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Why There Aren’t Any Wolves in the Chinese Zodiac: Part 3

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Here’s the conclusion of “Why There Aren’t Any Wolves in the Chinese Zodiac.”

*

I had been looking forward to the first weekend in February for some time. This was “best weekend ever” for all intents and purposes. Thursday I play pool, Friday I go downtown, and Saturday I have a party for the HYPE Collective. It’s the best kind of busy you can be. To make for an interesting story, we’re doing to skip around to different points in time.

*

“You know, me and Alanna were talking about you the other day, Drew…” I look up at my friend Molly as she talks to me. I kind of look through her because I’m sleep deprived. You can look through anything if you try hard enough. Behind her, a local folk rock band is setting up and testing their microphones. 

“…and we both we’re like, ‘Drew just does so much- he paints, he skates, he writes, he starts things, he goes here, he goes there, he does this, he does that…'” There’s an upright bass playing a lick and a banjo playing chords. Molly’s voice sounds like the intercom in a grocery store.

“…you just…you do whatever the fuck you want.”

I smile.

Everything’s in tune.

This is a huge compliment- probably the best thing anyone’s said to me in over a year. That’s as good as “I love you” as far as I’m concerned right now.

I thank Molly, telling her it’s not really like that, that I don’t really do whatever I want- but I don’t mean that entirely either. The band starts playing. It’s an indie folk rock outfit- what me and my friend Special K call whiskey town music, or Raleigh rock. Acoustic guitars, maybe some fiddles, and crooning about loves lost or drunken fist fights- it’s nice, honest music. The band and I are both here (at Tir Na Nog Irish Pub) for the same reason: 88.1 WKNC’s day party. Every year the student radio station does a big concert, Double Barrel Benefit, and this year they decided to have local artists, bands, and craftspeople come out in addition to the bigger name bands playing that evening.

But I’m out of place.

Everyone here is legit- they’ve got pamphlets, they’ve got T-shirts, they’ve got business cards. I have a loose-leaf paper sign I made with a sharpie in the parking deck. I can’t compete with pamphlets. I’m in over my head. I’ve got everyone believing I’m a painter and a business owner- that I know what the hell I’m doing. I’ve missed my calling as a con man. I stay here at Tir Na Nog for the next five hours watching bands play and watching the other businesses hand out their pamphlets. One of the people in our collective comes by, Kim, with her boyfriend Ryan, who I know through skating. They go a whole five minutes without making out and that’s probably the most successful part of the day party in my opinion. Better than the people who come by and look at my paintings and Kim’s drawings. They like the “Raleigh” one, the “Friendship” one is funny, and the “Origami Crane in a Cage” is cool- that’s the consensus. That’s what I’d write on my pamphlets if I had any. But my business cards come in 16×20 sheets of canvas or thick stacks of 8.5×11 office paper. I do whatever the fuck I want, right? I now realize the only difference between advertising and graffiti is who pays for your paint.

*

“Thank you for coming to Food Lion. Your total tonight is going to be…” the cashier stops for a second to comprehend the number.

It’s already come up on the debit card machine and I’m smiling. It’s probably as close to lottery numbers as I’ll ever get.

“…six dollars and sixty six cents,” I finish for her. Apparently, all I need to summon Satan is bag of Solo cups and two Easter egg Reese’s cups.

That’s not a number you just pass over, so I interpret it as a sign. Tonight’s HYPE art party will either be wildly successful or spectacularly horrible. Satan is a “go hard or go home” kind of entity.

*

Me outside of the gallery, stoked out of my face.

First Friday. I feel stupid whenever this day rolls around. I try to round people up to go look at art and drink with me and ride bikes. I try to just get people outside. Every now and then it works. Most of the time it doesn’t and I just sort of walk around downtown, but that’s cool too. I usually have more fun by myself anyways. You always have a way of making yourself laugh. This First Friday I manage to get an avowed disliker of First Friday downtown though- my roomie Charles. I even get him to ride our bikes down there too. We pedal around downtown. It’s nice. I like being mobile. Apparently, my mom kept a baby book of me for a little bit, and one of the entries said I was fascinated with anything had wheels or moved. I guess that’s followed through into adulthood. I take point on where we go. I lead the way here and there- and over to Visual Art Exchange, where one of my paintings is hanging up. Everyone’s milling about outside- either middle aged couples or hipster kids- people that drink Chardonnay or people that drink PBR. I go to the door and it’s locked. I’m bummed for a second, because I’m not going to see my painting (I could see it through the window though.) However, then I think about one of my favorite rappers or death metal bands in the same situation. They wouldn’t have even cared. It’s even cooler that you didn’t come to your own show- that’s boss. The rest of the night goes like this: the Fish Market has a “tell your deepest secrets” board and one girl admits to having a thing for skaters. I see tons of people I know. Everyone is hyped on HYPE which gets me hyped. I ride over to Neptune’s to meet up with homies. One girl just hauls off and makes out with another dude on a dare. One girl is hula hooping around the bar pissing Special K’s girlfriend off. The rest of us dance. My sea captain’s hat gets passed around. We go over to Busy Bee, but we never make it inside.

*

“Alright, hey, everyone shut up for a second!” The trance music cuts out and about forty people look in my direction. I can see everyone’s faces despite the whole room being in black light. I soak in the fact that everyone is listening to what I have to say- that feeling never gets old. “The keg is out. Which one of you wants another one?” Everyone cheers. The music comes back to life and everyone resumes what they were doing: chatting, making out, smoking, drinking, dancing, waiting in line for the bathroom. The HYPE Art party is successful beyond my expectations.

“You know, you’re responsible for all this,” my friend Hannah yells in my ear as we’re leaning against the living room wall.

I look around the room. She points to a couple making out on the couch.

“That guy is so happy right now. He probably heard about this party, came with his friends, and look at him now- making out with this cute girl. He owes all that to you.” Hannah looks back to me. “If they make a kid tonight- that means you’re a godfather, buddy.”

 The thought of being a godfather freaks me out. The thought of being anything freaks me out, really. It’s easier to pretend. In your mind, everything has a one hundred percent success rate and all the effort takes place instantaneously. You can take the standard package of successes and problems. I’m stupid for making my daydreams come true.

Hannah and me get to know each other a bit better (turns out we have a lot in common) until the party gets out of control. I can’t really recount it properly since I know family and friends read this blog, but let’s just leave it as “out of control.” There are people spray painting outside, there are people making out on the lawn, there are people just coming from off the street into the house. The idea of HYPE has made the long journey from idea to fruition. I’m one hell of a con man. I’ve created something and changed the course of history, however small a change it may be.

I do whatever the fuck I want.

*

That concludes “Why They Aren’t Any Wolves in the Chinese Zodiac.” I have to go get ready for a reading I’m doing at Irregardless Cafe tonight for Windhover’s Open Mic Night. Check back soon for more posts.

Listen to This: “Rock You Like a Hurricane”- the Scorpions, “Habla Paisano”- My Dad vs. Yours, “Organism”- Tommy Guerrero, “Do You Remember”- Sweet Apple, “All the Bodies”- U.S. Bombs. Check out my Spotify account for my personal playlists.

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Written by dstclaire

February 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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