L'esprit de l'escalier

It's all about the timing.

Location: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

I'd rather be somewhere else most of the time and I'm a huge practitioner of staircase wit.


Got Friends?

So I just checked a friend of mine's blog to see if he still had me linked and he doesn't. This is significant, but not in the way you might think. It's a long story, but here goes.

About five years ago - that's half a decade, mind you - a boy named Joey and I were very close friends. We hung out together a lot, he helped me talk through some of my issues with the "ex"husband I wrote about not too long ago, and he introduced me to the current one, David. I knew David through other people, had worked w/him briefly, but Joey called him up one night as we were about to go to the Barbeque Fest downtown.

The whole time Joey had been hanging out with me, he'd had tons of stories about this Dave Holmes that I vaguely knew of. The more Joey talked about him, the more I knew. And the more intrigued I was; Joey seriously had nothing but good things to say. "Dave, man, you never know with that guy. He made me this lamp once out of this old hair dryer. Dude, it was so fucking rad." Clearly Joey didn't GET this Dave Holmes, so he talked about him like some above-it-all sort of unknown artist type. Which I suppose isn't too far off now that I do know him.

So, Joey and I were headed downtown to meet Dave to hang out and eat some free barbeque. I saw Dave and fell immediately in love. Seriously, it's ridiculous. He was wearing an old camera around his neck, this old man button shirt, jeans and a pair of Chuck Taylors long past their prime. He's almost blind in one eye, so it kind of wanders over your shoulder when he's talking to you and that may freak some people out, but it is the sexiest thing I've ever seen. Needless to say, as the night went on, I drank until I was falling all over him and everyone else. We didn't go home together, I think I passed out at Joey's, but there was a message from him when I got home the next morning aksing if he could come over. He tells me now that he just wanted to get all up in my junk. He says I was asking him all night to come home with me. I swear I remember nothing of the sort... but it's possible.

Anyway, that's the beginning of me and Dave. We've been together ever since. Joey didn't take it well, at first. Why, you ask. Well, there's something I didn't tell you. Joey and I were a little more than friends. We'd had a couple of intimate moments, but I knew I'd never be able to have a relationship with him. I wasn't interested in him that way, and I tried to tell him that, but it never worked. He never listened. He kept on acting like we were dating, I kept on acting like we were friends. He couldn't keep pretending after Dave was in the picture and this pissed him off. He told some lies about me, trying to get me back, but David didn't care. After some time passed, he decided it wasn't worth it and we all started hanging out again. Weird? Maybe, but it worked. We thought.

It worked until David and I moved to Phoenix and Joey and I kept up a correspondence through email and letters. During the 4 years that we were all in Memphis, we mostly just hung out and got drunk together. No one really talked about anything too substantial and it was all good times and Jack Daniels. But when we started talking again, Joey said it all came back to him. He never got over me and he told me he loved me. I had to pretend like it wasn't a huge deal. I told him he did not and just kind of went on with things as I thought they should be going on. Of course that didn't work. But I didn't want to be the reason they quit being friends. I didn't want to be that so bad. I was and I am.

Back in the day, when Joey was talking to Dave and not me, Dave tried to explain by saying, "Bro's before Ho's, baby. That's just how it is." I'm not kidding, he really said that. And I really didn't have a problem with it, I supposed if that's how it was, then that's how it was. But that's really not how it is and we all knew that. We just thought Joey would get over this obsession w/me once he found someone else. The problem is, he never found anyone else. Like I said, it's been like 6 years almost, and Joey has not had more than a fling with some girl who had a boyfriend and now he's involved w/some girl on the internet who's married. He seriously only loves women who are completely unavailable. We all know the type. Now, how do we deal with the type?

Since we've been in Phoenix, Joey has come out to visit twice and we've been to Memphis 2 or 3 times. Once I went to be in a wedding that Joey was also in. I stayed with Joey the night of the wedding and he hit on me again. He seriously cannot be alone and drunk with me or some shit will happen. I didn't talk to him for a couple of months after that. But he wound up telling David what he did and they kept on talking. Do I have to say it again? Bros before... Anyway, we went to Memphis for New Year's Eve to spend with Joey and a bunch of other friends and that's when all hell broke loose.

It. Was. Something. Awful.

Joey had been planning this big party and by the time we got there all but one guy had cancelled. Everyone else had other plans or were out of town or couldn't get a babysitter, whatever. Our plans were with Joey. Our plans were thus screwed as well. We were so excited about being home for the New Year, having planned it for months and looked forward to seeing all these people we hadn't seen, and they all cancelled. Okay, fine. We'll call some of our other friends and they can meet up with us and Joey downtown. Here comes the 2nd part to my story.

