(No playlist this week, I forgot to put one together and don’t want to do it now. You’ll live.)
From the beginning of summer, the plan was to update this thing once a week, but without fail, I already skipped a week. If you followed along over the last two summers, this shouldn’t surprise you — my updates tend to dwindle at times.
In my defense, I did get shingles last week. If you’ve had shingles — which is unlikely, because they usually only affect old people — or know someone who’s had them, you’re probably very familiar with how shitty and debilitating they can be. I went out with a few friends last Saturday, and on my way home, a small patch of skin on my ribs started itching. I took a look at it and gave myself a diagnosis: Mosquito bites (regardless of the fact that mosquitoes hardly even exist in NYC because the whole place is made of fucking concrete, but hey, we had been drinking).
Things looked a lot worse the next morning, especially because the initial itchy patch from the night before was now joined by six smaller patches that seemed to form a straight, dotted-line crossing my ribcage over to the center of my back. “This is some weird shit,” I thought, and immediately did what any concerned, itchy millennial would do when faced with this particular situation: I got on WebMD.
I hate WebMD because, nine times out of ten, it leaves me thinking I have some sort of cancer or HIV (everything is a symptom of HIV/AIDS according to WebMD). After a few minutes, I had ruled out the majority of potential skin disorders the fear-mongering online medical community suggested and had narrowed it down to two things: Shingles or bed bugs. I was almost positive it wasn’t bed bugs because I had just bought brand new bed sheets two weeks ago, and had washed them a few days before. Plus, why would the rash only be showing up on one side of my body in a straight — though sporadic — line? Apparently, linear rashes are characteristic of shingles infections, so I had a pretty good feeling I was fucked. Sure enough, the walk-in doctor at the pharmacy concurred. She prescribed me Valtrex, which is the same shit they give to people who have genital herpes. Granted, shingles is a type of herpes — just like cold sores or chicken pox — it still made for an awkward encounter at the pharmacist. I was wearing one of my fraternity formal t-shirts when I went to pick up my prescription. The pharmacy tech looked like he was about my age, and as he rang me up, he glanced at the letters on the breast pocket of my t-shirt.
“Oh, are you a Sigma Nu?” he asked.
“Yeah, I am, are you?” — because 99.5 percent of the time, if someone asks you if you’re in that fraternity, they’re in it, too.
“Oh, no, I’m not — they don’t have a chapter at my school,” he said. “I’m a (some smaller-school fraternity, I forgot). I’ve just heard that Sigma Nu is a really big party house,” and then he began muttering something about how different houses have different reputations at different schools or something. I couldn’t quite make it out, but he kind of started to draw it all back like he didn’t want to say something that’d offend me (though it’s not like I haven’t heard it all before).
“Well it depends on the school, but my house is pretty fun. Where do you go to school?” I asked.
He said he went to a smaller school in upstate New York. I signed the receipt for my prescription.
“Um,” he said quietly, “do you have any questions about the Valtrex?”
“No, I’m good.”
“Alright, well I’m sorry ’bout all that, man. Have a good one,” he said.
Wait…what are you sorry about?
It then occurred to me that his quiet mutterings about reputations and how Sigma Nu’s a really big party house — and how he started to hesitate and draw back everything he was saying — likely had to do with the fact that I was picking up herpes antibiotics at 6 p.m. on a fucking Monday. Basically, this guy probably thought I just got diagnosed with the clap and thus, since he apparently knows some hard-partying East Coast Sigma Nus, me contracting herpes would somehow make sense.
But I don’t have herpes, so none of it makes sense, and I felt awkward as fuck. What do you do in that situation? Do you clarify that you don’t have herpes? I didn’t, and maybe I should. Instead I just left, feeling all weird and bothered. It’s not like the guy meant harm, it’s just that it was a really weird conversation for a pharmacy tech to have with some poor kid who just got told he has the same weird shit that only his grandmas have had.
I feel sorry for any Sigma Nus he knows up here, though, because he now probably associates them with having herpes. My bad, bros.
I’ve since finished the antibiotics and my shingles have cleared up, for the most part. However, my laptop decided to shit out on me a few nights ago, further adding to the reasons why I didn’t write anything here last week. My first paycheck was only for one week of work, so I didn’t have too much money to begin with, not to mention the fact that I had to pay for a bunch of bandages, antibiotics, Advil, etc. all week. My mom agreed to reimburse me for all those costs, but she couldn’t get to the bank until Monday, so my cash flow started to really dwindle on Sunday. I had enough to eat, but that was it.
After eating dinner, I fired up my laptop for the first time all day and it wouldn’t start. I used my phone to search for ways to troubleshoot the problem, but after an hour of trying anything and everything, I still couldn’t get it to start. The Apple store in Soho is about a 15 minute walk from my building, so I packed it up and headed down there. They couldn’t fit me in to their “Genius bar” to get it looked at that evening, but they told me that the Apple store on 57th street and Fifth Avenue is open 24 hours a day and that they would be able to check it out. Normally, travel wouldn’t be an issue because I can almost always afford a subway pass, but since I had $0.78 in the bank until Monday, I couldn’t even afford to ride public transportation. I knew that I’d be too tired to deal with all this if I waited to do it during the week, so if I was going to get this thing fixed, it would pretty much have to be on Sunday. That Apple store on 57th and Fifth Avenue is on the Upper West Side — a good 47 blocks away from my building. I’d already committed to getting this done before the week started, so I went home, changed to some more comfortable shoes, and walked in the muggy NYC heat for an hour before an Apple “genius” calmly told me my laptop was F.U.B.A.R., and that I’d need to take all my files and back them up before they completely wiped everything from the laptop. Thank god I brought an external hard drive with me to back up all my music and photos or else I’d have been really, really fucked. It only took them two days to fix it, so I guess all is good now.
Work has been good, as usual. On Friday, we’ll release a double issue that will count for this week and the next, which works out because we won’t have to put out an issue the day after Fourth of July, which would be particularly brutal because that’d mean we’d only have three workdays to put it together. My boss told me that we get both Thursday (the Fourth) and Friday off next week, so festive times will be had by all. This city’s a blast on the Fourth.
On Thursday, TJ and I will be at the NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Ben McLemore is expected to go second overall, but there’s a chance he could be the first pick. I guess we’ll all see on Thursday, only TJ and I will see it live, which will be awesome. I’ll be writing a piece about the whole experience that’ll run in the Kansan — both online and in the print edition in Lawrence — next week, so keep your eyes out for that.
That’s about it, though. June’s been a good month thus far despite the occasional bumps in the road, and I’m sure July will be the same. I’ll talk to you then.
All the best