2009-06-12 - 4:53 p.m.
“I keep hearing about this whole big city, but I haven’t seen it yet.”
“You brought the Seattle weather with you.”
“I haven’t been in Seattle in a year.”
“Whatever, the Empire State Building is over there, somewhere.”
What follows may be the worst metaphor I’ve ever constructed, but, New York seemed to be enveloped by a tea cozy made entirely of lint this week. For the entirety of the week, we have drowned in grey. There have been rainstorms now and again, but they seem to be working covertly: dousing the city in the darkest, latest hours. Without guttural thunderclaps to announce them, we’d have slept through each of their assaults.
Instead, we have been besieged intermittently by cloying mist and weak drizzle. It feels silly to hold up your umbrella, but without it, it takes all of three blocks for the gathering moisture to seep in. Nothing will be soaked, just dampened; just moist enough to cling uncomfortably for hours.
Nothing worth complaining about, but just enough to feel like you should.
Just enough to move a screening of Firefly from the roof, down into the loft below.
I’d love to feign ignorance as to why I am forwarded every geek related e-mail my friends receive.
‘Golly gee willikers’, I’d say. ‘I have no idea what would lead a person to forward me information regarding a Nintendo themed burlesque show featuring strip teases by Princess Peach and Samus Aran. What a silly concept! Silly, silly…how much is the cover?’
The truth is I’ve not only revealed my geektastic dalliances to all, but I’ve splashed the pot with them. Not a few of my friends were grabbed by the nape of the neck and dragged to a midnight showing of Serenity when it came out. The contingent dispatched to the New York Comic Con had me as gleeful proponent. My passel of web comic themed t-shirts could keep me clothed for a solid two weeks if need be.
So you don’t think I’ve entirely gone off the deep end: I’ve never co-splayed, nor written fan-fiction. I’ve never camped out for movie tickets, and outside of a gifted figure of the Undertaker, I have no figurines. My DVD collection threatens to collapse and wash away my entire apartment in a tidal wave of Freaks and Geeks, Veronica Mars, and Black Adder, but my comic book collection barely deserves the moniker of ‘collection.’ ‘Loose stack in the corner of my apartment’ seems more appropriate.
Still, it’s none too surprising that a friend would forward me notice of a rooftop screening for Firefly, at a strange multi-use loft space in Brooklyn. It is slightly surprising that, despite my best efforts to arrive a cool twenty minutes late, I managed to be the first to arrive for the event.
Even more surprising that the first thing I’d see upon entering was a man in shimmering white jogging pants leading a small collective in a flip kick.
Approximately fourteen legs kicked up into the air in time, whipping in a full one-eighty. As they landed, each twisted again, one leg under the other, turning another half circle, while twisting their toes tenderly beneath them. A flick of the hip, and they were leaned into their back foot, pulling into a sway that their leader greeted with a barked…
Amongst my training in geeketry, was a year in college where I served as the assistant manager at an arcade. Added to my utility belt of dork: a certain flair with a soldering gun, speediness with the count on the nightly deposit, and an intimate knowledge of combo system in Tekken Tag.
This and only this encompasses my knowledge of Capoeira: the button masher’s dream, Eddy Gordo, flailing wildly across the screen, all legs and flips and frustration.
Now, sitting on a couch in the living room of this massive loft, I was watching seven people actually attempting it.
As the Mutant Enemy crowd gathered, the contrast could not have been more stark. A clan of darkly dressed fanboys and fangirls, flipping through books and facebook updates, each coddling the B they BYO’ed, sitting mere feet away from a collective hurling their bodies into pretzel shaped aerials.
It was honestly tempting to jump into the fray. I wouldn’t have minded making an attempt, but a lingering excuse of lingering pride gathered to stop me. If anyone asked, I thought, I’d blame the fact that I’d worn my boots, rather than the fact that I’d worn my wussy pants.
Of course, then one of the geeks in the gathering had to jump in, while taking off his shoes, ruining my perfect excuse. Again, I forgave myself since it was immediately evident that he’d danced the dance of the castrated rooster before. (No really, look it up.)
The floor thumped with each landing as they sparred. The bouts didn’t really seem to contain any intensity or animosity, resembling more a mud pit at Woodstock than a steel cage match.
We all watched, clinging to our messenger bags.
The spot was out a bit in the boonies of Brooklyn. Not entirely near any easily accessed subway, I decided, despite the weather, to kick Jeanette down the way. I knew the neighborhood, since it’s on the way to my mechanic, and I’d been looking for an excuse to take a ride since the storm clouds had gathered early on in the week.
It wasn’t raining, but as I plowed down Washington Ave, the mist in the air gathered over my visor, meaning I got to drive through the lens of a fun house mirror. I wiped it down at every red light.
It wasn’t really raining, but it was enough to move the screening downstairs into the loft. Still, in a break between episodes, I couldn’t help but make a visit upstairs for a smoke and a glimpse at the view. It was up there, on the sparse roof that I bumped into the local and his friend from Seattle.
“It’s honestly out there.”
“I’m sure it is. We’re just trapped in the mists…”
The local’s girlfriend piped up, with a smile.
“We travel in the mists of space and time?”
This I couldn’t let pass without comment.
“Don’t you need a TARDIS for that?”
The crew turned and laughed, and with that I was immediately culled into the circle. Their eyes all read the same: “He knows.” Before long we were sharing cigarettes and flasks while trading references. I defended Buffy’s sixth season. The girlfriend slipped a ‘frak’ into conversation. It was a geek-gasm.
Once midnight struck and we’d finished with our two episodes, I slipped towards the exit, making my apologies to the female newbie asking for a full back-story on Mal and his world-weary crew. (She later accosted our hostess for the evening, who dutifully pitched the entire series like a professional.)
On my way out, I saw the same crew from the roof as they bounded out to their car.
“To the geek-mobile!”
“Hate to nit-pick sir, but, THAT is the geek mobile.” I said, leveling my finger at Jeanette.
“Sir, I do believe you have me at that, sir.”
We laughed, and said our goodbyes, pleased to have ate our fill of dorkedness for the week. Just enough. As I pulled out my helmet and began to fasten it on, I saw a droplet on the visor. Then another.
The rain had held off, just long enough.
I plowed home through a storm, and just as I was throwing my leg off Jeanette back on my block, it trickled to a stop.
It rained just enough.
Just enough to soak me on my way home.
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