"Update" NYC

Happy Meal

I remember as a kid growing up the excitement of when my mom would tell me that we were going to McDonald’s. Of course, the first question out my mouth was always, “Can I get a Happy Meal?” As a child you don’t realize that when you ordered the Happy Meal, it was far more expensive than just getting a plain hamburger (no pickles) and a small fry. Every kid wanted the toy that came with the meal. The anticipation that came the moment my mom would be pulling up to the drive-through and after we drove away from McDonald’s she would hand me box that had the golden arches for handles and I tore into that bad boy as if it was my last meal on earth. Of course, you go for the toy first and eventually eat but the pure joy that came with that little meal was something I will never forget. Even now seeing it in my niece’s eyes as they rip apart into that famous Happy Meal, it is a feeling that sends you right back to your own childhood.

Now as adults I couldn’t help but wonder if we will ever get that excited again about anything as we did as kids when our parents bought us a Happy Meal.

Last week was another one of those work weeks where nothing was going right and all I wanted to do was pray for the weekend to arrive. There must have been something in the air last week for I wasn’t the only one having a shitty work week, it seemed like everyone was just not in sync with their jobs. But as the week progressed to Friday, I just found all my plans for the week being canceled and maybe that was a good thing for I wasn’t exactly in the social mood. By the time Thursday rolled around I was not only craving to be social but I was also craving something to take the edge off. Luckily for me, that even though my original plans had been canceled another friend of mine sent me a text message toward the end of the day inviting me to happy hour. Yes. Someone in the universe was listening to my plea.

As I was walking toward the bar, Boxers, I sent a friendly text message to Mr. B. confirming plans for Friday night. He was having a gathering of coworkers and some neighborhood friends. Once that was settled, I put the phone away and entered the bar. As I walked into the bar, it dawned on me that the last time I was there was actually with Mr. B. for I was meeting him and some of his coworkers. Finally, I spotted my friends in the back corner playing pool. It was two of my friends and a friend of mines current beau. This beau was visiting from Chicago for the long weekend and I was looking forward to getting to know him a bit better. Beers were ordered, the quarters were put into the pool table and the teams were settled. It wasn’t long before shots were ordered and we all were having a good time. Half way through our game of pool I noticed something I hadn’t really seen before and that was this smile on my friends face as he looked at his beau. It was as if he just received a Happy Meal. I have known my friend for years now and never once seen him smile at someone or something like that. It made me feel so excited for him and at the same time made me think if I was ever going to smile that way at someone again. I have been lucky enough in life to have done it before but it has been an awfully long time since I have been able to smile like that at another person.

By the time two rounds of pool were played and two more beers had been consumed, it was time for us all to grab something to eat. I was fully planning on taking my buzz home and grabbing something along the way but my friend insisted that we all go to his favorite restaurant, Mole. No surprise there considering my friend could live at Mole if given the opportunity but I thought that he would want more one on one time with his special visitor. Once my friend squeezed my arm tightly for us to join, I looked at my other friend, we both shrugged our shoulders and all four of us jumped in a cab and headed over toward Jane Street. After we were all seated and my favorite margarita, Sex in a Mexican Prison, was on the table it was onto conversation. I was taken aback that my friend’s visitor had been reading up on this blog and had a million questions and opinions (he was not a fan of Mr. Architect) so we talked about my love life for a bit and several other topics before the food came. Once the food arrived, we all sort of got quiet and devoured our tasty meals. We all decided that just one drink was enough for us, it was a school night after all and so the happy couple went there way and I walked my friend to his block. On the walk, we of course talked about what we do best and that was our relationships or lack thereof. We did mention the look on our friends face that night and how happy it made us. Not too shabby for a Thursday evening.

Friday. How I longed for that day to arrive. Not even because I would be seeing Mr. B. that evening but because the work week would be over with. I was beyond over it and was very happy to wake up that morning. Work that day was a breeze and I even managed to leave about a half hour earlier than I normally do. I picked up a bottle of wine for the party, squeezed in a quick run and got ready to head over to the party. I wasn’t sure what to expect and all I knew was that theme of the party was “Relaxing.” That was fine by me.

I arrived a half hour late to the party but seeing that it was a casual thing I didn’t think anyone would notice. The guests consisted of Mr. B.’s coworkers and some of the local neighborhood mom’s. It definitely was a mixed bag of people and seeing that I don’t know much about architecture and am not a parent I was sticking out at the party. However, I did what I do best, I took a deep breath and since no one was introducing themselves to me; I decided to introduce myself to them. Along the way I met a gay couple who have been together for several years, a lot of married couples who were dressed up like they were going to a club. Apparently this Friday night for them was the equivalent of going to a hot new club for an all night dance fest. I listened and nodded as I heard about mortgages, the best schools in the neighborhood and how husbands actually really do hate shopping with their wives. Even the gay couple was bitching when the other one wasn’t listening. I was giving out free dating advice left and right.

Mr. B. was on full hosting duties in the beginning of the party, so every now and again I would get a warm smile and a hand on my back to indicate the fact that I was there and he was glad that I made it out. The party was in full swing by 11 and I found myself sitting on a couch having a conversation with one half of the gay couple. He asked several questions on what I thought about dating, love etc. and afterwards he said something that I normally don’t ever hear and he said, “You are very intelligent, funny and attractive.” And here comes the saying that I loathe at every party and that is the famous question of, “Why are you single?” It is a question I should be used to answering by now but every time it comes up, I freeze and don’t really know how to answer. I quickly thanked him for his compliment and pulled the response of, “Dating is hard.” Thankfully, by the time that answer to his question had been delivered, Mr. B. had finally decided he could take a seat and relax with the rest of his guests.

