"Update" NYC

Houdini

Have you ever had one of those amazing Sunday’s in New York City where you never wanted it to end? That day where you actually wake up at a descent hour, you are not hung over and trying to remember the previous nights events and you actually get things accomplished?

I had the luxury of experiencing such a Sunday yesterday. As my body began to wake up, I looked over at the clock and noticed it was 8am. It is a rarity for me that I wake up on a Sunday morning with such excitement. I immediately splashed the cold water on my face, brushed my teeth and ran to the corner deli for my cup of coffee and the paper. I was extremely giddy to be able to sit down and read the paper and enjoy that cup of java.

Part of the reason I was also excited for the day to begin was that I was going to be meeting a girlfriend of mine for a five course afternoon tea at, Lady Mendl’s. I had never even heard of this place before and a few weeks ago we actually had tea at the Lyon, in the village. As we were enjoying our tea at the Lyon, we decided that once a month we would meet for tea rather than that boozy brunch where you are back home passed out by 5pm and you are starting your workweek off reaching for the Advil.

We arrived yesterday at Lady Mendl’s, which is on Irving Place and is literally held in an old townhouse. I didn’t know what to expect at all but once inside there were ladies all dolled up.  I am talking about hats with feathers, hair that was perfectly coiffed and elbow length gloves; the smell of rose perfume was flowing in the air. It was quite the show and we were there to take it all in before being escorted to our seats in the back.

As we turned the corner, there it was, a room straight out of the Victorian era. The walls were painted a dusted rose color, floral arrangements on each table and everyone that was already seated was talking with soft tones and immediately my girlfriend and I looked at each other knowing we would quickly become the two people that are the loudest at Lady Mendl’s.

We were seated and before I even took a sip of water; the waiter had placed the napkin in our laps and we were being served our first of five courses. After realizing we were somewhat out of our element, we decided to keep the topics of sex and drunken mistakes for after we left the very proper, Lady Mendl’s. The tea was amazing, the service was excellent and the food was just as equally wonderful.

Catching up with a friend that you don’t get to see as often as you want due to workload and scheduling is always a big highlight for me. So we began to talk about jobs, apartments, and future vacation trips that than led to the topic of relationships and that is where we found ourselves asking our waiter for another pot of tea.

She asked me what the latest situation with Ethan was. I told her that he pulled the “Houdini”. The “Houdini” is a move that I have, and I am sure many out there, experienced from someone they dated. You meet someone, go on a few dates, you are excited to see if this is actually going to take off only to be surprised by the fact that they all of the sudden, without any warning…disappear. I am talking about not responding to text, email or even dare I say it…a phone call. Gone. Poof. Vanished. Just like original Houdini himself.

The last time Ethan and I had any kind of communication was last Sunday when I was actually too hungover to even leave my apartment. He said that he would be contacting me on Monday by late that morning for he would know if he was able to snag me a ticket to a movie premiere. Monday came, the morning passed, the afternoon passed, the evening had started and so I sent a text asking if he was ok. No response.

There is something to be said nowadays, with all this modern technology, that you can no longer say to another person, “Sorry. I did not get your message.” And thanks to all these amazing gadgets and faster services, everyone can get a message at anytime of the day. And while people live rather busy lives with work, family and their friends. There simply is no excuse anymore to take a few minutes out of your busy day to say to someone that you are “not that interested”, “thanks but not thanks” or “it’s not you…it’s me.” Anytime I find myself in this situation or my friends are in this situation, I just think, a person that can’t even have the human decency to send a message, in whichever form they want, that they are not interested in you, than is this a person that you really want in your life to begin with? The answer is a very simple and plain…No.

As this happened to me, yet again, it reminded me of the time where I actually patented the move, “Houdini.” It was a few years ago, I was living in the Lower East Side and I met this guy at the bar, Welcome to the Johnson’s, and I thought he was really goofy, which I found utterly charming. He told me he was a baker for an upscale bakery in upstate New York. Never one turn away a dessert, I was already picturing how nice life would be if we ended up dating and every Sunday would be spent trying out new recipes for cookies and pastries we would discover together. The Baker asked me out the following week, and at this time, Blue Smoke was the hottest barbeque place in the city. I was looking forward to this date for he kept up with the communication right up to the actual time of us meeting. The pace of the communication was just the right amount too. Not everyday or every hour but just the right amount where you knew he was interested in you but not in the stalker way.

