Sweating It Out
I’ve got to stop drinking so much.
This is what I’m thinking as I sit down in the chair that The Labels marketing manager offered me. I've been in a perpetual state of vague inebriation for the past week. I can feel beads of sweat on my forehead, drops of toxin, tickling at my eyelashes. The labels president turns off the air conditioner so we can hear each other speak. The windows stretch to the high loft ceilings, looking out onto the fashion districts streets. With no blinds or curtains to shade us, we are left in the heat.
My stomach turns over. The bowl of cereal I shoved down my throat before I left the house was ill advised. I should have just grabbed a glass of water, smoked a cigarette or two on the way to the train. Milk and wine and Honey Nut cheerios do not do a body well. I can feel every disgusting pore of my body pushing out waste from the night before. My veins feel like they’re struggling to get blood to my muscles and heart, as if they’re clogged, like resin in a pipe.
I’ve got to pull it together.
I think this to myself as I’m throwing in my two cents on why it’s so hard to break a new artist in today’s retail climate. I’m looking around and everyone’s eyes are on me, as if I’m an expert on a panel. As if what I say is wise and knowing; as if I’m well versed in the experience of success. The chair is soft and rocks so loosely I have to lean forward to avoid from falling back. My brain, it isn’t firing on all synapses, but I’m explaining the dollar per unit ratio in co-op programs at big box retailers like Target and Wal-Mart, how they don’t care for new artist with no sales history and essentially make labels pay them to carry their titles. I’m describing the real estate system of Best Buy; how they assign floor space in their stores depending on how much the product creates in revenue. The sunrays lift from the hardwood floors, suffocating the room in hot air.
My thoughts are coughing and choking but the words are spilling from my lips like everything I say is a rehearsed monologue. My chest feels limp and anemic, my ribs frail and my stomach sickly, and I’m discussing Internet marketing campaigns and the relevance of college radio.
What I want more than anything else is to be under the blast of a cold shower. I want to wash away everything that is inside of me. The poisons in my body. The spirits from the night before. But instead I’m listening to my partner justify distribution percentages and watching the eyes of the Label president look placid yet alert and trying to make out what the Labels marketing manager is writing down on a little pad in front of him.
Then I’m looking out the window into the yellow shadows of New York June. Then I’m feeling gas build up in my stomach and trying to quietly let it go and hoping nobody smells it. Then I’m listening to tracks from an unfinished record and honestly telling everyone I think they are good. Then I am taking deep breaths and swallowing over and over and trying to regain control of my fingers, which have started twitching nervously. Then there is a second of silence and everything is still save the rising waves of heat. Then we all shake hands and I ask directions to the bathroom before we leave.
I’ve got to take a moment.
I splash water on my face. Once after I sigh heavily and once again after I look in the mirror and stare into my unshaven face. The water cools and refreshes for a moment. I consider taking a shit then just piss instead. I splash water on my face again and don’t bother to dry it before I leave the restroom. The boys are waiting for me in the hall, next to the elevator. The swelter extends to the elevator ride and on out onto 27th ave. Someone mentions that the meeting went well. Someone else agrees. This label could give us a lot of work, they say. A lot of work. I light up a cigarette.
Christ, I need a drink.
Bob Sagat has always been pretty pimped, I done known that shit since the giddy up. If you havent recognized by now, maybe this little diddy will enlighten yo chump ass.