Friday, February 10, 2012

The Greasy Bachelor Life

 I recently read an article about life in the early twentieth century and why they would lock people up in a lunatic asylum. One of the reasons that was considered a mental illness was " living alone". Later on I suppose that condition was upgraded to being merely eccentric. This is a far cry from the celebrated "bachelor pad" of the 50's and 60's. As the word bachelor fell out of common usage, living alone simply became a fact of life upon graduating school or soon thereafter. As baby boomers began to marry and raise families, a new word emerged into the common parlance; "man cave".

Without disrespecting the fact that many people choose to live the married life and procreate, there are some alluring facets that are a ringing endorsement to greasy bachelorhood. Some of my married friends are fortunate enough to have their own man-caves, but the bachelor's place is, by default always a man-cave. I am not implying that living on your own means eschewing sanitary standards while breeding cockroaches the size of a computer mouse; I am just stating that there are certain liberating aspects that this lifestyle brings.

If one feels like having some Stromberg carburetors on the toilet tank, so be it. Most greasy dudes think that that is cool anyways. I know some cats that rebuild their motorcycles right there in their living room. This makes sense as you can watch TV and wrench at the same time. The grease spots on the floor are incidental and only mean that they won't get their security deposits back once they are finally, and inevitably, evicted. That is what is enticing about this lifestyle; the absolute impulsiveness that one can indulge in.

I once needed to spray paint something in my place, so I proceed to open a few a few windows and was only a few rattle can shakes away from completing the job. As the neighbors complaints began to trickle in regarding the acrid odor, I simply blamed it on the adjacent hairdressing salon. To paraphrase Yosemite Sam, "Hippies iz soooo stoopid." They believed me in their naivete, quick to believe that some " capitalist" was ready to poison them. It would never dawn on them that somebody would have the audacity to spray paint indoors ( the paint jobs turn out way better by the way). I was also able to explain away the mysterious grinding noise as a furnace malfunction, as they were not familiar with the sound of an angle grinder cutting into steel.

As I waited for the paint to dry I cranked the ole Rockabilly and drank many beers while appeasing one particularly psychotic hippie neighbor with empty beer cans. All this on a typical Monday night at the greasehouse.

A talented musician friend of mine had a few friends that were fairly conservative and down right judgmental. They failed to comprehend the underlying concept of the greasy bachelor pit. Needless to say, these dudes had bad taste taste in music and were always shocked by all the musical instruments lying about, the smell of rice and beans, Country music emanating from the stereo and all his greasy friends that kept showing up with more instruments. That was long ago and I am positive that those squares still don't get it.

The greasy bachelor never has to worry about all the empties lying around; he will eventually get to them. When there is a sufficient accumulation, he will call a friend who owns a pick up truck or an El Camino and make a run to the bottle depot. The rather hefty refund from the empties will be more than enough to throw a pretty substantial party and there won't be anyone around the next day to complain about excessive flatulence and yet more empties (and maybe one drunken buddy found snoring under a pile of clothes).

The greasecave can also literally be a greasy place as there will be cans of various types of pomades and hair grease stashed all around the apartment.  The multitude of greasy surfaces, doornknobs, computer keyboards, appliances and every other item the greaser may come into to contact with don't bother the greaser in the least. Should the neighbor's cat happen to wander by, only a bachelor will see the humor in the situation when the cat returns to his owner with inexplicable chunks of matted, greasy fur.

There is something deeply primal and satisfying about being able to wail on a guitar and caterwaul to your heart's content while wearing dirty jeans and no socks. As the first few shots of whiskey kick in, it will get more intense and there is nobody there admonishing you to "Turn that damned hillbilly music down!" When you are getting too hammered to remember chords you can fire up a cheap cigar, pee on the toilet bowl rim, always leave the seat up and even go to sleep with your pants on if you are too drunk to remember how pants work. Next day you can have few strong cups of coffee as you belch like a cow while airing the place out from the odors of lingering methane gas and stale booze.

The greasy bachelor is far from helpless in domestic matters and will always be able to provide for himself. Any self-respecting bachelor is able to whip up a killer pot of chili, and can make it as insanely spicy as he able to withstand without enduring accusations of underhanded torture by way of excessive spiciness. If there are no space constraints, there will almost certainly be a BBQ on hand and large quivering slabs of meat will be cooked on it. As the meat cooks, it might liberally doused with some Jack Daniel's, with equal amounts being consumed directly from the bottle while waiting for the meat to cook. Once the food is ready, it will be great, even if the plates don't match.

The bachelor is not overly concerned about matching plates. The concept of guest soaps and towels which nobody are allowed touch is foreign to him. There will be, however, no shortage of Rock 'n' Roll paraphernalia and pictures of cars. If the bachelor feels inclined to display pictures of pin up girls with striking anatomy, there will be justification required. There are no set design guidelines imposed upon the bachelor except for the fact that there must be at least a few prerequisite tikis prominently displayed.

There is a certain zen-like quality that can be attributed to the quiet introspection that can be experienced by not seeing or speaking to anybody for three days straight. The bachelor can even post threatening notes on his door telling one and all to not even think about knocking. There might not even be any deep thinking going on at all, it may just simply be an ongoing project being executed on the kitchen table that requires full attention without interruption. Should he desire to take a break or need to make a beer run, the whole project can lay undisturbed on the kitchen table until he is ready to resume working on it. ( yes, a kitchen table makes for a perfectly acceptable workbench and a kitchen counter is a good place for a drill press).

Some were destined for eternal bachelorhood. They will sit upon a reclaimed office chair like a throne and reign upon their greasy kingdom.  Other greasy bachelors will enter the kingdom like knights from other greasy places bearing booze, tunes and corn chips. They will sit in a circle and regale each other with stories of drinking prowess, recollections of crazy Rock 'n' Roll antics and wild tales of debauchery. As the years go by, the eldest of the greasy bachelors will come to terms with the credo "They can have my guitar and whiskey bottle, when they pry it out of my cold, dead hands". That's usually when the landlord shows up.

1 comment:

  1. Man,this brings back memories. I spent a decade living in the greasepad. Good times! I even saw The Rattled Roosters speaking of Canada eh! Back in the early nineties. Great blog as an old Rocker (45) I can relate to it all, I refuse to hang up my rock'in shoes! Gettin old is a bitch but it beats the alterative!!!...Mitch G Reno, NV.