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Bermuda Triangle

“Do you know what you’re doing here?” I ask, as I waved my hand over his shopping cart filled with a dozen bottles of wine. 

“Not at all – what are you looking for?” 

I am standing in the Italy section of Trader Joe’s wine shop in Union Square, picking something up for dinner with my friend Amanda at a BYOB restaurant in the East Village. For the past thirty seconds I’ve been staring at the rows of reds while the tall, handsome man behind me carefully reads each label before putting it in his cart. 

“Well, I usually enjoy Malbec, but I’m going to an Italian restaurant so I thought I would go Italian for the occasion.”

After pointing out which wines he likes, and his brother likes, I still decide to go with Malbec. A creature of habit, I cling to my familiar vices. As I get in the long line to pay, I wonder if that guy had wanted to ask me out. Then I wonder why I didn’t ask him out. I’ve been known to do so, with varying levels of success, so I make up my mind to ask him for a drink after I pay for my wine. 

The line creeps forward slowly as my heart accelerates. I’m pretty good at snap-second decisions, but dwelling on them gives me too much time to talk myself out of it. I spend less than $10 on my bottle of wine, collect my receipt, and turn to get his attention at the register next to mine. I freeze, arm extended, my hand inches from his shoulder – he’s not that cute, is he? He’s with his friend, will it be embarrassing? In that split second I let better wisdom prevail, and turn to leave. 

But I pause again – regret. Early one Sunday morning a few weeks ago I saw a truly stunning man at the grocery store and I spent the better part of my shopping trip casually passing him as he browsed each aisle. I even managed to get right behind him in line, hoping an opportunity would arise where we could debate the merits of salted and unsalted butter. He, of course, remained decidedly unaware of my presence, and despite my best attempts to find him again at the same store at the same time each Sunday morning, I’ve never seen him again. 

I turn back around, and tap the man on the shoulder. 

“I have another question for you – would you like to get a drink sometime?” I manage to blurt out. 

“Yes!” And then his expression changed. “But I leave the country in a week, so it probably isn’t a great idea.”

I’m not known for hiding my emotions well, and I’m sure he could see in an instant my mix of disappointment and embarrassment. I mumble something, smile, and walk out the door with as much confidence as I could muster. 

The restaurant I’m headed to is ten blocks south; a small family-owned hole-in-the-wall with, according to Yelp, four tables. After making it out of the immediate radius of the wine shop, I begin to think about how I’ll tell the story to my friend at dinner – it’s a good start for a girls’ night out. 

An alert interrupts the music in my headphones; it’s a text from Amanda. Running late – is it ok if Anne comes? She was supposed to have a date but he canceled. 

Wearing new boots, I strut down Second Avenue, past the circus that is St. Mark’s Place, past outdoor patios full of diners soaking up the last few weeks of warm weather. Just a few doors east of Second, on Fourth Street, I find Piccola Strada. The Yelpers weren’t exaggerating – inside I see two two-tops and a long table set for at least a dozen. 

Just got here, I text Amanda.

Walked the wrong way on Houston – be there soon, she replies. 

I stand outside looking west in anticipation. Silhouetted, I see a tall man approaching carrying two large bags. As he gets closer, I recognize him as the man from the wine shop. Hoping to avoid any awkwardness, I pull my phone out – the great excuse of my generation. 

“Hello, hello, glad to see you!” he says as he hugs the small woman smoking a cigarette on the sidewalk; I immediately realize she owns the restaurant and he is having dinner here as well. Of course. 

He notices me, and we exchange small pleasantries about what a small world it is. “Come in and have a drink with us until your friend gets here!” he says. “Sean, nice to meet you.” 

I follow him and his friend in where they take their seats at the long party table – a birthday/going away party, I am told. I take my seat at one of the small tables, and we continue to have a conversation. He’s very friendly, and I quickly feel much more comfortable. We continue in this way for another five to ten minutes, until more of his friends begin to trickle in. I can tell he is torn between including me in the introductions and completely ignoring me. I wish he would observe the latter, but he opts for the former. 

Once the party has grown to eight guests, I assure him he can leave me and just enjoy his party; I’ll be fine until my friend arrives. In the interim I text her feverishly. Tried unsuccessfully to pick up a guy at the wine shop – now he’s eating at our restaurant. Hurry!

When Amanda walks in, the table – most of whom were introduced to the pity party in the corner – breaks into applause. The girl knows how to make an entrance. As she’s putting her bag down on her chair, she motions toward Sean with her head and widens her eyes. I nod back – yep, that’s him. She steals a glance, and then pauses. 

“Hey – you look really familiar to me,” she says to Sean. After a minute or two of discussion, during which I sit mortified, he finally convinces Amanda they’ve never actually met before. When she sits down, it hits her. 

“I know him from Facebook!” she hisses through her teeth. “He used to date Anne!” 

Anne who is meeting us for dinner. 

I try to tell Amanda the full version of what happened at the wine shop, which proves to be difficult as Sean is sitting four feet away. When Anne arrives, she spots him immediately. I watch him for the reaction – not as drastic as expected, but he did whiplash between Anne, our table, and back to Anne. Things must have ended amicably, because she put her bag down at our table and went to talk to him for a few minutes. When she returns, I rush through the story, mouthing choice words so no one else hears. 

