September 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

It must have been…I think it was a show…yeah, that’s right. It was a show at The Cake Shop, some local band called Friends with Benefits. We ate at some BYOB hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant on the Lower East Side before heading to the venue. After the show, the sky was clear and the air had a gentle breeze that filled the night with a crisp, calm urgency that seemed to whisper “come here, no wait, stay over there”. In this indecisive air we walked, hand-in-hand, across the Brooklyn Bridge, over the mile-wide expanse of the East River and eventually descended upon our home together as the moon ducked behind the Earth and the sun began its slow climb over the horizon.

Take me out to the ball game

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

I was riding the 4 train Uptown one evening last month when I was living in the Bronx. There was a Yankee game that night, so the train was pretty packed and I was standing next to a man and a woman who appeared to be on a first date. Now, I love watching any kind of stranger, but watching strangers on a date is pretty much the Mecca of people watching. So I settled into my cozy little spot pressed between the pole, a stroller and a woman’s over-flowing shoulder bag, and began to listen in.

Since we were practically on top of each other, I gave myself full permission to eavesdrop on everything the two people said to each other. The conversation had all the trimmings of a first date – Oh, you live in Hoboken and you work in Midtown? How’s that commute? Who’s your favorite Yankee? Did you listen to the new Kanye/Jay-Z album? Two brothers, you said?

Needless to say, it was one of my more entertaining commutes.

In my head I wished them well as they waddled off the train and into the crowds of people filing into the colossal stadium. I absently wondered if they would end up sleeping together as I continued on my way home.

Tonight, I was leaving the Yankee game, taking the 4 train in the opposite direction (since I no longer live in the Bronx), and noticed that guy I had seen on the date a few weeks back.

When things like this happen, when I somehow cross paths with a complete stranger for the second time in a hugely crowded city, I take a pause to wonder about the order of the universe and other such things that may explain these kinds of “coincidences”. But, as I began existential-izing, I noticed that he was with a girl this time as well. It was a different girl.

He had the same slightly uncomfortable, slightly excited look on his face, and, I kid you not, he was saying some of the exact same things I had heard him say on the uptown train with the other woman. He was on another first date! At another Yankee game!
I giggled, probably louder than I should have.

Admittedly, perhaps the stranger fact here is that I happened to see this perfect stranger in nearly the exact same situation on two completely unrelated occasions, but the questions about that are much too vast and my theories are much too underdeveloped to posit a guess at them here.

So, instead, I am left wondering about first dates.

I get it, some guys love sports, and baseball games are a great first date place. There is just enough action to provide conversation if she turns out to be a dud. Or, the game can be easily ignored if you find out your date is someone you actually like talking to.

And, beer gets delivered to you.

Seems like an ideal place for a super fun and laid back date.

Hell, my parents’ first date was to a baseball game and they’ve been married for 30 years (god bless them).

But, taking multiple people to the same first-date spot seems like it would lose some of its magic. Plus, what if you accidentally call someone by the wrong name? I mean, baseball games and first dates are all kinda the same after a while, so it could get confusing faster than you’d think.

Maybe I’m being too harsh, though. I mean, I guess we’re bound to run out of options for good first date spots the longer we stay on the “scene”. And, it’s not like dinner and a bottle of wine, even if you change up the restaurant and the kind of wine, is all that different or interesting.

Is the alternative to keep a rotating list of first date spots? You could then create a schedule and set a limit as to how many times you can repeat the date spot. Then, you could document which dates went the best at which locations and determine those locations you’d like to continue taking dates to, and those you need to cross off the list with a black Sharpie. You can create a ranking system to cut down on clerical work, maybe introduce some color-coding into the mix…

Or, maybe a go-to first date spot isn’t such a bad idea?

September 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve been spending a lot of time outside, which is nice and all, but sometimes it is too quiet here. New York screams, all the time. You can be walking down the street, a nice, tree-lined street on the Upper West Side or something, and then all of a sudden you can turn a corner and everything is screaming – people in such a hurry that their shadows are left gasping for breath, buildings crying for attention, cars yelling at other cars to get out of the way, trains hissing beneath the ground.

It’s usually ok, though, because New York is not screaming at you. Without the noise, you start to realize that your mind is screaming, but, unlike New York, your mind is screaming at you, and there is no corner to turn to escape it.

He watches her as he walks by

September 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

He watches her as he walks by, with one eyebrow angled upward while the matching side of his mouth slowly curls up to follow. He glides up the steps to his office, giddy at having just caught a glimpse of her with that befuddled expression on her face which he looks forward to seeing every morning. Sitting down to his desk, his thoughts wander as his computer loads.

How long after I get in does she usually get coffee? Fifteen minutes? He glances at the time but vows to get some work done before he gets distracted again.