I called my friend, Erin.
"Hey!" I shouted in the phone, so excited to hear her voice and to tell her we're in town, let's hang out. She sounded funny, though. Sick or something. "What's wrong?" I asked.
"I don't know, a lot of things. Everything."
"Are you sick?"
She tried to be all cryptic at first, but then she just said it.
"Jason knows," she said.
Fuck. I knew, too.

A couple months ago, Erin called me to talk about a situation she had become involved in. She was nervous about it, knew she shouldn't be involved, yet couldn't help herself. She told me she couldn't talk to anyone else about this particular thing, she knew I was the only person who wouldn't judge her and she could talk with me openly. This was true, I did not judge her. I know we sometimes get into situations we don't plan for, we're human. It's how we deal with them that matters. But sometimes it takes awhile to come around to deciding how to do that, and in the meantime more of the involvement takes place. But she thought she could trust me, and that's where she was wrong. Because I drink too much and I don't know when to shut the fuck up.

I told some other friends of mine what she told me. I forgot that they are very good friends with her boyfriend's brother and his wife. I told my friends the next day how important it is that they do NOT tell their very good friends. They said okay, they wouldn't tell. It would have been different, they said, if they were very good friends with the boyfriend, but since they are only very good friends with the boyfriend's brother, then they could keep it to themselves. They would not spoil anyone elses friendship with this piece of information that they should NEVER have been given.

They fucking told and the boyfriend found out.

All fingers pointed back to me. There was no one else to blame. No one else knew. The one person she thought she could trust had betrayed her. This is what I found out on New Year's Eve day. I am fucking awful. Fucking awful.

Back to Joey and his non-party. We could no longer get together with anyone downtown as Erin wasn't speaking to me and we were furious with our other friends for fucking telling and not warning us, so we couldn't call them. And everyone else we know goes through those 3 people, practically. But we didn't give up. We still had each other; me, Dave and Joey. Lovely. We went to a friends bar to have some drinks and say hello. Then we headed to Beale Street. It was packed and we started having a good time in spite of ourselves. It was like old times, we thought. We were taking pictures, stumbling, trying to get in shows that were already playing. We decided to get something to eat before 12 and then go find another guy who was going to be getting off work soon. He knew of some parties that we could go to.

We sat down in the restaurant, ordered a pitcher of beer and David immediately spilled his glass on Joey. This shouldn't have been a big deal, right? Well, you'd be wrong because it was the biggest deal it could have possibly been. It was like our entire history of knowing each other was contained in that glass of beer and it was all over Joey's pants. He was so pissed. I tried to take the sting out by spilling beer on myself. Thinking.. silly me.. that he would take that as a peace offering and be done with it.

Fuck. No.

He went home immediately in a RAGE. Joey does this when he drinks. We're not sure, but we think he might have a problem. Because he'll be drinking drinking drinking and suddenly he'll change. He's been known to pee on windows out of pure spite for a bar owner who's kicked him out. He's literally flipped over tables in nice restaurants, he gets in screaming matches and stomps, stumbles, staggers around beligerant, aimless and pitiful. And when that happens, it's over. The problem was he had our stuff at his apartment and we didn't have any keys. He'd pass out and we'd have nowhere to stay. Also, it was almost midnight and the night was almost pretty close to ruined. So, we chased Joey home and tried to talk to him. We tried to have a conversation, to bring him out of his drunken rage. It didn't work. Of course it didn't work. I don't even remember midnight. We were probably all screaming at each other. Five years of pent up agression and history came out in a drunken screaming match on New Year's Eve, 2005. Do I need to say again how fucking awful it was?

After we gave up on Joey, we went back to the bar where our friend was just about to get off. We told him of our night and he took us to a new sushi bar for dinner. We did see a girl we used to know, but we declined on the party they were going to. We'd had enough and we really couldn't see very straight.

Joey finally cut us off all together, saying he can't deal with it anymore. He goes into a mini-depression every time he's around us and he has to protect himself now. He seems to blame us for everything. I don't, but I guess I don't matter at this point. Erin isn't speaking to me, of course, and probably never will and we haven't heard from the two who told the very good friends.

We did have a great time with our families, though, so the trip was saved in that respect. And when we got home, there was a message on our machine from a couple that we both adore wishing us a Happy New Year, telling us to call if we're in town, we should hang out. We didn't call because we hadn't heard back from them when we told them we were going to be in town. They've got 2 kids and we know not to expect much in the way of old days hanging out. And they'd been out of town, so we didn't expect them to be there. Oh well.

The most disturbing thing about this whole situation is a thing I read on some blog the other day. Supposedly, the way your New Year's Eve is spent is a good indication of what your entire year will be like. Please, please, Internet, tell me this is not true. Because if it is, I will have to go slit my wrist, for I cannot, will not, live through another night like that one.

Not. Another. Night.


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