Highschool Friend Paul

« Happy Good Friday! » He said. Then in the next breath: « Fuck the Catholics! » « Fuck everyone, » I said. « why just the Catholics? » He was chopping a Spanish onion, but turned around to smirk. « You’re right. » He said.

Well I’ve heard that one before, haven’t I?

Beer bottles beside fresh basil
beside a tambourine beside knives;
these
are the best days of our lives.

The lesser things.
we needed to get it out of the way.
So that was yesterday.

And now?
Now we feast.

« He » is Highschool Friend Paul. The kid’s a musical genius. The Rolling Stones’ 1978 album « Some Girls » is cranking out of two speakers on five foot professional stands in his living room here in Bobcaygeon. There’s something magical about this room. You walk in and you know just a few drinks into the future you’re going to be a part of something bigger than yourself. A living room musically decked right out and fit for The King of Rock himself. Speaking of which, there is a large Jailhouse Rock portrait of The King hanging on the wall, as well as a mirror with his image, citing his short life, 1935 to 1977, laying on the kitchen table. It served us well last night whilst in the throes of lesser things.

But as I said.

Now we feast.

Suddenly Paul stops chopping garlic to pick up the tambourine and sing and play along to the Stones’ song « Far Away Eyes. » Is this still The Stones? » I ask. It is. Wow. I never would have guessed, save for Mick’s unmistakable vocals. The album finishes and then he puts on Muddy Waters. My goodness. Thank heavens for Highschool Friend Paul. Hank Williams. Hank Williams Junior. Hank Williams The Third. Steve Earle. Emmy Lou Harris. Blue Rodeo. All incredible stuff I wouldn’t have had a clue about and would have been much poorer for if it weren’t for Highschool Friend Paul. Waking up in Bobcaygeon, drinking vodka for breakfast and wallowing in the human condition. Not only appropriate, not only does it not feel wrong, it feels right.

It feels damn good.

We lost touch after highschool. Then along came Facebook. Anyone who thinks they’re above Facebook is an asshole. Or afraid of something. We reconnected. Then he showed up drunk at the bar where I waitressed in the summers. That was about four years ago now.

Highschool Friend Paul.

It’s Easter weekend. We came up here to jam. That’s what we do. And we do it right, goddamnit. I’m sitting here at the kitchen table, and on the counter I can see five bottles of red, two enormous bottles of vodka, two magnums of white wine, all amidst a civilized sprinkling of beer bottles. It’s only been twenty-four hours but more than half of the bottles are empty.

Not so civilisized after all, hey? 😉

His musical genius is closely followed by his culinary skill. Before me sits a Pot Proper of clams, scallops, shrimp, and talapia in a gorgeous, gorgeous, heavenly broth of clam juice, tomato, nearly an entire bottle of white wine, olive oil, garlic, fresh cilantro, fresh oregano, and dried basil from his own backyard. Day old baguette, the only accoutrement, ripe to be ripped and dipped. Not even a five-star restaurant could boast a feast such as this.

I sat here as he cooked up this storm simulataneously guzzling vodka like water. He called his friend Robin Newinsky to reassure himself he had done everything properly. Yeah. Robin Newinsky. I asked: « Didn’t he suck the president’s dick? »

It was funny.

It’s two in the afternoon, and now Paul sleeps in his full-bellied drunken stuper. I sit here, still sipping wine, relishing each moment of this…portal…this ethereal musical portal of Highschool Friend Paul’s house in Bobcaygeon that I have entered. « Fuck off! » I suddenly hear. That was Paul. Talking in his sleep. Shouting in his sleep!

I can’t help but smile.

We have written five songs together now. We don’t often do other people’s stuff, but last night we did « Lost Together » by Blue Rodeo, too. I suppose if we should do one cover, it’s the one that would be most appropriate. And oh, that…magical living room! From about two in the afternoon until at least two in the morning.

We drank, we sang, we played, we wrote;
we jammed, got drunk, did all the coke.

And in those hours,
we were the youngest and the strongest
that we would ever be.

It would feel contrived to count how many guitars are there. One bass, much bigger than me. Mikes. A mike stand. An organ. Harmonica. Drums. Speakers a plenty. A banjo. And of course that tambourine I mentioned. I wonder if there are more guitars or bottles of vodka.

The kitchen is an absolute mess! Garlic and cilantro on the floor, sauce splatters all over the stove, dirty dishes on the table, counter filled with empty bottles, beer bottle caps, can openers, wine openers, and dirty dish clothes strewn amidst shopping bags of garbage. Paul is snoring, I am red wine buzzing, singing « I don’t know what’s wrong with you, But I still want to be with you, Oh yeah…! »

This.

This is living.

Beer bottles beside fresh basil
beside a tambourine beside knives;
these
are the best days of our lives.

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À propos de Stina

If I could tell you about me in a neat and tidy definitive statement, I don't think I'd be writing this blog.
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