Thursday's Child Has far To Go

Cool weather reminds me of Atlanta. Starting at 21, I hung my hat there for a few years, staying in a series of rented rooms and mill shacks in dirty, druggie, crackhead and punk filled Cabbagetown. And, of course, I fuckin loved it.

I worked in the kind of pizza places where the ability to carry a keg or work with a beer buzz rated as high as being able to throw a pie. We made a decent cash in tips from the jar on the counter - once, two guys put in $50 total because the other cook and I beat them in a chugging contest, standing right there on the line in the open kitchen. But when your restaurant closes at eleven, you've been drinking with your coworkers since nine, and there are four bars within two blocks that are open until four and friendly to pizza guys, well, cash in hand seldom makes it home.

I lasted through a couple of harsh summers - it may be north of here, but all that concrete and steel holds heat like an oven - but nothing I hadn't felt before. But lingering cold and snow that sticks for a couple days? All new to me. Most of the time I lived there, my car didn't work and I couldn't afford to have it fixed, so I got around by MARTA ("it's smarta!") and boot leather. When the temperature drops like this, I remember walking out of the pizza joint after a shift into a freezing drizzle, my spiked-and-patched hoodie zipped tight and a knit cap down over my short mohawk. My glasses would fog from the temperature change. On busy nights, sweat would steam off my shoulders as I hunched them to keep my body warmer. I'd walk down to Gravity Pub for a couple shots to fortify me against the trip home and then head down the street, past liquor stores and cash checking places, toward my own little bed. I saw drug deals and fights and, on a couple occasions, had to duck into a dark corner for a minute when shooting started up nearby.

Sure, I got scared sometimes, little ol' country mouse me. But every fall, my body remembers the city and it's all I can do not to drag my old duffel out of the closet, lace up my boots, and head north to wander the streets again. Maybe this is the year.


Good God, Y'all

Bethel Baptist wants to buy the round Holiday Inn down on Tennessee and turn it into a "faith-based" dorm. I'm not real sure what that means (no co-ed floors? bibles free? no athiests allowed? simply a feeling of fellowship?), but they hope to charge better than $1000 a month for a studio room with a kitchenette and a bathroom - oh, and you share it with a roommate, who's paying the same. Now, that does include utilities, food, wireless, and a pool (hey, I wonder if you can get kicked out for accessing dirty stuff on your laptop there - one time my friend bought a pretty old bible in a second hand shop and there was a hardcore porn dvd was stuck between the pages), but damn - you could buy a house for that.

I mean, it's a cool building, but it strikes me that maybe Jesus is not necessarily your best financial consultant. I could be proved wrong.


Goblin's Gonna Gitchya

I'm pretty sure that for the first 15 years of my life I went as a pirate for Halloween at least 50% of the time. What can I say? The ocean calls me. The other half the time I was Yoda (should that be "Yoda I was"?), Zorro (mom made me a killer black cape that year that popped up again in costume after costume like Jo Marsh's boots), a vampire, and a "karate guy" (which simply involved putting on the gi I wore to karate class twice a week). Oh, and one time I went as a Columbo-like detective in a trench coat and fake mustache.

The time comes when you can't trick or treat anymore. Luckily, not too long after that, you start to get invited to Halloween parties that still involve tricks and treats, in, well, slightly different forms. I dig putting together a costume, and the opportunities for grown men who don't perform on stage to do that pretty much come annually. But I have to admit, it's less about the outfit (which usually comes out of stuff I already own) and more about the backstory. Living out a character for a night is just fun.

One year I was Buck, one of three Catholic school kids. Two friends and I each scored identical knit ties, made fake school crest patches, put on short pants and white tshirts, and slicked down our hair. We also outfitted ourselves with a deck of cards, a bottle of Jack, and a pack of Luckies, hidden in various pockets. Once, for a friend's fall hair-metal-themed birthday party at the Beta Bar, I put together my own anti-metal religious tracts ("Heavy Metal: Satan's Soundtrack"), a cross made of nails, and a hollowed out bible with a flask inside and went as the fallen preacher trying to save the rockers' souls. You get what I'm saying. I'm a writer, not an actor by nature. Diving into that character for a (probably drunken) night pulls stories off the page.

This year I'm helping put together our second annual Halloi!ween show/party/bonfire. The bands confirmed, the venue's set. Now I just have to invent somebody to be.