In celebration of Valentine's Day, below is a recounting of how I met my girlfriend..
I had an interesting encounter the other day at Mud on 9th street between First and Second Avenues. Me and my twin brother were sitting outside on the benches, as it was totally packed. It was pretty frosty outside, so we were both cursing the infernal hipster assholes clogging it up indoors. Seriously, that place is filled with so many pretentious, twee, douchebags, they should call it ?The pretentious, twee, douchebag?? Still, the coffee is quality brew.
Anyway, as I?m out on those benches, shifting my asscheeks from side to side in order to avoid frostbite, I?m struck by this terrifically pretty girl totally checking me out through the window. Now, let me inform this statement with this bit of info. I am so not the guy who?s always thinking every girl is ?checking him out?. In fact it?s the opposite, I never think anyone is checking me out. I think I?m virtually invisible to mortal man! I see myself as a sad, weary beast listlessly waiting for the abattoir. I don?t even EXIST!!
I used to have a good friend in High School who was one of those ?She?s checking me out!? guys. According to him, everywhere we went, some hot chick was supposedly checking him out. One night at ?the tunnel? (jeeezzz does that date me),I couldn?t take it anymore so I actually approached one of these women that was supposedly ?checking him out?, and asked her flat out if she was. Apparently, she was looking in our direction to ascertain where the bathrooms were. My friend?s response?
So, like I said, this girl was totally checking me out. I mean, she was trying to make it out like she wasn?t, but it was pretty obvious. I motioned to my brother to let him know what was going on, and he mumbled, ? What?s with the old guy??. I turned around and sure enough some dude in his early fifties had arrived on the scene. He had his arm around her and was desperately trying to make it apparent to everyone around that they were together. This guy was one of those typical aging rocker lower east side types. He was wearing faded black jeans with white sneakers, a black leather jacket, longish, frizzy hair tied back in a ponytail and a tired ruddy face. He looked like he might work for S.I.R studios, you know the guy that runs the PA system. The guy that used to be a drummer in some famous band, but got kicked out right before they got signed for doing too many drugs and puking on stage one too many times.
?How is that guy with her??, I ask to no one in particular.
We drank our coffee in the freeze and continued an earlier conversation we were having on the merits of William Friedkin?s ?Cruisng? with Al Pacino. When all of a sudden the girl appears out of nowhere, hovering over us.
?Are you guys twins??
If I had a dime for every time I?ve heard this query, I?d have a lot of dimes. Of course. then I?d have to go to some place like Coinstar and cash them in, which would be a total pain in the ass. So in a way, I?m glad I don?t have a dime for every time I?ve hear.. oh well you get the point?
?Yes, yes we are?
?Yeah, I knew it.. That must be really annoying for you to hear.. I bet you get that all the time.?
?Yes, yes we do?
She took out a box of American Spirits (the smoke of choice for all lower east siders, and cheap bastards everywhere) and made it out as if she?d just ?stepped outside for a cigarette?. I knew she was just there to make time with me, as she kept stealing glances in my direction with all the subtlety of a love struck orangutan.
She was a startlingly comely thing with a decidedly child-like air about her. Her medium length white blonde hair was uncombed and messy, as if she?d just woken up. I wondered if she?d just been in the bed of that PA operator. She was wearing tight black spandex, and had on her right foot a large medical shoe. I couldn?t really tell anything about her lady lumps, as they were hidden under this chunky ski jacket. Her flawless porcelain skin was sharply offset by a pair of lips that would make Angelina Jolie proud, and they were painted blood red for full effect.
?What?s with your foot??, I asked nonchalantly.
?Oh.. I don?t know really.. I just had surgery on it.. They said I had a stress fracture and it was getting worse.. I don?t know how I got it though..?
?Must be painful.?
?It?s not that bad.. It gets stiff in the cold though..?
Taking her in, it was I that was getting stiff in the cold.. I shifted on the hard bench and she puffed her cigarette and tried her best to act aloof?
?Are you wearing those spandex in an ironic, homage to the 80s kind of way, or are you a genuine fan of spandex??
?No.. It?s not ironic at all.. I like spandex.. What?s the matter with it??
?Nothing? it?s a colossal material.?
?You look like Al Pacino?
?Thank you.. You look like Angelina Jolie?s baby half sister.?
?Yes, yes you do?
This stilted conversation continued on for a bit.
I found out that she lives in the neighborhood with her cat Yoda, that she wants to learn how to be an animator for Pixar, but she went to school to be a dental hygienist, and is now currently working as a paralegal. I asked her if that guy was her boyfriend, and she hemmed and hawed.. ?Well, he?s a good friend of mine. We just started taking it to the next level.. we?ll see what happens??
