I have several memories of living with my mom after her and my dad split. One memory was how she could hear everything in her sleep, almost like everything but her ears went to sleep. She could be asleep in her bedroom and I could be at the furthermost point in the house, down the hall, past the living room and kitchen in the dinning room, rustle a few papers and she would storm in livid wondering what all the noise was about. Staying with Angela is never easy when she is there. She goes to sleep before me, and when she hits the sack, that’s it, everything has to be out, and not just the lights. Angela’s room is but just a tiny room of sheetrock in a giant wood framed warehouse. The ceiling goes more than 20 ft high and the walls are simply sheets of metal. Needless to say the temperature plummets at night. Not like it would matter if it wasn’t cold there is no couch, just some uncomfortable chairs sitting on a cold hard unforgiving concrete floor.
2:30 in the morning: Angela is asleep, I am awake, and really at a loss of what to do with myself. Normally I would just drink till I got tired however there is nothing in the house. Desperate, I run out of the house hoping to find a bodega I could buy some beer at. All i find after a few blocks is an old man walking his dog who informs me you can’t buy alcohol anywhere after 2am. I walk back to Angela’s cursing under my breath when it dawns on me, I have a bottle of Saki in the fridge that Nori gave me. Back in the game baby, lets get to it. I’ll have a little Saki while watching the daily show, catch up on that wonderful train-wreck of a republican primary, and go to bed.
So I pour some Saki into a coffee mug, light a cigarette by the front door, drinking and blowing smoke through the gate, as things slowly get foggy, just right for sleeping. Like my mom, Angela too has the super power to hear things that she shouldn’t while sleeping. In this case it was me, pissing on the carpet in her newly christened sacred corner for meditation. I have no idea how she can hear my urinating, I certainly can’t. What I can hear however is Angela yelling my name asking me if I was pissing on her carpet. What the hell is going on? Where am I? I’m not dreaming, I’m not home, I’m in a thick fog, and I have no idea what is going on.
I open my eye’s and I am standing in her little meditation corner not knowing how I got here but knowing full well that I need to go to the bathroom and shower. I stumble out of the shower and notice it is 5 am, the Saki bottle on the counter is empty and can swear I went to sleep at some point.
I am not right in my head, and I cannot think straight let alone form a complete sentence. I need to sleep. Angela yells and asks if I am on drugs and tells me I cannot sleep. Bullshit. Too much alcohol in my system, too little sleep, too little time to ingest what is obviously still in me. I throw on clothes and immediately leave the warehouse.
I text a friend in the mission letting them know I need to sleep, its past 5am, so the trains must now be running again. From stumbling to the subway to the actual ride I fell back into a fog. Until I arrive at my friends house and crash into bed.
I awake and find I’m alone, with the bed and apartment to myself. I know exactly what happened last night/this morning before… I look at my phone and there is a text from Angela: “you need to get your stuff and find another place to stay”.
I apologize, and mentioned that I was ashamed and all, but she isn’t having it. She claims I am wrong for leaving the scene of the crime to clean it up. Stating that she would never do that to me. Here lies a line that we will not get past.
I honestly feel what I did was a minor infraction, but that’s the level I am operating on. This is when real friendship is tested. The more my head clears the more I think of what I would have done in her shoes… Let her sleep and just dealt with it the next day. Obviously Angela thinks differently… she thinks I should have just magically come out of my drunkenness and fixed things immediately.
That’s a nice thought in a parallel universe, but on planet earth, we have this thing called gravity.
We argue in text messages for a minute, she claims it isn’t about the carpet but the fact that I didn’t clean up. A couple of text messages later its about the carpet. Listen if its about the carpet, I’ll replace it, god knows the one I pissed one was a piece of shit. And if it’s a bout me being a decent person, well if she has known me 10 years now and if she is undecided on whether or not I am decent, well then I need to pull a big ass rabbit out of this hat.
I call Tony, and tell ask him if I can crash with him for a couple of days till I head back to New York. He asked me what’s wrong… says he can hear the sound of stress in my voice. I tell him I have been banished from Angela’s house.
