New York: the city that never sleeps.
At any given moment during the day or night there are thousands of events and things to do. This means at any moment as a resident on New York, you are constantly missing out on thousands of opportunities. It’s a common conundrum: lounging on the futon with your favorite roommates, half a bottle of wine a piece, and half a season of Sex and the City may sound like the perfect evening after a long week. Until you make the mistake of thinking about all the things you could be doing and why live in NYC anyway if you’re just going to do something you could do anywhere else in the world and what if I’m I wasting my youth?! Then I try to focus on the fact I pay about $25 a day for space to keep said futon and wine and DVDs (and sleep) and it makes me feel better about wasting my life staying in.
When I was working my desk job I took my 8:30 am start time pretty seriously. No guys, sorry, I can’t go out to the bar now. No, I have work tomorrow. No, not even for one drink. I can’t! Stop harassing me! My Debby-Downer-ness pains me more than it pains you! were phrases far too common in my everyday speech. In my month of vacation unemployment I have reclaimed the night. With an enthusiasm I never had previously. (Consequently I now understand the pangs of a serious hangover- an affliction I never faced in college- go figure.)
So instead of calling it a night at 11:30 pm, after multiple hours of running around in silly white pants and busing cocktail glasses, I decide the night has just begun. This needs to be the low point, all up hill henceforth. I’m surrounded by people who are on the inside of New York’s liquor industry. If there was ever a night to go out, it’s tonight. Unfortunately, this realization did not cross my mind earlier. When deciding on an outfit today, my thoughts were: I’m wearing a provided “cocktail dress” at the party and What is easy to take off in a room full of other people? Thus the previously mentioned beat up Vans and checkered button-up. Fortunately after a 3 hours in a white belly-baring “Thai” cocktail “dress” I have mastered the “Fuck it, I don’t care” attitude. I’ll rock my 90’s grunge outfit where ever the night may take me.
My roommate is appropriately dressed having not been home since the work day at her fashionable-business-casual-advertising-agency job. But because she hasn’t been home in over 17 hours, in which time she worked two jobs, she is laden with stuff. Three bags full of it. “I’m only coming out if you carry one of these for me.” She doesn’t need to ask me twice.
Next thing I know I’m in the back of a SUV surrounded by Scottish people. My boss, who is awesome and the most awesomely chill boss, is at the wheel (it’s his car). The Scottish people are talking, which delights me to an embarrassing extent (me=sucker for accents- this fact may come up again). Bridget and Thomas they are, and Thomas works/worked (this was unclear) at a bar on the LES (Lower East Side) which is our destination.
This LES bar is packed with people this Thursday late night. A constant “Excuse me, I need to get through.” The ambiance is exceptional, the theme of the bar is something of a chemists lab paired with the romance of an old apothecary shop. Large test tubes and vials decorate the bar and all bar tenders are wearing white lab coats. This is clearly a place that prides itself on its signature cocktail concoctions. Part of me feels stupid ordering a beer, the other part is terrified as to the cost of anything.
It’s a fight to get to the bar as it’s so crowded, a fight I’m loosing. Quite lucky because it turns out Thomas has procured drinks for everyone. It’s quite a collection: orange blueberry, lemon and other flavors I can’t figure out, one that tastes like Orangina, then there’s one garnished with cilantro and the drink itself tastes exactly like cilantro. I stare tentatively at the one in my hand, it is green in color and garnished with a green bell pepper. A sip confirms the theory- the drink tastes exactly like bell pepper. They’re all remarkable in their flavor, but I’m not enjoying the taste as much as I think I should if it’s a damn expensive specialty cocktail. But each masks its alcohol content spectacularly (dangerous) and everything tastes better when it’s free so it’s not as if I’m not going to drink them.
There’s really only so much standing, being shoved, and shouting at people (the only way to be heard) that I can take, and this packed bar is nearing my quota. Eric, my boss’s old college roommate (equals stamp of approval from my boss), suggests we transfer to a club in the Meatpacking District where he knows the owner. With cilantro and bell pepper clouding our wits, the roommate and I say sure why not!
Which brings us to the cab ride of the previous entry. Where Eric realizes I may not get in to his buddy’s exclusive club. Great Eric. Couldn’t we have thought this through pre-cab ride? Are you trying to ditch me so you can get with my roommate? Cause that is not going to work (due to her love for me more…and her boyfriend).
Everyone promises not to go if I can’t get in. Thanks guys. This would be a sorry result- not the kind of night ender I’m looking for, so I do myself to make myself velvet rope worthy. I trade my button up for my roommate’s blazer with only my bra underneath. Vans replaced by the gold high heels I (conveniently) needed for the party I worked. My skirt is rather short and I have rather awesome legs (if I do say so myself) so I think I just may slide through. And I do. There’s no confrontation at the door, not even a snotty remark, Eric’s connection lets us cut the line and get in past the bouncer.
It’s 2:30 am, I usually leave clubs at this time. At the latest. Because things get crazy at this time. And in Kiss and Fly they are just that: crazy. Armando, our connection, immediately hands us all drinks. This is turning into a trend. Before we can even finish them, he hands out a champagne toast. Oh My God I Can NOT refuse free drinks!! There is house music blasting, strobe lights flashing, hundreds of people dancing. Periodically dry ice is blasted in a cloud of cold smoke from vents in the ceiling.
Eric had said he would never come to this place with out girls, and now a see why. We are bombarded with drinks from Armando, taken into the dj booth, introduced to the djs, generally shown off. This is not either of our scenes and neither of us is particularly impressed. We’re both just amused. Really? This is what we’re doing at 3am Friday morning? This is what 3am on Friday morning even looks like? I keep giggling because of the ridiculous of the situation (and the over flow of free drinks.)
The novelty soon where’s off. “I’m ready to go when you are.” We tell Eric we’re leaving. He does not take it well- he sulks. Armando thrust drinks in our hands before we can form the word “Bye” and we’re “stuck” staying for another drink. Second try we’re really leaving- neither of us is really having fun any more, feeling slightly guilty we’re ditching Eric-who has been extremely nice and generous and (I find this rather odd) has not put any kind of move on either of us- isn’t reason enough to stay. It’s 3:20, we could stay til 4 when the place closes and hitch a cab ride back but fuck that, we want to leave now.
So we leave, head to the subway, drunk but not messy, tired. I declare I can’t walk to the subway in my “stupid heels” so I sit down on a bench and switch heels for my slip-on Vans. While sitting, an attractive man approaches. “You’re gorgeous, darling. Isn’t she gorgeous?” He slurs at me in an Australian accent. “Are you from England?” I ask, mistaking the accent. “No. Australia. You’re gorgeous. I just want to kiss you.” Ha Ha I laugh at the ridiculousness. But no, this guy is serious. In fact he is assaulting my face with his mouth. Uh no! That’s ok! I pry him off me. Were I of sound mind I would probably be pissed and yelled a “You can’t treat women that way!” tirade. But I’m sloshed and find the whole encounter utterly amusing and easy to walk away from. Australian Face-Assaulter is unfortunately tanked but harmless.
On the subway ride home I banter with Rupert, and actual English bloke who’s trying to get to Times Square. What a night of accents. Scottish, Australian, English. He doesn’t assault my face. Which is probably why I decide I like him. He gets of at Times Square and we wave to each other as the subway pulls away from the station. I’ll never see his again.
New York gives me the feeling that anything can happen at anytime. Large or small, wonderful or awful. There is no ordinary, so things out of the ordinary are what is happening all the time. I love New York. It’s been two great years that I wouldn’t change for anything. Here’s to many more.