Flying Saucers Over New York

Schadenfreude is German for laughing at someone else’s misery. I remember the agony and fear associated with a flying soccer ball. It flew through the sky like a bird heading down south for the winter. Swiftly, it happened detour and headed toward my face. With agony, I yelled. From the distance, I could see my classmates laughing their heads of.

It happened slow motion. Rather, than actually being a proper goalie, I avoided the hit. The ball landed in the goalie net. The opposing team won. My teammates resembled hiynias out for beef tartar. I smiled nervously. “Shit, at least, I didn’t hit my precious face,” said I.

New York City-Present day

“Fall, fall, wonderful fall,” said I. The skies mirrored the Atlantic’s majestic blue. While crisp ice winds delighted the senses. That morning Anna and I enjoyed a lovely brunch in the East Village. Afterwards, we headed toward Tompskin’s Square Park. In the midst of hippies, an old man with pet ferrets and several street musicians, we found our bohemian exodus.

In a grassy knoll, boys played soccer. “Oh god, please don’t hit me in the face,” said I, internally. As the ball flew in all directions, it eventually hit a boy in the stomach. “Oh god, flashback. That boy looks like me. He also must have my same hatred of flying balls too,” said I. Fortunately for us, the soccer madness ended. We went back to retreating in the grass.

I continued to revel in extreme splendidness. However, I also felt a great deal of gratitude. At thirty, I had a job, which adored. I live in my own Manhattan apartment with a wonderful urban family and plenty of stimulation. Finally, I found a peaceful era in life.

On a sunny Tuesday, the crisp fall weather fled town. It’s humid cousin from Florida made a comeback. While the clouds disguised Mr. Sunshine in a most unflattering grey frock, I walked down Lexington Avenue. From the sky, fell an alien object.

“Ouch, ” I declared. I fell to the ground. My life flashed before my eyes. “Hello, childhood in California, Catholic school, film school, loosing my virginity to that cute guy, mom’s death, moving into all my New York apartments, endless flights across the Pacific and Atlantic. What’s going on? Why did I just experience such dramatic flashbacks? And why did I not experience unicorns and Mary Martin belting fabulous show tunes? ” Asked I.

“Wait a second, I didn’t die,” said I. Waking up in fetal position, I proclaimed, “ouch, I just got hit with the world’s biggest soccer ball.”  After a nice whack on the head, I woke up.

I was alone in my apartment. The apartment was lit from streetlights glowing through the window. A tear fell from my eye. My throbbing head really came from a terrible hangover. The giant soccer ball was courtesy of the school of life, which handed me an unexpected kick.

“Hello, fun-employment,” said I. On that faithful day, I was laid off. I felt like an eight-year old, me, reeling from the pangs of an aggressive soccer ball. I stayed in fetal position. The drilling in my head morphed into the sounds of a telephone ringing.

“Come back to California for a while and recoup,” said my dad. “I can’t. It’s better that I stay in New York and deal with my current life situation,” said I. The evening skies darkened. I felt truly alone in my apartment and attempted to fall asleep to Mozart’s dazzling sounds.

Dearest Mozart couldn’t take away the pangs of pain, which crippled my soul. The next day, I woke up with the magical flutes accompanying me. I stared into Seventh Avenue from my modest apartment. I breathed in and said, “at least, I won’t get hit by a huge soccer ball, today. Oy, that was painful.”

Motivation was slowly fleeing. Unexpectedly, I daydreamed about the west coast and it’s many quirks. I exhaled and called my dad. “Howdy, I’m coming out to California for a while,” said I. The pain slowly drifted and with a swift click of button, I was en route to California that exact day. Quickly, I packed a carry on and bolted out of my apartment.

The crisp fall weather was in hibernation, since it was still unseasonably humid. I hailed a cab and was off to JFK. Upon arrival at my gate, I was excited to leave New York behind for a while. Although, I had amazing memories at my old job and an even more amazing work family. This would mark a new exhilarating season of  “Gay & the city” (aka my life in New York).

I boarded my connecting flight to Dallas. Excitedly, I closed my eyes and imagined California. As I reopened my eyes, there he stood. He was a handsome, tall, Texan with a distinct draw. “Hi,” he said with a smile. I replied the same, with a twinkle in my eye. “Wow, goodbye New York, if this is my neighbor for the rest of the flight, I’m one lucky goose,” said I.

As expected, the plane took off. Cotton balls hovered over the New York skies like a flying saucer. The sun reflected it’s spiritual beams against my rosy cheeks. I took a deep breath. “Indeed, I’m watching E.T. on this flight and sitting next to a rather charming cowboy. Yee-haw, life ain’t so shabby, after all, said I.

