back, I took a trip to Philadelphia with new roomie Duchess. Duchess didn’t know it at the time she extended the invite, but it’s been a decade-long tradition dating back to college for members of this social circle to blaze entirely too many medicinal herbs, wake up in a clouded munchie-haze at 2am and decide it’s time to drive across two states for that fair city’s ubiquitous sandwich item, order and eat said sandwich, smoke again, then order another sandwich to eat on the way home. Ten years of recreational drug abuse and binge eating is just the sort of thing Alex can get behind. He’s helmed at least two of those artery-clogging voyages in the past. So I was prepared when that pathetic, pleading call came through.
Two days later, the cheesesteak, ordered from Pat’s (where a bungled order can get you kicked to the back of the line), was still sitting in my fridge at work, waiting in some sort of clotted-cheese purgatory for Alex to come eat it. It was abandoned snack-baby wrapped in parchment paper and left in the dumpster to die after a difficult delivery. (Have you ever tried to transport one of these things intact across state lines and two different subway exchanges in heels? It’s harder than it sounds.)

By 5pm, I’d had enough.
Polly: (5:04:42 PM): ALEX.
Polly: (5:04:48 PM): This is your cheesesteak calling.
Polly: (5:04:52 PM): Hey baby, what's good?
Polly: (5:05:02 PM): I hear you ate at a vegetarian restaurant the other night.
Polly: (5:05:10 PM): I was really hurt, but I understand.
Polly: (5:05:14 PM): You're in the lower east side now...
Polly: (5:05:19 PM): ...hanging out with all those hippies...
ALEX: (5:05:24 PM): hahhaha
Polly: (5:05:29 PM): ...but, like, you know, i thought we had a thing going on.
Polly: (5:05:35 PM): All those memories.
Polly: (5:05:43 PM): Remember when you used to drive to visit me in Philly?
Polly: (5:05:51 PM): and cradle me in your arms?
Polly: (5:06:00 PM): sometimes, you'd share me with your girlfriend?
Polly: (5:06:04 PM): It was really hot.
ALEX: (5:06:11 PM): look
Polly: (5:06:12 PM): so, I guess what I'm asking is
ALEX: (5:06:15 PM): we had a great run
Polly: (5:06:17 PM): it over between us?
Polly: (5:06:26 PM): I never see you anymore, and I need more from a man.
ALEX: (5:06:32 PM): I’ll still eat you once in a while.
ALEX: (5:06:38 PM): You just have to come to me.
Polly: (5:06:46 PM): But Alex...
Polly: (5:06:50 PM): ...I don't have thumbs.
Polly: (5:06:57 PM): I can't even hitchhike to you.
ALEX: (5:07:25 PM): You’ll find a way.
Polly: (5:07:40 PM): You're really high maintenance.
Polly: (5:08:12 PM): I do all the work in this relationship.
ALEX: (5:08:18 PM): Excuse me? People have to order you properly or be removed from line
ALEX: (5:08:26 PM): and I’m high maintenance?
Polly: (5:08:32 PM): Look, I told you my father was a monster!
Polly: (5:08:41 PM): if you'd just marry me, we could get away forever
ALEX: (5:08:59 PM): I cant.
Polly: (5:09:07 PM): Why?
ALEX: (5:09:12 PM): You’re too sloppy.
Polly: (5:09:57 PM): i
Polly: (5:10:01 PM): i don't even know what to say
Polly: (5:10:04 PM): I don't even know you anymore
ALEX: (5:10:11 PM): Go eat urself.
Polly: (5:10:21 PM): **bursts into cheese**
ALEX:(5:10:28 PM): ahahahahhaha
ALEX: (5:12:01 PM): I really enjoy these highbrow conversations. Same time tomorrow?Polly: (5:12:03 PM): Duh. But only if you eat this poor fucking sandwich. 
See? This kid totally gets it. Or at least me.
Epilogue: Alex finally got his hands on the three-day old cheesesteak. He said it’s the best damned sandwich he’s ever eaten in his life. He did not shit himself. 
Or, if he did, he was smart enough not to say anything about it. 

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