Thursday, July 28, 2005

Command Response

It’s Margo’s birthday today. Spend it well my friend. I just hope that we’ll still be able to tell each other incredible things a million years from now. I love you.

Okay now here’s the important excerpt of the letter the girl sent me.
“There is a necessary clarification I should make, and neglected to make before I left because I was being a chickenshit girl. Please do not doubt that you have wow-ed me in many ways over the past few weeks. And know too that I’ve enjoyed what we’ve done together so much…but I don’t want to give you a false impression, either. Can I ask you to be a friend? For whom I make mochas and with whom I watch movies? Everything but the courting…. I know this is a difficult request. Consider it carefully, then, and write back if you can-“

Now here’s part of the letter I sent her yesterday.
“In regards to your letter and specifically your humble request I have an answer: I respectfully say no. Could I be your friend? Of course. But I’d never be able to get away from that nagging feeling that we should be more. My heart has been set in a certain direction as a result of our time together. I don’t know your reasoning for your request, but I know that you’ll need time to mull your decision. And until you do, I promise to be nothing but warm to you when we see each other. But I won’t be able to hang out with you. It would be too painful. Maybe I’m fooling myself into thinking that you like me—it’s part of my quixotic charm. But I think life should be lived with glorious mistakes as opposed to wistful regrets. I know that by telling you this I run the risk of never getting your call. I’m prepared for that. You know my number. When you’re ready call me.”

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Cognitive Disso-wha?

Too much in my head to write. I’m exhausted and beaten.

The big dinner with Chris and Kerry was incredible--a feast that topped all other feasts. The chef (my new boss) offered to cook for us, and the food was plentiful and amazing. We had the sommelier pair wines to each course and while his choices greatly differed from what I would have chosen, they were all strong choices. As the night progressed I could see the sparks flying between Chris and Kerry. And when we all went back to the hotel room, we talked over more wine and I passed out. Apparently they went on talking for another hour. I really think that their romance will definitely happen now. My plan is working. Excellent.

When I got back I found a letter from the girl. She fashioned the envelope from newspaper and a brown paper bag. The letter was three pages and handwritten. Light and funny in tone, it closed with her asking me to be her friend; to do all of the things that come with that title and nothing else. “Everything but the courting,” she wrote. Of course I was upset. I think that’s natural. But that eventually was subsided by confusion. There was no explanation for her request. Is she too busy? Is she still hurting over her most recent relationship? Is she not interested?

That last question doesn’t compute because she asked me out and was the total aggressor on our date--she invited herself to my apartment, she kissed me, she slept in my bed next to me--all of which I was more than happy to comply with. Why go through all of that if you’re going to tell someone you’re not interested a couple weeks later? The cognitive dissonance is massive.

And what am I to do now? Should I honor her humble yet odd request? Or should I, respectfully, say no? And how would I do that? Maybe I should just let her go? She hasn't responded to the care package I sent, which I take as a sign that she has no idea what to say either. Someone has to break the silence right? But how? I could use some help here people.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

It Is About Love

In just a few hours, I’ll be meeting up with Chris and Kerry to go to a certain restaurant in upstate New York. We’ve been excited about this for quite some time. It’s the type of food trip that you just decide to go on and forgo any consideration of money. It’s not about that. And unlike the Fiona Apple song, it is about love. Love of food that is. These are the biggest foodies I know and I’m just riding the wave. They could out talk me on food any day of the week and twice on Sunday. My future restaurant partners are passionate and vibrant individuals, who know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. I know what I want too (filmmaker), but it’s hard to share that with someone. They’ve chosen a field that is able to be enjoyed with others.
So we’re grabbing coffee and chai tea (Chris doesn’t drink coffee), getting in Chris’s car, listening to some mix CDs I burned, talking about the current state of the culinary world, touring the restaurant’s facilities, bumming around the area and then having the best meal of our lives. I could be jinxing it by saying that, but the one thing I’ve learned in life is that any meal isn’t about the food. I mean the food helps (and we’ll be eating some mighty good food tomorrow), but it’s more about the company. Nothing beats drinking and laughing with your friends. Follow that with cigars at the hotel room and yet another bottle of wine and we’re good to go.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Long Time

I know I know. Long time no blog. Lots to cover.

So the girl I had the best date of my life has left for Vermont for an artistic endeavor. It’s only a three week intensive, so she’ll be back in August. No biggie.
Today I spent creating a care package for her. It’s slowly been in the works, but today I finalized the items and sent it off before the end of business. I’m super excited about her receiving it. I hope she likes it.

I started working at my favorite restaurant in the city. It’s a wonderful place and perfect for me. For the first time in my life I’m a manager. It’s the first time I’ve ever worn a suit at work. It’s kinda nice. I find that I’m walking different as a manager. There’s just a difference in posture. It’s hard to describe.

Tomorrow is my father’s 61st birthday. Happy birthday dad.

