Monday, August 29, 2005

Outside The Box

So my tension has shifted to a new place. This morning a young woman named Monique applied to take over my current apartment so that’s less for me to think about. And the job situation is looking promising with three job offers in front of me. So now, I’m in moving mode. My place is a wreck and in desperate need of being put in boxes. It’s all about the boxes. Of course I need boxes. I have no boxes. Where can I get boxes?

PS--At my coffeehouse today, I saw Mary-Louise Parker. I didn't approach her mainly because I was on the phone and also I had a small brain aneurysm.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Two Films

I go to the movies because it makes me feel good. That’s it. It’s a simple and honest truth. One that I find comforting and fun. I went to see The Baxter and The 40 Year Old Virgin this weekend. Both were solid films, nothing to truly rave about, but they got me out of the apartment. The Baxter features a wonderful sequence at the end, which plays my favorite Rufus Wainwright song underneath it. It’s funny but I think most people won’t understand why, that is unless you live in New York. Also there’s a wonderful performance by Michelle Williams, whose character reminds me of Annie Hall mixed with Fran Kubelik, although I cannot defend this comparison.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I Wasn't Barefoot

Yesterday I found myself at Bryant Park during the day. (I’ve only walked by it late at night.) The park, I didn’t realize, has café seating throughout it. Only in New York would you find a park that caters to the type of person that doesn’t like getting their pants all schmutsy. I, for the record, am one of those people. I went with no purpose beyond daydreaming. I had a moment where I thought it would be funny if a man came up to me and said, “I went to the zoo today.” It’s the start of Albee’s Zoo Story and I’d be in the middle of it. In any case, I imagined it’s the place I would come if I worked in Midtown and in an office and had a short break. I’d come armed with a paper cup of halfway decent coffee, croissant and my copy of the New Yorker.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Baxter Schmaxter

Tonight I was supposed to see The Baxter with Susie, her husband Nathan and Sarah. But that didn’t happen when the very small theatre filled up and two of our party weren’t with us. So Susie and I left. We found Sarah. I feel like Susie and I sort of blew off Sarah, but we were more concerned with finding Nathan, who was considerably late. Turns out he didn’t know where the film was screening, and by that time Sarah was long gone.
So then, the remaining three of us, ate at Molly’s restaurant. A couple things of note. I wanted to buy the first round of drinks and so did Nathan. When the tab was announced to us by the strapping bartender, “$18.50” he proclaimed, Nathan and I threw money down on the bar at the same time. Let me ask you, whose money do you think the bartender took? Yes you in the back. “Yours?” That’s right. You know why? Because he threw down a $20 bill and I threw down $22 total. It’s all about the tip buddy. It’s always about the tip. Soon after that we were seated and ordered. As the server took my menu, I casually put my credit card on the menu so that it faced the server. It’s a simple and very casual way to get the server to take my card and for him to just bring me the bill after we’ve decided to end the evening. At the end of the meal, the server brings it to me, Susie and Nathan look at me in shock, and the server chimes in.
“I’ve been working in the restaurant business for a long time sir and that was by far the smoothest credit card hand off I’ve ever seen. I gotta shake your hand.”
I laughed. I haven’t been laughing a lot recently, and I think between that and the fact that Nathan and Susie are among the nicest people I’ve ever encountered, just put me in a good place. I know I’ve got a lot of stuff to deal with in the next few days, but I feel for the first time that it will all work out.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Wilder

I’ve realized through a cursory look at my recent blog entries that I’ve been rather dour. That’s not fun to read. I apologize.

I recently found out that The American Museum of the Moving Image is about to begin a Billy Wilder retrospective. For those of you who love Cameron Crowe (writer/director of such seminal films as Almost Famous and Say Anything…) you should check out Billy Wilder’s stuff. Crowe is our generation’s Wilder. And if there’s any doubt about that you should read Crowe’s book Conversations with Wilder.

