In Which I Die Of Shame

About 6am at the Black Party, my buddy Nick and I noticed a young man lying on a bag of trash just off the dance floor. We watched him for a few seconds and when it appeared that nobody was looking after him, we went over and got him to his wobbly feet. “Are you OK?” Yes, yes. “You sure? You don’t look OK and you were lying in the dirty garbage. Didn’t you take something?” No, no, no! Yes. “Well, which is it? Where are your friends?” Shrug. Stagger. Dr. Jeff ran to the bar to get the kid something sugary while Nick and I kept him moving and talking. Colombian, 23, moved here from Bogata two weeks ago, knows no one in NYC. Sigh. A Roseland staffer came over and repeated the same questions that Nick and I had asked, the kid drank Dr. Jeff’s soda, came out of his fog and decided to go home.

Crisis averted.

A few minutes later I headed to the basement to check out the DJ in the Serpent’s Lounge. On the crowded stairs I noticed a guy about my age who seemed to be in a similar condition to our young Colombian, as he was gripping the center handrail with both hands and laboriously venturing each step. Emboldened by our earlier Boy Scoutery, I reached across the rail and took his elbow. “You doing OK, buddy? Looks like you’re kinda out of it. Let me help you out.” Oh, thank you, but I’m fine. I’m just really tired. And blind.

Joe dies of embarrassment.

Making it worse, I hadn’t noticed that the man already had somebody on his other elbow helping him down the stairs. Making it extra extra extra worse, his friend turned out to be a JMG reader, meaning that I couldn’t even by an anonymous asshole. They explained that the guy had lost his sight only two years ago due to some chronic condition. So here he is at the Black Party, defiantly holding on to this part of his old world, probably feeling pretty great about it, and some shithead has to come over and let him know that he looks like a fucked up mess. Yeah, yeah, best intentions and all that, but still.

As I departed the party eight hours later, I chatted with one of the EMTs hired for the event and he told me that he only knew of three patrons who had been removed for messiness, which I found quite remarkable considering the immense size of the crowd. On the way home I pondered what the number would have been had it been a straight event and remembered the 80 arrests for public messiness at tiny Hoboken, New Jersey’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Since I only do the gay megaparty thing a couple of times a year anymore, I don’t have a lot of first-person impressions to draw upon, but it does seem possible that gay folks have finally reined in the excesses that that played a part in ending many annual events like the Black Party.

An asshole can only hope.