Scourge and Transparency

The Rise and Fall of Advanced Social Journalism during the Early Twenty-First Century

Archive for April 2013

Another Excursion

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Returning to Philly for New Year’s Eve seemed like a fun idea. I thought I’d get two birds stoned at once by dropping by NYC as well on my way back.  I kept pushing off my exact departure to the City of Brotherly Love as I engrossed myself in the bittersweet holiday spirit that accompanies visiting family in one’s hometown. It was one of those Christmases where one is able to surround one’s self for days on end in Yuletide cheer and then immediately be in loathsome moments of fierce family argument. No matter how hard you try to bite your tongue, pace your drinking and organize festivities who knows what’s going to come out of your mouth or into your body?

But enough about Jesus Christ let’s talk about the Devil’s birthday: New Years Eve. When I made it south of the border I was immediately disappointed that I would not be able to pick up any good cheap drugs. In spite of this upset I swallowed my pride and settled for some of those prescription anti-ADD uppers that seem to be so popular in the states. Every Canuck is overwhelmed by the many indulgences Uncle Sam has to offer. Not only are bars more abundant with better happy hour deals but there are also restaurants that often have cheaper and richer foods on every corner of the home of the brave. Thus, if I wasn’t go to get high I was certainly going to get fat.

Cheese-steak sandwiches tend to be more tourist attractions than an actually Philly delicacy, however I’ve had some of the best goddamn food of my life in that fair city. I checked out this deli I visited in the summer previous and shoved my face full of a concoction of hearty bread, salty cold cuts and bitter vegetables that almost gave me a boner. When I was leaving the establishment one of the patrons added the phrase “Be Safe” to his New Years’ greeting and this wasn’t the first time I’d heard those two words in Pennsylvania. I thought it odd that both the gangster Latino that sat next to me on the bus through New Jersey and the first person to sell me a six-pack of Pabst left me with the farewell “Happy New Year and Be Safe, yo!” As if they were trying to warn of some impending Philadelphia danger that I as a foreigner would naively walk into.  

My friends and I spent the count down to 2012 at a local bar and then made our way to a party. After drinking most of the day and helping myself to free liquor at the house party my awareness of what surrounded me was very much limited. The next thing I new I had my local friend’s house key in my pocket and was now only with people I had presumably met that very evening. At the same time I was hitting rails with a young lady on my lap and drinking champagne at a beautiful modern condo. I didn’t know how I got there but I was certainly enjoying myself. The girl on top of me asked if I wanted anything and I inquired if she knew how I could buy any of the stuff we were doing. She asked how much I wanted to spend – $40 seemed relatively not too high of an amount – and we followed some people up stairs. After a few lines for her and me in someone’s bedroom I went to make my way for the door yet was stopped and told to take the rest of “my shit” with me.  I had assumed my two twenties would have already been depleted but saw that I was still apparently and shockingly the father of a solid white ball the circumference of a quarter!

Needless to say one thing led to another and I awoke next to the lass I had met the night before. Her friends and me had a delicious gluttonous breakfast at a local establishment and drank our way to the Mummers Parade. I didn’t know what the fuck all those people were doing in those costumes and still have no idea what to make of everyone drunk out of their minds on the street. At one point I saw a guy driving a float take a swig out of 60oz bottle of liquor.  After 24 hours of heavy drinking, heaving eating and some fooling around I exchanged information with my femme fatale then met with my buddy on the other side of town before leaving for the Big Apple.

I only had about two days to kill in NYC and a lot of Charlie. I spent most of the time bumming around Greenwich Village and Soho always a little high as I went from bar to bar. I felt a lot like Lou Reed and was listening to The Velvet Underground in accordance.  In fact, as I was waiting to have dinner with someone I met in the East Village I noticed outside a used bookstore a beautiful coffee table book on the godfathers of protopunk themselves that I instinctively purchased. It would seem that events don’t always happen as one would expect but they can go be as exciting as they are regretful and there’s often a little irony thrown in.