My favorite Wilder film (and also my favorite Audrey Hepburn film) is Love in the Afternoon. It features among the best final scenes in all of cinema. Just fantastic. Maurice Chevalier is so good in it. Do yourself a favor and watch it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Couple Notes

I’m starting to panic. I’ve shown my apartment to five people and had no takers. I’m very nervous about the situation. I’m showing a few more people over the next couple days, but things are getting bleak. I have to remain positive. It’s just hard, you know?

In other news, I’ve started an e-mail correspondence with the girl. It’s good. I know full well that it will end badly for me, but what the hell. Maybe just have some fun. I can have fun right?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

West Wing

My depression has hit a particular low. To buoy my spirits I've been watching The West Wing. So here are my top five episodes (in no partular order) of the first four seasons (I haven't watched since Aaron Sorkin stopped writing it).

17 PEOPLE
Season 2, Episode 18
A play. There are two stories working--Toby learning about President Bartlet's MS and Josh "celebrating" Donna's and his not-anniversary.
Sample exchange from this episode:
DONNA
Does this make you feel superior? Yes, you are better than my old boyfriend.

JOSH
I’m just sayin’ if you were in an accident, I wouldn’t stop for a beer.

DONNA
If you were in an accident, I wouldn’t stop for red lights.


---
BARTLET FOR AMERICA
Season 3, Episode 9
A Leo-centric episode. My favorite final scene in any West Wing episode. Still gets to me.
Sample exchange from this episode:
BARTLET
Yeah, yeah. How does she look to you?

LEO
Who?

BARTLET
Her.

LEO
She looks good.

BARTLET
What's she wearing?

LEO
[to Jordan] What are you wearing?

JORDAN
What does it matter?

LEO
Why don't you ask the President that?

JORDAN
A gray Armani suit.

LEO
[into phone] Spandex.

BARTLET
I like you and her. It's like a '50s screwball comedy.

LEO
You're like a '50s screwball-

BARTLET
What was that?

LEO
Nothing.


---
H. CON. 172
Season 3, Episode 10
My favorite episode. Ends with Amy Gardner and Josh on his steps. Enough said.
Sample exchange from this episode:
AMY
Okay. You didn't talk to me much at school.

JOSH
You were having quite a bit of sex with Chris.

AMY
There were times I wasn't.

JOSH
I studied a lot in school. I studied hard in high school and at Harvard and in law school. My IQ doesn't break the bank, and I wanted to do this so I studied all the time. And I missed something or it's like I skipped a year 'cause I never learned what you do after you think you like somebody-- what you do next. And every-everybody did learn. A lot of other people, anyway. I didn't walk out tonight. When my phone rings at 11:00, it's important. Not important to me. Important. And I'm not puffing myself so-so that you're...

AMY
You know what? Maybe not so much for you with the talking. [they kiss] Thanks for the drink.


---
GAME ON
Season 4, Episode 6
Best opening scene in West Wing history. The big debate between Ritchie and Bartlet. We're introduced to Will Bailey in this episode.
Sample line from this episode:
LEO
There's no such thing as too smart. There's nothing you can do that's not going to make me proud of you. Eat 'em up. Game on.


--
INAUGURATION: OVER THERE
Season 4, Episode 15
The first scene is one of my favorites. I love that speech that Will gives Toby. And then later Will becomes Deputy Communications Director. Also there's the Donna and Josh thing outside her apartment.
Sample exchange from this episode:
DONNA
Listen, this guy's got an important career ahead of him.

JOSH
Your career isn't important? What was the point of anyone claiming.... You knew it was easy to figure out it was him.

DONNA
Not as easy as you made it. I didn't think about the top of the quote-

JOSH
The list of things you didn't think about, including your job, what the President thinks of you.

DONNA
Does he know about this?

JOSH
He's about to. (BEAT) You look amazing.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Depressed

I didn’t get out of bed until 7:00 PM today. If that’s not an indication of my current mental state, then…I don’t know.

