"Update" NYC

That I Would Be Good

It is said in many spiritual teachings that WE are responsible for creating the soundtrack to our lives. That our life is one big movie and that we are responsible for making the music coordinate with what is going on in our lives. That certainly was the case on Sunday as I was left Mr. Architect’s apartment.

As I got on the A train to head back to my apartment, I left feeling conflicted. A feeling I really do not like having but then again…who does? I sat down, put on my ipod and was shuffling through the music until I found a song that fit my mood. Finally, a song came on that hit my mood right on the nose. It was a song by Alanis Morissette called, That I Would Be Good.I found it “Ironic”, (another Alanis song) but moving on, that this song was exactly what I was feeling. It is about being good and not being good in all that comes with life.

After we saw a movie last Monday, I knew that Mr. Architect and I would not be seeing each other until the weekend. Which was fine, but still, I always say that in the beginning; it is important to keep the momentum going in a relationship. We are actually pretty good at keeping each other up to date, we email and text to let each other know how the other’s day is going. I was looking forward to spending the weekend with him and his friend’s because after last weekend’s Fire Island drink fest, it would be nice to give the old liver a little relief.

On Friday, which turned out to be rather busy work day, I was ready to get the hell out of the office and to see him. This past Friday marked his friend’s birthday and how she wanted to celebrate was to go to Brooklyn to this bowling alley called, The Gutter. I had been there before but I am so bad with directions that I couldn’t remember exactly how to get my ass to the alley. Mr. Architect was already going to be there waiting for me. I was the last to arrive (shocking) and on top of it all. It was a very hot and steamy day in New York. I changed into shorts before leaving the office because I knew it was going to be an uncomfortable commute. Williamsburg. A part in Brooklyn known for its hipster’s and cools spots and as I got off the train, I was lost. I had been to the bowling alley at least twice before and I knew the area because I have friends that live there. But that evening, the direction gods were not on my side. I went into a bodega to ask where North 14th Street was. The clerk just pointed in a direction and said, “It’s down there somewhere.” I then asked a hipster whose v-neck shirt was so deep that it was practically down to his belly button where on earth this North 14th Street was. He had no idea as well, even though you knew he has lived in that area forever. I found it very funny how the hipster didn’t know where the street was but if I had asked him where I can get PBR he would be able to tell me in a nano second. Finally, I spotted an old man who I knew probably knew the area better than anybody where this street was. He gave me amazing directions and I was on my way. By the time I got to the bowling alley, I was rather heated (pun intended) and needed to unwind. Everyone at the party was well into their beers, a game was already in play and I simply craved a beer in the worse way. Mr. Architect, such the gentleman, quickly took my bag, gave me a hug and said how nice it was to see me. He could tell that I was still on edge from work and the commute so I got my beer, my stylish bowling shoes and began to introduce myself to the new friends that I haven’t had a chance to meet.

I was meeting married couples, gays and friends that were all over the map. All of them were so sweet and I proceeded to be my overly social self. I was having fun and it was nice for a Friday. I actually did a pretty kick ass job bowling and came in second place. After the bowling, we then all went to a beer garden and had a few more beers and some hot dog things. I could tell that this party wasn’t going to be the all nighter type and so we all said our goodbyes. I knew we had a schlep of a journey to get back to his apartment for the night, so by the time we got to Washington Heights, both of us were exhausted. We hit the pillow extremely hard that night.

I am not big on sleeping in and so I was quite surprised when I noticed that it was past 10am when I looked at the clock. The first thing I thought of was, “I want coffee.” So, we got up, splashed some water on our faces and walked to the corner deli where we got our coffees. I couldn’t tell from the guy behind the counter at the deli if he thought we were a couple or not but when he gave us back our change; he just smiled at the both of us. It was actually nice because in that part of the city, it really isn’t known for accepting the gays. Once we got back and had our breakfast, it was time for us to start getting ready. I took awhile to get ready and he was ready rather quickly. For some reason, we both thought we had more time than we thought and before you know it, the rain was coming down hard and we had to run to the subway station (which I lost my shoe and my foot actually hit a sidewalk. GROSS) in order to make a train to get to New Jersey.

By the time we got to Penn Station, we were running to make the train and of course, it was a packed train. I could tell that this isn’t how Mr. Architect operates. He is on time for everything, if not a tad early. I, on the other hand, am always cutting it close. I have missed more than my fair share of flights, trains and anything else that requires a time table. Once we sat down and relaxed I was able to find out more about his friends that we were meeting in a town called…Cranbury, NJ. I have heard of most towns in the state of New Jersey but this one in particular, I had never heard of. We would be visiting one of his oldest friends that is now married, has a five year old son and is pregnant with her second. I would also be meeting another friend of his that is a singer. On the train ride there, he said something to me along the lines of, “What have you done for me lately.” I found it funny and replied with, “Oh, I love that song. Do you know it?” He did not know it. He had never heard of the famous Janet Jackson song, “What Have You Done For Me Lately.” It was one of the big red flags that said, “You guys are soooo opposite.” Granted, as kids, while he probably had his nose deep in a book, I was trying to learn the Janet Jackson dance moves from the video. That is the difference between him and I. Also, on the trip, I learned that this was going to be a farm place we were going to. Where there would be things called tractors and back-hoes (a term I find derogatory but come to find out it is a machine that digs up soil).