?He?s kind of old for you no??
?Well, I like older guys, besides he?s only 42?
?Yeah.. 42 back in ?82 maybe?
At this point she flicked her cigarette out in to the street and said she?d better get back inside. She turned to open the door, paused, then came back and pressed a small piece of paper into my hand. She gave me a quick smile, and then went back indoors.
?What is it??, my brother asked half interested.
?..Her cell number?
The temperature had started to drop by this point, so we headed out into the half-light of the late afternoon. We needed to get Squeeze?s Argy Bargy on vinyl, so we shuffled lazily in a south easterly direction.. We had heard that Academy records had switched locations to 12th street?
We were on our way?I texted that chick from MUD a few days ago and never heard back from her. I didn?t really give it much more of a thought, but then I get a text back yesterday with the minimalist of all inquiries..
My first thought was, ?The sky you twit?.. Only because I used to have this science teacher in junior high school who would always give that response whenever anyone asked him what was up.. That guy was a total pompous ass. I remember one year he had shingles and came back with horrible tales of his excruciating pain.. I wondered if he had shingles on his anus, then he would have literally had ?shit on a shingle?..
I tend to think about the big questions?
?nada.. sup with u??
?having coffee.. reading..?
These stimulating types of conversation are exactly what make me want to take a nose dive off 59th street bridge.. in other words they don?t make me ?feel groovy?.. Do you get it? 59th street bridge.. ?feelin? groovy?? Simon and Garfunkle?? No??
Sigh? Sometimes it?s such an effort to make an effort.
I?ve always had this engrained ethos ? make an effort or stay under a rock. Some years I?ve stayed under the rock, some years I?ve made the effort. So much of our daily lives are run on auto-pilot. I mean, even something as potentially interesting as meeting a whole NEW person, getting to see the world through fresh eyes. Getting to see yourself through fresh eyes.. All of that potentially fascinating interaction, well.. it?s just such an offhand endeavor so many times. I mean look at ms. lobster ravioli ? no effort.
?do you wanna come down and join me??
?what about the old guy??
?meetng him l8r?
?sure.. be there in a bit?
I hopped in a cab and headed downtown.
I always feel a bit apprehensive taking a cab to meet someone new. You see, in Manhattan, you?re really taking your life into your own hands by getting in a car with one of these motherfuckers.. I mean none of them know how to fucking drive for shit, in fact it seems like they get a stupendous kick out of missing exits, veering, making you nauseous, braking, herking, jerking and nearly crashing you into a ball of flame..
So, is it worth all of that risk and discomfort to meet someone you don?t even know? You see my point? I?d feel pretty stupid dying for a complete stranger.
You might say, ?Why not take the subway?? I say, ?Fuck that shit.?, Then you might say, ?Well don?t complain then..? I?d then possibly reply, ?I?ll fucking complain if I want to, what?s your problem anyway.. You?ve been in a mood ever since we got back from your mother?s.. Is everything alright?? Then you could say, ?You didn?t thank Uncle Charlie for that bowling ball he sent you last week, I was positively mortified?, I?d potentially respond,? I?m supposed to thank him for that? What kind of man sends a bowling ball fedex? I don?t even bowl!! I nearly got a hernia..?
I got to MUD, and saw her sitting inside. She was wearing a beret and dressed all in black, which perfectly matched her large medical shoe. Her platinum hair was sleek and shiny, and her saucer-like orbs were framed in a pair of false eyelashes. She looked like Edie Sedgwick! Most importantly, as she was sans ski jacket this time, I finally got an eyeful of her bazoombas - they were breathtaking. With great enthusiasm, I took a seat next to her. She was sipping an iced coffee and reading a book written by Daniel Manus Pinkwater called ?Alan Mendelssohn the Boy From Mars?, which totally blew me away, as it was one of my favorites as a kid.
?Wow.. How did you get your hands on that book? I haven?t seen a copy of it in years!?
?Oh.. I borrowed it from the library..?
Ahh..She was one of those library types.. Jesus.. In this day and age, between ebay, amazon, and barnes and nobles, there is absolutely NO reason to go to a library, unless MAYBE you?re a student, you?re colossally cheap, or you have a fetish for getting shushed.
?Really? You go to the library a lot??
?Yeah? I love it, you don?t?
?I think the last time I actually set foot in a library, I pronounced it liberry.. In other words, I was a kid.. you know mispronouncing it..?
?I got it..?
