“The unexamined life is not worth living.
                                                                    - Socrates

After standing in the small, dimly lit room at the top of the stairs for a moment, the bed slid back and a secret door appeared; the pretend whore winked at me when we caught eyes and as we made our way down the dark stairwell below I could feel the surprising, lapping waters of a confused memory arriving, like the unnerving forewarning of a flashflood.

We again descended, this time a small set of outdoor brick steps toward a bar on a cool March night, and a time warp swallowed me as if real life was magnified while living inside an enormous movie screen. Somehow I was entirely comfortable, even as everything about this perspective was new to me. I felt the refreshing night air on my face, looked up to take a deep breath with a glance at the stars before looking down to the crowd of people I was joining. The once familiar feeling of defense arose in me from using a fake ID – I didn’ t know how old I was anymore, because time didn’ t exist... And yet my subconscious knew where I was before I did, making me feel like I was exactly where I belonged.

     “I've been here before,” I said loudly, not even realizing it was me speaking until the sentence had finished.

     “What?” my cousin turned and responded as he grabbed my arm amongst the crowd.

     “Never mind.” We weren’ t in the right atmosphere to try and explain this kind of emotionally introspective phenomenon.

Here I was back on the same property, walking down the same steps, surrounded by the same self-absorbed, vapid, temporary people, the majority of whom I knew didn’ t have the guts, brains, nor stamina to survive long-term in this town... But I wasn’ t nineteen anymore – I was thirty. And these people weren’ t the same people who were there eleven years before, yet they were. Entirely interchangeable like the paper dolls of my childhood that I could peel flimsy adornments off of in less than a second revealing their blank, empty, conscious less oblivion – but still each believing they were beautiful and bold legends never to be forgotten.

The fact that eleven years had passed since my last visit didn’ t seem to matter much to me and I couldn’ t begin to fathom how much less it would mean to anyone else. I had lived an entire life between then and now – learned lessons, built and lost relationships, traveled plenty of places, experienced so much good, and so much bad –the only difference became that this time I saw the scene so much clearer... This time I knew the swings that would come around again, and again, highs, and lows, and that still the world would march on. I could see the desperation emitting from these pretty people’ s frenzied personas as their seemingly never-ending flails toward any sense of validation owned every thought they had, every word out of their mouths, every action their body evoked.

It seems the first time I arrived I was too naïve to believe in this careless lifestyle, and the second time I was too jaded to think it would last – had I missed my golden time of finding value in the BBD Culture?

As we walked across the parking lot to where our Uber was waiting (a definite establishment of the year) I recapped to my companions –“By far the highlights of my night were that fuck-off grilled cheese and getting into a polite‘ Please, you,’ “Oh, no, after you,’ squabble at the door with Liev Schreiber. Oh! And most of all – the pleasure of your company. Thank you for taking me back to Jane’ s House a decade later.”

     “It’ s called ‘ No Vacancy,’ Billie.”

     “Yes, like I said, thank you for bringing me out to... Whatever it’ s called now.”