Drafting the frame of this column in my head left me twisted. The disparate elements seemed senselessly assembled even though I was the featured player in the weekend composed of those elements. I’ve developed brain wrinkles on behalf of Elmo, pot, alcohol, and the zenith of the laziest love affair ever imagined. One of my greatest joys – and if I know my audience, yours as well, is reconstructing a night lost on account of overmedication. The excitement of retracing the steps of a night ending in an alcoholic blackout is exhilarating… So the Rugrats tattoo was my idea… I can’t believe I ate all that mayonnaise… I actually ordered crème brulee, at Arby’s.
Last weekend I found a level of disorientation that surpassed a coke-fueled orgy of memory loss, investigation, and introspection. I had to reconstruct the components of an evening that I recalled flawlessly; I remembered ever detail, every drink, every blunt-wrapped carriage of delirium, and still, I had no clue what happened.
I went back to Detroit for a weekend and found Rosicky Jones.
I was instantly erect when the plane landed in Detroit and I caught my first whiff of America’s greatest city. I grabbed my fake Prada carry-on (as a metrosexual man I have mastered the art of minimalist packing) and skipped off the plane and into one of the most luxurious vehicles you’ll find in Detroit – a ’98 Ford Taurus. At the helm of that lavish deportment was Vince Carter. You know Vince Carter as the greatest dunker of all time, a fussy hypochondriac destined to launch a Broadway show a la Magic and Bird entitled Carter and Weis – Both French in Spirit. But I know Vince Carter as one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. She is the type of girl that is far too attractive to talk to but who is also too well-adjusted to ignore you. I met her six years ago – we waited tables together, she was the new hot girl and I was the guy trading prescription pills for free dinners. I was the idiot who made a fool out of himself and she laughed at me. We became friends – I wanted to take her behind a dumpster and impregnate her and she thought I was nice. We were similar – she was the only white girl on the hip-hop dance squad and I listened to Tupac in my sleep. Black guys were drawn to her because she has a great ass (for reasons I still can’t fathom, they called her snowflake) and black guys were drawn to me because I always had next on the basketball courts and they called me that one nigga.
Like most men, I assumed that our faint similarities were far more substantial than they actually were. I had a crush on her but it faded once I found out she had a boyfriend and that she was in love with Vince Carter. Whenever a guy hears about a girl’s crush they immediately construct a mental tale of the tape, and without depressing you with the insecurities of my psyche, let’s just say that other than our skin color Vince and I could not have been more different. Her attraction to Carter didn’t instill any confidence that she harbored similar feelings for me.
As it turned out, she did have feelings – fairly Carterian feelings – for me. And as we’ve established, I had them for her. But we drifted, floating in and out of each other’s lives but remaining close enough to keep potential sex on the table. She was a chronic dater, constantly enmeshed in relationships that she did not honor. Her infidelity made me like her more, she was authentic, she liked sex, and she didn’t carry on with the façade that women should be sexless objects of virtue. Everyone knew she cheated and everyone still wanted to date her. I carried on with meaningless trysts and insignificant relationships, even one with her best friend; because if I couldn’t have Carter, I could at least get close. We were Ross and Rachel but far less intense.
Still, intense enough for her to pick me up from the airport and entertain me until my drug dealer finished up his shift at Barnes and Noble. She took me as her plus one to a lesbian bachelorette party that was held at Nectar’s Drip, an astonishingly popular gay bar in Detroit. I was shocked that I was permitted to attend a bachelorette party, but the gay and lesbian community is reticent to adhere to any of society’s antiquated precepts. In my efforts to assimilate I wore capris and a vintage Kelly Kapowski t-shirt; only realizing I’d overdone it when the bouncer tied the rainbow colored wristband on me and pinched my nipple.
Nectar’s Drip featured an expansive movie screen that was playing Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey. I realize that the juxtaposition of the sweet Elmo and the gay bar would spontaneously combust Rick Santorum’s homophobic head – but I liked it. Watching Elmo was comforting; as long as one ignored the palpable satire of a gay bar playing a movie about a man sticking his hand inside an adorable creature. I had wanted to watch the documentary for some time and even though Darude drowned out the commentary I was one degree of separation closer to the movie than I was prior to that evening.