Once we got to the train station, his friends were there to greet us. It wasn’t even five minutes into the ride back to their house that he asked his friends if they had actually heard of the Janet song. I am very pleased to say that everyone had heard of this song but Mr. Architect. On the drive there, I was given the tour of a famous lake (I forgot the name of it) and saw many fields that consisted of corn and soy. I was definitely out of my element but sometimes that can be a good thing. We arrived at our destination and now we can let the socializing begin.

I met one of the most adorable little boys. I am more comfortable with little girls, since I have two nieces but this boy was amazing. He was friendly, polite and just so excited to see Mr. Architect for they have this special bond. It was actually really amazing to see them interact with each other. As we sat in the sun room of the house that is where I decided to take control of the conversation and ask everyone where they are from, etc. We covered everything from family, college and how everyone knew each other. I was starting to feel relaxed when all of the sudden I felt myself becoming slightly short of breath. I looked out their backyard and saw a corn field, trees and the conversation was consisting of groundhogs and so, I excused myself to the bathroom. I didn’t really need to go to the bathroom but rather I needed to text my friends and tell them I am feeling some anxiety. It wasn’t anything that anyone out in the sun room was doing. It was me. I was creating this panic. I was panicking because I couldn’t relate. I couldn’t relate to having a house, a mortgage, fighting over who’s house you go to for the holiday’s, what school to send your child to and it became a bit much for me. My friends sent me a message back to just relax and stop over thinking. I splashed some cold water on my face and came back out. When I sat down, one of his friends thanked me for helping Mr. Architect come out of his shell more. They said ever since he met me, he has become more talkative and his social calendar has filled up. It was very nice of them all to say. It was there that I looked back out at the corn field and trees and just let it take over me…with ease.

We had a lovely dinner and then a severe rain storm hit the town of Cranbury, NJ. Lightning and thunder were so loud and vivid that I thought we were going to be washed away. As we were sitting on the couch, I asked about train schedules in order to get back to the city. Wouldn’t you know, as our luck would have it, we missed the train and the next one wasn’t going to be coming for another hour. However, one of the friends was going to a bar to sing at some competition and offered us a ride to the next train station. When we opened the door the rain was coming down so hard that almost the entire main road was flooding. Still, we all decided to get in the car and catch that train. On our way from the house to the car, the water was coming so fast and high that an actual wave was created. Again, I lost my shoe but this time it was really lost. Mr. Architect, told me to get in the car and he quickly put his hand deep in the nasty mucky water and found my shoe. As we were driving back, his friend told me how nice it was to meet me and that she really liked me. A text also came into his phone from his friend we just visited, saying how nice it was to see him and that I seemed like a nice guy.

The rain and plus the time we left the house wasn’t in our favor and so we missed the train that was leaving out of the different station as well. It is my personal belief that I am bad luck when it comes to travel. I also believe that Mr. Architect was starting to believe my theory as well, for the next thing I know; we are now on a bus heading back to the city. It was also on this bus ride that he told me, “We need to get better at getting to places on time.” Translation: You are bad luck. Your ass needs to be quicker and we are not arriving late to anymore events or trips! I decided that this is something that I need to get better at and agreed, smiled and put my head on his shoulder and tried to fall asleep. Once we got home, we washed our faces; I also washed my feet and passed out. Well, I should that he passed out and I was wide awake. I kept thinking, “Are we opposite for the better or for the worse?” And, “Are all my neurotic things going to drive him away?” The last time I looked at the clock as he held me was, 2:54 a.m. finally I was able to fall asleep.

When we woke up on Sunday morning I wasn’t sure how to feel. I began to think if I made a good enough impression on his friends. Even though I saw the text messages, etc.  I wasn’t sure. I felt uneasy being in his apartment and I did my best to hide that, for he didn’t need to see or feel what was going on inside my head. Instead, we got our coffee from the deli as usual, went back and relaxed for a bit till I had to leave back to my apartment. I took a quick (yes, quick) shower and packed my belongings. Again, the gentleman that he is, he walked me to the door of his building, gave me a kiss and told me to have a great day. I got home, unpacked and then did some laundry. I was to meet a friend to catch up but my friend had a rather long night and needed to cancel. It was fine by me. I was able to clean the apartment, do some writing and just relax. Right before I went to bed, I received an email from Mr. Architect telling me how great it was to see me this weekend and how nice it was to see me chatting with his oldest friends and how happy it made him. I thought about responding but I decided against it. It was the perfect way to end the weekend.

As a kid and even as an adult, I am still striving to be great. Great at being a writer, a friend, son, brother, nephew, coworker and even a partner to someone someday. Juggling all these roles can be exhausting for anybody which is why sometimes you will fail. And it is ok to fail. Failing just gives an opportunity to better yourself for the next time you are given the chance to do something great. So maybe we are not going to be great at everything we do in life but maybe being “good” is alright and just what Alanis was trying to tell us all along.

 

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