Advertisements

Beverly Hills

“The fashion is so much better in the fall,” declared I. Cardigans, edgy leather jackets and decorative beanies epitomize New York’s high fashion season (also known as fall). In one very exotic part of the world, t-shirts with band logos, baseball caps and shorts are synonymous with fall.

“Fuck, shit, fuck, is this a parallel universe?” asked I, nervously maneuvering the confusing zigzag of freeways. The coffee house radio soothed my anxious soul. “Did I enter the Twilight Zone, you ask? Quite frankly, it did feel like the twilight zone. The parallel universe, I speak of is known as Los Angeles.

On a warm autumn day, I drove into L.A. from my dad’s house. It had been years, since I had last driven a car around la la land. The idea was frightening.

Like brave warrior, I took on the mission to drive to Los Angeles. Thinking of my friends smiling faces kept me motivated. When I finally reached Los Angeles and found a coveted parking spot, I almost did the happy dance. That morning, Nicole and I went out to brunch at a cafe near Beverly Hills.

“Hello, culture shock,” declared I. Los Angeles was obviously different from New York. The crowd at the cafe was more casually dressed than their New York counterparts, yet everyone was perfectly manicured and chiseled. I felt out of place, especially not having visited L.A. in years.

As we walked out of the cafe, the sun was blaring. I was schvitzing in my cardigan. Strategically, I kept my composure, even though a more terrifying fete would follow me. As the day progressed, I was continually attacked by a case of the mental jitters. I drove from Beverly Hills and faced the greatest challenge of all

“Oh shit, I can’t find parking,” said I, once I reached Santa Monica. In the Southern California town, which best epitomized laid back-ness and charm, I circled around the neighborhood attempting to find a spot.

“Oy, there’s a fire hydrant, can’t park here. Fuck, that guy is hot. Shit don’t hit that parked car. I think I’m wasting a lot of gas, driving around here. Oh shit, I give up. Why can’t L.A. just have a subway system as extensive as New York’s?” These were the questions, which plagued my cranium.

In one exhilarating moment, the palm trees swayed and birds chirped. I looked to the left and saw a vision. “Oh my god, it’s a parking spot, ” said I, while nearly crying in joy. I turned my car around and was ready to pull a U-turn. Then the parking spot gods laughed in my face. An old hippie took my beloved parking spot.

My face became motionless and my tears of joy morphed into river of agony. I parked in front of Tom’s apartment. He met me outside. Internally, I declared my hatred for L.A. and it’s many unnecessary obstacles. After forty-five minutes, my car finally found it’s resting place at a parking lot with 3 hours free parking.

We found a restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean and enjoyed a glass of wine. Something unexpected occurred, while staring into the blue waters and dumbfounded tourists, it happened. “Wow, it’s very calm here. This might be the wine talking, but L.A., you are too damn laid back and relaxing, and that’s just great,” said I.

L.A. has never been New York and that’s the point. Its not about high fashion, public transportation and tenement apartments. L.A. is relishing in a bowl of avocados, basking in the lack of exotic sounds and most importantly, taking a hike in a real-life hill.

The legendary California sunset faded into a starry night. Like any good L.A. tourist, I had a hippie dippy evening. With my fellow California native, Audria, we ate ice cream, the Venice Beach way.

It didn’t have dairy or processed sugar, oh it tasted like Venice. We sat on busy Lincoln Blvd and reveled in the legendary ocean breezes. With hippy dippy ice cream, I celebrated my trip and wonderful friendships.

Afterwards, I drove to my father’s house, feeling less anxious and neurotic. I faced my fear of driving again and didn’t let culture shock, ruin a positively wonderful day in L.A.

Coffee House Nerd

Scarves, pea coats, and fancy sweaters, it was officially fall in New York. While riding the L train to First Avenue, I had insatiable craving for a piping hot coffee and bagel. Emerging from the subway, I was greeted by a welcoming cold front. Not being well prepped for the temperature, I declared, “Oy, should’ve layered up, but I’ll defrost in the coffee shop,” said I, practically skipping around the East Village in delight.

I stood in line for the breakfast of New York champions, when he appeared. He being the desire of all caffeine addicts, the beanie clad barista. His eyes were a brightly lit shade of blue. I kept myself from drooling. “Don’t act like a love struck school girl,” said I, internally. I walked up to pay for my order. “Bagel and a large coffee, that would be $5.00,” said he.

While handing over some cash, he had a surprise of his own. “Hey you wanna see my band play?”He asked, handing me puke green flyer. I giggled, “Holy shit, I just turned into a lovesick school girl,” I told myself. While gazing into his round blue eyes, I dropped the silly giggle and cleared my throat. “I’ll check my schedule,” I replied. The smiling fest continued as I awkwardly took a seat.