“I’m proud of you for being bold! And don’t worry, you dodged a bullet – he isn’t a good kisser!” confesses Anne. 

We spend the rest of the dinner talking about everything else under the sun. I occasionally exchange glances with Sean, but that happens less and less as the time passes. The waiter was nice enough to suggest we order our three meals before their thirteen, so we finished long ahead of the other table. 

The three of us filed out of the small restaurant past the other table. “Goodbye, goodbye!” exclaimed Amanda to the entire room. “Have a great trip!” Anne said to Sean, as they high-fived across the table. I bring up the caboose and frantically try to come up with something to say. Tactful as ever, I just shrug and just say “Sorry, I didn’t know…” 

Infinity

I’m trying to start blogging – for the umpteenth time. New theme, new level of motivation.

New level of shame when I, inevitably, drop the ball again. But I’ll keep trying to try.

Rock Bottom or Genius?

This Wednesday morning, struggling witha  company-holiday-party-induced hangover and only Golden Grahams in my belly and the delicious yet nutritionally-lacking prospect of ramen for lunch, I am revisiting one of my most controversial ideas. Read on:

Jennifer: too bad it’s not warmer
Jennifer: i’d freaking nap in the park
sue: hhahaha DITTO
sue: nap in st patricks? im still flirting with that idea. no shame.
Jennifer: hm
sue: i see it as nap in the UD cathedral. on acid.
Jennifer: hahahaha
sue: which was my FAVORITE by the way
Jennifer: do you think someone would think we were hobos and yell at us?
sue: i dk, id huddle up under my coat
Jennifer: …like hobos do
maybe they’d think we were praying if we positioned ourselves just right
sue: ive thought about it a lot
even done recon work
—END SCENE—
I really don’t see how its a bad idea. Okay — I see how its a horrible idea, but I’m thinking about rolling the dice anyways. In this tourist-crazed holiday season, its impossible to get a moment’s peace anywhere! These crazy sightseers literally leave no stone unturned, no nook or cranny unspoiled by their Nikon quest.  This may be a bold statement, but I think I am starting to feel like a grizzly bear when deforestation happens. That and the whole hibernation thing.
I’ll keep you posted.

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Just kidding, I’ll write something about the long weekend soon!

Coming Soon

I promise, I’ll post something in the next day or two. Ive been a bit …. busy lately. Talk to you soon!!!!

Uncollected Thoughts

I’m exhausted from a marathon trip to Housing Works and the new Target, so I’m just going to be lazy and do this in bullet points. Feel free to elaborate in your own mind.

  • Sometimes weekends are even less relaxing than work weeks. Not that anything unpleasant happened, but its Sunday afternoon and the thought of having to drag my ass out of bed in 18 hours is quite daunting.
  • Tried to go see Harvard Sailing Team’s last summer show on Friday night, but it was sold out. Drank a beer on the floor of Penn Station with a friend instead and got called a “LEZZZZbian ass bitch” by a homeless man. He also said I was a bad cook.
  • I dogsat for some old volleyball teammates of mine Saturday night. Their apartment is wicked nice, and being around a dog just for 24 hours made me really want to get one. Now.
  • Why is Harlem so far away? More practically, why hasn’t someone invented a molecular teleportation device for public use yet?
  • Devil in the White City is a great book.
  • Professor Thoms = fun
  • Finally got a little sun this weekend. By a little sun I mean the outline of my swimsuit bottoms is burnt, and the rest of me still looks pale.
  • Hung out with one of my best friends all weekend!
  • I would pay top dollar for an anti-drunk-texting app.
  • There is so much food in my pantry but I can’t think of anything to make besides pasta.

Okay this list is really starting to go downhill; now I’m just making stuff up. Hopefully I’ll get a little rest soon and write a better post.

And oh yeah: Don Draper tonight.

The Harvard Sailing Team

At the moment, my #1 recommendation is the Harvard Sailing Team at the People’s Improv Theater every Friday night down in Chelsea. They’re the geniuses that brought you “Boys Will Be Girls” (I’d do anything to be able to embed that video (except pay $10 for a pro account)) and definitely don’t disappoint live. Grab a few drinks beforehand, keep the buzz going during the show with a cheap beer, and get out in time to still hit the town. Guys, keep this in mind as a great date idea! I’m pretty sure I’d propose to anyone that took me anywhere besides dinner and a movie….

SUCCESS

Mission accomplished!!!

Extra Important Breaking News

Apparently if you Google Image search “Andre Champagne”, my post about Andre comes up first and thats where all these strangers reading my blog are coming from. I think I am now the pure definition of class.

I want people to find me when they search for baby cheetahs!

Torture

Every year, hundreds of crazy people sign up for pure and utter torture. First run in 1978, the annual Empire State Building Run involves racing to the Observatory Deck, 86 floors high, totally about 1500 steps. No thank you.

Note: the finishing times are in minutes, not hours as I initially assumed…