Friday, August 22, 2008

Returning to New York

Thursday was rough. I’ve already mentioned that Mom and I were in a rush to get out of the house. Then, at the airport, my laptop DIED. I think it’s dead for good. NOOOOO! I guess I should have gotten a summer job after all, because I’ll need a new laptop, and that is going to make a HUGE dent in my savings. My flights went just fine, with no delays for once, and the Detroit airport had a cool tunnel (see photos at left.

It took a while for my shuttle to arrive. When I checked on line, they estimated that the shuttle would take an hour and a half to get from Newark into the city. Instead it took HOURS! A Costa Rican man took a shine to me, and insisted on asking me questions about poetry, as I was reading a book on the craft of poetry. It was good to practice my Spanish. Then I arrived at my hostel. I booked it in part because of the cheap shuttle bus and in part because of the elevator. The elevator was so slow that after the first ride up to my floor, I never took it again.

I’d left messages with all my friends saying I was back, but no one was calling me back. I decided to grab a shower, since it was an off-hour. In hostels, where the whole floor shares a handful of showers, it is essential to shower off-hours to avoid long waits and cold water. At the last second, I remembered to throw on some flip-flops as shower shoes. (Phew. I once got a foot fungus from a hostel shower years ago, and once is enough to sufficiently learn that lesson.)

My hostel wasn’t too far from where I used to live in Harlem, although it was farther west, and a few blocks south (technically the Upper West Side). I strolled about looking for a nice place for supper and found a great Thai place. The decor is really the biggest difference between most independent restaurants in Iowa and those is in New York. Back at the hostel, there was a movie showing in the lounge, so I watched a Spiderman movie. Meanwhile, Tom texted me, suggesting I call him the next morning.

Friday- I called Tom at 8, as agreed, and suggested we have brunch at Amy Ruth’s, a soul-food restaurant (specializing in chicken and waffles) he’d particularly enjoyed back when we were dating. Tom eats like he’s got a hollow leg, and Amy Ruth’s was one of the few restaurants we ate at where he left feeling full. Anyway, I knew it would be a few hours until the trains would deliver him with Brooklyn. I breakfasted on leftover Thai, then went for a walk in Riverside Park. Then I trekked all the way over to Central Park. I started out in the North Woods section, where I found all the waterfalls. Then I hiked to the North Meadow, accidentally found myself in the East Meadow, and ended up at the Conservatory Gardens.

I met up with Tom on Central Park North, and we walked to the restaurant, where I had OJ, fabulous hash browns and a giant waffle topped with fresh banana slices, pecans and copious cinnamon. YUM! Tom had chicken and waffles smothered in gravy. Usually we would walk off such a meal, but Tom was tired, so we only walked as far as my hostel. Since I’d been walking for hours already, I was fine with that. We say in the lounge catching up until a loud movie drove us back out into the city. We found a café and sat outside, chatting. I complained about my roommates.

In a hostel, the idiosyncrasies of one’s many roomies come with the territory, but it is common courtesy not to turn on the light in the middle of the night. Seriously! If it’s after midnight, don’t turn on the light. Travel with a flashlight. Sigh. Also, I would maintain that enough light was coming through the window from outside that not even a flashlight was necessary. Was it inconsiderateness, or obliviousness on their part? Who knows.

Anyway, we talked for a while, but then Tom had to get going. It felt different than last time we met...more distant. Post-breakup, on the phone and during visits, we got along really well. Sometimes it didn't feel any different than the conversations and dinners while we were dating. This time the breakup felt real. I wasn't sitting across from a date or from a friend. I was sitting across from an ex. I don't know if it will keep feeling that way, but for now it does.

I should probably stop seeing or talking to him for a while. Maybe it will be better. I do want to be friends with him, but I think I need more time and distance before we can really be friends.

Friday night, I went out with the girls. I met up with Madrid, Laura and Carolina in the village for Italian food. The food was indeed scrumptious, and we had a lovely time. By mere coincidence, we all showed up wearing black and white with a red accent. Hee! I don’t think that’s ever happened to us before.

After dinner, we went for drinks. We ended up in a Moroccan-themed lounge. It looked a little like the inside of Genie’s bottle. Laura did her "Blue Steel" imitation for us. At one point, Madrid got bored and decided to toss coins into my cleavage. Eventually, we were all doing it, aiming money down each others’ necklines. Hee. There's nothing like time spent with your best girlfriends.

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