Bob Gnarly.

May 31, 2005

This morning I found drunk skaters doing blow on my roof.

My building has this awesome roof with a panoramic view of Manhattan, both uptown and downtown skylines. You can see the peaks of all three bridges to Brooklyn. The building itself is relatively modest, but it’s right in the heart of the exploding Lower East Side; my neighborhood is where the bars are, where the whole city comes to get wasted. It’s kind of like a New York version of Downtown Disney in Orlando.
There aren’t any bars on my block, so it’s not a drag to live there, bar the occasional girl in a black dress puking on the curb. And like I said, the views are fantastic. One other benefit: all my immediate neighbors work in the morning. I get up early to write, and–hilariously for this area, once the junkie/indigent artist nexus of the city–once I hear all my neighbors’ doors shut, as they head out to gainful employment, I turn on the amplifier and start playing.
I was up at 8:30 today. I got coffee and went up on the roof to drink it in the sun. There were two shirtless kids there, with tattoos on their bellies and beers in their hands.
I said good morning. They clearly had been up all night.
“Hey man,” one of them said. “Do you live in this buiding? We’re pro skaters–I’m from L.A. He’s from Hawaii. Is that pointy skyscaper up there the Empire State Building? Hey, can you tell me where ‘upstate’ is? My sister lives there. My name’s Bob Gnarly.”
They were soon joined by two girls–my fellow tenants who Bob Gnarly and friend were crashing with. The girls brought a yoga mat, laid it in the shade, and lay down. They were groaning, achy; that up all night doing coke feeling. The pleasure’s all gone; now it’s about maintenance.
“What time is it?” asked a girl. “No, wait–I don’t want to know.”
I told Bob Gnarly that I had just been out in L.A., and had played a sold out show at the Troubadour. It blew his mind. I went downstairs and got a copy of Haughty Melodic to give to him.
“Bro! You’re a rockstar!” cried an astonished Bob Gnarly. “You’re stoked!”
My neighbor apologized for making noise all night. I said No problem, I didn’t hear you ’til I got up today. “Oh I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry,” she said. No, no; no problem. I smiled at her. It’s funny. Having been a drug addict, I look at drug users and think: my people.
They organized a beer run, and asked me if I wanted anything. No thanks, I’ve got coffee, that’s enough for me.
Bob Gnarly’s parting words to me: “Dude, I’m gonna tell something that’s gonna blow your mind, I mean you’re gonna roll in your grave. The Get Up Kids broke up! And you know the one guy? You know what he’s doing now? He’s the keyboard player in Simple Plan!
Here’s the weird postscript. As I walked back into my apartment again, I realized I felt kind of shaky. I got somewhat of a contact high (well, at this point in an all-night blow party, it would be more like a contact skeeze). Maybe I’m kind of Zelig-like when I encounter drugs. It’s an innate reaction.