Saturday, October 28, 2006
I met Kate at a diner in Williamsburg today. It looked like it had been staffed out of Central Casting. There were the willowy, nerdy-hip servers, male and female, and the sharp-tongued older woman, clearly the owner, who rules her domain with a no-nonsense attitude and a heart of gold. "You want coffee?" she asked me in a thick Brooklyn accent, once I had been seated for a bit.
"Thank you, yes please."
"Look at you lot, five you standing around doing nothing, give this guy some coffee! I guess you're supposed to send up a flair."
"I'm in no rush, that's what Saturdays are all about for me."
Once she ascertained I was waiting for someone, the owner realized she didn't need to kick their asses about getting me food. She then proceeded to tell me all the people whose asses she DID need to kick, starting with the son and brother who had, between them borrowed her car and wracked up $1800 in parking tickets, resulting in her car being towed that morning. "Do you know how many cups of coffee I'll have to sell to pay $1800?" I made the appropriate clucking noises. It's amazing how much of my time in NYC, on the train, in restaurants, on the street, is spent making appropriate clucking noises in sympathy. Gets me through a lot. Her brother 'has a union book' (haven't heard that expression in a long time) and her son is similarly flush with cash, so she had plans for banging on their doors until she got the money. I wished her luck, as she headed off to buy champagne for the restaurant's evening meal. This was only the beginning of a great day, and the third one I've had in a row.
Thursday night I had dinner out with a three good friends, including one I haven't seen in seven years, I saw a play last night with ole buddy Jeff, had brunch this morning with ole buddy Kate, then dinner tonight with ole buddy Melissa. I'm spending money like it's water, and I couldn't be happier about it. Whenever my family and I reminisce about our fond memories and adventures together, a striking number of them circle around great meals. This reassures me as I gad about seeing these friends, having conversations about things that matter, gossiping, laughing, scarfing down chicken pot pie, mac and cheese, bagels and lox, salmon, mushrooms and rice, rich red wine, wild berry crumble with custard, dark coffee, multigrain toast with raspberry jam, black tea, comfort foods all over the place. The weather in NYC is cool and rainy, so all these cafes, restaurants, tea-houses and diners are becoming the havens of coziness they'll be for at least the next six months. I seem to be padding up like a bear preparing for hibernation, but again, not so much with the regret so far (at least not until I have to get naked in public again on Tuesday).
I can't really afford to live like this, and perhaps I'm going to regret it in a few weeks when the work peters out for the holidays; right now though I'm feeling pretty lucky, like I've collected more of those memories I'll be glad I have when lying on my deathbed. Loved ones, good conversation, and good food. Gets me through a lot.