Another 4th of July Visit to the Northeast

New York City, the last place I paid rent and held down a job, that was 2007. This was 2012, five years almost to the day since I'd first left. I'd been back several times in those five years for visits, particularly around this time of year, hot dog season.

Every 4th of July down in Coney Island there's a hot dog eating contest hosted by Nathan's Famous, it is amazing, it is America. I'd only missed it once in a half dozen years, the previous year as it were when I was across the globe in Thailand.

This year I was there, I'd just hitchhiked from California and got in a few days early. I'd spend a fair amount of time in the area, it's where I grew up. An hour north of the city is where my dad lives, and hour east towards Connecticut is where my mom lives, plenty of friends and family to catch up with.

I got straight to the good stuff, dinner and basketball with friends, the obligatory stops to Shake Shack for burgers and Gingerman for beers. Then to the outdoor bar on Park Avenue my friend worked, getting slipped drink after drink after drink, then heading out with his coworker for drinks into the night, stealing a kiss from her as the subway arrived, then making temporary friends with about everybody on the drunken subway ride back to Queens.

More of the same, then the 4th arrived. Mark and I headed down to Coney Island where we met up with some others, stocking up on hot dogs and beer and making our way to the the front. Joey Chestnut triumphed again in the madness, tying his own record of eating 68 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes. America.

Back to Queens eventually I met up with more friends at a couple other BBQs, life was good.

On the way into Connecticut I briefly met up with an old high school friend I hadn't seen in years, "Remember that time we fucked?", this was the first thing she said to me, ten minutes later we're in a bar with her hand up my shorts. So much for subtlety. I skipped whatever may have come next and headed to Grand Central, eager to keep moving.

I spent some time bouncing between my mom's, my dad's and the city some more. One night back in the city I caught up with hands-up-the-shorts girl and a couple other of our mutual friends I hadn't seen in a while. Towards the end of the night it was just myself and her, and her son, waiting on some guy she knew who worked at the liquor store who was going to bring several bottles.

"We have to pretend that we're cousins", she told me, "or else he'll get nervous". I gathered he wanted to get with her, this was quickly proven. He came with some low and high end bottles of liquor and wine which we all got to drinking, she poorly overplayed the cousin line, I kept going with it all the same in this lunacy. Eventually they disappeared to the bedroom as I laid on the couch watching a movie with the little kid, vodka after vodka slipping into the night.

A while later after their deed was done she came bursting out, still fully naked, laying right on top of me, "Oh cousin!", she laughed drunk and wild. The liquor guy timidly walked out into the room. All I could do was try to maintain.

"Damnit cousin, really? You do realize you're naked?", this was all too ridiculous, she'd lost all sense of the lie and I really had no stock in it anyway. Another sip of vodka, jumping around, somewhere in the mix the guy slipped out. She had blacked out eyes and I could feel that I was fading in and out of such a state. Who knows when the little kid slipped away to his bedroom in all of the this. I'd be the third to slip away, out into the street walking the long walk or subway ride or whatever I did, winding up back where I was staying somewhere in the early morning.

I awoke to voicemails and messages from the awoken black out girl wondering where I was, what had happened the night before and otherwise looking for light to be shed. I showered myself back to reality, then headed to the coffee shop where I had to write and article for a shoe company's blog, Keen. They were sending me a free pair of replacement shoes after hearing my story and also wanting me to write a guest post for their blog.

I wrote that in a haze and then headed back to the girls place to see if I could help piece the night together, also to see another mutual friend who was visiting her. She'd found condom wrappers by her bed, not remembering if it was from the liquor guy or me or both. I guess she'd blacked out even faster than I'd thought. "Just the liquor dude", I told her, "but you did jump on me naked before he left, I'm not so sure he bought the cousin thing". I stuck around just a bit longer before heading back to Astoria.

I spent a few more days burning around the city, then back to Connecticut. I headed to my dad's for what should have been one last night before hitchhiking west again, but our late night drunkeness lead to passionate conversation and uncharacteristic punches thown to make a point. We made amends a day or so later for our foolishness, but I had a shiner on my right eye that wasn't going to help the cause of getting rides. I gave it a few days to fade, realizing it wasn't going to go completely away for at least a little while, the road was just going to have to accept it. Indiana, I'd be on my way shortly.

June 30, 2012 to July 25, 2012