-Drive to Forest Hills, Queens to crash at Australian Rob's. Black Chris meets us there and we play the shit out of Halo until 3 am.
-I'm a stickler for leaving early in the morningI HATE when people delay. So I make sure to tell everyone we're leaving nice and early.
-We call Chris Black Chris because we used to know two people named Chrisand the other one isn't Black. I don't know what happened to the other Chris, but we're too far along with Black Chris to change his name now.
-New Yorkers aren't racist, it's just something we do to make things simpler. My art dealer is 50/50 Italian/Puerto Rican. We've branded him Italian. His Puerto Rican heritage means nothing because in NYC you can only be one thing.
-I guess we are all a little racist in NYC. But we're friends and it's fun to do. Besides, Black Chris' feelings are just fine as we destroys us in Halo. I'm surprised he doesn't hold the controller sideways gangsta-style while blowing our heads off.
-We wake up the next morning and I'm instantly ready to go. Rob is not. While waiting, Chris and I go another round on Halo. Rob joins us. I tell Rob that he's not allowed to play because he SHOULD BE PACKING! He makes us late and we hit rush our traffic going around Boston later than day. I blame Rob. His Aussie charm has zero effect on my anger.
-On the way up, I ask Black Chris about the most racist event he's ever experienced. He tells a story about a mini-mart owner in Coney Island who searched him and his brothers once. Chris' mother found out and gave the store owner an earful. All in allnot that bad. I've been called worse when I lived in Bedstuy. My girlfriend got it even worse before I started escorting her to the train. We were the only white people in the neighborhood.
-New Hampshire is 99.9% white. I tell Black Chris that he's probably going to have his mini-mart story topped on this trip.
-We arrived at my parent's cottage in New Hampshire. They live on a lake in Meredith, NH.
-Black Chris has never seen a lake before. Or trees. Or a dock or a canoe. But he loves every minute of it. He keeps looking around for another Black person but can't find one. Australian Rob and I act all tough with the locals because we've got a Black person with us. And people in NH are terrified of Black people. I think the Tea Party was started there.
-Chris asks how many Black people live on the lake. I tell him zero. You're the only Black dude in miles, dude. Maybe in the entire county. See that birch tree there with the white bark? See how it stands out against the darker trees in the forest? That's your predicamentbut in reverse.
-Chris marvels at the birch tree. He's never seen a tree with white bark before. He reaches out to touch it when I tell him that it's poisonous. And he falls for it.
-We go to Funspot. If you've ever seen the video game documentary King of Kong, it's the massive, retro arcade that's featured in the beginning.
-Chris has never seen old school sit-down style games. I explain the brilliance of said games because of the ability to place your pizza slice and Coke on the screen while playing the game.
-Black Chris points out that the sit-down games suck because the person sitting on the other side of the game has to work with an upside-down screen. I dismiss him completely for not appreciating the retro-coolness of said arcade machine. But Chris is totally right.
-The sit-down Joust is broken. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
-We play old school Daytona USA. Australian Rob's laugh echos throughout the arcade as he puts Chris and I into the wall while racing. People in NH have never seen an Aussie outside of a Paul Hogan movie.
-It's unclear who won at Daytona, so we cross the street and go a few rounds of Go-Karts. There's a sign saying No Bumping, No Skidding, No Acting Cool, Please Just Drive Like a Pussy or something like that.
-I put Australian Rob into the wall on the first corner. The gloves are off.
-After 6 rounds of Go-Karts, we decide that we're all awesome.
-It's unclear what the Go-Kart owners were thinking as we left: 1) Those guys destroyed our course, 2) Those guys didn't read our sign, or 3) OHMYGODOHMYGOD there's a Black dude here.
-We head into the woods later on and shoot my father's .22 and .9 mil at some trees. It's clear that Chris' shooting ability is limited to Halo. Even his gangsta-style attack is no good in the forest.
-Rob is a brilliant shot. If Halo was real life, I'd be on Rob's team and not Chris'. Although it is awesome to be on the same team as a Black dude.
-We hit the convention and meet my friend Zach Howard and his writer Mike Raicht. Despite some passionate arguing that evening at a drunk 2am, we have a blast.
-Holy shit is Joe Hill popular. Nice guy tooI give him a Hellblazer trade.
-The con was fun, but I got ZERO business. I made only $60 that dayeven as an amateur sitting at a table I made more than that. Business
wise, worst show in 8 years. Maybe it had something to do with the Black dude at my table.
-It's 8:30 am on a Sunday morning, and Chris and I are carrying hot coffee and bagels back to the hotel, chatting about Go-Karts. Suddenly, from behind us, someone yells, FUCKING N-----! We turned around to see a Puerto Rican guy (barely able to stand) spit in Chris' direction. Chris laughs, but I'm pissed. I offer to go back and chuck my coffee in the dude's face. But Chris doesn't care. He's more impressed that a racist comment came from another minority and not a white dude.
-When I told Chris that NH would top his mini-mart story, I was kidding. And then I turn out to be right. Wow is NH behind the times.
-We grab a barely mobile Rob and head home. Once we get to Friendly's everything is okay.
-The weekend gave me a lot to think about in regards to the nature of friendly banter vs. true racist ignorance. Maybe I'll just start calling Black Chris Chris.
Listening to: Charlie Rose
Watching: Top Gear UK