NYC: Day 2
On Tuesday I woke early. I wanted to pretend to be unemployed and independently wealthy, but I was still sleeping on the couch of three working girls. 7 a.m., up with the sun. And hungry.
It’s a rare feeling to wake up hungry and tired, stubbornly unwilling to start the day without a snack. And yet! Brooklyn Bagels was a block away. As accepting as I’m sure NYC would be of an unwashed, bed-headed me, I prefer to at least start my days relatively clean. At home — beautiful home! yellow sheets and tallest trees! — of course my yogurt is in the fridge. Which is in the kitchen, which is in my house, where I can be dirty and naked if I so desire. But I had forgone comfort for adventure, and thus had to force myself off the couch, shower hungry, and venture out in search of food.
Clearly my life is very, very hard.
My toil paid off. A bagel! A bagel! My kingdom for a bagel! My friends cited Brooklyn Bagels as The Best and I was not disappointed. Boiled! Chewy! Not — as seems to be the insulting, ersatz bread circle passed off as “bagel” on the rest of Earth — horrible mushy bread baked in a bagel mold. And the cream cheese was endless. Clearly I am the happiest, hungriest fatass in the world. I am not ashamed.
I ate an everything bagel with lox scallion cream cheese on the morning rush hour N train and I was not ashamed. Bitch, I ate tuna fish once on a bus from Boston to New York. Things could be much worse.
(So then, of course, my brain had so many fun thoughts to think. Pho on a submarine! Sushi on a spaceship! Soft cheese in a canoe!)
Unlike my biking misadventures the day before, the train took me where I needed to be. Which was Williamsburg. I really just wanted to thrift shop because I am a capitalist pig, and the first place I went to had button-up shifts for like fifty dollars. I laughed and laughed. And moved on.
The aptly named Junk was more my scene. They had old photographs and bins of marbles and mirrors and clothespins and plates. And clothes. Oh, beauty, Oh, love. I sifted and rifted and, an hour of so later, bought exactly one perfectly fitting navy blue button-up Ann Taylor dress for $7. #winning
Like an addict, like a fool, I saw a Buffalo Exchange a few blocks away and dove in. Gasping for air, as if the oxygen in the rest of the world were tainted. I know I spent like 98% of my free time in Seattle in the Buffalo Exchange in the U District, but I seduced myself with the economics of the secondhand. People sell their clothes at Buffalo Exchange, so surely the clothes resold in Williamsburg would be different from the fashion in North Seattle.
Quickly I saw an exact dress I bought about a month ago and packed for my trip to New York, tags still attached.
But I persevered! Fifty dollars later I had three shirts and an inappropriately flattering black dress. I changed right into it.
Since two of my favorite activities in life are thrift shopping and drinking coffee, I think often of that episode of Will and Grace where she’s powering through the Barney’s sale with her hapless, helpless boyfriend. “Shop and poop! Shop and poop!”
Anyway, I purchased a bottle of rose elderflower lemonade and then I got a tattoo.
It was not unplanned. I went to Three King’s Tattoo, recommended to me by my friend who’s been tatted there before. Walked in, sat down, waited. They said they could help me immediately but immediately took about 30 minutes. I didn’t mind. I was stressed, though, so I watched with great fascination the guy sitting next to me peeling his orange. The skin was thick and that white asbestos fog misted up and disappeared. I think he mistook my anxious captivation for famine; he offered me a segment, then another. I accepted.
We got to talking. He works for the city, generally. I appreciated the mystery; I too play that game.
I told him my whole life story in great detail. We both have blogs, and I hoped and planned upon leaving to exchange URLs. Alas he had disappeared. The next day I wrote a Missed Connection about him on Craigslist:
seattle girl seeks blog swap with orange guy – w4m – 24 (three kings tattoo, brooklyn )
But the tat. This is what I wanted:
When it was over I was ravenous. I asked my artist his favorite place to eat, and his favorite thing to eat, locally, and went across the street to Matchless to order the steak salad. For a while I sat in that dark empty bar, by a window, enjoying book and vegetables and red meat. It was glorious.
After an hour of lying on my friend’s bedroom floor, refusing to get ready, refusing to move, I gathered my strength and set out for dollar tacos. We met up with my friend’s friends from work and caught the very last minute of happy hour. I ordered two whiskey Cokes cos I’m thrifty. The coworkers were lovely, and better with booze. We talked about Israel, and triangles, and what it’s like to be an educated 20something in a sea of exact equals. And the tacos were amazing! Hard shell! Fresh veggies! Hot sauce! Beans!
But every food with an exclamation point at the end is a poem.
The real party had yet to begin. I know a girl, a friend of a friend who is now (I hope) a friend of mine, who does burlesque and throws parties in New York. She’s a cool, fun, gorgeous girl with a chaos of curls and a laugh that could shatter concrete. About a week ago, she posted a casting call on Facebook for a couple to act like a hot mess at the end of a party, alternating sloppy make-out sessions with slurred insults. Excuse me? My two greatest skills? I wasn’t chosen to act, but I did get my name on the guest list. Party on.
The party was a celebration of 1980s club kids and the new photo book “Area: 1983-1987.” There were pillow fights and cake fights and (probably) fake drugs. Jack Nicholson was there, and Reggie Watts and Cat Marnell and, of course, me. An open bar was also in attendance, so really I’ve learned most of what happened from the photos and articles posted afterwards. I spent my night on the heated outdoor patio, looking out at the city, drinking Prosecco, making best friends I’ll never speak to again. I even got the back of my head into a picture! I’m the one in the cerulean dress.
My proudest, shiniest moment: I’m talking to the boyfriend of a friend of a friend. We smell weed so we start scoping. I spot something hand-rolled. Could be anything, but I ask: Is that a marijuana cigarette? Affirmative. So I ask: Do you believe in socialism?
Winner winner chicken dinner.
We left before midnight. Carriages and pumpkins, and some people work in the morning. En route to the subway I ate what was apparently, beautifully, a slice of pizza with General Tso’s chicken on top. New York is a wonderful place.