The job thing will work itself out. I keep repeating that mantra to myself over and over. It’s true. It will work itself out. I’ll have a job soon enough.

The apartment dilemma is what truly plagues my mind at the moment. I need someone to take this apartment right now, before my mind explodes. Please won’t someone take it off my hands?

It’s the girl’s birthday today. After much debate, I sent her a text message wishing her a happy birthday. It was simple and I’m sure confusing as hell to her. “What does this mean?” “Isn’t he mad at me?” “Should I respond?” Part of me likes messing with her a bit…turnaround is fair play. But more than anything I really do want her to have a good birthday. Everyone should have a good birthday.

Story time. My birthday is in mid January. My brother’s is actually on Christmas. Something I’ve never really forgiven my parents for is the fact that they chose to celebrate his birthday on my birthday. Their thinking was that my brother might feel slighted when I would celebrate my birthday, which I understand, but what they did in effect was diminish how I felt about my birthday. It was never my own. I never felt full ownership of it. And so I’ve always felt it my personal crusade to make anyone else’s birthday beautiful and extraordinary.

Alright enough rambling. Time to drink.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Let's Hope So

“Joy cometh in the morning,” Scripture tells us. I’m on the verge of tears because my life is in disarray. The job I had ended tonight. I wasn’t offered a new job at the location even though I know that there was a position available because someone put their notice in today. I don’t get it. I’ve put in over a month of my life into this restaurant and worked my ass off. I don’t get why I’m not at least being considered for the position. So there’s that. Then there’s the whole apartment fiasco. I still don’t have anyone who is willing to take my apartment. No takers. So there’s a distinct possibility that I might have to pay two rents for two separate apartments come next month. And when you factor in that I don’t have a job right now, you can probably guess my tension level. And then there’s the girl situation which is not getting any better for me. Aargh. Time to go to bed. Hopefully joy will cometh in the morning.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Fabulous

Mirabelle (Claire Danes): Are you the kind of person that takes time to get to know, and then once you get to know them, they’re fabulous?
Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman): Yes absolutely. What?

-from the trailer of Shopgirl

I’m the type of person that loves getting to know people. I memorize the birthdays, the family history and weird personal quirks. It’s just part of the fun for me. Most people take my incredible memory for caring, but those impressed with this trait should realize that it’s a carnival trick designed to amaze the senses. They should be awestruck when it turns out that I actually care about them, which more often than not I do.

I tend to believe in the best in people. I live in a place where oddities are seen as beautiful. But that default faith that comes from my upbringing has recently been bruised. And I’ve never learned from the one truth that I keep getting hit in the face with: in the end, people will almost always disappoint you.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Heaven and Hell

