Where's the music?

I went recently with a friend to a late Friday night party at the Guggenheim museum and it was packed with hipsters, wannabes, art lovers and lost-soul bloggers. I thought, beforehand: great, a chance to interact with my fellow sufferers, an opportunity to share ideas, to flirt with art admiring women, a reason to listen to the insufferable intellectual ramblings of posers. Alas, no such luck. The "DJ" there played "music" at a volume that made it impossible to hear this mass of potentially lovable cranksters. We couldn't have been more isolated from one another if we'd been waving from offices that happened to face each other in neighboring skyscrapers. I don't see the point of blasting "music" in this way, unless it's to assure that none of us ever gets to know each other, that we continue to live with some underlying, anxious fear of ideas...

By now you've stopped reading this blog because you have something better to do, like watch the episode of "That Girl" you DVR'd and because you have no attention span -- so I'll continue for those few who perhaps can't afford the glorious luxury of Tivo (and for myself). You're wondering why I've put the word music in quotes in the above paragraph. Is it because I'm a pretentious windbag? Yes. Is it because I'm a brainy cultural critic of the first order? No. Is it because the "music" this supposed D.J. was cranking could only be described as "music" by the most generous (read: stupid) listeners. Every "tune" (there were no tunes, no melody, no harmony) was exactly the same: just a driving, techno beat and some hazy, unintelligible lyrics. So I was left wondering: is red meat really that bad for me?

I was wondering that, because I was distracted to the point of convulsive confusion. If you're going to drown our brain cells in a sea of ear-splitting sonic thunderclaps -- I'm talking to you, Mr. DJ! -- then why not at least attempt to fill our leaking brains with music. You remember music, don't you? Notes? Songs? About heartbreak, drugs, sex, heartbreak?

Could it be that the folks at this not-so-culturefest actually preferred this technocrap to music? I hope not, but probably. If so, I'm left questioning what the hell happened to these poor innocent, brainless twits. Has our culture reduced our intelligence to the level of single-celled organisms, responsive only to a thudding, repetitious, clanging beat? Perhaps.

So let me reevaluate. The evening was, after all, a rousing, raving, modern-day success: no thoughts, no possibility of communication, no music, no intelligence, no progress, no growth, no love, no heartbreak. Are we turning into a culture of zombies, incapable of thinking for ourselves? No -- duh! We're CHOOSING to turn into a culture of mindless drones. And that's what's got me drinking three cases of pepto before bed each night. That and the tasty, chalky smell. Mmm, Pepto Bismol.


Restaurant Crowds

Look, I'm not an unreasonable person, as unreasonable people go. I understand that restaurant owners have to make a buck, just like CEOs, oil tycoons and 99 cent store clerks. And so I even understand why they often must, in their desperate grab for the almighty buck, pack as many slobs into their cramped, cockroach infested establishments as they possibly can. But I don't like it -- I like it less than I like it when the hairs on my legs are pulled out one at a time by my annoying friend Elvis. It sucks to enter a restaurant and get seated in a narrow, square table for two (with your arch-nemesis) only to find yourself, in the midst of your attempt to trick your enemy into taking hold of the bag you've sneakily loaded with Kryptonite, surrounded on both sides -- inches away! -- from other desperate, sad New Yorkers begging for a little air or space or anything resembling a sense of humanity. We're cattle when we ride the subway, but there we only pay $2 a ride. We're paying $75 for a bread stick in most restaurants, so shouldn't that at least buy us enough room to kick back and spread our lungs. I think my Grandpa Schlomo put it best when he said, "fuck crowded restaurants -- now shut up and hand me the Motrin."

The problem, of course, isn't limited to a particular type of eatery. There are overcrowded Thai, Chinese, American, Vietnamese, and Japanese restaurants. There are no overcrowded Greek restaurants, but that's another sordid tale (there was the time my friend found a 4 inch hair in his pancake and the cook came out to kill a scampering cockroach with his shoe). What I don't understand is how these restaurants stay in business. Wait, yes I do understand it. They stay in business because they have us over a barrel. It's a conspiracy. It's a conspiracy in the way most things are a conspiracy -- it isn't a conspiracy, but it feels like one because you can count on being treated like a Holstein Cow the second you step through the threshhold of any restaurant in NYC . They stay in business, I'm saying, because they ALL do it. (Okay, the super ritzy places leave you a little elbow room, but you have to consult your stockbroker to see if you can afford those places and you don't even have a stockbroker -- Jesus, what's wrong with you, at least get a job!). And if they all do it, and you're too busy writing pointless, rambling blog entries to cook your own dinner, then they've got you by the short hairs.

There's only one solution: boycott 'em. Start eating pasta every night. Plant a garden in the cracks in the sidewalk. Move to Kansas and live on a farm. Stalk the cute girl next door (this won't help you with the restaurant problem by the way, but you may as well get out now and again and do something productive). Fast for 40 days and 40 nights and then, when you're done, settle for a cracker and a Pepsi and then fast for another sixteen years. Read a book -- it's a different kind of nourishment. Save your money and give it to the needy (like a struggling blogger). Anything -- just dont give it to these hapless, struggling restauranteurs. Force them to space out their tables, to serve you in the way you deserve. Ask yourself, I'm saying, am I man or cow?!!! If the answer is yes to both, then you should probably think about ordering the salad, by the way.