Sunday, June 20, 2010

Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars - June 2010

One of the things I miss most when I'm in New York are stars. I mean, we get plenty of the Hollywood kind, the recording artist kind, and even the Broadway kind. But I mean the little ones that twinkle in the night sky, that thanks to some some amazing light pollution, are hardly ever visible in the city.

That's why after a night out with my NSLP* Jared, his old roommate Nash, and Nash's boyfriend Graham, I was more than excited to venture up to our rooftop to look at the stars and smoke a cigy (or 3).

Laying on our backs, with the world spinning from the margaritas and vodka crans, the stars looked extra bright, extra twinkley. With smoke swirling above us and darkness all around us, we talked: about life, love, the constant pursuit of NY happiness (whatever that may be), and how AWESOME it was to see the stars. After about 45 minutes, Jared and I head back the 5 flights of stairs to our apartment, where we proceed to pass out. As I'm about to fall asleep my original plan for the evening echoes in my head: "I'm not going too crazy tonight. I have to go to Jersey tomorrow morning with Rob for a Rugby Tournament".

Fast forward to about 7 hours later. It's 9:30am, and I think I'm on the verge of death's door. Though I do spend a vast majority of my weekends trying to forget the stress of the week at the bottom of my beer bottle, I very rarely get hangovers. It comes with years of practice and usually a little pre-medication before the party starts.

This time, however, was very different. Bound and determined to make it to this Rugby match, I get up and attempt to shower. This proves to be quite difficult as I basically only want to lie down and/or vomit. I manage to wash my hair, and then promptly get back in bed and pass out for another hour. After coming to, I realize I have 20 minutes before Rob said he was going to call me and determine a place for us to meet to take the PATH train. But I'm having a hard time imaging even being able to walk to the bathroom, much less make it to New Jersey.

I text Jared from bed.

"Bodyguard, I think I'm dying...", a line from one of our favorite videos at is all I can manage to send him.

"Omggg me too" is his response.

I manage to make it to the bathroom a few minutes later, and try to expel the extravagance of last night, to no avail. I succumb to laying on the cold, tiled floor instead with my feet sticking out of the door.

"God, babe. Are you ok?" Jared is now standing at the door to the bathroom, and looks completely fine.

"I told you. I think I'm dying. Like legit." I manage to say as I roll over from my stomach to my back so I can see him.

"Well you certainly look like death. I thought you already left... when were you suppose to Rob?"
"He was suppose to call me like 20 minutes ago. Can you get my phone? There is no way I'm going to be able to rally from this."

He goes and gets my phone from my bedroom, and I proceed to text Rob that I'm so hungover there is no way I'm going to be able to go this morning.

Literally, 30 seconds later I get a text back from him that says: You and me both, I just woke up myself, there are 3 games total, the 2nd one starts like around 3, wanna go then instead. I need time to recover.

Thank you GOD! I reply with a "yes, of course. I definitely need time to recover before trying to make it to Durrty Jerz".

"No prob... not gonna lie, I was typing you the same text. I'll give you a call in a cpl hours" he responds.

Sweet victory. I head back to bed, and back to sleep until 2pm. I feel like a whole new person.

Shortly there after, I get a text from Rob checking on me, seeing how I'm feeling. He's feeling a million times better so we decide to meet at Penn Station in a hour.

After grabbing a sandwich at Subway that I tentatively eat, and a large iced coffee, I head down to Penn Station. It takes us a while to find each other, as Penn Station is larger than expected.

We exchanging pleasantries about how hungover we each were from the night before, and then we head to the NJ Transit corridor.

"Ok, we have to take the PATH train to Harrison. Let's find a map." Rob says, pulling the written directions out of his pocket.

"Is NJ Transit the same as PATH?" I ask, genuinely not knowing.

"Uh.... I don't know. I thought so."

We crowd at the map, but see nothing that says "Harrison".

"Maybe PATH and NJ Transit are different. Where do you get on the PATH train? Let's find a subway map."

We finally come to the conclusion that in fact the PATH train and NJ Transit are 2 completely different things. Neither of us had ever been to Jersey before, so it was only logical to think that one was part of the other. We walk from Penn Station, 1 block over to Hearld Square to catch the PATH train.

"So... now what do we do?" I ask, staring at the foreign turnstiles, leading to what looks like the old dilapadated, rejected NYC transit subway cars.

After trying to decipher how to use the machines to buy the PATH tickets, and which train we need to get on to get to Harrison, we board the train.

"This is going to be an adventure for sure." Rob says.

"I hope we don't get lost. I didn't bring my passport." I reply.

We take 2 trains to get to the stadium. The whole time making Bruce Springsteen jokes, and commenting on the fact that New Jersey really DOES smell. Bizarre.

We get to Red Bull Stadium, which is gorgeous by the way, just in time for the last match at 5pm.
Rob picks up the tickets from will call (left for him by his boss), we go find our seats, then decide to hit up the Beer Garden, which is down in the parking lot.

Now for someone that is constantly surrounded by gay men 95% of the time, this rugby match was like a whole new ball game for me (literally). I have never seen more straight, white, WASP-y guys in one place. It was incredible. And very exciting as most of them were insanely attractive, in that Yacht club kinda way.

We have 2 beers at the Beer Garden, which was basically part of the parking lot fenced in by Bud Light posters, 2 pub tables, and a bunch of guys throwing around a rugby ball. Super classy.

We head inside after the national anthem, and find our seats, which was insanely good, right near the goal line.
Now I know nothing about Rugby. The only thing I think of when someone says "Rugby" is that Friends episode when Ross tries to impress his British girlfriend by joing a Rugby team, and then proceeds to get the shit beat out of him to much hilarity.

Turns out, Rugby is the shit. Like seriously. The game was amazingly fun, the crowd was small but intensely into it, and the match was between the US national team and France A (which makes me think that France has more than 1 team?). After heckling the Frenchies for a good 2 hours, cheering for grown men to kill each other, and making friends with the fratty mcfratbrothers that were sitting around us, it's time to head back to the city.

2 trains and over an hour later, we're both completely exhausted. We head south of Penn Station to grab a bite to eat, and then head home. I was bound and determined to head to bed early, as I wasn't completely feeling 100%.
But considering how my morning was, it was a major victory that we were even able to make it Jersey, and back, in one piece.

And now I know that New Jersey really does smell as bad as you think.

- A. B.

*non-sexual life partner: also known as my gay bestfriend, gusband, etc

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