My table had views of red hued tenements and with delis below. I was fixated on the cute barista. I sipped my coffee. While further falling into the seduction of a well brewed coffee, I wondered if I should ask barista boy out? I took one glance at the coffee shop.

“If this doesn’t work out, it would be awkward to hang out here (the coffee shop) as much as I do,” said I. There I sat with a first world dilemma. “Do I choose between asking a boy out or possibly not hanging out in my favorite coffee shop, if it doesn’t work out?” asked I.

With one bite into my bagel, I made a bold decision. “Dudes come and go, but shit, I can’t give up my favorite coffee shop for a man, “ said I. After a charming late morning, I defrosted from the cold and reveled in my decisiveness.

“In the meantime, I’ll shall get a gym membership and wow the men with my biceps or lack there of,” said I. Instead, the universe gravitated me toward the Waverly Restaurant. “Geez, every time, I try to join a gym, I end up at the diner,” said I with a giggle (and no I really did not want to join). That afternoon, I ordered a patty melt. With one enormous bite, I celebrated fall, being single, and still slightly neurotic.

Crocodile on a Cardigan

The marching band paraded merrily down Central Park West. Each member was perfectly color coordinated in red and black cardigans. Gold confetti flew from the sky over the Upper West Side’s iconic apartment houses.

In the celebration of New York’s most beloved season, fall, the band played “danke shoen.” Revelers screamed with great joy. Unfortunately, the fall parade happed in my own imagination. What did Central Park West really look like on that first chilly day?

Beep, beep, beep, hello, gridlock. Traffic was halted, as I attempted to go crosstown in a cab. While I glanced at the meter, positive thinking kept me from going insane in the membrane (90s rap reference).

“Oh, I like my outfit today. The black cardigan goes well with my checkered shirt and grey tie,” said I, attempting to keep Zen like. Miraculously, I survived gridlock and flew through Central Park. Hello, Upper East Side, I am ready for friends and burgers,” said I.

At my friend’s BBQ, I was reunited with some of my favorite New Yorkers. We sang, gabbed and most importantly talked about our love lives. “I’ve been on tinder. If I had a dollar for every hipsters and post-collegiate banker I found on here (pause), I’d buy us all co-ops,” said I with a giggle.

With a smile, I pulled out at the app to show my gal pals. Suddenly, I received a message. “Wow, that never happens,” said I in amazement. Typically, I had to send the first message and typically didn’t a get a respond back.

The following song played in my head. “Finally, it has happened to me, right in front of my face and I just could not hide.” Sang I with a distinctive Broadway edge. This folks is another distraction brought to you by great dance songs of the 90’s. Thank you, Cece Peniston. Back to this romantic New York story.

After a few too many glasses of wine, I developed liquid courage and messaged him back. He was cute, nerdy and drank a bloody Mary like a champ. Also, we shared similar interests in books and museums. After that last glass of wine, I messaged him, “let’s hang.” He agreed.

The next day, I woke up and reviewed our conversation. “Shit, if I say anything I am blaming it on the pinot,” said I. “Okay, one cheeky question, but overall pretty tame,” said I. Afterwards, I messaged him my number. Immediately, we were to meet a wonderful wine bar in the East Village.

On that faithful day of the date, I prepped myself. “Hello, luxurious cardigan. You shall adorn me, since this guy may potentially be my future husband, but I won’t get emotionally attached. That’s right no emotional attachment,” said I. That night, a bit of humidity had returned to the city. I texted my date, “are we still meeting up tonight?”

While crossing Park Ave, I received a text. It read, “sorry for the short notice. I have to stay at work a bit later, need to postpone.” I shook my head with bewilderment. “Not to sounded jaded, but I think he’s lost interest, “ declared, I.

I texted him back, “ I am booked until Saturday (it was a Tuesday).” He never responded back. Disappointingly, I met with my single gal pals, Natalia and Aura. As our glasses of wine arrived, I proclaimed, “I don’t think this guy is interested.”

“What did you text him?” asked Natalia. I handed over my phone. “ Oh Anthony, you should never text a guy, are we still meeting up. It gives them a way out of the date,” said Aura. “Shit, I declared. Indeed, I never heard back from the charming tinder guy.

After wine, I walked toward the Upper West Side. While crossing fifty-seventh street, Midtown was quintessentially spectacular. The window displays were chic. Yellow cabs decorated the grey pavements, while perfectly manicured men dashed into the subway.

“Oh, New York, you’re dating scene sucks, but at least you’re entertaining,” said I. As I entered the subway, I cooled off with the Arctic chill of artificial air. “Yo, DJ pump this party,” sang a familiar voice from the 90s.

That’s right. “Even with being stood up, I could always have a party in my head with a marching band, disco balls and plenty of glitter, “ said I. Then I boogied down, mentally, of course.