The girl and I hung out tonight. We watched the David Gordon Green double feature. She grabbed my hand upon her late entrance (she was closing the coffeehouse, so she missed half of the first film) and didn’t let go until the second film was over. I was in heaven.
Afterwards we ate omelets at a diner around the corner. I was nervous and edgy. What the hell am I doing? Why can’t I just talk? She said something that clears up her side of things.
“You never wrote back.”
She never got the letter.
“You never got my letter?”
“No.”
“I wrote a letter.”
She smiles.
“Wanna take a walk?”
I smile.
“Yes I do.”
And we do. I’m somewhat forced to tell her everything I wrote in the letter. It doesn’t come out clean, but it does come out honestly. That’s all I can hope for.
When I tell her I won't be her friend, she stops walking and starts laughing.
"You're so persistent."
"I'm really not. But I thought for once in my life I should be."
"I really like the middle ground."
"Yeah that's not going to work with me."
"No that's good. You shouldn't let me get away with that."
"It's not fair to me."
She looks at me with those eyes that can look right through me. We hug. She doesn't know what to say. I don't know what to say. I spilled my guts out and she can't respond. She needs time. We hug again.
"Split a cab home with me."
"I don't think that's a good idea. You have some thinking to do and I hope that you make a good decision."
She flags down a cab. As she enters she blurts out, "Do you think $11 will get me home?"
I jump in knowing it won't. Now we're conoodling and I'm pleading my case. She responds oddly.
"You'd make the perfect boyfriend."
"Oh?"
"Susie thinks so."
Susie works at the coffeehouse. Relax. She just got married.
"Well I've always liked Susie."
"She's married!"
"Not like that. But I will be leaving quite a bit in the tip jar next time I'm in."
There's a long pause now. We can feel each other breathing. My heart hurts.
"I'm going to give you an answer by the time that we get to my place."
We of course get to her place and she's hasn't given me the answer that she's promised me. I walk her to her door.
"You deserve a woman who is crazy about you."
I nod. But I'm not phased.
"I think I'm old enough to decide who I want to date thank you."
She doesn't want to hurt me. I can tell.
"I wish I could say I like you as much as you like me...but I can't."
I step back. After a moment, "O-kay. That's my cue. I'm outta here."
I walk to the curb and try to flag down a cab. Then something unexpected happened.
I start shouting.
"NO! This is not how it's going to end. I have too many questions."
She looks at me shocked and smiles.
"Then come on up and let's have some wine."
I open the bottle of wine that I gave her for her birthday.
I start my re-approach.
"See the thing with what you've said. I don't believe you."
"Ah."
“I mean what the hell was with that first date then?”
She takes a large swig of wine. She hasn't expected me to checkraise her with the truth.
"Well I think I've lumped that date into a time when I was vulnerable and before I left for Vermont when..."
I jump up. I can't take it. This is the worst answer I've ever heard. I've been used. I keep thinking that she thought at the onset of this whole thing, "Bernard's a good guy for a couple dinners and some laughs. What a chump."
I walked out and didn't look back.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Three Things That Happened to Me Today

The AC/CD fan and I are standing at the bar a couple hours before service yesterday.
“So next week is going to have to be your last week.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Turns out [the woman I’m filling in for] is ready to come down and so that means next week has to be your last week.”
I knew that this was a temporary position, but I was under the impression that I’d be here at least two months. It turned out to be a month and a week. I’m confused.
“Okay. So I’m still at the top of the list if something becomes available on the serving staff.”
“Oh I thought you didn’t want that.”
Now I remember an off the cuff remark I made a week ago about how frustrating it was to work with some of the more headstrong members on staff (most of whom exhibit almost a total lack of desire to become better at their job). He took this comment more seriously than I did. This is when I started thinking about my dwindling bank account. I had a small brain aneurysm.
“No I do want to be here.” Part of me does. Part of me doesn’t. The part that likes eating and paying rent would prefer to have the job. We tend to not listen to other part.
“We’ll see what we can do.”
I called a restaurant I had turned down a job at a couple weeks ago and I’ll trail there on Tuesday. So maybe I won’t be out of a job long.


I had brunch today with my restaurant’s Wine Director. He’s a wonderful guy, funny and bright, and truly great at his job. As soon as we sit down, my former boss at the restaurant in the Time-Warner building walks in and is seated next to me. He’s sitting directly to the right of me. We obviously can sense each other and know that the other is aware of the other’s presence. What do we do? It’s not like I know this guy. So we decide not to engage each other at all. We both ordered the same thing. Very funny.


The girl is sitting next to me at the coffeehouse. She’s taking a momentary break from the hubbub. We’re chit-chatting tenuously. In this sort of nervous and odd tension filled moment, I usually do something I regret.
“What are you doing tomorrow night?”
She thinks. Her eyebrows furrow as she checks her mental date book.
“Nothing.”
“I think we should go to a double feature at the IFC CenterThunderbolt and Lightfoot and Jeremiah Johnson.”
“Okay.”
“Okay.”
What they hell do I do now? Help please.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Reading Rainbow

