I went out every night over the last weekend. In fact, the going out exceeded the weekend – it started on Thursday and finished on Monday. I would go out into bars, staying long beyond my friends’ exits, hoping for something exciting to happen – searching, that is. I would sleep until the middle of the day (if I’d returned by then), and then head back out into the night. At times it felt like perpetual darkness, hairspray always in my hair, my appearances and clothing always established for travelling. I was looking for something, as I have said. On one night, I know that I was hoping to experience the sorts of emotions and feelings found in songs – but instead of this, after visiting two or three venues and lavishing a small fortune upon the night (the feeling of spending money is just lovely until you near the bottom of the jar, and you have to start counting your pennies, sensing a limit…), I did not stumble upon the treasure I was after – there was no adventure, no ‘event’ outside the usual trudging about, contending with the things around me (people, bars, smoke, drinks, doorways, foreign toilets, still city streets, and so on) – only a rejection from ‘the bar of last resort’ (i.e. one still open after 3am) because of my sandals. And then there was a disappointed cab ride, but a feeling of relief at having taken the more sensible option, even though it was 2:45. At the height of my being convinced of my being stranded in this just so ordinary plane, I sent disappointed messages to friends, telling them how “desire is revolting” (desire for anything, I think I meant, as this is always… thwarted. A miserable thing to say, no?) – because my night had been cut short, and I had returned home with my hands empty.
It was Saturday night that was the clincher, however. From a small birthday drinks and then onto the dim cavern of Cherry, I once again farewelled my last companion of the evening at 2 something, to begin the journeys, my choice of footwear ‘safe’ for all venues. I had already experienced the mortification of beginning to make chit-chat with likely-looking folk, only to realise that they were eighteen, and had just finished school, and that I am not eighteen but twenty-two, and so would give them that delighted feeling of being younger yet of interest to those who are older, experienced, ingénues no longer – a horrifying feeling as it was once I who conceitedly felt this way. No more.
I was literally a vulture at a bar, seeking to catch the eye of those around me. Not strange men, of course. If one does not watch oneself, it is all too easy to end a night with the horror of kissing one of those. I did not look like a vulture, I am sure. I looked like a small, pale person, awash in a tide of people. It was almost exactly like being in the sea, timing your movements so that you could work with the waves and not against them…
I got talking with some aggressive women. They accused me of suggesting that they had ‘issues’ that they were attempting to drown by drinking, because I asked why going and getting drunk made them happy. I was curious about why it was my own choice for the evening, you see. But I certainly made some very stubborn people quite annoyed. Stupid stubborn people! Which immediately brought me back to the thought, after I failed to be able to convince them that ‘everyone does things for a reason’ (which must sound like ‘you have issues that are making you drink’ when stated to you by a stranger at a seedy pub at 5am on a Saturday night), that there are some people in the world – many! – with whom you will never be able to have a reasonable conversation, because their assumptions about the world are so ingrained – their silly, irrational assumptions – and so far from your own, making enlightenment impossible (yes, enlightenment – I was evidently attempting to shed the light of reason upon these nongs, virtuous scholar that I am). And this made me think of the awful Liberal politicians that I have been scowling at and wishing instant destruction to for the last few weeks.
The rest of the morning included breakfast in the clearest blue sunshine that I have ever seen, with a stranger from the previous bar. (Even with the inclusion of this last detail makes me feel like I am veering too close to mere boasting about shit man, I had the hugest weekend! – something which I want to avoid, because the magnitude of the weekend came from the sheer dissatisfaction that I felt at the end of each night, as if I had plodded from bar to bar in order to fulfil some duty, rather than any sort of pleasure. By Sunday night, heading out once again, I felt like a streetwalker.)
That was my weekend, anyhow. It is a long time since I have felt so grateful to be in my own house.
Oh, that’s right, I was also told that ‘I think too much’. Always a deflating comment to receive.
So perhaps I just live through song from now on? I’ve seen too many books, I feel. Or indulged too much in collecting books for their own sake to sit them on my shelves and make comments at parties about their blurbs.
Oh, and I might just add: it was not glamorous. I always thought that even in the darkest doldrums, that going out every night might be some consolation. And I'll be honest with myself: it was. It gives a story to tell. But otherwise: nichts, nothing.