Recently, On a Street Corner in the West Village
A few nights ago, on my way to Cusi & Peter's for dinner, an only-in-New York moment. I was leaving the wine store, putting on my scarf to ward off the ridiculous freeze-your-organs winds and spied approaching a handsome, bespectacled fellow, zipping up his coat. In typical city-streets fashion, we traded glances.
We looked at each other just long enough for the glance to transcend "casual appraisal" and venture into "if we weren't strangers passing in the night with no connection whatsoever, we'd be married by now" territory. After we passed, I thought to myself, "I should look back. Because I bet he's looking back. Because we just passed through about ten dates in a single glance." Lo and behold (which I did), he was looking back. So I turned around and walked over to chat.
I live for these moments. The odd and often gorgeous collisions of strangers are my stock in trade. I'm so constantly revising the narrative of my life while I'm living it that I think I attract spontaneous interraction. I would call it "Amelie Syndrome" but any reference to her is self-congratulatory in a "look how whimsical and adorable and devil-may-care my magic-tinged, technicolor life is" way, so I'll just let you identify or let it go. Either way, you know what I mean.
So his name was Alex and he was indeed quite adorable and he lived in the neighborhood and I was off for dinner and so we shook hands and chatted and then parted ways which, if you think about it, was the only option. Which is to say we parted as friends, which is how I prefer relationships to end. I mean, if they have to end.
Once, years ago, a guy walked up to me at a crosswalk and said, "So, are we still on for tonight?" Delighted at the hilarity and brilliance of the gesture, I answered, "Yeah 7:00, right?" and he totally broke character and said, "Wait! Are we really going to go out at 7:00 tonight?" If I'd been free, I would have gone, but I had plans and so gave him my number to make a date for another night. When we eventually went out, he wasn't nearly as much fun as he'd at first seemed. Come to think of it, I believe he kept trying to convince me it was a good idea for us to ride bikes together to Coney Island at midnight, which, while I'm all for the unconventional assignation, seemed a little too much of a commitment for a near-stranger.
He was actually so very much less interesting after our first encounter that I think this was the incident after which Justin diagnosed me as having "funny filter." You know funny filter: People say normal things, like he could have said, "Are we stopped at a light? and my funny filter made me hear "Are we still on for tonight?". Funny filter makes people far more droll and charming than they actually are.
Anyway, there's supposed to be a story about my book in the New York Post today, the fact of which may be what's inspired this unusually confessional, self-involved post. Forgive me.