Day after tomorrow, Chris Monaco, his future girlfriend Kerry (if I have my way) and I will be dining at my current restaurant’s sister restaurant in upstate New York. Road trip! It’s very exciting. We’re going to dress up, drink and eat like kings and then smoke cigars. I’ve been looking forward to it for months. Should be a blast.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

APT

After a rather rigorous search, I found the apartment that J and I will be living in come September. Ironically, it’s half a block from my old restaurant. I spent almost all of yesterday securing it for us (J’s in Ohio, so I got the short end of that stick). I don’t mind doing all the footwork, J’s forking over more money for her half of the apartment in exchange for the bigger bedroom, which is fine by me. Location was my main concern and I got my wish--we're living in the Village. She's close to school and I'm close to work. It’s a beautiful apartment with separate kitchen, living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom. (J’s bedroom is absurdly large. It is bigger than some of the apartments that I looked at.) It’s perfect.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Tosha

Tosha (otherwise known in my head as T-Money) is getting married and has asked me to be part of the bridal party. It's in October. On a Sunday. In Louisville, Kentucky.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Best Date Ever

I’m on the way to the airport when she calls me. I’ve been waiting for her call. I try to conceal my excitement.
“Hello?”
“Hello. Are you back yet?”
“I’m on the way to the airport right now.”
“You sound like you’re ready to come back.”
“I am.”
“Okay. Well I’m excited about tonight.”
“Me too.”
“So should I pick you up at work at 8ish?”
“Oh no. I changed my schedule around for an audition I have later. I’ll be available after 4:30.”
“Wow. Okay. Now I have no idea what to do. (pause) Dinner?”
“Dinner sounds good.”
“And then the film.”
“Yes. Why don’t you think about where to go and get back to me with details.”
“Right.”
And that was the way it started. While I waited for the plane to take off I left her a voicemail with my three recommendations for dinner—Momofuku, The Spotted Pig and Mary’s Fish Camp—all good places for a first date. I flew back to New York and as soon as I got home, I showered and changed. I get out of the shower and there’s a message from her.
“Bernard…alright so of the three options that you gave me, my challenge to you is this: pick the one that best fits the movie that you would like to see. Got it? So we’re going to have like a theme evening. I’m very excited about this. I know that I’m leaving all the decision making up to you but I have a feeling you enjoy that. So. Call me back and give me the verdict and I’ll meet you there. Okay. Have a good flight. Bye.”
That’s an intense message. I’m already a little off balance with the lack of firm plans and now she’s giving me an assignment? The three films I was pondering—Yes, Mad Hot Ballroom and My Summer of Love—are all stretches for any of the restaurants. I was totally in the mood for Momofuku’s soft shell crab buns but that restaurant cannot reasonably be connected to any of the films. So the only combination that works is Mary’s Fish Camp and My Summer of Love—both of which were created out of failed lesbian relationships, so there’s my theme. I call and leave a message informing her of my decision. I tell her when to meet me.
I get to the restaurant, only to be told at the door that it doesn’t open for another half hour. So I sit. She’s running late…usually a source of irritation but for some reason not today. I’m a nervous wreck. Eventually she shows up wearing a cute outfit, which runs counterpoint to my t-shirt and jeans. I feel underdressed, which almost never is the case. She and I start conversing which is easy enough. She’s naturally funny and super cute. We eventually sit down and order like maniacs—three appetizers, three entrees and one bottle of wine. We’re committed to spending the evening together. Conversation vacillated between the serious and non-serious, and the pauses were filled with flirtatious glances. Then she set the bar with something that loomed over the rest of the date.
“I know I shouldn’t say this until later, but this is the best date I’ve ever been on.”
I agreed and was a little taken aback by her willingness to vocalize what I was thinking. Then she decided to shift gears and threw down a warning.
“I feel that before we get too far, that you should know that I’m damaged goods.”
“Oh?”
“Yeah, I just got out of a relationship.”
Of course. Here I meet an amazing woman who wants to go on a date with me and there was the other shoe. But there happened to be yet another shoe I was totally unaware of.
“You’ve met her. She works with me at the coffeehouse.” She describes the woman. I’m nodding.
“Oh yeah.” I take a large swig of wine. Her last relationship was with a woman. I soldier on, but this recent revelation doesn’t leave my mind.
Eventually we left for dessert at a little place in the Village called Bruno’s, which was lovely and amazing. I really wanted to kiss her at this point in the evening, but wasn’t sure how to do so. Do I just lean over the table and hope that she meets me in the middle? Or do I play some coy trick to get her to lean forward and then when she does, kiss her? This dilemma set my mind in an awkward direction and I didn’t end up doing anything.
Now we stroll to the movie theatre. I mention Emily Watson and she, without any warning, says, “You’ve been a good girl Bess.” Which stuns me. It’s an obscure reference to Breaking the Waves, Emily Watson’s first film performance and some say her most daring. I just look at her. “Wow. You went to the bottom of the ocean on that one. I am mightily impressed.” She smiles. At this moment I realize that I’m screwed. I, at that exact moment, officially liked her.
The movie was wonderful, although awkward now that I know that she’s just come out of a lesbian relationship. In the middle of the previews, I grabbed her hand and lay it on top of mine on the armrest. At one point shortly after this, this position became very uncomfortable for me. She could tell, and switched arm positions. She was now on the bottom. It was a simple gesture, but it indicates something amazing about her. In most initial phases of any intimate relationship, both parties go through a testing period when you try to figure out what each of you want from the other in terms of physical contact—when you want to grab your hand, when I would like you to touch my back, when is it appropriate to kiss you. With her that phase was almost non-existent. She got what I wanted. It was miraculous.
After the film, we tried to get served at a bar, but it turns out that she didn’t have her ID with her. So after a couple moments of curious tension, she pounced.
“Do you have wine at your place?”
“Yeah.”
“Would you be willing to share it?”
“Oh yeah.”
“Let’s get a cab.”
And that’s about all I can share with you. But know this: it was the best date of my life.