“Where are you going?” my roommate asked me at 9:40 on a Thursday night. More than occupied with my twice-daily struggle to get my bike out of my closet-sized room, it took me a moment to respond. When both wheels emerged out the door and I stood triumphant, Brooklyn I replied, Brian has a band thing. “Ah, that’s why you look so cute,” she said. Whenever I go to Brooklyn, I feel like I have to dress for Brooklyn. That’s partially the reason I am bringing my bike: it’s my hippest accessory. That and I’m running late! I said wheeling my bike out of the apartment in a single, swift movement, See you later!
Something about Manhattan has always felt like home to me. Something about Brooklyn never has. Whenever I step on the L Train (which connects Manhattan to Williamsburg, Brooklyn) I feel ever so slightly like an outsider. Maybe it’s that too many people own cars in Brooklyn or that the buildings don’t block out the sun. Maybe it’s because my bike isn’t a fixie. I don’t look out of place in Brooklyn, and really, my cliché as a struggling actress is lacking because I don’t live there. But it just doesn’t feel like home.
Maybe it’s because I don’t spend enough time there. Going to Brooklyn is a trip for a Manhattanite. Going to Manhattan for a Brooklynite is routine. Tonight I am making the trip to see my buddy’s band, Snake’s Say Hiss. This was something I’d been putting off for months. If it wasn’t one thing it was another: I was working, none of our mutual friends were going, “It’s such a late show and it’s in Brooklyn.” Like I recently posted, I’m tired of excuses. So I was going to this show, in spite of the fact none of our mutual friends were going, his band wasn’t going to be on until about 11pm, and it was in Brooklyn.
The venue was about a mile away from the subway stop (another reason I usually would have opted out of going) and that’s why I brought my bike. (Yes, I’m that girl who brings her bike on the subway. Don’t give me dirty looks, it’s perfectly legal and it takes up less space and makes way less noise than a stroller.) I’d never biked in Brooklyn before, except in Prospect Park, and riding on the streets gave me a new perspective. It’s a biker’s paradise, the majority of streets have bike lanes. Sailing along the deserted roads, the cool May air flapped through my jean jacket. “La lune!” I over heard a group of obviously french people, which prompted me to take my eyes off the road. A cresent moon was rising above the Manhattan skyline. Glorious. Maybe Brooklyn deserved a second chance.
I arrived at the venue and pulled out my wallet to pay the entrance fee when my buddy came bounding up,”You’re on the list!” My teenage-self would have been so jealous. Even more so of the drink I promptly ordered at the bar. A 16 oz. can of Rolling Rock for $4? Brooklyn definitely deserved a second chance.
I wasn’t at this show alone. You could argue I was far from that status- I was a friend of the band! But my buddy had other friends to attend to, band mates, and a looming set. I was a Single Entity and I didn’t want to be the kind who needs babysitting.
Every time I host an event, I always invite a couple “Single Entities”- people I am friends with, but we have no mutual friends. Or “Single Entity by Circumstance”- we have mutual friends, but none of them show up. The Single Entity Situation can go one of two ways: they mingle beautifully, you don’t even realize they came alone, and you can’t wait to invite them to your next party OR they don’t talk to anyone, force you to keep checking in so they aren’t awkwardly alone in a corner (I call this “babysitting”), and get written of your party guest list forever. Tonight I was a Single Entity by Circumstance and I vowed, with my whole being, to avoid a need for babysitting.
Besides, I owed it to my teenaged-self not to be a wallflower. Show such as this have a male to female ratio that is rare in my life , 60:40 to my advantage. Yet, it was just like high school, none of them approached me. I knew my proximety to my band buddy wasn’t helping. He’s a tall, good-looking guy (I can now say that because he finally shaved his gross, full-on mountain man beard to reveal a handsome face) who I’ve never so much as kissed. I distanced myself from him during the opening band’s set. Also during the openers set, the awkward head bobbing of the eligible bachlers gave me further insight into why they weren’t approaching me. I sighed.
Along with the head bobbing, something else had caught my eye during the opening song. The lead singer/guitarist on stage was wearing a San Francisco Giants shirt. He was also cute, an attribute which a guitar in hand usually enhances. Not to mention the obvious passion for music. I wondered if he was from San Francisco. I wondered if I could strike up a conversation with a lead singer from a band. This would have seemed entirely unthinkable in high school- no way. But now? Let’s see…
I got my opportunity as the second band of the night finished their set and Snakes Say Hiss was setting up. I touched his shoulder, I liked your set, I said. Easiest pick-up line ever. He turned around, looked as me, and a smile lit up his face. I’m always a sucker for smiles. “What did you say?” he replied, loudly. Even between band sets, the DJ kept the space full of loud music. I said I liked your set! I yelled. “Thanks!” he grinned. My first impression was he was genuine, completely free of cockiness. Are you a Giants fan? I questioned. “What? No. Why?” He answered, bemused. Your shirt. I gestured, Guess you’re not from San Francisco then. “Oh,” he said, still smiling, “Nope, I’m from Florida. I got this shirt cause the guy has the same name as me.” Acceptable answer. We yelled at each other some more until the headlining band started to play.
Well I did it, I thought to myself, I approach a guy, made his entire face light up with a smile, and carried on a mildly flirtatious conversation. My teenage-self would be so proud, and likely agog. During the set he yelled several things in my ear. I don’t remember what he said, but I do remember how his shoulder-length hair (which was clean and suited to him) smelled, how close his mouth was to my ear, and at one point he put his hand on the small of my back. The set ended and he bolted, “I’m up next to DJ!” he said, and disappeared behind the set-up in the corner.
And I was left on the floor all alone. My buddy was packing up his equipment, my prospect plugging in his laptop, plus I was sobering up. I stood vaguely missing my girlfriends. And then just decided to dance. So what I’m alone. I am a Single Entity and I rock it. My prospect was playing great music, the kind my friends would have on a playlist: Michael Jackson, Journey, Mariah, Beyonce. Classics along with recent hits. Nothing you would steriotypically expect out of a Brooklyn band guy. So I danced and people danced with me. Brooklyn Band Guy emerged on the dance floor told me, “This song’s long enough for me to dance to for a minute!” and showed me his dance moves. Which were adorable and so not-trying-to-be-cool that they were cool. He made me smile and loose track of time.
I couldn’t find my buddy anywhere. He had said he was packing up equipment ages ago. Finally I called him on my dying cell phone. He picked up, Where are you? I demanded. “What? I’m home!” he replied. WHAT? I exploded, You’re home? You left with out telling me!? ”I thought you had left!” I would NEVER leave without saying goodbye! “Sorry!” He apologized, profusely, and I proceeded to yell at him for five more minutes. This is the difference between men and women, right here. A girl friend would never EVER in a MILLION years leave a place you had been together without telling you. NEVER. It goes against any Girl Code ever written. But a guy? Yes, I guess he would. I was livid. I am independent, I knew I’d be fine on my own, but it was the principle of the thing. Needless to say, my buddy will never do anything like that again.
I went back inside to have a drink of water. And figure out how to leave. I liked the though of seeing this Brooklyn Band Guy again. As I approached I saw him talking to another girl and my heart sank. Looks like he’s just polite to every one. It’s not like he’s been coming on to me strong, maybe he’s just friendly. I almost left then and there. That’s what I would have done 5 years ago. But then I though Hell, why not say good-bye. It’s polite. So I said good-bye and he looked sad to see me go. Then he said “We should hang out sometime” and we exchanged numbers. There was a moment where we almost kissed but didn’t.
I left Brooklyn at a very late hour that night with butterflies in my stomach.