We flirted back and forth a bit; I complimented her on her beret; she told me she liked my coat.. I informed her that I got it on Ebay, and told her excitedly that ?she?d never guess for how much!!?..
Damn.. she was good! She could go on the Price is Right or some shit..
We talked some more, I discovered that her family is from the Ukraine, and had at one time been famous circus performers? I told her about my penchant for fair Isle sweater vests, hot dogs and animals with large noses.. It seemed like we were really getting along swimmingly, and then all of a sudden she said..
?well, I have to go meet the old guy.. It was good seeing you again?..
?Wait!.. do you want to get together again sometime, you know, sometime you don?t have to run out like a dervish to meet mr. methuselah??
?Yeah.. sure you have my number.. Sorry I have to rush off, but we?re going to the opera..?
The thought of her and that old asshole going to the opera infuriated me. I could just picture him, his arm around her like I saw him do the other day.. Making sure everyone around him was totally aware that she was HIS property. What a douche bag?
?Hold on a second jesus!? What?s the deal with you and that guy anyway???
?I dunno.. I guess we just have chemistry..?
And with that she hobbled off leaving me with my thumb up my ass at MUD. I hate this fucking place..
I know I?ll never see her again. It?s just the way of the world.. There?s always something or someone getting in the way of things going right..
That cab ride was so not worth it.A few weeks later I get yet another text with a familiar looking number... ?Sup?
There?s nothing worse than getting woken up via the pointless text message. I blearily realized upon further inspection that it was from that girl I met in Mud or ?Mademoiselle Mud? as I shall refer to her from this point forth. Well, I wasn?t about to get into yet another pointless exchange, so I cut through the cutesy monosyllabic missives and sent..
?Whatever happened to you? You fell off the face of the earth.?
After a few minutes of strategic radio silence I received..
?I?ve been busy.?
?Good for you.?
This is what I have to deal with at the crack of noon? I turned over and fell back into a fitful sleep. There was some kind of an infomercial running in the background, which was irritating me and influencing my dreams. I leave the TV on a lot - I?m too lazy to switch it off.
BZZZzzzzzz BZZZzzzzz BZzzzzz
?the sky you twit?
?gay. Let?s hang out?
I don?t know about you, but I feel the ?instancy? of text messaging carries with it an elevated (some might say over inflated) level of ?intimacy?. In olden times (pre-cellphone/internet), these were not the types of discussions one would have ?pre-date?. In those days, there would be an eternal amount of preparation, deliberation, and meditation involved.. and that was before you even picked up the phone to call.. ?gay. let?s hang out? would not be anything you?d ever dream of hearing from a prospective date. Personally, I think this is probably the one palpable advance in this new era. It seems, we?ve finally found a way to cut through the bullshit, and get to the heart of the matter - all through the magic of gadget technology.
?Yeah.. when and where??
We decided to meet as per usual at Mud. Obviously this girl has a serious fixation, or she?s just lazy ? that?s fine so am I..
So after a typically harrying cab ride flying down the FDR Drive, I found myself in front of the MUD waiting around for the Mademoiselle. After about 5 minutes I was a bit irritated as she lived just around the corner, and I had managed to make it there in a timely fashion coming all the way from uptown. Still, while I was hanging around outside, Parker Posey showed up with her poodle in tow, so I rubbernecked shamelessly to chew up some time. I suppose I?ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Parker, as I was a huge Hal Hartley fan back in the 90s, and she was the indie queen of queens.
Eventually I saw Mlle. Mud saunter casually up the street. She was wearing a mini skirt with royal blue tights, a cream colored bolero jacket and a beret. I noticed immediately she was sans medical shoe. Still, she was walking pretty slowly wincing every now and again so I could sense she still had a bum paw. Her pale skin was slightly flushed from the bluster of the day, and her succulent soup coolers were resplendent in a ravishing shade of blood red.
She looked colossal.
?well you took long enough, been freezing my ass off out here for 20 minutes..?
?nice to see you too.. I?m walking slow, I just got my shoe off a week ago, been going to physical therapy..?
?oh.. well I suppose I can cut you some slack..?
We stepped inside and ordered some coffee, mine hot and black.. her?s of the iced mocha variety. After taking a seat in the front, she started to recount the events of the past couple of weeks in full detail. Apparently things weren?t working out with the old guy. He was ?too cynical?, ?stuck in his ways? and ?negative?. She had felt like he was trying to suck the life out of her like a geriatric loofa. Of course listening to this, I thought silently to myself, if she thought this guy was bad, in the immortal words of the Joker in Tim Burton?s first Batman?
?Wait?ll she gets a load of me??
