One fall day, at sunset, I put on a new double breasted sweater I'd bought for a date. I walked from my UES apartment down to the MET Museum, my date a tall Harvard alum with floppy black hair, smiled at me. "Our steps!" he said, referring to our exchange earlier in the day. He thought the steps were romantic and I disagreed, they were too public to be intimate.
We bought our tickets and took an escalator to the Turner exhibit, and I was quickly corrected. God, the MET was the perfect place for a date. You could part from your partner and still hear the floor creaking as they left you. You could get lost in the wrong era or continent and find your way back, together. It's all in the atmosphere.
Afterwards we walked to dinner where, on either side of us in the intimate restaurant, other couples were on dates. I was 24-years-old, on only my third date in my entire life and it felt to so cosmopolitan. I felt like every one of my college math class day dreams. In them, New York is a series of parties at very progressive restaurants or very old cocktail bars followed by Lincoln Center or a museum or the park.
I mention all of this because this week felt like a mash up of what I thought New York was like before I moved here. I started the week of with an empty calendar an ended it having attended a series of parties, even another romantic evening at the MET museum with Alistair.
Monday was forgettable. Tuesday, Alistair and I had dinner with his friend at Tomoe Sushi. Its a bright, tiny place with a consistent queue on the sidewalk. Our friend had just returned from a trip with his wife to a "warm place." New Yorkers right now are desperate for consistent warm weather. I clung to his every description of his vacation and the pool. We walked south after dinner and had cocktails at Peculiar Pub (Bullet on the rocks).
Wednesday I had a long telephone call with my father who revealed to me information of high importance: we'd found out what African tribes his family is from, the Bubi's and the Kru's. I almost cried learning this. It left such a good feeling with me through the week.
Thursday night Alistair hosted a dinner party and I told him I'd buy the wine. I slid a bottle of Otto's Constant Dream across the counter of Alistair's usual wine store, and looked at the shop keeper. She reminded me of the owner of the store, who has a cute pug that wears a diaper and often sits by the cash register.
"Is the owner your mom?" I asked her.
"No, gosh no. My mom is much older," the woman said. My face turned bright red and I resolved never to go in that wine shop again.
The dinner party, however, was a hit. At this point, Alistair and I are so efficient at setting the table and move about the kitchen a balletic cohesion. As the Coq a Riesling simmered on the stove we slow danced in our aprons. The guests left at midnight.
Friday, Alistair and I planned on attending an event at the museum. One of people I chatted with at a work event happened to be a well-regarded artist. We had a good talk, and I'd given her my card. She then emailed me an invitation to see her prints on view at the MET Museum. I was honored to. I invited Alistair and we would make a night of it. On the four train headed uptown after work, I sighed dreamily. "I love going to the Met at night," I said.
"You're so excited," Alistair laughed.
We checked our things and got lost in ancient Greece. About three museum guides kept telling us which hallways to take and we kept missing them all. A discrete elevator in the museum store finally took us to a crowded, bustling room.
Again, this was exactly how I imagined New York before I moved here.
We moved through the crowd admiring the prints for sale and got ourselves a glass of wine. The artist was being chatted up and recognized me immediately. She walked me through her work, including some she had done with a few famous poets. A Getty photographer was there getting shots, and a few lucky people were actually buying stuff. Alistair and I met many new faces that were all very kind. I talked of Alabama, New York real estate, restaurants, Europe.
We said goodbye and went back through the maze of exhibits, this time getting lost in Rome on our way. We wanted to rush through the Versailles exhibit but a staff member told us the museum was closing.
I took the train home. Round 10 pm I slid a piece of cod into the oven with some asparagus and felt very grown up. (Yet, not grown up enough read my mail marked "Action Required for 401K") I texted Philippa and Suni to tell them about what a good week I was having. My "rut" was disappearing.