“Really? what did you do”
“I pissed on her carpet”
“like you did this in the middle of an argument?”
“no I got drunk”
“oh no J…were you chugging it”
“what kind of cup?”
Tony laugh’s at me, “oh I can see it now, you know there is a reason they give you that stuff in a little cup. How many Coffee cups did you drink?”
I remember drinking like I just came in from the desert, like I hadn’t had any form of liquid in days. 1st cup, went down easy, but didn’t really feel anything, so I poured a 2nd, still no effect, then I started drinking a 3rd, and half way through I started feeling the 1st two cups.
I tell Tony I need to get my stuff from Angela’s so we agree to meet in west Oakland. I walk out on mission and 19th and head for 16th. On the way I see Grand Donut shop and realize one: I haven’t eaten yet today and two: The donuts have got to be fresh, and this is one of the best places in the mission to get a glazed buttermilk bar. At $1.25 a pop, this place is a god send.
When I got back to Oakland, tony is waiting for me at the BART station. We head to angel’s place where all my stuff is in a pile in front of her room. She stares me right in the eye, as if I am an alien. She doesn’t know what to make of me, and she is still cleaning the carpet 11 hours later. She must be pissed.
I load up the car and go to close the front door of her warehouse and Angela magically appears at the front door to close it herself. She gives me a long stare and ask’s me if I have anything else I would like to say. She wants to stick me threw a verbal meat-grinder, I can see it in her eyes. For me just get my stuff and leave is not enough for her. Well if that’s what she wants, then she can just go on craigslist and find a guy to fuck in the ass. I am not that person.
I look at Angela dead in the eyes and in a dry tone say “no”. When I get in the car with Tony I ask if its bad that I am having a hard time feeling guilty. He just sort of mumbles and leaves it at that.
Tony has an errand to run when we leave and while driving to it I see a carpet warehouse and laugh. Tony gets lost and winds up driving in a circle and we pass by the warehouse again. Its at that point I just stare at it a realize what I must obviously do. Christ it’s practically staring me in the face, what the fuck is wrong with me. On the outside of the carpet warehouse is a phone number in large print on the outside and I know I must write down this number. Tony speeds up before I can write anything down and I have missed my opportunity. Just then Tony starts to complain that he has missed his turn and once again we go in a 3rd circle and I tell tony to slow down so I can get the number.
I punch the number in my phone and call. Once an operator answers I began to inquire about purchasing a carpet. “So is it possible for me to just walk in and buy a carpet, how do you guys operate?”. When she confirms I start asking about what size I need and what price range I was looking at. I had Tony turn around immediately and we went inside and met with a short middle-aged saleswoman who lead us into a room filled full of carpets. I start to dig through a pile of throw rugs until I find something I am looking for. That’s it, we roll it up and Tony looks at me approving and walks back to the truck to throw the carpet in while I paid.
We get back to Angela’s and I call her saying that I forgot something and could she please come open the door for me. When she opens the door I just put the carpet rolled in plastic in front of her as a peace offering. She looks directly at me, smiles, and asks me if I really forgot anything and to which I once again say “no”. She gives me a hug and says “Next time please just clean up your mess”. I just turn and around and sort of grumble gibberish in a low tone. I need food, need to go clean up, and need to get the fuck out of the sun.
Angela didn’t say it but I fully understand why she was upset. The whole time I have stayed with her she has talked about self help seminars and learning meditation technics. Just a couple weeks earlier she was at a ten day silent meditation retreat that she stayed at through Christmas and new years eve. Angela is working very hard to be focused, to maintain a strong sense of order and has been proudly vocal about this. I am sure that my little ball of recklessness was just a giant monkey wrench fucking up her entire production. I know this, and that is not something I honestly care to be.
I get back in the truck and Tony is giving me a very big smile of approval as he bobs his head up and down like a chimp. I just pissed on a good friends carpet and I think it’s completely hilarious. The piss, the drunken train-ride, the carpet, and now I can laugh about it practically guilt-free. The true beauty of this is that I have neutralized a very explosive situation in less than twelve hours all for the low price of $50, lets hear it for Chinese labor.