Your Enemies’ Enemies

The Siren Fest was an experience. I can only describe it as Friendster Come Alive. Or perhaps: The High Points of Hipsterism: A Fashion Retrospective. Or: An Opportunity To Get A Sunburn and Wait Half an Hour to Go to the Bathroom (but that’s really any music festival, isn’t it?). Or: My T-Shirt Is More Ironic Than Your T-Shirt.

And now it was over. We had heard the music of a band we like mercilessly tortured by a bad sound system, dropped at least five bucks on skee-ball, ridden the Wonder Wheel with strangers, and consumed, between the two of us, a spicy Italian sausage, a hot dog, two knishes, an ice cream come, a fried dough, seven or eight Coronas, a three-foot pina colada, a flaskful of bourbon and most of the nug I’ve taken to affectionately calling “Frankie.” We had photographed ourselves with the digital camera and then spent the next ten minutes re-living the last ten minutes. I went swimming and finally conceded that the water at Coney Island is filthy. I climbed out to the middle of one of the jetties and watched the setting sun turn all the entwined swimming couples into Hawaiian postcard silhouettes. Now, it had begun to rain. It was time to go home.

In a kind of Subway Miracle, the G train had replaced the F and therefore was running all the way from Coney Island back to Williamsburg. It was full of other tired, wet people retreating from the low-income neighborhood we invaded for the day and used as our own private amusement park. Though, oddly, this low-income neighborhood is an amusement park. Someday I am sure we will invade it permanently, and drive the low-income people into the sea. Isn’t that the ultimate gentrification fantasy?

When the hipster gentrifiers do drive the low-income non-hipsters into the sea, I will have the whole beach to myself. Hipsters don’t like swimming. It’s hard to swim with ironic detachment. The hipsters lay on the sand like gaunt, beached whales, bored and out of place. As I walked down the hipster-clogged beach on my way to swim in the garbage-strewn ocean, I felt their detached stares. It was a cathartic experience, kind of like walking through the metaphorical high school cafeteria of our generation in my bikini. Luckily, my bikini is very cute and I was very stoned, so that feeling of being watched may have just been my paranoia.

On the G train, I re-lived the entire day in my digital camera. Satisfied that it had been a good day, I opened my copy of Harper’s to look appreciatively at the haunting photographs of an abandoned U.S. Government anthrax plant. That was when I consumed the true entertainment of my day, the entertainment that surpassed the so-very-now bands, the stoned sunset swim, the large amounts of junk food, the rides and arcade games.

To my right was a guy with a shaved head and a mean razor burn. He wore adolescent sneakers and an angry expression. To his right was his far more affable shaggy-haired friend. He wore yellow club-kid sunglasses and a fair amount of hair gel. The bald, angry guy was spewing vitriol, and the affable friend was leaning against the window with his eyes closed, vaguely agreeing.

BALD ANGRY GUY: “I just hate how he philosophizes all the time. He thinks he’s so deep. And he just gets more and more tattoos. And I don’t have anything against tattoos. It’s the just way he’s so serious about them. Like they all have meaning. You know?”


BAG: “And it’s one thing to be that way when you’re 23, you know? But I’m like, we’re thirty now, okay? You can stop calling yourself a writer, and philosophizing all the time. I mean, have you even read any of his writing?”

AF: “Uh…yeah, I think once.”

BAG: “I mean, come on. And he never leaves the apartment. He just smokes weed and calls up girls like Janey Smart* (*not her real name, but rather a rhyming homophone of her real name) and gets them to come over, and look at his tattoos and listen to him philosophize.”

AF: “Heh-heh. Yeah?”

BAG: “Yeah. And I’m like, ‘So what? So you can get girls like Janey Smart* (*NOT HER REAL NAME) to come over. Big deal. And you’ve read a lot of books. Wow.’ It’s shit like that that really pisses me off. It’s shit like that. You know?”

AF: “Actually, I haven’t seen him in a while.”

BAG: “Well he’s just getting to be even more like he already was.”

AF: “Heh. I always thought he was a pretty cool guy. I always liked him.”

BAG: “Oh?oh, yeah. I mean, despite all this negativity, I think, you know, he’s a good guy. I mean, actually, I like the guy. I’m just being negative, you know man?”

AF: “I guess.”

[Long pause]

BAG: “Hey, what’s Amber up to tonight, man?”

AF: “She’s going clubbing in Queens with her girlfriends. She’s with, like, five of her girlfriends. They get all dressed up and go clubbing, like, in Queens.”

BAG: “Amber has five girlfriends? Who are these girls, and why haven’t I slept with them yet?”

AF: “Heh. Yeah.”

And this whole time I am thinking, who is this guy who sits around his apartment smoking weed, who has read a lot of books, who hasn’t given up writing even though he’s thirty, whose tattoos have meaning to him, who wants to get girls to come over and philosophize to them? Who is this guy? He sounds potentially cool, if he is not the cheesy, self-important version of all of these things. Excuse me, very bitter, thick-necked man who should wear more deodorant? I would like to meet your friend, this guy that you hate. ‘Cause I don’t like you, and you don’t like him, so, I’m thinkin’, you know, your enemies’ enemies…

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