It is now past 1 a.m. all the mom’s had gone home to tuck in their little ones and what were left were the gays. We all sat around and had a few more drinks and in the back of my head all I could think of was, “Am I going to stay the night?” I didn’t plan on it actually considering that Mr. B. had to get up early the next morning to drive to West Virginia. I did not want to wake up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning to do the walk of shame home on the subway. Finally, it was time to make a move; either go home and make everyone else leave. As soon as that idea came into my head, one of the gays said that I should go home with him since we both need to take the E train. Damn it! I was blocked, there was nothing I could say or think of at the time that would get me out of taking the train with this dude. So, I begin to grab my coat and as guy that blocked me goes to the bathroom one more time before we leave, Mr. B. tells me he is glad that I made it to the party and if I wanted to travel down with him to West Virginia. Hell no. Just didn’t feel right. We kissed and hugged goodbye and back to the city I went. I left the party feeling ok about it all. Did I want to stay the night? Part of me did want to but another part of me was alright with not pushing things.

When I woke up on Saturday I wanted to sleep in so badly but my body was not having any of it. So, I decided that since I was up to just get the laundry out of the way and grab a much needed coffee from my local deli. I did receive a few text messages from Mr. B. saying his head hurt from all the drinking and how the apartment was a mess. After I told him to drive safely that was it for the rest of the weekend as far as communication goes with Mr. B.

After doing some writing and showering I simply didn’t want to be inside the apartment anymore. So I got dressed and started walking. I ended up in Chelsea and met up with some friends for some window shopping. We hit all the heavy hitters, Scoop, Jeffery’s and then onto Bleecker Street for Marc Jacobs and ending with a cocktail and the bar, Stonewall. I have not been inside that bar in years, so it was certainly mixing things up. We only had one drink for we all would be hanging out in a few hours and the temperature in the city was dropping so we all had to go back and change. Once I got home, I felt exhausted but knew that if I even tried to rest that my ass would not be making it back out. So I took another shower to wake me up and put on a new outfit and out the door to pick up another friend of mine at his apartment. At my friend’s apartment we had some pre-game cocktails and catching up. The plan was brought up by my friend whose apartment I was at that we would be mixing things up on Saturday night. We would not be going out in the city but rather going to Brooklyn and shaking things up.

As we hailed a cab and popped open a couple of beers that the driver had no idea we were drinking, I found myself excited about changing up the old routine. First stop was the Wythe Hotel, the latest in Williamsburg Brooklyn that has a gorgeous bar and view of the city. The line was wrapped around the block to get in but my friend who is a master at this, cut the line and we snuck in a back elevator and next thing you know we are having cocktails with a gorgeous view of the city. The real perk was the fact that the drinks that normally cost $20 each were free because my friend knew the bartender. I left an excellent tip and by this point of the evening, I knew it was going to be a good night had by all. Some other friends didn’t get into the hotel, so we told them to meet us at the next stop in our Brooklyn adventure.

We went to the newest gay bar in Williamsburg called, TNT, which stands for “This N That.” Our friends were already there and shaking their asses. Another round of drinks, an entertaining drag queen performance and we all were dancing the night away. I managed to stay in the state of being tipsy rather than a drunken mess. By the time 2:30 a.m. rolled around, I decided that maybe I should not push myself to get drunk but rather just enjoy the fact that maybe I don’t need to regret any choices I make on Sunday from the night before. So, my friends that live in the same area that I do grabbed a cab and headed home. As the city got bigger as we crossed the Williamsburg Bridge I thought how amazing it is to not only have these people in my life but that I get to live in this damn city. We all hugged goodbye and I walked only a few blocks to my apartment. The crisp air in the city that night indicated that fall is here. The air sobered me up and when I went to bed that night, I knew I wasn’t going to wake up the next day with a splitting headache.

Yesterday I woke up to my prediction from the night before. I wasn’t hung-over. I wasn’t tired. I was actually rested. However, Mother Nature was not feeling it and presented the city with a gloomy, chilling and rainy day. It was perfect for a lazy Sunday though and I took full advantage of it. I wrote, I cleared out the DVR and cleaned the apartment from top to bottom. It was one of those days where I continued to look at the clock and was shocked that I still had so much time to utilize. I did manage to leave the apartment but only to grab something for dinner. However, before I headed home I decided to take a peek inside my local McDonald’s. Sure enough, there were kids in line yanking on their parent’s shirts asking, begging and pleading for a Happy Meal. If for nothing else, that damn Happy Meal is consistent.

By the time I went to bed last night I felt great about the weekend and the week ahead. However, I thought about how far we have come. As adults it is only natural for us to grow-up, become jaded a little by life. Passing on the innocence and being bright-eyed to the next generation but as adults we still do our best to grab onto those moments that jot us right back to our childhoods. We still go on the rides at amusement parks, dress up for Halloween and go to cartoon movies. In life we may have graduated from the Happy Meal to the Big Mac but that doesn’t mean we still can’t put some effort into finding that excitement that we once had in our childhood and finding ourselves singing the McDonald’s jingle, “I’m Lovin’ It.”

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