Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Perversity (2) [and (3) and (4)]

The Choirboy, but recently returned from his holiday break, began pestering me to join him for a drink before noon on Sunday.

I ribbed him that he was drinking on Chicago time (arguably, indeed, on LA time - but Chicago sounds better) - which could not really be explained by jetlag alone, since he'd only flown in from Europe.

I wasn't free at the time, but an hour or two later it seemed he was still loitering around my neighbourhood wheedling for beers, so I endeavoured to hook up with him.

It then transpired he'd suddenly decided to trek across town to drink with our pal Leather Britches instead.

Ordinarily, this would not be such a bizarre choice. But on this Sunday, it was several degrees below freezing and it had been snowing heavily for 36 hours. Roads and sidewalks here are often not very well cleared of snow even on a business day, and certainly not over a holiday weekend. The sidewalks were perilously slippery. 80% of cabs seemed to have retired from service, and those that remained on the roads were creeping along at not much more than a walking pace; and they were, of course, invariably occupied.

Neither The Choirboy nor I had been anywhere near a subway station when we last conferred. And the bar he'd elected to head to was even more remote from a public transport link (I think he'd have been facing quite a significant slither at either end, even if he'd chosen to try and make the journey by bus). There were, let me repeat, NO CABS. And walking anywhere in these Arctic conditions was both mentally and physically exhausting, and taking two or three times longer than you'd normally expect.

Why, then, did The Choirboy suddenly undertake to walk 5 miles in this near-blizzard?? Only a lonely impulse of delight, I must assume. He referred to it as "a Shackleton thing".

Absolutely f***ing crazy, I call it.

But then, I'd already been out in that shit for an hour or more (and was to be out in it for some hours more before I once again attained the warmth and safety of home) and had had my spirit of adventure frozen out of me.

More perversity....

As if being spurned by my best mate (in the most unfathomable of circumstances) was not bad enough, he and Leather Britches then proceeded to taunt me throughout the afternoon with further urgings to join them. And as if relocating to Sanlitun was not bad enough, they then proceeded to change bars every hour or so. WHY?? Why on earth would you do that when the weather was so appalling? Even the shittest bar in Beijing - yes, even Danger Doyle's (one of the strange choices of venue they tried to press upon me) - would have been a welcome haven from all that cold and wet. Why on earth would you want to expose yourself to that again, to put yourself through the terrifying slip-slide-stumble for even a hundred yards, let alone half a mile or so; even once, let alone two or three times? Lunacy!!

And yet more perversity....

I had just about made it home (a walk that normally takes only around 20 minutes occupying me for nearly an hour on this occasion; a particularly windy, icy, dispiriting hour as dusk fell) when JK and Dr Manhattan began entreating me to join them for dinner that night - at a Japanese place I'd never heard of and had no idea how to find, way out on the east side of town (doable on the subway, but a long haul, and with vexing slithers at either end). They did not catch me in a very receptive mood....

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