Unreachable

Last night was one of those nights where the cell phone shaped hole in my bag was clearly ruining everything. I was supposed to meet Karen at an open bar party for the launching of something called Gum. Is Gum a magazine, a book, a website, a new flavor of Coke? Nobody knows. But Gum had an open bar from 9-11 and that fit my current criteria for leaving the house. I was late, naturally, and the train I took let me off on the opposite side of town from the bar. It was just starting to snow and in some fit of rebellion I was wearing a skirt. It’s just been so cold for so many days in a row and I was tired of wearing one of the same three pairs of pants. I did have boots on, but the rest of my lower regions were no match for the sub-zero winds.

So I finally get to the Chinatown bar to find the sidewalk outside completely mobbed with people. As usual there’s a snotty-acting, clipboard-wielding, full of shit door person lording over his 200 square foot fiefdom. I may have loudly groaned as I gazed upon this mess and offended the sensibilities of the NYU hipsters (Cleveland mall-rats a mere 2 years ago) next to me. Of course Karen is nowhere to be seen. I figure she’s already inside since I’m a good 30 minutes late, and I never actually asked if she was putting my name on the list, or if I was someone’s plus one or what. I trudged over to a pay phone and started my search for quarters and little scraps of paper I call my phone book. This requires me, tragically, to take off my gloves and by the second phone call my fingers have lost all feeling. I leave a message for Karen, I call my other friend who lives in the neighborhood, and I call another friend who’s coming into town via the Chinatown bus to see if I can meet anyone for a warm (and unfree) drink somewhere else. No one’s answering and I have to leave various messages that say very little except that I may be near you and I’m entirely unreachable.

I turn back to the line. Maybe I’ll give it a chance. I glance impatiently at my watch: 10 PM on the nose. I’ll give it 15 or 20 minutes I decide. I’m behind a group of college students for sure. I pull on my headphones to prevent accidental eavesdropping. In the meantime I’ve downloaded a few really interesting songs from Cody ChesnuTT cause I won tickets to his show with Bobby Blue Bland at BAM on Saturday from Flavorpill. Which, as a sidenote, I totally can’t believe cause I’ve never won anything, ever. Not even a raffle. Anyway, I really like a couple of the tracks and am happy to freeze my ass off while listening to him instead of stupid college kid jokes. (I know I’m being judgmental and mean, it’s just one of those nights). After what felt like 20 minutes I took a second glance at my watch: 10:03 PM. There is no way I can wait in this line any longer. Not only cause I’m cold and pissed at being at the mercy of some dude with a clipboard which most likely doesn’t have my name on it anyway. But also because if I ever do get in, I have to spend the evening with this line full of jokers. It’s been a whole 4 minutes and I’ve thrown in the towel.

I’m back at the pay phone deciding what to do with my evening. It’s lightly and prettily snowing and I even have makeup on so I can’t go back to brooklyn without giving something else a try. On my way over to the bar, a bouncer/greeter/some guy outside another bar completely uncharacteristically stopped me and invited me in the the gallery opening that was going on inside. I was a little shocked to see someone trying to get people in, instead of keeping people out. I could do that except it’s not on the way to the closer F train I already know I’m taking home. Instead I make a snap decision to go to Good World which has decent DJs and usually open stools at the bar, and is a few blocks away. I leave more messages saying, “I’m here – come meet me if you get this message in the next hour.” Again, fingers frozen.

In the bar the music’s decent and the bartender is nice. There’s a couple making out next me. I have a moment of terror when I think I see this guy I went out with a couple times this summer. Relief when I realize (or just convince myself) it’s not him. Near the end of my first beer this older lady climbs up next to me and starts talking to me about all sorts of random stuff. First New York rents, then Bessie Smith, then pot vs. hash, then a few conspiracy theories about tobacco companies, then Norweigian democracy, wrapping up at female circumcision, at which point, after contributing maybe a dozen words, I knew I had to leave. It was an abrupt exit but there was no telling where this conversation was gonna go and I just wasn’t ready for anymore.

Highlight of the evening: Walking (half dancing) through freshly fallen snow in Cuyler-Gore Park on the way home.

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