In the end I probably cleaned off my credit cards only a few hours before crossing the border. I had met some beautiful random people, had some half-expected and very much yearned for experiences and got my fill of harmful vices – in other words: just another excursion. 

Written by shanedantimo

April 14, 2013 at 7:38 am

The Cape Fear

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I had not written a word until on my way out of Florida. And I have to admit I was somewhat happy to be leaving the state. The region is like every possible demographic and stereotype of America is crammed into one isolated and humid peninsula. There they have the rich, the poor, the very poor and the rich that are still culturally poor. I should ask the Floridians to not take offence here but who am I to tell people how to feel? – go right ahead and shit on me. My observation is partially based on 6 hours in an Orlando bus station where I expected my company to be Mickey Mouse but I got methheads instead. In spite of what happened in the foreclosure state it was all but a detour on my way to the bottom of the Mississippi River – New Orleans.
When I finally put pen to paper, while waiting at a roadside bus stop sitting on my bag, I took a look up and saw that I was directly beneath a palm tree. During the previous week I had for the first time swam in the ocean (although technically the Gulf of Mexico, still sea water nonetheless). People that grow up on the coasts always shit bricks when you tell them you’ve never seen the ocean – as if they’re unfamiliar with the Midwest or therefore assume that you are unable to even swim. I grew up near the Great Lakes and although it isn’t salt water the pollution has a distinctive taste and smell as well. The bus to the land of Cubans and crocodiles was a long 20-plus hours with layovers. Needless to say I was very irritable and groggy.
The reason I was stopping down that way was to visit my father. I was guaranteed some hearty free meals and birthday money – both of which were much needed. Unfortunately it is incredibly difficult getting through to my dad even face-to-face and almost like emailing a brick wall. I told him I was travelling coast to coast and could stop by his neck of the woods for a few days around the beginning of June. He said he was leaving Florida at the start of July but I could fly home with him – completely disregarding the clear description of my travel plans. Not only that, he spent the 48 hours I was there complaining that I should stay for another week. While sitting by the beach and having everything provided for me would be enjoyable, I had to move onto more exciting places – as scheduled.
Even though I had time to scribble in my journal, only moments prior I was worried I’d miss my bus and have to stay in Florida even longer. Despite having told my absentminded parent the date, time and location of my departure he coconsciously – or unconsciously – decided not to consult a map or arrange transportation to the bus pickup until minutes before it left. It seems my father was more concerned with me enjoying a “vacation” instead of realizing that I wasn’t on a hardly deserved holiday but on a pre-planned backpacking journey.
Instead of spending two days and two nights wallowing in some much-needed sleep, gluttony and time poolside I was dragged on an exhausting and stressful sabbatical. I was pulled through tours of neighbourhoods and beaches that all looked alike; woken up for breakfast earlier than when I would have set my alarm on a work day; introduced to people whose name and relation I instantly forgot; and more-or-less treated as if I had just become potty-trained. When I arrived at the condo after two nights on a bus without showering, shitting or shaving I desperately needed a good deal of time to get myself together. But after 15 minutes with the door locked behind me my father went into a panic; banging on the washroom and shouting because he thought I had obviously died. This wasn’t even the worst of it. While eating supper with some guests I excused myself so I could take a shit for the first time in four days. I had left some crumbs on my plate and instead of the dinner party departing after finishing their meals they all sat and waited for me to return from defecation. It was at this point that I informed my father that I was mature enough to be in the bathroom alone without worrying him.
The few days I spent in the Sunshine State were certainly something of a jarring experience. The miniature and moist vacation was squeezed between wild binge drinking and filled with child-like annoyances and pampering. It goes without saying I would have preferred more time to rest my head and less encounters at bus stations with people who looked like, and probably had been, arrested on COPS. Yet in hindsight it probably did me good to remove myself from a steady diet of crackers and alcohol in preparation for the Big Easy.

Written by shanedantimo

April 1, 2013 at 5:37 am