He goes about his business, carrying on as a jovial fellow, searching for amusing little snippets of life between the monotony of his work. But every few minutes his mind drifts back to her.

Her hair yesterday, that braid…I hope she’s wearing those tight jeans today, the ones she rolls up at the ankle because they’re much too long for her…I wish I could remember that really great pun I made up last night, she’d really like that one…

She started about a month ago. Their first conversation was innocent enough. She said she had just moved to a new neighborhood and was excited about trying out all the local spots. He told her he had moved to his neighborhood for the food. They talked about pets, walking to the train in the winter, bird watching. It was a nice welcome-to-the-office kind of conversation.

Not long after, she began stopping by his desk to ask him questions. They were working on similar projects and he always seemed to have the time to get her what she needed.

What does your shirt say?

September 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Yep, still easier to write than to say out loud.

Sometimes, the internet is wrong

September 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Which I learned today, when I walked down a quiet Brooklyn street and rang the doorbell of an unassuming brownstone. A heavy-set bespectacled man wearing paint-splattered khakis laboriously opened the door.

He doesn’t look quite like a yoga instructor, I thought to myself.

“Hi, uh, is there a 12 o’clock yoga class here today?”

He laughed. Not hard, but in a situation like this, a laugh is a laugh. “Nope, hasn’t been yoga here for years. Sorry.”

“Oh, ok, thanks, no problem. Thanks. Bye.”

Aside from the awkward/mildly embarrassing encounter and the waste of my time (though, really, I had nothing else to do, so this is a minor point), I find myself mostly confounded by my unquestioning loyalty to the internet.

I Googled “Yoga Bushwick”, looked through all the entries on the first page, found one that had a class during the timeframe I was looking for, Google mapped the address and directions from my apartment, and set an alarm ensuring I would be up in time. Never once did I stop and think “Hey, lady, maybe you should call just to make sure.” Why on earth would I do that? The internet said it, it’s true, dammit.

Well, this was a swift kick in my yoga-deprived ass. A reminder (or first introduction to the concept) that the internet is not always right.

So, with that, I now solemnly swear to remember this the next time I go frolicking around town looking for the perfect yoga studio/restaurant/bar/museum/coffee shop/theater/book store/thrift store/grocery store…

Jeez. That’s a lot of phone calls.

What would Miss Manners say?

September 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Tonight I was confronted with a digital question that I thought a lot about and still haven’t resolved. Here’s how it came about:

I read a really great article in the Village Voice and decided to share my thoughts about it with Twitter.

I read the article in the newspaper. The actual, tangible, ink-gets-on-your-fingers newspaper. I was on the train when I decided it was time to tell the world how I felt about the article. I follow @villagevoice and gave them the appropraite shout out. I do not follow the reporter, and since I was on my mobile phone, I didn’t take the extra effort to find him and mention him in the tweet (the contact line at the end of the article listed his email address but not his Twitter handle). But, this was not my dilemma so I digress.

Since I had read the article in the print paper, it didn’t seem natural to me to go to the Village Voice website, find the article, copy the link and paste it in my tweet. I figured I had offered enough context in my tweet that people would know how to find the article if they wanted it. Someone I didn’t know @ replied me to ask for the link. Here’s where I got stuck. First I thought “Awesome, someone read my tweet!” then I thought, “hmmm, I could go to the Village Voice website, find the article, copy the link and paste it in my @reply, or, he could go to the Village Voice website, find the article and read it.” The latter seemed more like the shortest distance between the two points (especially because I was on my mobile phone), so I responded that I had read the print article so I didn’t have the link but that it shouldn’t be hard to find on the Village Voice website.

Right after I sent the @ reply, I felt guilty. Should I have just searched for the link and sent it to him? Should I have included it in my tweet in the first place? Was I doing a disservice to the article by not making the link a prominent part of my post? Would the Village Voice have preferred the hits to the article page, or the increased time on their site as users navigated from the homepage to the article page?

Hyperlinks are social currency. Hell, they’re what the whole web is built on. I get it. And, ok, full disclosure, another reason I didn’t include the link was because I wanted more characters to use for my own personal commentary. I don’t exactly feel guilty for that, because that’s what I, and pretty much everyone else, use Twitter for. I do, however, feel bad if I somehow gave the Village Voice the short end of the stick. And I certainly didn’t want to annoy the dude who took the time to read my Tweet and found it interesting enough to want to actually do what I had suggested. But, I dunno. I guess I just didn’t think it was too much to ask that people take a couple extra steps to reach their destination.

So, while I continue to ponder that one, here is the link to the article I was talking about in the first place:
http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-08-31/news/9-11-the-winners-profiting-from-september-eleventh/

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