Return of the Stew Nearly six years ago I wrote about "Stew," and his insanely stupid drunken series of events involving a flaming bag dangling three stories above the pavement on a fire escape in the middle of the night. "Stew" was, of course, me, and it was a life lesson about how I shouldn't be trusted not to kill myself. I was talking with some friends this past weekend about how stupid people are to jump down onto subway tracks to retrieve a dropped cell phone or iPod, and how we would never do things like that, but I realized halfway through the conversation that, especially when I'm drunk, I definitely am dumb enough to do something like that. The Story of Stew is example enough of that.
As was last night.
I had some friends over for poker last night, the first in what I hope will be a regular series of small-stakes poker games with a group of people. We took a break during the middle of the game, and five of the six of us decided to have a cigarette, leaving one person behind. Since I live on the third floor of a three floor walk-up, one of my friends said, "Well, how about the roof?" I'd never been up there before, but thought we'd give it a shot.
It was nice. We worried about the door locking behind us, but we could always call the guy staying behind, so we didn't worry about it too much. We got up there, shut the door behind us, tried opening it again, and it opened, so we were set.
It was a nice view. It's high enough to see portions of the skyline of Manhattan, and the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings are always welcome to see.
The poker finished up an hour or two after that. After everyone left, I went up the roof to have a cigarette left behind for me, after, of course, finishing off a couple more drinks.
I finished off the cigarette, went to the door, and pushed it. It didn't budge. Not an inch.
"Fuck," I said, pushing again, harder, not yet wanting to slam on the door because it was 1:30am and I didn't want to wake anyone else in the building up.
I stood on the top of the building for awhile. I noticed that there was an abandoned mattress and box-spring up there, I'm presuming from previous tenants not wanting to drag them down to the street, but just leaving them up on top. "Nice," I thought. "I'd have a place to sleep if it weren't 20 degrees outside right now."
And then I went over the fire escape, climbing down the ladder. There are two railroad apartments side by side on the third floor of my building; mine is the left, and a nice couple my age shares the right one. They don't have curtains, and the lights were on low in their apartment; they could still be up, and if they started walking down the hall at that time, they'd see me climbing down out there, and think I'm some creep. She is cute, and he is a chef and owns knives, and so they'd likely jump to conclusions and stab me. Just great.
They didn't see me. I went over to my window, which I knew was unlocked, but I couldn't get it to move at all. I would have had to go in over the top anyway, since there was a 75 pound air conditioner in the bottom, but I couldn't get either to move. I scratched at the window a little bit in the hopes that I could get it to open. My cat sat on the kitchen floor, staring at me, her head cocked to the side.
At this point, i considered going all the way down the fire escape. I could see that there were only three yards, each with six foot tall chain link fences and a final metal and brick fence to go over. I had my keys, I could let myself back in. My other option would be to call my girlfriend, and...then I remembered my iPhone was sitting on my living room table, next to a glass of bourbon.
Not knowing what else to do, I climbed back up onto the roof to think it through. I decided to see how strong the door was. Maybe I could force it. I pushed on it again. No give whatsoever.
Then I pulled on it. And it opened right up.
And this is why I shouldn't be allowed to live on my own yet.