Part II: My Time in the Big Apple, or How I Met the Condor
Day 1 – My Conversation With a Drug Dealer
After spending only a few days in Washington, DC, about which you can read here, it was time to head north on the Amtrak NE Regional for a week vacation in New York City and Boston. Before I had received the internship offer, I had already planned a trip out east to see friends in New York City and meet up with Sarah, who, after her two-month stint in France, was flying into NYC to reunite with her friends in Brooklyn.
On Friday, September 7, I arrived at Penn Station, found Gary and Evan at a PATH station nearby, went on an impromptu bro shopping mission and then headed to Gary’s new pad, conveniently located just down the street from one of the best bagel shops — Wonder Bagel — on the planet.
The first night’s craziness commenced at a bar in the East Village. Evan and I, not accustomed to big city folk waterin’ holes, learned that buying a round for your fellow bros, specifically yourself and two others, can cost a minimum of $40. But when one is having a blast, he sometimes ignores the large dollar amount on that small receipt. It’s when he wakes the next morning and pulls from his pocket a drink receipt — one with a very large number — that regret smacks him in the face and from his mouth drops a sharpy enunciated f-bomb.
After much dancing, yelling and 강남스타일, better know as PSY’s Gangnam Style, I left the bar in typical Trevor fashion.
In college, whenever I’d had enough with a particular venue, craved food or needed a few minutes of alone time, I would leave the bar without telling anyone and eventually return to the bar (unless I told them to meet me at the Columns, where I enjoyed watching bats fly around the dome of Jesse Hall). I found a convenience store as large as a Port-O-Potty, purchased a pack of American Spirits and found a place to sit and watch the scores of over-served New Yorkers scurrying from bar to bar. Gary, Evan and another Mizzou friend we met at the bar, Ashley, found me outside. While they filled their stomachs with food in a diner, I continued to loiter at the intersection and people-watch. Many passers-by asked for cigarettes, and since I never smoke cigarettes, I handed them out as if Marlboro had hired me to wear a Santa Claus suit and give all the good boys and girls of New York City lung cancer.
One gentleman asked for a cigarette and then proceeded to inquire if “I did anything else.” This caught me off guard. I do many things, I thought. I eat Frank’s Hot Sauce straight out of the bottle. I dance to George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I count the number of people I’ve judged while strolling down a busy sidewalk. I do a lot, but by “anything else,” he meant something specifically.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, I take hypothyroid medication and Vitamin D. But no, I don’t do drugs.”
“Why, do you sell them?”
“What do you sell?”
“Coke and pot.”
The journalist inside me kicked in. This drug dealer was about to be assaulted with questions pertaining to his illicit trade.
“How much does it cost?”
Yikes. That’s, like, four really good presidential biographies. I can’t afford to snort lines of coke when I’m invested in learning about every Commander-in-Chief. Forget coke. I’m sticking with cheap beer and presidents.
“How much coke or pot does that get me?” I asked.
“I don’t. Does it come in a Ziploc bag? A carton? A can?”
He smirked. I changed topics.
“So, what else do you do?”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you sell drugs all the time or do you do something else?”
“Oh, I like to rap. I’m a rapper.”
His shoulders relaxed, and the stiffness to his body dissipated as we veered into a legal topic of conversation.
“You should pursue the rapping instead of the drugs.”
“Well, I gotta make a living.”
I went on and on about how he shouldn’t sell drugs and should work on his art form, even though I assumed he was an awful rapper.
“If I ever need drugs in NYC, I promise I’ll return to this intersection and buy from you.”
“Can I have your number?”
Oh come on, I thought, I only said that because I’m being nice, which is only the case because I’m still feeling the libations from the bar.
“I know where to find you. At this intersection.”
“Why can’t I have your number?”
In case I ever get a call from the FBI or the DEA asking if I’ve purchased drugs from someone in the East Village, that’s why.
“Don’t worry,” I reassured this misguided young entrepreneur. “I know where and when to find you.”
“My name is Dell. Like the computer. Aight?”
“Perfect. I’ll see you soon.”
As I left Dell, I implored him to pursue the rapping and ditch the drug dealing.
I habitually become disgustingly optimistic, Libertarian and preachy after several drinks. Both have nothing in common with the other, but my alcohol-fueled interactions can make me either extremely entertaining or annoying. I will motivate this drug dealer Dell, I thought. Perhaps my Grey Goose-induced message would catalyze the change he needed. Stop selling drugs and pursue your dream of rapping about monitors, screensavers and processors, or whatever you rap about, Dell. But, like the crappy computers for which he is named, his future is bleak and his processor so slow that I could never play The Sims without it crashing before I could save all of my progress.
With that, I rejoined the group, ranted about how much I dislike Michael Bloomberg for telling me what size soda I can gulp and then segued into a long-winded complaint about the lack of fans in the subway stations. I of course blamed Michael Bloomberg for the crappy ventilation and cursed him to the bowels of Jersey.
Thanks to the our trusty guide Gary, we returned to his apartment without being attacked by a giant sewer alligator or Sarah Jessica Parker, though I’d rather be viciously dragged into the filthy sewer water of NYC, relentlessly ripped apart and then completely devoured by a mythical New York sewer alligator than look Sarah Jessica Parker in the eyes for more than five seconds.
The three bros passed out at Gary’s place. The next day, we’d be heading to Queens for a Mets game and then back to Manhattan to watch the Mizzou game.
Tune in tomorrow for Part II, Day 2, also known as PART II, DAY 2 – Queens, Mets, Mizzou and …. THE CONDOR.