When's the last time someone read outloud to you? Not in that rote way that we grew accostomed to as bored teens, but instead in the way that you'd listen when your mother would read to you. You'd listen to the voice, let it create a picture and relish in the comfort of it all.
For me, the last time someone read to me was April 2003. Just an incredible event with my then girlfriend (let's not go there) reading me select passages from her three novels. It was a magical Saturday night.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Cumbersome

I’ve only realized that I’m in an extremely cumbersome place. In my run-ins with the girl, I cannot let her perceive me as cold, because she will see me as un-datable. But I cannot let her become chummy with me because it implies that I have tacitly approved us becoming just friends. Warmth is necessary, but only to a certain extent. This is very precarious indeed.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Day O' Bernard

I had one of those days where I decided that I’d reward myself. For what you might ask? Doesn’t really matter. In any case, I refer to this as “Day O’ Bernard”. And what do you think I did? Hands? Anyone? That’s right, I went to the movies. Nothing gets me more jazzed up than seeing a couple films. I had planned on three all day, in three separate theatres, all across town from each other. First up, Saint Ralph. The only reason I wanted to see this film was to see Campbell Scott, one of those actors you’d give money to if you saw him on the street because he’s just that good. He’s fantastic in this film although my main beef with the film was that they didn’t utilize his talents enough. But it’s a good little film that’s tugs at the heartstrings in an obvious and predictable way. Still good though. Next up was Junebug. I knew nothing about this film other than the fact that everyone who has seen it has been floored by Amy Adams performance. And you know what? She’s luminous. An indelible performance that is textured and brilliant. For my money, she’s the only reason to see this film. I had planned on seeing Hustle & Flow, but instead opted to see my friend Cindy and Jackie. Cindy is house/dog sitting for her sister in a loft apartment in SoHo. When I walk in, I’m stunned. It’s fucking huge. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever seen in my life. It must cost a small fortune to live there. Anyway, the three of us ate pizza and watched The Big Lebowski. On the way to the subway, Jackie and I saw a man taking a crap on the sidewalk. Only in New York!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Land Dog

The IFC Center in the Village is having a movie night with David Gordon Green next Monday. He’s showing Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and Jeremiah Johnson. If you’ve never seen All the Real Girls, Mr. Green’s second film, you should...Land Dog. (I know that Margo is laughing right now. That’s all that fucking matters.) He's my generation's Robert Altman.

Story time. Last spring, I was with Kerry after an orientation day at work and we were in Tribeca about to get some dinner. We walk past a patio where there was a large group of people laughing and eating. I look at them and turn quickly to Kerry.
"Is that David Gordon Green?"
"Who's that?"
"The writer/director of All the Real Girls."
"Don't know who that is."
"I think that's him."
So we go to dinner, eat quickly and have a couple beers each. Now I'm buzzed and have enough liquid courage to go up to this man. I pull out my pad of paper and pen. I'm going to ask him for his autograph. I never ask for an autograph but I felt that if I was going to interrupt him at dinner that I should have a reason beyond telling him that I enjoy his work. So I go up to the table.
"Excuse me. I'm sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to say Mr. Green that I'm a huge fan."
Everyone at the table is staring at me. I soldier on.
"I hate to bother you but can I have your autograph?"
Now the stares have turned to stunned silence, which bleeds into laughter. Mr. Green looks right at me and says, "You're not fucking with me are you?"
"Oh no. I'm a big fan."
"Give me that." He indicates my paper.
Now I'm standing awkwardly at this table with everyone looking at me. One of his fellow diners starts in on me.
"You've seen his films?"
"Both of them. I can't wait for Undertow to come out."
This, I could tell, really stunned them. Undertow had just entered post-production, a trailer had not even been released yet and I was casually mentioning it like it was just on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. They knew I wasn't a casual fan.
"Here you go." Mr. Green hands me back my pad.
"Thank you."
"No problem."
I walk away pretty satisfied. Kerry who was down the street and watched me from a distance was stunned.
"I can't believe he was so cool."
"I know."
"What did he write?"
And then I look at the paper he wrote on for the first time. Here's what he wrote:
"Hi There This is my name (an arrow pointing to his signature, underneath he has written his name in small letters as one word--davidgordongreen) bye. Have a half horse opera today. COBRA: code name See you later!"
I think he must have been drunk.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

