I spilled coffee and burned my Monday fingers. I ran them under cold water, but they’re still red and puffy. The worst part is I forgot to get a hole punched in my drink ticket. If you get ten holes punched then you get a free coffee. I was looking at a free coffee next Monday. It was the only thing next Monday had going for it. This Monday managed to ruin itself and next Monday. That’s a Monday working over time. I respect that work ethic, but I hate the results.
In high school there was this real creep, we’ll call him Naton – with a hard "A" like in mate or date. Actually, I guess I don’t care if you give it a soft "A" like mat or cat. His name wasn’t really Naton so it doesn’t make a difference. Though he would probably like it if you gave him a Hard A. Urban Dictionary says Hard A is a slang term for hard alcohol. Naton was a drug dealer. Here, I admit, I’m being stereotypical in assuming that a drug dealer would want hard alcohol. Perhaps he was a teetotaler. I don’t know. What I do know about Naton is that he was not lazy. He had an amazing work ethic. One day I’d hear a friend say Naton was out of pot and acid and by that afternoon he was flush again.
I had to get to school pretty early so I could put my trumpet in the instrument room. On occasion I was just too late to do this, so I had to carry the bulky case around in addition to my huge back pack. In high school I made a habit of carrying all of my books in my back pack so I wouldn’t ever have to go to my locker. The hallways in high school were terrifying and I did everything I could to avoid them. Anyway, I had to be at school pretty early and on this particular day I saw him walking by. That evening a friend of mine and I decided to go to a back woods punk show that was taking place in a barn venue somewhere. The place was pretty remote. It took us forever to find and when we finally did it was a good mile away from anything in every direction. Not surprisingly, Naton was there with an ever changing entourage of sunken eyed bed-heads waiting to shake hands with him and disappear. I had been there for about a half hour and I was already seriously ready to go. The music was right on the cusp of horrible. Everyone talked about how this band was the shit. For the most part I agreed, but without the definite article.
Still, I wanted to be seen as cool. So I tried to make sense of the music in the hopes that I could find some common ground with anything in the lyrics. But the lyrics were going by so quickly I couldn’t catch anything but the cuss words. Right in front of the stage there was a horde of beefy robots in shorts and combat boots bounding from one side of the imaginary dance floor to the next, ramming each other with their shoulders and basically trying to knock each other down. I was told this was a mosh pit and that “moshing” or “slam-dancing” was a valid form of dance. (I don’t think they teach it at Julliard yet. It’s too cutting edge.) I watched the pit for about ten minutes. It was far more interesting than the music. As violent as it was I couldn’t help but think of the German Schuhplatter. If they had slapped their feet and worn lederhosen I would not have been shocked. What did shock me, however, was being pushed into the mosh pit.
Just like it looks from the outside, the mosh pit feels very much like you are in a rock tumbler. However, nothing comes out smoother. Nothing comes out polished. Everything is bruised and possibly chipped and, in my case, embarrassed. In high school I was tiny. I’m only 5’7” on a good day. Back then I weighed 125 pounds with a 27 inch waist. I did not get to see what I looked like in the mosh pit, but I imagine I looked something like a Muppet that got thrown into a mosh pit full of real people.
When I was finally done “dancing” I was ready to go. Life on the fringe of civilized society had left me longing for my bedroom. Besides, it was nearing 11 and getting home by midnight was going to be a challenge. I told my friend I was leaving and he did not put up any resistance. On the drive home he decreed that the band had lost much of the luster from the first single they produced and were way too main stream for him now. I told him that I had been pushed into the mosh pit and he said that he had enjoyed a few rounds in the pit as well. Maybe it’s a perspective thing.
The next day at school I was sore. I wanted more than anything to curl up on the floor and sleep. But there, bright and sun-shiny as the middle of the day, was Naton with his cloud of friends in need. Like a Monday working over time.