We Saw Your Light On
Usually, when I meet someone after 2:00 a.m. on a Wednesday night, I'm totally fucked up—drunk, high, rolling, whatever. This has its ups and downs. On the one hand, it makes meeting strangers easy, and on the other hand, it makes remembering them really, really hard ("Um, have we met before?"). Unfortunately, on this of all Wednesdays, I was nursing a chest cold, so I only had two or three drinks instead of my customary "bartender's dozen." Good for the memory, bad for the social anxiety.
Luckily, I had intrepid Stranger photographer/drunk wrangler Kelly O with me.
Armed with our giant sign and bearing late-night gifts—Sparks and gummy worms—we set out to get the attention of Capitol Hill's insomniacs, drunks, and unemployables. We shined our flashlight into many lit windows to no response. We unfurled our sign for one very disinterested street-level resident of the Melrose Court apartments. Nothing worked.
Then we met Crysdian. Crysdian was out walking his dogs—a pair of adorable French bulldogs named Rider and Neil—and maybe having a drink and a smoke. Unlike the snooty residents of Melrose Court, he was immediately interested in our sign. Crysdian recently moved to Seattle from Detroit, by coincidence Kelly O's hometown. Kelly and Crysdian started reminiscing about Michigan landmarks and notables, a stream of gibberish to my ears. No matter. We were in.
"This is why I chose to be gay," says Crysdian as we walked with him down Pine Street. Crysdian is a deep reservoir of hilarious, foul-mouthed one-liners. It seems like kind of a Detroit thing, although not even Kelly O could keep up.
He walked us over to his new place at the Tower @ 801 apartments, that cool, cylindrical high-rise by the Paramount. His apartment was the shape of a large piece of pie. He apologized for the mess, explaining that he'd just moved in, alternately four days or four months ago, but the place wasn't messy at all. He told us to help ourselves to the fridge, so we took a couple beers. He turned on his stereo and a house remix of "Can't Take My Eyes off You" started playing.
He gave us a tour of his Detroit memorabilia. There was a stage light he'd stolen from the Fox Theatre at a Nine Inch Nails concert. There was a photo of him next to the Joe Louis fist monument. There was a long, snaking hat rack.
"All Michigan men have a hat rack," Kelly said. "Yours is bigger than my dad's."
"I've slept with every cop on here," Crysdian said. A few of the hats were police caps. Kelly asked if she could wear one.
"No," snapped Crysdian, and then to hammer home the intimacy involved: "Do I change your tampon?"
He did let Kelly put on a Detroit Tigers T-shirt, though, and the two posed for some photographs in their hometown duds.
"I played with some of the Tigers," said Crysdian. "Should I grab your tits—I mean Tigers—for this shot?" he asked Kelly, adding, "oh my god, you're so gay."
We shared some leftover magic cookie crumbles, Crysdian sang some Yazoo for us, and he and Kelly talked Detroit techno.
"You know Richie Hawtin? The gross D River raves?" asked Kelly.
"Oh, I'm older than you," said Crysdian. "I got fag-bashed there three times."
"Can I take a shot of your view?" Kelly asked. Crysdian's balcony looks out over downtown.
"Sure, I've shot off it a couple times."
Kelly grabbed one more for the road from the fridge, and
we headed home as Capitol Hill slept.