The Trouble With Crashing On Couches

May 24, 2006

For those of you who know me well, you know that I never really know where I’m going to end up sleeping on any given night. Save for some brief time spent having my own place in Dobbs Ferry and a separate one later on in Astoria, I’ve pretty much spent the last six years of my life living on couches and going on wayward musician adventures that will one day be the death of me. I have some very supportive and fun friends to thank for that.

One such adventure, one of my first, came at a time when I had just started working at a music theater in West Nyack, NY. In my first month or so of employment with them, I had been crashing at the rehearsal studio I used to work at on the side, utilizing their nasty sex-abused couches to rest my head for a few hours before returning to the theater to work. Unfortunately, the studio went under soon after I got my job, and I was left without a place to stay.

Before he became Makeshift Roommate (see, The Odyssey), the guy who later, ironically, lived on my couch was someone I worked with at the theater. We’d befriended each other fairly quickly, as I literally was not trained on how to be a server at the establishment or use the horribly ill-maintained Micros system, but rather just handed a pen, pad, and apron and told, “Here you go. Play jazz.” He helped me out a lot in my first few weeks, and was pretty much the reason I had the ability to skyrocket to a recognizable place in the staff so quickly.

One night, about a month and a half in, my sister and her boyfriend at the time came to see the place and watch American Idol on the big screen. It was the finale, the night Taylor Hicks won (and then promptly killed his career), which meant I got slammed with tables and had no time to sit and bullshit with the two of them.

When the night was over, and I apologized for not being able to hang with them for a bit, she invited Makeshift Roommate and myself out to her bar in Dobbs Ferry to come party for the night. His response to this inquiry was, “Well, we could go, you could crash on my couch, and my bitch girlfriend could drive us. She has to stay sober because she’s on allergy meds.”

Challenge: Accepted.

So, we counted out for the night with management, hung up our bar clothes, and put on our real bar clothes. It was here where the adventure began.

We made our way over to Elmsford, where Roommate was living at the time with Bitch Girlfriend, who he’d been with for many years. She seemed nice enough at the start, but I quickly realized how she got her name shortly after meeting her. We pregamed at the apartment for a bit and then made our way over to Dobbs to meet the rest of the clan at the bar, and proceeded to drink, quite heavily, for many hours.

Seriously, this guy was a pusher. He bought me round after round after punishment shot after punishment shot until I was ready to pass out. All in all, the time at the bar was one of the best I’ve ever had there, but that’s not where the real story happened, so I’ll leave it out.

When we got back to his apartment, Bitch Girlfriend gave me a blanket, pillow, and trash can to puke in, as I evidently looked as if I was going through The Exorcist, despite my confident comments like, “Nah *hiccup* I’m fine.” and “Youghs shhh just gotah bed. I’m goood.” before I sprawled myself out along the nice white leather couch they had in their living room, surrounded by white furniture, white carpets, and white walls. It was like purgatory.

After they went to bed and hit the lights, I closed my eyes and realized something bad: I was, in fact, going to puke.

I did, however, still have some semblance of respect about me, and decided that I did not want to puke in my new friends’ nice white apartment after they’d not only offered me the courtesy of a place to stay, but bought me drinks all night and even drove me to and from the bar. So, I opted to do the respectful thing as opposed to stinking up the nice trash can she’d given me: go outside, to his second floor terrace, and puke onto his neighbor’s terrace below.

Bullet-proof logic, John. Bullet-proof.

After I’d released the demons, which came out in the form of chewed up french fries and a greasy bar grilled cheese, I turned around to go back inside and discovered, much to my dismay, that the door had locked behind me. Shit.

I didn’t have shoes on, so my places to go were rather limited. I was wearing an undershirt and it was starting to get very chilly. I didn’t have my wallet or keys, so I couldn’t simply sleep in my car. I did, however, have my cell phone in my back pocket, so I used that to attempt to call his phone… 37 times. Sadly, as I would come to discover, it was still on silent mode from work, as our mutual employer was militant about their “no cell phone” policy. Oh, and PS: the doorbell was broken too.

Without regard for time, I began to call anyone in my phone I could think of who would be nearby and hope that someone would pick up and have a place to go. The only person to eventually call me back was Enzyte Bob (see, “It Was Like The Outsiders…”), an old friend from high school who I hadn’t seen in months. His response was, “Do you have any idea what time it is?”

I looked at my phone: 3AM. He had work in the morning. Whoops.

Still, he sympathized with my situation and offered to pick me up, let me crash in his basement in Hastings, and then drop me off back where I was in in the morning when Roommate and Bitch Girlfriend awoke from their comas and could answer the door. I had to take him up on that, because I was drunk and freezing, but there was a little problem: The only place I knew of nearby as a checkpoint was The Eldorado Diner across the road. So, reluctantly, I hung up the phone with him, ran through the massive condo complex’s maze of a driveway/parking system, across Route 119, and sat, barefoot and shivering, on the front steps of the 24-Hour Eldorado Diner.

I must have looked ridiculous.

It was about a half an hour until Enzyte got there. In that half an hour, many people crossed my path, including the Spanish bus boys who came out several times to clean off the rubber mats over the railing and laugh at me.

When he finally arrived, I don’t think I’d ever been happier and more thankful to see a familiar face in my life. I hopped in his car, expressed my deepest gratitude, shared with him the story of my night to uproarious laughter, and we drove the twenty-or-so minutes back to his house, where I passed out on his couch downstairs for a few hours until waking up to go right back, still shoeless.

On the drive back, I replayed the night in my head a bunch of times and tried to figure out how exactly I’d gotten to the point where I was still drunk in the morning when I woke up, but there was no sense in rationalizing it.

He dropped me back off at the apartment complex and rushed off to work. I went up to the terrace, rang the doorbell about a dozen times, and made my best efforts to get inside. After about ten minutes spent on the doorstep, I peered inside to try and look for signs of life, when I noticed two things:

  1. This apartment had a different configuration of furniture inside than I remembered from the night before.
  2. The doorbell all of a sudden worked.

It was at this moment that I realized that the exterior of all of the apartments looked exactly alike…

I was at the wrong apartment. Son of a bitch.

I made my way back down to the parking lot level and scanned my surroundings before the concept of checking for the downstairs terrace that had regurgitated bar food all over it dawned on me. I didn’t find one, but I recognized the fake cat mannequin that I’d nailed with bile and chewed up potato remnants the night before, now miraculously spotless. I guess they’d cleaned it up already. Sorry, neighbors.

I went upstairs to the right terrace, peered inside just to be sure, and made my attempts at ringing the doorbell and calling again, but was sadly met by failure.

After another ten minutes of trying, I gave up and decided to wait it out until they eventually woke up and realized I was missing. At that moment, I sat on their welcome mat, facing the parking lot, Indian-style, and put my back and head to their front door, which slowly pushed open with the pressure of my body weight.

While the door’s handle had been locked, it had not been pulled completely shut when I left the apartment to defile Roommate’s neighbor’s porch. God. dammit.

Defeated, I sluggishly crept back inside, as if I hadn’t been noticed by countless neighbors already, and passed back out on the couch, where I’d been safe and sound just a few hours before.

At around 1:15 in the afternoon, Makeshift Roommate and Bitch Girlfriend woke up, walked out of the bedroom, and he asked, very surprised and confused, “Why do I have 37 missed calls from you?”

My friend, do I have a funny story for you.

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