Title: Late Nights With J.W.’s Nose
Characters: VonGraeding, Pisswater, Angry Jonny
Warnings: Bathroom humour, gross explorations of famous locales
Notes: I spent a late night in a local (fairly famous) slop joint, and these are the cultural assumptions I made from what I could see. I was taking way too much Anthropology, at the time, and it was starting to affect my brain.
Frontier : 08.30.00 : 1:30am
It’s 1:30-ish and for once in all the time I’ve been coming here, the Frontier is almost entirely unpopulated. However, as this is really the only time I have to myself this week, I decide that perhaps it’s worth it to ignore the four very tired and thoroughly uninteresting policemen in the front room and take my hash browns to the fourth room, the only other one with any occupants. I sit in the back with two male friends who happen to have similar plans for the evening, and begin to observe them, our surroundings, and the other three occupants of the large room.
First, a word about the décor and atmosphere of the current locale; the walls are covered with paintings of Native Americans (or in this context, "injuns" might be a more appropriate term) and John Wayne. We are, in fact, sitting directly beneath John’s enormous painted nostril. The floor is ancient red saltillo tile which appears to have seen more vile things than even the 7-11 on the corner of University. Beneath the next table over a dead cockroach stares blankly upward at the wads of chewing gum stuck to the bottom of the tabletop. It is almost a bearable temperature, if a little warm, and the soundscape isn’t so bad, provided you can keep yourself from recognising the songs behind the elevator music.
Three tables up from us is an old man with wrinkled skin and grey hair, who appears to be eating an egg sandwich and reading the paper. In a booth against the opposite wall are two security guards, one male, and one female. He looks at ease, with one arm stretched across the back of his seat and his legs stretched out under the table, but he also has a very concerned expression on his face. At certain times, when her body language shows emphasis, he runs his other hand through his short blond hair. She appears to be worried or concerned, even from the back. Her arms are crossed over her chest, her feet are tucked under the seat, and her shoulders are hunched as she slumps in her seat. I begin to wonder what she is talking about, but I am not close enough to hear her over the constant stream of penis jokes and other bawdy humour that flows in constant tides across my own table:
Drag Queen: Did you say ‘urine sample’?
The journalist is dressed in blue jeans, a black t-shirt emblazoned with some unidentifiable band logo, and a green army jacket (real army issue, he assures me). He is a large, pale Hispanic prone to exercising the mystic arts of non sequitur. The drag queen is, for a change, toned down somewhat in his black and green London After Midnight shirt and black slacks. His voice, however, is just as high pitched and distance oriented as ever. As I write this, he turns to the journalist, smacks his palm on the table, and loudly exclaims, "anal sex!" The journalist bursts out in guffaws. "Oh, I get it," I quote, "Buggery is funny when it happens to someone else!" No one hears me, as I am mumbling into my book.
Three young black men enter through the back door, wearing baggy pants and joking among themselves. With a burst of raucous laughter they pass into the third room. The ribaldry between the large Hispanic journalist and his small white companion continues:
Drag Queen: I once masturbated with a fruit basket outside JFK Center…
At this point I try to ignore them in favour of a very flustered and very large black woman in a white t-shirt who keeps turning around and almost gesturing at someone in the third room. She is apparently impatient with this person, as she keeps rolling her eyes. She finally stomps over to the ramp leading up to the back door and leans on the wall to write something on a piece of paper. She is still writing when a tall, thin black man walks up to her from the third room and asks if she just wants her order to go. She turns to him in sputtering consternation, shouts "Good God!" and storms out the back door. He stands shocked for a moment, and then follows her.
At my own table, the bawdy jest continues:
Drag Queen: Y’know, you wouldn’t have that problem if you quit sticking it in your ear…
A plethora of females in backless shirts suddenly stream through the door giggling and gabbling among themselves and to their male companions in what appears to be English, but too many of them are talking for me to successfully extract meaning from their conversation. The males are whip-thin, barely more than boys, and are engaging in posturing behaviour similar to that seen in male baboons. I almost expect a display of chest beating and removal of bugs from the females. I can only assume that the females find this apelike behaviour attractive, because they continue giggling and batting their eyes at the males as they pass into the third room.
The female security officer has finally recovered from her earlier state, and is now as relaxed as the male. She rests her feet on his side of the booth, and even laughs at some things he says.
Finally, after having tired of the bathroom humour and the lack of subjects I decide it’s time to draw some conclusions and go to bed. I speculate that the Frontier is a place that individuals and groups go to get food without being disturbed or watched by others. If I noticed one thing, it was that no one spoke to anyone they didn’t come in with, except me, and I mostly just listened to the conversation already in progress. It is a place to go to be alone in a crowd–a place to drink orange juice at 3am and not care what others think.
End Transmission : 4:00am
1. The buggery line originally comes from the second issue of "Oh, My Goth!" by an artist pretentious enough to call himself Voltaire. I feel qualified to call members of my own subculture pretentious, as it seems to be a prerequisite for classification these days.