First Time

So I saw the girl today for the first time since our letter exchange. It's only two letters so Griffin and Sabine we are not. I walk into the coffeehouse and there she is behind the counter. We see each other and we smile. She’s wearing her short hair in pigtails and for the first time I understand the phrase, “sight for sore eyes”. She’s incandescent. And while I’d love to tell her all that, I have to stand firm on my stance that we cannot be friends. Warmth is expected but nothing more. I’m getting my mocha and leaving.
I approach the counter and she comes around so she can give me a hug. She pulls me close and hugs me. I reluctantly reciprocate.
“Hi.”
“Hi.”
“How are you doing?”
She says that with some reticence in her voice. As if to say that she’s terrified of the answer. But I remain detached.
“I’m okay.”
Then there’s a big pause.
“I got your package. Thank you.”
“Oh you’re welcome.”
Another big pause. This one is the size of the Grand Canyon. Luckily I see in my peripheral vision that Susie is working the barista station. She’s recently borrowed a short of mine and I’ve been meaning to talk to her about it. That’s my scene out.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mandingo

Mandy (Adrianna's brother's former girlfriend) has started a blog. She's pretty odd. Here's the proof.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Awkward

I’ve got a dilemma. I frequent one coffeehouse in the Village and have befriended almost all of the people who work there. The girl is one of them. But she’s been gone due to her Vermont adventure. So there’s been an opportunity to become chatty with others that work there. There’s the young woman who recently got married, there’s the girl that’s become like my little sister and then there’s the manager of this establishment. She’s my problem. We’ve been flirty with each other recently. (What can I say? I’m a flirt. It’s who I am.) You can see the problem can’t you? Between the manager and the girl I’ve inextricably been put in an awkward position.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Not Sure

In the wake of the disquieting news that Nick and Shannon are no longer together, my mind shifts to Emmy. Any news, I have found, is only relatable if you see how it affects you. I haven’t received any response to my letter and I’m unsure as to how to react. Worse yet, I’m not sure which way I’m rooting for it to go. I’m so disillusioned by what love actually is that I care not what love ought to be. What happens if she says yes to my bold request? Am I doomed to suffer the same fate that Nick and Shannon now have? Is true happiness possible? Maybe it is, but I can’t be sure anymore.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Complete Shock

“Are you sitting down?”
“I’m laying down.”
“Good. Okay. Shannon and I separating.”
My heart skips a beat. Nick and Shannon are one of those indestructible couples. I was the best man at their wedding less than a year ago. I must have heard it wrong.
“I’m sorry?”
“We’re separating. It's a mutual and amicable break.”
There’s detachment in his voice. He’s already come to terms with it.
“What happened?”
“There wasn’t some event. This was the natural evolution of things. The curiosity of being with other people just never went away. There was just this moment when we realized that there was nothing left to say.”
I was speechless. Words failed me. Shannon introduced me to Nick. They are one of the great couples. They love each other. I have built my faith of relationships on the foundation that certain ones are ever-lasting. I know some won't make it. Most aren't meant to, but Nick and Shannon was always one I just knew would last. Where did this go wrong? Six and a half years later, their relationship is over?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Working for a Living

So work. I’m now going into my third week at my new job and I gotta tell you...not great. The restaurant is incredible, a small gem in the middle of the Village. But the staff is made entirely made up of career servers that hate when someone tells what to do. This restaurant is one where the servers run the place, so you can see my frustration with the situation. I can make no impact. This has taken me a week to accept. The one thing I’ve learned about myself through this experience is that I wouldn’t want to be in a restaurant every day of my life.