I look at my face at the mirror and at the blood on my mustache because a combination of the coke and the heat was a bit too much for this little nostril of mine. I stuff a wad of toilet paper in as two hot asian girls from somewhere else wait outside the bathroom at the Bossa Nova Civic Club, looking like what a guy I met, a curator for one of the Bogart shows, describes as “tolerating the scene.” D is visiting from California, and she and V just spent the day partying with Russell Peters on an assignment for Forbes Magazine, which apparently involves a rooftop bar in Herald Square where somebody decides that it is a good idea to get bottle service. V and D and I debate whether or not it was ethical for V to have accepted a $700 ring that Russell Peters had offered to buy her. Inside, there is a fog machine. There are beats and there are lights. Sounds like Berlin. Sounds like the UK. Sounds like Los Angeles, Chicago, Tokyo, Belgrade. Somebody outside says “I feel like I’m in Ibiza,” and V turns to me and says “I feel like I’m at an AKPsi party.” Remember? Remember that? “UC Davis,” I say. “Famous for two things: Animal science, and police brutality.” “Mace is illegal in NY,” D says, who happens knows a lot about mace, because her boyfriend was recently shot in the face with a nerf gun full of mace by kids of indeterminate race. We eat Dunkin Donuts. I walk the girls to the subway. I buy apples. It’s 4am in New York, and in Ankara, Turkey, there is enough sun outside for police to throw canisters of tear gas and send protesters fleeing into restaurants and bakeries to use their lemons, which are normally used for mussels, on people’s eyes. Videos and status updates proliferate. A Turkish friend of mine writes from Ankara: “Confirmed that the police has attacked one of the CHP’s buildings and trapped around 60 opposite parliamentarians. They just broke up the reinforcements from bestekar by surrounding and tear gassing them.”
The last time I saw him, he visited me in New York during Halloween. We were in the Upper East Side at a JP Morgan party. His costume was a tiger and mine was a gay goth.
“Did you hear about what’s happening in Turkey?” I say to my tall white beautiful blonde straight thin fit well-dressed and rich housemate the next day.
“It’s been going on all week. I’ve been wondering when you were going to find out,” says the tall white beautiful blonde straight thin fit well-dressed and rich housemate who makes me feel ugly.
“It’s the number two trending topic on Twitter all week and you thought I wouldn’t know about it?”
“It wasn’t my topic to bring it up. I’m uninvested. I just thought since you cared so much about Syria that you’d bring this up.”
What I want to say to him is that you should be fucking lucky that you have a choice to be uninvested because some people don’t have a choice, and while I have a choice, I am trying hard to care, because it’s really fucking hard to care, while you consistently make me feel stupid by belittling the things that are important to me, drawing attention to the fact that my existence in New York is near pointless and nothing is at stake and I don’t have an office job anymore and all I do with my time is sit at home just making shit up and while I’m questioning the very relevance of writing fiction, and even though I want to say this to you I can’t, I can’t, and all I can do is look at my face in the mirror and mouth the words: I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person. I am not a good person.
I started my novel by doing this subversive thing where I describe fabricated terrorist bombings and protests in Turkey with a journalistic voice, questioning what we define as realism, and all of that just seems silly now when just about everything I wrote about has come true.
I am easily intimidated by people who can throw rooftop parties at 3am
When I use the phrase “A good person,” I in fact mean a very specific thing. I am talking about certain sincere qualities of which it has become unfashionable to even talk about. Those qualities are these: empathy, understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness. A continual refusal to put oneself above another. This seems to be one of the virtues I’ve clung onto from my religious upbringing, one that I’ve had a lot of difficulty shaking off.
I am not a good person, and when I say about the very few people I saw this about: “He is not a good person,” it’s because I know precisely what that is.
We were at a bar, exchanging bad sex stories. You and K were sitting across from me at the table, the attractive gay men who I couldn’t imagine having sex as bad as some that I’ve had. And I don’t think anything we said that night disproved this. You were talking about how you met someone on OKCupid, and when you went over to his place, you watched a movie, undressed in the dark, fucked. Now the next part of the story was supposed to be funny. You said that halfway through topping him, it started to smell like shit, and you suddenly realized that he hadn’t showered. Mid-way, you pulled out of him and asked if he could take a shower before continuing, and so he did. He took a shower, and by the time he came back, you told him that this wasn’t working out, and you should probably go home. K asked if you’d used a condom, and you said “Yeah, Thank God,” which I thought was one of the saddest things you could ever say about a person.
Now I once brought home a man with a septum piercing and a black trucker hat who, after we undressed beneath my sheets, fingered me and forced his fingers in my mouth. It was an aggressive act of empathy, of abolishing the hierarchy that exists between lovers. It was his way of saying, I will clean you, I will service you, and I will deal with the dirtiest parts of you, and when I make you confront that part of yourself, I will bring you back down to my level. It was the kind of sex that was fundamentally different than rejecting a partner because he smelled like what gay sex smells like. We were laughing, and drinking, and spirits were high and conversation was good, and somewhere in the dim lights and the alcohol and the coke that I just took in the basement made me want to disappear, into your voice, into the graffiti on the walls, into the fantasy of being fucked by you and thrown away, because that is what people like me get from people like you, and the fact that you are not a good person is why I can’t be in love with you.
what kills me is that I think I’d be a great dad