I am suffering a hell day today. I partied heartily last night, feasting with Bacchanalian guffaw, but, unfortunately, overindulging in 12-year-old Irish whiskey at my favorite restaurant with a couple of young women and thedailygrowlerhousepianist. thehousepianist and I had gone over the scores of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and the Ives 4th Symphony and then a couple of my best women friends dropped in with gifts and cookies and sweets and looking beautiful as are all the women who hang around me, and then we took ourselves down to my neighborhood pub and there we did our thang!
I woke up this morning not in that good a mood. I mean, I get mind-dementing hangovers when I party where Irish whiskey is being poured by the tumblerful and this morning was no exception. Plus my stomach was having a Rocky Raccoon reunion. But I struggled with it, did a muggles, and about 8 o’clock, I’m beginning to pull out of it, you know, the nose of my mind's airplane slowly leveling off and readying to ascend again, when all of a sudden there came such a clatter on the roof above me that I jumped up and looked out the window to see what was the matter. I knew it wasn’t Santa Claus, though I do believe in Santa Claus—Santa Claus has played a big role in my family’s life because of a man once dressing up in a Santa Claus suit and trying to rob a bank—but this clatter on my roof wasn’t Santa Claus but was a crew of illegal Mexican immigrants who are doing brick work on the roof, and Viva Zapata! at 8 this morning, all Mexican and regular old hell broke loose—the Mexicans were back directly above my apartment on the roof with their router and their hammers, the router making a horrific noise doing what it’s doing, drilling all the mortar out from between the loose or broken bricks they are pointing up, and this horror of a tool shakes the walls of my room, rattles things sitting about on my what-not shelves, and UGH! I hold my churning head in my hands and try and conjure up peace but it's impossible. [My dad once did a sterling business making what-not shelves—do you know what a what-not is and why a what not needs a what not shelf? Sounds like a line from a poem: Do you know what a what not is and why it is a what not and not a what yes, though I ask why not a why yes instead of a what not?]
Prestidigitation with words; that’s what a writer does.
So thus began what we in New York City call a Hell day. Not a Holy Hell day yet, though it could become one before the day is over.
These illegal Mexicans have been doing this brick work on my building for two straight years now, spring, summer, fall, winter, it doesn’t matter; snow stops them, but that’s all. Freezing temperatures don’t stop them. Sometimes they work on Saturdays. Horrid heat doesn’t stop them, though some days, sunny or rainy, they don’t show up for three days maybe, but then they’re back and louder and more obtrusive into your privacy than ever afore you know it. And they are going full blast as I type this; I’d rather be suffering from that other form of Montezuma’s Revenge between you and me.
The frustration is, they do this work in the same spot over and over and over. It’s an unrelinquishing punishment to human nerves and willpower. It has to be one of the premier tortures in the very pits of the holiest of Hells. How would you like it if two illegal Mexican immigrants were hammering and drilling on the walls of your home every day except Sunday from 8 in the morning until 4 and 5 in the afternoon for two years?
They both are now hammering right above me—there is another apartment above me, but even being a floor down from them they still sound like they are right here in the room with me. The hammering is over and now the router is rattling the windows and trembling the walls. You sit trying to grasp the fact that you are just going to have to endure it. Now one is hammering—he’s been hammering in the very same spot since 8 o’clock—3 hours now, while the router operator moves back and forth, over far right for a while, then back over me again for a while, back and forth, with the hammering staying consistently over me. They didn’t even take a lunch break yesterday. All I can do is put a whamma-jamma on them, but my supernatural powers are impotent against the mechanical power these sons of bitches control.
Our little-man billionaire mayor has openly bragged about wanting only rich people to live in New York City—you know, builds up the tax base, this darling little-man billionaire asshole mayor tells us condescendingly, like a trainer talking to a dumbass monkey he’s trying to train to steal all the change out of people’s pockets while the trainer does a song and dance to divert the attention from the cute little F-ing monkey's criminal feats. They are voting today on a huge development project that will change the face of downtown Brooklyn plus saddle New York Citians with a worthless sports arena (to house the New Jersey Nets pro basketball team, the owner of which is a big pal of our little-man billionaire mayor, who’s a Repugnican to boot). All mayors build monuments to themselves, but this little jerk is rebuilding New York City in honor of himself, changing the skyline, allowing Con Edison to build huge substations in the heart of neighborhoods right next to schools or apartment buildings, it doesn’t matter to these creeps who run this city, to handle the enormous amounts of energy all these new 50-story luxury hi-rise buildings that are going up like a huge wall around my neighborhood, the tallest of which is called Skyhouse, are going to expend. Wow.
I notice a lot of these buildings are built in the airspace over our dear old precious churches. These nontax-paying sons of bitches are selling out to these developers, which means these churches no longer need a congregation’s support—they are making millions off the leasing of their airspaces to these foreign-mostly developers. And these buildings will sit empty for years; the developers don’t give a shit as long as the development backing holds out—I mean, some of these are being financed by the Commie Chinese; you think they are going to run out of development money? Hell no.
Sorry, my hell day is a day of suffering for me, so, like an analysand, I’m spilling my wrathful beans in this post.
Hell day continues. It will be over around 4 o’clock and by then, I’ll be growling in my normal cone of silence again.
And by the bye, NYC department stores for the first time in their histories are staying open all night long this X-mas, including R.H. Macy’s right up the street from me. First time ever they’ll be open 24 hours a day. These sons of bitches are desperate for customers in these taxing days of approaching poverty for most of us; besides, rich people don’t shop at Macy’s.
On a good note: I bought a corduroy jacket from the Artie Shaw Estate Sale held in 2005 from one of Artie’s next-door neighbors in the Hollywood Hills. It came in the mail yesterday while thehousepianist was popping some cold Heinekens for us. Damn, what a beautiful coat—and it fits me fine, a little tight under the arms, but damn it feels good—it’s a hell of a high class jacket; I wore it last night out on our eating and drinking spree. Artie Shaw was a great influence on my early appreciation of jazz due to my brother going off to WWII and leaving behind his 78 rpm record collection, hundreds of shellacks, all of them swing classics, Tommy Dorsey, Glen Miller, Eddie Heywood, the Milt Hurt Trio, and Artie Shaw’s band, especially the tune “Traffic Jam” that featured a young Buddy Rich on drums. I got to meet Artie in the 1960s through my brother, who went on over the years to become one of Artie’s best friends and Artie became my brother’s very best friend—and they corresponded and called each other for 40 years, and when my brother was in Los Angeles, he always went up to visit Artie, a close friendship that lasted until my brother died in 2002. Artie then died 2 years later at 92 years of age. Boy, there’s a lot of emotional feeling passed down to me through this great jacket. The neighbor told me he guaranteed it came right out of Artie’s closet and had not been cleaned so that Artie’s DNA stays alive in the jacket. Don’t clean it, the dude told me seriously. I won’t.
I’m over my hangover; the Mexicans have gone back to Queens, it’s X-mas weekend coming up, three days of peace for me; I promise, no growling…oh, hell no; that’s a promise I couldn’t keep for the life of me.
for The Daily Growler
Eat, drink, and be merry, for: who the hell knows what waits on the morrow?