Saturday nights have changed so drastically for me in the last few years that I feel as if I am living another life all together, one of a lazy space alien who can’t seem to amass the slightest bit of energy to get up and try to contact the mother ship and say, “Hey fuckers, it’s great down here. Come give In’ N ‘Out Burger a good, old fashioned ^:~^*~`chance.”
My new T.G.I.F is like a baby blue sky suddenly turning that crazy pre-tornado black before the twister lands on Aunt Velma’s roof and rips off all the shingles that Uncle Jerry and Cousin Troy had so carefully put on the previous summer while Grandpa Earl yelled from his lawn chair, a collection of sentences that inferred in small, garbled grunts that they were doing it all wrong and if only he could walk upright and didn’t have such a bad case of the shingles he too, would be up on that roof fixing the holes that the rain lets in.
A mere five years ago my Saturday night would start at 9:30 when I would have to take an Olympic long jump into a pair of black cargo pants so tight and trendy that my lower half would resemble a pathetic, black crayon stuck in the built-in sharpener of a deluxe box of 64 count Crayolas. I would then slip on my Doc Marten shit kicker boots covered in the dried remnants of sour mix and tears from the night before and drive my 1985 Volvo station wagon with roll-up windows and vinyl seats to start my shift at one of the hipper clubs in Hollywood, where I would make retched Red Bull Vodkas and loser Long Island Iced Teas and yucky Jager Bombs and creepy Cosmos for the Lakers and Paris and Lindsey and Pamela and Hefner and his hot pockets and every American Idol hopeful with a new wardrobe and deluded dreams.
By the end of the night four Ed Hardy douche sticks would have vomited somewhere on the premises, Seven For Mankind, man-eating whores would have wept for various reasons having to do with sad sex, dull drugs, horrifying high-heels or all three combined and sixteen hangers-on of all shapes, sizes and colors would have been escorted out for being too dumb, too damaged or too D-list.
The lights would come up, showing us the trash-strewn trenches that encircled us all evening and I would count out the tips with my comrades in black, eat a street hot dog wrapped in bacon and cooked by a woman as creepy and as crusty as the hot dog itself and, by 3:30 in the morning, I would drive home a few hundred dollars richer and a few decibels closer to deaf, sleeping until noon the next day and recovering at my languid, lazy leisure.
Five years on the fast forward button and I am sitting solo in bed, blowing my nose, nursing a cold and silently high-fiving myself because I got Otto down happy and lovely by 7 o’clock. I am also doing a mental conga line for the simple fact that I ate my favorite, fancy dinner, toast with butter and honey, while watching the first Mission: Impossible, circa 1996, from start to finish and will be down for the count by 10 o’clock, give or take fifteen seconds. 10 0’clock, a time that, for so long was the start of my evening, the beginning of my shift from normal to night owl, has now become the time that this princess of pathetic turns into a pumpkin of power napping.
I do not miss the screaming fun or the sticky stench or the raging ridiculousness or the barroom bedlam or the crates of cash. Okay, I miss the cash. I’m not stupid. And sure, once in a while I miss the murky mayhem and the feeling of exhilarated exhaustion and crazy camaraderie. But, when I roll over and turn off the light and my old, Sony Dream Machine spits back at me a blinking, neon green 10:00, everything feels as good and great as that magical calm before the storm.