Nothing good ever happens after 2am, nothing boring happens either. Maybe that's why I'm in Times Square at 5am. Riding a Citi Bike. Tripping on LSD.
Why is it the wildest nights always seem to start with modest intentions? How does two beers and in bed by ten turn into you damaging house plants and waking your girlfriend up at 3am to help you take off your clothes? We've all been there, don't you bullshit me. Innocently enough, that's how my Tuesday night started, at a dive bar in Spanish Harlem.
The Duck is everything you want in a dive. Cheap booze, a pool table, dim lighting, and randoms. Located on 2nd Avenue, the main drag running through Spanish Harlem, it's one of just a few bars that serve the neighborhood. Like an off-colored mallard in a flock of white, it's presence stands in contrast to the Latin marts and bodegas that cater to Dominican and Puerto Rican residents. Maybe that's why nobody in the bar looked like they were from the neighborhood, save the bartender, a cute, full bodied young thing named Rina.
At the end of the bar top sat a clean cut guy with perfectly manicured hair. He talked loudly, and often, schooling Rina, incorrectly at times, on bartending technique and the history of the Sazerac, all while jibber-jabbering at the guys playing pool. He's the type of person that talks to be heard, whose constant stream of words mask an underlying social anxiety, or insecurity. I avoided his eye contact, and resisted any type of engagement. You start a conversation with those people, and next thing you know they're in your ear for two fucking hours. As luck would have it, he cornered me outside for a cigarette. Damn cigarettes. And well, this was the tug on a loose thread that would unravel into what was one of the craziest nights of the road trip.
A shot turned into a beer, a beer to a shot, cigarettes to tacos, ten blocks to an apartment, an artisan pizza to a mushroom cap, a glass of red wine to a year old tab of LSD. It was that easy.
Now, the guy who I initially wanted nothing to do with was tossing me a pair of his black jeans. Apparently my jean shorts and vintage Le Coq Sportif tee wasn't gonna cut it in MePa/Chelsea. We hopped across the street to re-up on some black market cigarettes, and just like that, I was about to embark on my first LSD adventure.
....Did the bottom of my glass move? I think it moved. Why is there a bathtub in here? Oh yeah, the place is called Bathtub Gin. Say speakeasy three times fast. Tinctures, bitters, fruit. How'd that guy with a soccer jersey get in here? Those guys are definitely fighting. There goes the guy with the soccer jersey. Self regulating societies. McManuses, McManusi? The bartender is the boy in the painting. Pints. "What's your name where you from!" I'm a Walmart Supervisor. Marshmallow cream dreams. The paper towel dispenser has a face. Burlesque dancer from Vienna, VA. She's too cool for Vienna. "Ah she twerk." Strawberry short cake spandex. Strawberry blonde hair. Otis. Drake. Riding through the 6 with my WOES. Joint? Joints. Let's blow this joint. "Speaking of blow," said the Jazz drummer. Nose beers. Don't get caught on the down beat, make your time. Cross town to hop in. Bikes, you in? Green lights, BIG lights. Empty streets. Uber. He's staying, he's coming. Sunrise over the Bronx on balconies. Level 2 Sommliers. Ralph Lauren. Take me home. Hostel. Sleep? Ha. Stare at the ceiling for two hours. OJ and breakfast burritos. It's hot. It's 1pm...
In 1953, Francis Crick would co-publish the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA molecules, the most important revelation in the history of biology that would consequently open the door to genetic mapping, stem cell research, the future of medicine and most likely, mankind. Crick would credit LSD for his role in the discovery, and in 1962 win the Nobel Prize. Some years later, another man, named Steve Jobs, would acknowledge LSD as "one of the two or three most important things I've done in my life." His innovation would create quite an impact too. The list goes on.
Honestly, their association with LSD meant nothing to me, and it doesn't now. If you're doing drugs because someone you admire did them, and you're not in high school, I don't know what to tell you. What I draw from these gentleman, and my experience, is to be open. Open to new realties, perspectives and outcomes. By saying yes to the world, it's vibrations can carry you to places you never imagined, pushing your mind to create or discover something that never existed. For nothing new ever came from routine or reason.
It's now 6pm on the Upper West Side, and I've drug myself out of bed to go watch a soccer game. The United States would punt it's game against Jamaica, much like I punted most of my day in bed. Some Korean takeout helped soften the loss. Back on the A train, my thoughts hum over the tracks, taking me from today to tomorrow, and back again. If I close my eyes, I can feel the vibrations.