By Kenneth Justice
“Are you F***ing kidding me? You want me to go in there???”
~ It was late on a Friday night during one of the recent stops I made on my yearlong Drinking in the Culture Tour, a coffee house tour that gives me an excuse to experience the local culture of various cities throughout the Western World
I had arrived earlier in the evening at one of those mermaid coffee houses and the two baristas behind the counter (a guy and girl both in their late 20’s) were totally cool in the way they were interacting with me and wanted to tell me everything about their city, “Kenneth, do you have plans tonight? We want to take you to a party we know of that’s going on” they said
A couple hours later I found myself sitting in some strange dude’s house in the suburbs; it was clearly NOT a party. In fact, it was just me, the one female barista and this weird middle class dude wearing a dark blue designer suit. I don’t know what happened to the male barista dude, either he couldn’t come or he got busy doing something else, or perhaps he knew that designer suit guy was a weirdo, something I would find out as the night progressed.
The house was barren of furniture except for a giant fish tank that glowed in the dimly lit emptiness and a black leather oversized sofa and love seat that sat situated in his living room around a glass coffee table which boasted the largest jar of marijuana I’d ever seen. Imagine a mason jar that has been blown up to epic proportions and filled with a bunch of pot; I couldn’t imagine where you’d even get that much pot unless you’re a drug dealer or something. Through the open door to the bedroom I could make out a single mattress lying on the floor with a black comforter sprawled out upon it. Everything in this damn house was either black or white; it’s why we had to take our shoes off when we came in, the carpet was stark white and the dude said he didn’t want it messed up.
Also sitting on the glass coffee table were a number of Buddhist books and literature, “Yea man, I’ve given up the ways of the West and now I’m a Buddhist” said the weird man in the suit. He had jet black hair and looked annoyed that I was there, I think that he was hoping to have scored with the mermaid barista and I had somehow gotten in his way. He must have talked about his Buddhist beliefs for 10 or 15 minutes but barista girl wasn’t listening; she looked like all she could think about was smoking the pot.
“So do you two wanna smoke or what?” he asked,
“actually, I thought I was being invited to a party, and I feel like I’m intruding on you two” I said, I had a weird image in my head of Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction and some weird guy locked up in Designer-Suit-Guy’s basement and simply wanted to get out of there. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a car and I needed barista girl to drive me; and she was dead set on getting high.
“Oh yea man, I’m sorry. She said you guys wanted to go to the party. I’m a little out of it, I took some pills before you got here and I’m not right in the head. Jump in your car and follow me” he said
It was beyond strange that we had sat there for 30 minutes in the dude’s living room and with a mere order of ‘jump in your car’ the next thing I knew we were driving through what looked like a really sketchy part of town until his car stopped at an abandoned concrete block commercial building…..and he got out.
“Where the hell are we going?” I asked barista girl
“To the party silly. It’s in that building” she said
“Uh, the one with that looks like it’s a leftover shelter from a nuclear holocaust? What kind of party is this?” I asked
“Stop being a worrywart and just go with the flow” she said. She had swallowed some pills along our ride and when she offered me some but didn’t know what they were I flat out refused, “you crack me up, nobody cares what kind of pills they are, you just swallow them and hope for the best. You’ve got to live a little” she said
Actually, the building where the ‘party’ was did not happen to be the empty looking building we parked in front of; it was an even uglier and more decrepit cinder block warehouse eight blocks down the road, and yes I counted every block we walked. At that point I was like a secret agent making note of all of my surroundings in the event that I needed to get the hell out of there. All I could surmise is that designer-suit-guy felt it wasn’t safe to park right in front of the building where this party was (at that point it was obvious they were taking me to some underground club or party of sorts) so that the cops couldn’t case the place.
By now it was about midnight and I simply wanted to get out of there. I had no desire whatsoever to hang out in the ghetto with a couple of wanna-be drug adrenaline junkies (designer suit guy and barista girl were about as white-yuppish as you can get and I had the distinct impression that they were simply trying to ‘find themselves’ by seeking out underground parties in the ghetto. I’d known plenty of people like them throughout my life; bored suburban people looking for some kind of thrill to add spice to their lives. Of course, some people might ask why I was there, to which I have a simple answer; I thought I had been invited to a party.
When they knocked on the door of the warehouse there was no answer, “Maybe nobody’s home” I volunteered,
“shut up” said designer suit guy
——to be continued
Categories: Culture & Society