Otherwise, the bar was a dub-stepped excursion through schizophrenia. Gay bars have no rules; I was one of the few guys who still had his shirt on, at least I was until Vince Carter and a fetching black gay ripped Kelly Kapowski off of me as if they were wresting a toy from a cereal box. Before I could track my shirt’s journey Vince led me to the girl’s bathroom, which was also full of gays and, like the bar, empty of rules.
After the first line off the counter Vince realized she had lost her phone and ran off to most certainly find nothing. I would have followed her but I liked the gay attention. Gays have the same fascination with metro straight guys that straight guys have with virgins. Vince showed up smiling minutes later with her cell phone in hand; apparently gays still use and respect the lost and found. Societal precepts were absent; and as girls peed in the stalls, and gays did lines of coke from the counter, Vince wiped stray glitter from my face and kissed me.
I spent the next day searching for the Elmo documentary on Netflix and had it queued to watch with my brothers, my friends, and my drugs. The childhood of a foster kid is spent assigning parental duties to things and one of the most important things in my life was PBS. Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Carmen San Diego, Ghostwriter, Bill Nye The Science Guy, Lambchop’s Play Along, Square One, Shining Time Station, and most of all Reading Rainbow shaped me, defined me. When I chose to play the Elmo documentary against the backdrop of weed smoke and vodka showers there were a smattering of boos but my people understood that it was more than a movie to me, it was a bit of time travel to a period when Rosicky Jones was still good.
We ended up at a bar; I was flirting with a girl in wheelchair, the lowest hanging fruit to end my sexual drought, when Vince walked in. I rolled the wheelchair girl out of my way and walked to Vince. She’d found a way to get away from the boyfriend that she lived with to join me and my shoddy posse. My brother Qu threw me the keys to the basement and whispered that the kittens were undefeated. My shoddy posse has a house in Detroit, and that house has a cat, and that cat had two kittens because my shoddy posse forget to spay her, and those kittens are adorable, and they use those kittens to appeal to ladies on the fence about sexual relations, and those kittens have never failed at wingman, they were undefeated and I was allowed to use them if I needed the help with Vince.
I was too drunk to drive but did anyway because Detroit gives me magical powers. I dropped everyone off at the house and stood in the street smoking a bowl with Vince. Once the bowl was cashed I kissed her and kept kissing her. Six years of pent-up lust evaporated. As we kissed cars drove by and honked, a stray dog bit me, I think a Detroit crackhead stole my wallet, and yet none of it registered at the time because of how elated we both were. Overcome with passion and with movie images in my head I led Vince into the backseat of my car – we tried to undress but it was way too cramped, not as sexy as I assumed it would be, my CD was skipping, and I remembered that I had full use of the house I was parked in front of.
We walked into a basement full of smoke. My younger brother was reading On the Road with his girlfriend. My drug dealer was making sure his girl was at least 17, and my other brother was using the kittens to woo a slutty blonde. I turned on Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey. The cue was registered, my younger brother threw his girlfriend over his shoulder and disappeared, my drug dealer left to research Michigan’s statutory rape laws. My other brother blew weed smoke in the kittens’ faces so they wouldn’t bother us and took his young paramour to the backseat of my car – movies seem to be based on his escapades so it made sense that he would be the one to successfully navigate backseat sex.
Vince and I made out while Elmo played in the background. I accidentally told her I loved her and she did the same. I had no clue what else to say; it was an accident that I said it, but the feelings were legitimate. We had sex while Elmo creator Kevin Clash detailed his passion for puppetry, for controlling the actions of an inanimate object. All while the opposite was happening to us; inanimate emotions of want and desire were controlling us. I woke up with Vince in my arms and even though I remembered exactly how we got there I was shocked by the scene. While we got dressed, I for my flight and she for Easter service, her phone rang; it was her dutiful boyfriend. We laughed, out of discomposure not insensitivity, and she said she would figure it out. Because all the secondary issues would be easy to navigate; it was the primary, the thing that happened between us that would be the toughest to comprehend and explain.
I kissed her goodbye and caught my plane. I spent my flight reliving the events of the evening prior, trying to follow how Elmo, pot, and alcohol led to two friends confessing love. Once I landed back in Miami and a managed to make my way through the exclusively Spanish-speaking airport I found my answer – I didn’t have to understand it.
I didn’t understand a single thing the Cuban TSA members said to me, either, but I successfully made it out of the airport. And I didn’t understand a single thing that happened on Saturday evening and I didn’t need to.
For more from Rosicky…