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I am...a New Yorker
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[Previous entry: "Going to the Country"]

Sunday, October 20, 2002
Making Friends
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Hearing...
Intelligent conversations on the street and not doubting why I chose this amazing place.

Singing...
Damn Time Warner cable jingle.

Watching...
Conjoined twin shows and a program about the Mutter Museum of Medical Mysteries (which Fang would most thoroughly appreciate) on The Discovery Channel.

Appreciating...
Smarts.

Applying...
To schools.

Walking...
Down to McDougal, near Bleecker, and back. Not as briskly as a native New Yorker, naturally.

I am...not writing much, because I had a relatively busy week. As much as my inner misanthrope would keep me at home with my head in a book (or under the covers), sometimes I do venture into the outside world. Sometimes I don't even do that alone. Amazing, I know.

On Friday, I went painting with a coworker. Saturday I met up with some coworkers and we went upstate to see the fall foliage and pick pumpkins. After I returned to the city, I met up with another coworker for dinner. Why, this is a veritable whirlwind of social activity for me! I enjoyed it, but kept to myself today, very much needing my time alone.

The other night, I met up with a fellow Dramarama fan. Last month, he'd offered me a ride back from John's show in New Jersey. I have had some seriously fucked up experiences and it is a big city, so I'm not keen on riding in the car of a man I just met. As much as I wished I could have gone to the show, I'd rather be safe than sorry. He was very understanding about this and didn't take it personally.

This fan and I emailed back and forth and decided to meet up a few times before John's next show in NJ. The next time John comes to town, I'll have a show buddy! Can't think of the last time I had someone to go to his shows with, probably when I was in California in 2000 and went a few times with an old friend from high school. It's unusual that I have anything but the band in common with another Dramarama fan and I've found I can't always bond over that one thing.

The truly remarkable thing to me was that I had a lot of fun. While I was my shy and awkward self, he was warm, intelligent and funny. After so many soured and aborted friendships this year, I wasn't sure I liked people anymore, though I'd become increasingly convinced they didn't like me. But not so! I made him laugh, honest I did.

. . .

This stood in stark contrast with recent experience. Although I don't believe in the way women so often let men knock them down, I realize how the guilt trips of the whiner did sink in at times. I'd been avoiding people more than I might otherwise, feeling I just wasn't fit for human consumption. I joke about being misanthropic, but as anyone who knows me is aware, I'm actually rather loving and caring. I either like someone or I don't -- there's rarely any gray area with me.

I was actually rather indifferent the first time I went out with the whiner, just sort of "let's see." He complained that I went out of my way to prove I was "tough and didn't need anyone." That was just not on my mind. Yet, how sick is it that he kept asking me out; and also that I kept going. When will I learn that lesson? I even tried to explain to him how I just didn't feel we communicated or connected, but he ran a guilt trip on me and I fell for it. I didn't hate him, still don't now. We just weren't a good fit.

He'd just come out of a bad marriage, after which there should be a mandatory 6 month moratorium on dating. By his account, he'd been through the wringer. While I can sympathize, I just wasn't interested in being his replacement shrew.

But that is ancient history, even if the lessons are ongoing. Through the love of my old friends, and the warmth of the new boss and coworkers, I'm learning again how to make friends, how to trust. It's weird to have forgotten that at the ripe, old age of 31.

. . .

Back to Wednesday. We went to French Roast, the place I'd gone last Sunday for the PMS banquet of steak, cabernet and warm, chocolate cake. We agreed to meet for a drink, you know -- no assumptions as to alchohol consumption and no tedious meal to choke down in case the other should turn out to be a freak.

I must confess, you can't take me anywhere. I immediately began to sip my mocha from the soup-turene-like cup in which it was served without thinking about it. Not to make me feel bad, but K pointed out that my mocha arrived within minutes, but his plain old cup of joe didn't. It hadn't occured to me, but it was odd...his only needed to be poured, while mine required brewing, steaming, mixing and garnishing. I sat there, sheepishly licking foam from my spoon.

K wasn't interested in anything on French Roast's menu and all I could reccomend were the steak and warm, chocolate cake. These suggestions were useless to a man who is also a vegetarian. My little social faux pas wasn't made into a federal case and K asked me to walk over to MacDougal Street for falafel. I'd had it years ago, when Fang and I ordered combo platters at work, but I didn't remember what it tasted like. It's little experiences like this that remind me that there is so much more I could be doing and experiencing. It becomes easy to get stuck in a rut. There is just so much here in New York, it seems I'll never get to it all.

We went to a little place called Ali Baba on a block with half a dozen other falafel places. It had an incongruous decor, including a very intense painted plate. The man on it looked angry, furious. My favorite thing was when K went to the bathroom, the tiny closet sort in which one can wash their hands while, uh, seated. He returned to report that there was a sign, written on a plate, propped on the sink. It read, "Employees must wash hands ALL the time."

"Constantly? Continuously?" I asked.

I have a thing for badly-worded signs. They amuse me. Especially when they are written on something other than paper.

Anyway, I am glad I took the chance. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Not only did I gain a concert buddy, but, I hope, a friend. It's really the simple things in life that mean so much.

[Next entry: "Going to D.C."]
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