Still, I made out like I was understanding, and commiserated with silken calm and understanding. She went on to say that he still continues to stalk her, and texts her every two minutes and how she?s actually getting a bit creeped out by it all. Great?
Ahh.. the stalking boyfriend.. I never tried that role on for size. Ok, there was that one time where I tailed an ex-girlfriend of mine after she got off from work, because I KNEW she was going to meet some douchebag that was always sniffing around her.. I was right too, she did. Still, I felt like a total psycho, dashing around hiding behind mailboxes and shit.
?you gonna go to the authorities about this guy??
?I think he?s just upset..?
Jesus.. If I were to pull that kinda shit with an ex, I?d be behind bars.. this guy is ?just upset?.
We continued to talk, but our conversation shifted from stalking to the plastic arts. She?s a painter, who digs the low-brow movement. Personally I?m not sure how I feel about that. Some of the stuff I?ve seen has been intriguing, but is it ?art?? As Woody Allen says in Annie Hall..
?a set of aesthetic criteria have not emerged yet?the medium enters in as a condition of the art form itself and you need a set of aesthetic guide lines to put it in social perspective?.
I say that all the time..
Then the talk shifted to politics?Turns out she?s registered in Philly and will be heading there in order to vote in the primary. She?s going with Hilary, and we jawboned a bit about how ridiculous this primary has been, and how completely ponderous the Democrats are. We both agreed at this point neither candidate would stand a snowball?s chance in hell against McCain after all this pointless in-fighting and that the only possible way to a Democratic win in November would be if they got together on the same ticket ? even then I?m dubious?
After awhile I started to get hungry, and suggested we get a bite to eat, so we headed over to ?Around the Clock? on 9th street.
We ordered some chicken fingers and a couple of bloody marys and I hit her up with one of my ?psychological tests?. It?s my go- to icebreaker of icebreakers, as it really advances the conversation down the road about half a click. Feel free to use it for yourself it?s colossal.
Here it is:
?Picture a cube? It can be any type of cube, made of any material, simply your image of what a cube should be. Now, tell me what environment this cube is in, and how does it relate to it?s environment and moreover how does the environment relate to it? Got it? Good.. There?s a horse. Yes there?s a horse in this scenario.. Picture the horse.. describe the physical attributes of this horse, and how it relates to the cube??? *
Her cube was transparent and gossamer made of a shimmering magic material. It flowed in and out of it?s environment, yet constantly observed it?s surroundings. The horse was substantial and completely aware of the cube, nuzzling it tenderly.
After pop psychology 101, we talked about music. We both agreed that vinyl was really the only way to listen to music properly and we compared turntables.. I asked her if she knew anything about the Beatles White Album, which she didn?t. I informed her that an important part of any great relationship was the ability to analyze the White Album ad nauseum. She was bemused by the statement replying with an ?if you say so?. It was a nice ?if you say so? though, not snotty at all. She had some pretty good taste for one so young I will admit, professing a love for Television, The Buzzcocks, and Talking Heads. That lead us to a discussion on which band is more seminal, The Talking Heads or The Police?
It came out a draw.
Much like the day did, as after a while, she said she had to go meet some friends for ?trivia night? at some bar in the neighborhood. We kissed goodbye in a friendly yet decidedly ?more than friends? sort of way and she asked..
?do you wanna come to my place and watch Saw sometime next week?.. I rented it from Netflix and haven?t gotten around to it..?
?Saw? You mean the horror movie??
?Yeah? I like horror movies, psychological thrillers, stuff like that.. We can order in some pizza and watch it together if you like.. Do you like horror movies??
I found myself saying.. ?Yeah definitely.. sounds great?.. even though I hate horror movies.
When I come over, I?ll make sure to bring the White Album.
So Saturday at around 7:30pm I found myself in front of Mademoiselle Mud?s apartment building with the White album in one hand, and a bottle of wine in the other. Bending my knees in rhythm to the invisible boogie I waited for about 10 minutes before I saw her descend the stairs through the glass door. She was barefoot and wearing a v-necked, mid length dress covered in red flowers which took to her form very nicely. It seemed she was walking carefully, but the slight limp was gone from her gait. When she bent slightly to open the door to let me in, I got an eyeful of her succulent cantaloupes stuffed tantalizingly into a lacy black bra.
?Sorry I was in the bathroom, I couldn?t hear the buzzer!?
?No problem, I?m a loiterer by nature.. nothing better than a brisk loiter to start off an evening?
