Friday, July 23, 2010

New York State of Mind: Part One - In Which I Practically Move In To A Bar in Brooklyn

Whoops. Wandered off there for a bit. Where have I been? Why, I've been traveling the world! Well, the east coast. Or really New York State. Some of it.

This excursion to New York was an idea that came to me a few months ago during a particularly difficult morning at work. At times like these, I find myself zoning out and unconsciously browsing travel websites. Must. Get. Away.

My plan was to fly into the city to spend time with my friends, then head upstate to Utica to run The Boilermaker 15k, then to Liverpool to spend a few days with my parents.

Because Devin never knows his work schedule, we always hesitate to plan trips. And then we never end up going anywhere. So when I presented him with my brilliant Tour de NY idea, and he replied "Sounds good but I don't know if I'll be working," I flipped out and bought myself a plane ticket anyway. This is how much I needed to go somewhere. Anywhere.

And so I'd go it alone. I couldn't actually remember the last time I'd traveled solo and in a way I looked forward to it.

I arrived at JFK at 5:30 am on a Thursday, feeling that nauseated zombie feeling that accompanies being awake at the crack of dawn, or really 2:30 am by my internal clock, following a 3 hour snooze sitting upright. I made my way to the AirTrain, which I'd take to the subway and wind up at my friend Rachael's place. I swear I once figured out that whole train system by myself just years earlier, equally bleary following a redeye. But this time I was an idiot.

I got on a train. I got off at the next stop, convinced I had gotten on the wrong train. I wandered. I followed other people that seemed like maybe they lived in NY and knew what they were doing. Oh shoot, they are following me to see what I'm doing. I don't know what happened but by the grace of god, the skin of my teeth, and the assistance of a particularly jolly transportation employee, I found my way to Brooklyn and Rachael's apartment.

Once there, she hurried off to work, and I hurried to her couch where I slept for several hours.

It was later that morning, while I was getting ready, that I found The Spoon nestled in between some folded clothes in my suitcase.

Seeing as I had not packed The Spoon, and because I could not imagine the use of a utensil with this particular shape and with a hole in the middle, I was troubled by its appearance. I carried it into the kitchen, where I asked Rachael's boyfriend what the heck it was.

Me: What is this?
Him: A spoon
Me: I know but what is it for?
Him: Spoon things
Me: But why does it look like this?
Him: Maybe it's a tuning spoon.
Me (hitting spoon on counter as one would a tuning fork) No that's not it.
Him: Don't hit my counter.
Me: Sorry.
Him: I'm kidding.
Me: Right.
Him: But seriously.
Me: What is this doing in my bag?
Him: It's not yours?
Me: No.
Him: I don't know.
Me: Crap.
Him: Were my directions helpful this morning?
Me: What directions?
Him: On how to take the train from the airport.
Me: I didn't get any directions.
Him: I sent them.
Me: Shoot. Those would've been good.

Later in the day I would apologize for this immensely weird conversation on what was only my second instance of meeting him. Also, I discovered that I had in fact received an email with extremely detailed directions on how not to be an idiot when traveling from the airport. Oh well.

Since everyone was at work I actually had nothing to do. I set out on food to explore Brooklyn. This was amusing for about 20 minutes, and then I was hot and had to pee. I kept marching down the street, thinking perhaps I would encounter something like a Starbucks or a Walgreens, but darn these hip people and their resistance to franchises with semi public bathrooms.

An hour later I was nearly limping and so I ducked into a bar/restaurant. To justify my being there, I ordered a drink at the bar and then hurried off to the bathroom. I meant to finish my drink and then leave, but it was really really delicious and refreshing. Something with gin and mint and cucumbers and fizzy water. The whole street-facing wall of the bar was made up of doors that pulled open, giving the illusion of sitting in the fresh air, while enjoying the air conditioning.

I decided to stay for another drink.

I had plans to meet Kat from Pink India Ink at 4. It was about 3 at this point, so I thought, why try to do anything else? I will just sit here.

So that's how I spent the better part of my afternoon sitting alone at a bar drinking fizzy ginnys. That's not what they were called.

Kat arrived and I gave what was probably a very loud first impression, owing to my pair of fizzy ginnys. NICE TO MEET YOU BLAHHHHH I'M FALLING OFF MY BARSTOOL!!! CUTE DRESS! HAVE A COCKTAIL!

That can't be what I was actually like, but it sure felt that way. After chatting about husbands, writing, work, and sharing some snacks, it was time for the rest of my friends to get out of work. Thus commenced a great flurry of texts and phone calls that made me look super important.

It appeared that the simplest plan, since I had 3 friends coming from different directions, was to just stay put. And so as I waited for my other friends -- and as Kat departed for other less staying-in-one-placey plans -- the hours passed. All in all I spent 7 hours on the same darn bar stool while people came and went. Fortunately the bartender and waitstaff changed shifts so none of them knew how long I actually sat there. I'm really quite the inactive tourist.

The evening wound down as I grabbed some dinner with Rachael, Yasi and Anne, followed by a giggle-filled screening of Wet Hot American Summer for the umpteenth time.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - In Which I Am Obsessed With Dinosaurs


  1. Sitting in a bar watching the world go by is one of my all time favourite passtimes. Usually accompanied by a book.

  2. an olive spoon for martini's?

  3. an olive spoon! I think I may have bought it for you and Dev, but I have no idea why.

  4. Ok, yes. It is the olive spoon you bought only I apparently didn't remember this and when I sent Devin the spoon picture he didn't reply so I went through the whole weekend thinking it was a mystery spoon.

  5. it's still a total mystery to me why the hell i would give you an olive spoon.