Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Drunken Consumption

Yesterday, I may have had the most successful day of shopping ever. Yeah, I said Shopping.

A former girlfriend and I once tried listing all of my, let’s say, non-stereotypically-masculine traits. I’m neat and organized. I like to clean. I like Gilmore Girls. I have numerous face washing products. I don’t like sports. And I like to shop. Or at least, I used to.

Thanks in part to that now-ex-girlfriend, my affinity for walking around and spending money for its own sake went away (along with some other things, but that's another story). These days, I try to just spend money when I need to, “need” of course being as subjective as anything else.

But there was a short list of big items that have been squarely in the “need” category for a while now. And they weren’t easy purchases. Not for me, anyway.

1) I needed new sneakers for work.
This is an incredibly difficult task because I despise sneakers. I only wear them in the summer and only with shorts. A few months back, I threw out my disgusting old bar sneakers and bought a pair of low-top Converse All-Stars as replacements. In my 20s, I wore Chuck Taylors 365 days a year, but as I got older, their utter lack of arch support made them a bit uncomfortable (even with insoles). But I couldn’t imagine the searing, constant neck and back pain that wearing them for 12 hours on my feet behind the bar would bring. They were out. I have another old pair of Adidas (a style they don’t make anymore) that are my “street” sneaks and I didn’t want to ruin them by wearing them behind the bar (every bartender has a wardrobe strictly for work, due to become imbued with booze, dirt, cherry stains, and miscellaneous other alcohol-related extrusions). The search began anew.

2) I needed to pick up a new black light for the bar.
I’ve been threatening for months to buy a 16” black light fixture for the door guys where I work because the old 5” fixture hasn’t worked well enough to light up the fluorescent door stamps we use in a long time. Plus, I love black lights.

3) I’ve been looking for a new pepper grinder for a long time.
I just couldn’t find one I liked. This one wasn’t pressing, though.

4) I’ve been wanting to buy a laptop for over a year.
I need to be able to write away from the distractions of my home and also do work when I go back to PA (or on the incredibly rare instances when I travel elsewhere). But as anyone who was with me during the times I was buying my car and my LCD TV knows, when it comes to large purchases, I am more than hesitant. I’ve known exactly what model laptop I wanted, I just kept putting off buying the damn thing.

Yesterday was a beautiful summer day in Manhattan, and with the assistance of the wise and kick-ass Lysa with a Y, I headed out with resolve to accomplish at least one of those goals. And, unbelievably, I accomplished them ALL, in four hours, all in a short, direct walk from 18th Street down Broadway, with a right turn at Prince, ending up at the Apple Store in SoHo.

A trek which included one key stop: Gonzalez y Gonzalez, for two and a half margaritas. (Please note: This cavernous downtown Cal-Mex joint is mediocre at best and I would never dine there, but for a quick afternoon Happy Hour Margarita fix, it's fine.)

I discovered that my reticence to buy large items goes away if I’m a bit looped. Now, this would not have been a good thing when I was gettin’ the Jeep, but with every purchase yesterday, having some tequila in me removed my hesitation and I bought a new pair of AdidasSuperstar Vulcans (at the Adidas store at Broadway and Houston) and a MacBook. As well as a new pepper grinder, a black light for the bar, and, just for good measure and to show how subjective “need” is, new Brainiac and Lex Luthor action figures and the new issue of DRAW! featuring an interview with my pal Chris.

Y and I returned to Hoboken and headed to Louise and Jerry’s for celebratory shots of Maker’s Mark and a shared Bud and then back to my place where the icing on the cake was sitting in the door: A box from Amazon containing my impulse order of last week: Craig Yoe’s ARF MUSEUM, Booker T. & the MGs' HIP HUG HER, John Doe’s FOR THE BEST OF US reissue, Hal Lifson’s SEX AND THE ‘60s comp and Arch Hall Jr. and the Archers’ WILD GUITAR! anthology.

As a rule, I’m not a fan of conspicuous consumption. I don’t shop for the sake of shopping anymore. But I gotta say, as the pizza arrived and we cracked open a bottle of Pagor Cab, the heat emanating from my AmEx card didn't burn so much as feel comfortably warm. So, the next time I DO some economy-fueling dispensation of disposable income.... I’m gettin’ hammered first.


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