Finally, it was date night. He called to say he would be getting into the city by mid-afternoon and that reservations were at 8pm. He told me over the phone that he had a surprise for me when he saw me. In my head, I thought, maybe he got me flowers or we were going to see a jazz band downtown afterwards and he already took the liberty of getting us tickets. So as I arrived to the restaurant, there he was, looking slightly nervous which only made me more excited to see him. He was holding a box and as we hugged, I asked what was in his hands. He told me that it was my surprise but I would need to wait to see what it was until we were able to sit down.

We sat down, ordered our drinks and I couldn’t wait a minute more, I wanted to know what was in the box. I asked if I could open the box, he giggled and said, “of course, this is for you.” As I pulled the string off the box and opened it, there inside was a homemade blueberry pie. While I am not a fan of blueberries, I managed to smile and be very grateful that he traveled from upstate to bring me a pie that he had made.  I put the pie next to me and decided to get to know this Baker.

The waiter came by with our drinks and asked if we were ready to order. We hadn’t even looked at the menus yet for we were so engrossed in the wonderful conversation that we were having. It didn’t dawn on me that the waiter would have far more important things to say than I did.  As the waiter began to tell us the many different style of ribs they had, my date immediately became transfixed on every single word the waiter was saying. The Baker and The Waiter began their witty exchange and there I was with my blueberry pie completely invisible.

Once the Waiter left, I tried to get the Baker to focus his attention back on the reason he came into the city in the first place…ME. Tried as I may, it was not working. The Waiter was so attentive to our table, especially for a barbeque joint where all you really need to do is keep the drinks coming and the napkins stocked for the messy ribs. Finally after becoming annoyed by their lack of respect for me, I told my date that he was behaving rather rude. He apologized profusely and I could tell he was slightly embarrassed by his actions. I decided that after this little chat; now would be a good time to go the bathroom and so I excused myself.

By the time I came back we had another round of drinks on the table, which we did not order, but the Waiter, didn’t want us to leave just yet so the drinks were complimentary. I asked my date why the drinks were free and he said, the words that after all these years; have never left my brain and those words were…”Alex, you are really a great guy, but I feel like I have a real connection with the waiter. Would you mind if I gave him my number and hung out with him tonight?” I was in awe. However, I was rather impressed with the Baker’s balls for saying it to my face but could not believe my luck that I was being dumped while technically still on the date. And I responded with these words… “It is fine that you want to get to know the Waiter. However, you will be paying for my meal, my drinks and never contact me again.” What really put the nail in the coffin was no sooner that the words had left my mouth, he was paying for the meal, got up, said goodbye to me and like “Houdini” he was gone. I finished my drink, grabbed my blueberry pie and as I walked out of the restaurant, there they were, the Baker and the Waiter sitting at the bar laughing and having a great time.

Which leads me to present day. Ethan is done. The “Houdini” legend still lives on. I was recently given a book over the holiday that’s entitled, “The World According to Mister Rogers.” It is a book based on the best of VALUES. Values that can be applied to how you treat your fellow man and how you treat yourself.  And as we continue to dig away at our own self-discoveries, I came across a simple quote by the legendary Mister Rogers and that is, “The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.”

Who knew that a man that had a fetish for cardigans and talked to a puppet cat, that used to scare the shit out of me as a kid, would be so profound?  And with the week ahead, I will tell myself to be honest, to be brave and to never give up.

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1 Comment

  1. OMG – that’s hilarious. Well, it must have been terrible at the time, but NOW in the fullness of time I think it’s totally hilarious – would you mind if I hang out with THE WAITER?!?! I’m glad you got some pie out of it, and the baker was lucky that you didn’t throw it in his face. Blueberries do stain terribly….

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