We walked up a flight of rickety stairs and she led me into her oompa loompa sized digs. It never fails to surprise me how miniscule NYC apartments are, especially in the east village. She was working it as best she could (as most women do) with beads and candles strewn about the place, but I?ve encountered pussies with more square footage than this place.
?take a seat?, she pointed to the bed.
?here.. I brought the white album if you wanna broaden your horizons a bit..?
I looked over to the corner of the room and noticed her old turntable. It looked like she had picked it up from some flea market or maybe the trash bin, it was all dusty and appeared to be needle-less.
?oh.. well my stereo is on the fritz right now.. but maybe we can listen to it at your place sometime??
She went to her ?kitchen? area and opened the wine with an ease that implied many nights opening many bottles, perhaps with many gentleman callers sitting on the edge of many beds.
?Sure.. I?m not a big wine drinker, but I?ll partake..?
She poured two large glasses and took a seat close beside me. I took this as a definite cue, and leaned in to give her a long kiss, deftly slipping my tongue in there with what I thought was an expert level of moisture. I peppered the corners of her mouth with a few light pecks to finish off our first real embrace. She passed me the wine and placed her free hand on the small of my back.
?so what else??, I asked
?what else what??, she replied
?you know. anything interesting in your world? what?s been happening since the last time we saw each other??
?ohh? , she groaned ? don?t even get me started.. the old guy has been hassling me day and night.. I?m really beginning to regret ever getting involved with that guy?
?you?re just beginni....?
?Yea.. he?s seriously gone psycho on me.. he calls me every twenty minutes, he yells up at my window from the street.. he bothers me at work.. it?s been a nightmare..?
?So he comes here then??
?yeah.. practically every night this week!?
?don?t worry, he told me he was heading up to Woodstock last night to clear his head..?
I started to feel a tad on the anxious side. I?m prone to anxiety attacks, and although I?m so used to them by now that the actual ?panic aspect? isn?t as severe as it once was, it?s still pretty unpleasant. It usually begins with a feeling of dreamy disconnection.. which was exactly what was starting to occur.
Everything from that moment started to feel decidedly like a dream?
?you ok? You look a bit pale..?
?yeah? just hungry.. Have you eaten??
?No.. I thought we were getting pizza!?
?yes.. definitely pizza.. pizza sounds great give me the number I?ll order it?
I got up off the bed, thankful for a task to attend to. I paced around a bit like the jaguar in that Rilke poem as I placed the order..
?you feel like some ziti?.. I?m gonna get some ziti..?
Now I knew I was in a panic? I fucking hate ziti.
After placing the order I returned to the bed, laid her down flat on her back, and got to business? My hands traced her curves over the fabric of her dress - which was surprisingly rougher than it looked. My kisses traveled to the small of her throat and then back up the terrain of her adorable chin, proceeding to her precious shell-like ears, and eventually returning to those incomparably delectable lips. She was moaning softly, and as my hand maneuvered suavely between her creamy thighs, I felt the heat emanating from her nether regions?
?is that the food already???, I got up adjusting my massive hard-on.
She pushed talk on the intercom..
?who is it??
?It?s me damnit.. let me in!!?
It was the old guy..
?fuck?, she sighed ?I?m so, so sorry?, she said to me softly
?What do you want me to do??, I asked, my voice shaking imperceptibly
?I don?t know.. fuck.. fuck!?
?maybe you should go..?
?GO?.. You want me to leave you alone with that guy??
?I can handle him, don?t worry.. he?s just upset?
Again, she used that phrase ?just upset?. I was beginning to think I was a pawn in some kind of strange game, and it wasn?t even chess.
?What about the pizza? The ziti??
?Don?t worry.. I?ll pay for it..?
?I don?t like this.. what?s the deal with this guy? I don?t like the idea of leaving you alone with him..?
?If I don?t talk to him, he?s not going to stop all night..?
?So fucking call the cops then.. jesus?
?Could you please just leave and let me handle it..?
?Fine.. jesus christ?
I slammed the door behind me and hastily made my exit. On the last few steps, my boot got tangled up, and I tumbled to the ground smashing my right hip and the heel of my left palm onto the cold stone floor. I heard the door buzz open, and the old guy walked in. He paused for a moment eyeing me coolly, as I laid crumpled up on the floor, then he merely stepped over me and climbed up the stairs to her apartment.
I slowly got to my feet, my hand throbbing in pain? I stumbled out into the street like a drunken sailor. I have to say though, my anxiety was gone, the agony in my hip and paw, combined with my burgeoning rage cleared my mind like Scientology.
Later that night with an icepack, I pictured them, plastic forks in hand, both eating cold ziti together after their 3rd bout of animalistic fucking?