[Ed Note: I skipped a weekly last week in favor of finishing an essay, so this week I'll be covering two whole weeks to catch up.]
Most years, at the end of March, I lose my patience with the almost-spring weather (cold in the morning, warm for four hours of the afternoon, cold in the evenings). I leave town for a week or more and when I come back its consistently warm. It's like a game: force the weather as much as you can. It's funny because I don't actually like spring. It's just another season to get through before summer. This year I won't be going anywhere. I only say this to frame the last two weeks appropriately. Mentally, I want to go somewhere and see something new, besides a potential trip to DC in early April, I'm bound here for awhile. I'll be filling most of my time with parties and outings with new friends, allergy medicine, work, writing and avoiding writing. But underneath these topical feelings (frustration and tasks) I'm dealing with a lot of deeper, harder things from the past six months. I live in a world full of people I don't understand and I'm dealing with a lot of hurt and rejection. I'll expand on it when the right words arrive.
On Thursday, March 14, I attended a party with Alistair in a gorgeous multi-floor apartment on the Upper West Side. They had all sorts of visual artists, writers, dancers, musicians in attendance. The host put out a spread of cheeses and wine from Switzerland, including the white wine I drank while having my first fondue in Gruyere. I had been nervous about the party all day. But the guests were really great conversationalists. I felt at ease, which is rare for me in social settings.
That weekend the most New York thing happened: a slow motion robbery attempt. Alistair and I went to a nearby restaurant for lunch. The waiter put our bill on a flat, tortoise shell tray and Alistair put his credit card down on top of it. In the middle of our conversation a man walked in the restaurant, reached for the card, and for some reason in a moment of panic, I managed to put my hand over it before he got it. Then, as if to take what he could get, he took Alistair's glass and drank from it. He laughed and left the restaurant. I had been so focused, I didn't notice that the entire restaurant (just a few tables and three waiters) had watched this in silence. Then the waiter said, "That was weird." They gave us a free pastry.
That evening my sisters friends asked us to join them for a drink at a dog-friendly bar: Do Or Dive Bar in Bed Stuy. My sisters friends watch "Love Island" so we had a good chat about it and they let me hold their poodle, Cherry, who rested his little head on my shoulder.
There was an electric touch-screen game at the bar. "We're the top scorers at this game," one of our friends said. She put in a dollar and two pornographic photos of naked men came up and you had to touch the screen where there were differences between the photos -- usually a wrinkle in a shower curtain, a long sideburn on one side, extra chest hair. A group at the end of the bar saw all the naked men began laughing and filming us play. "This is amazing," they said. One of their friends arrived to the bar, looked at us and laughed too. "I love that game!" she said to their surprise. Of course, I sat there watching with my mouth agape.
Sunday and Monday were normal days and evenings. On Tuesday I met Alistair at the Brooklyn Navy Yards, a old Navy shipbuilding facility converted into food halls and a workspace.
"They've done a good job with the Navy Yards," one of the elderly women on the bus said to a friend.
"Yeah but I used to have the most perfect view of the Empire State Building from my living room, but they put up a condo, and we don't have it anymore." I considered this line as I entered the shared workspace at the yards, which is beautiful and modern and almost perfect.
We attended a panel discussion on smart cities, sustainable buildings and art in Milan, and on my walk home, I realized I had missed a bunch of texts from a friend who lives on the West Coast.
"I'm so sorry, I was at a panel discussion that went on way too long," I wrote.
"Thats the most New York thing ever to say!" she wrote back.
Friday, Alistair and I rested comfortably at home and Saturday I refused to go outside. On Sunday we used the morning for relaxing and the afternoon to prep for a dinner party. Its always the same: a four hour frenzy of cleaning and cooking and worries and then an hour before arrivals, some sort of weird elation balloons the room and when the first guest arrives, it eases to a realistic level of expectations. It was a success (I think).
And now it is Monday.