"Update" NYC

Are We There Yet?

When we were kids and on a road trip, not even five minutes into the trip and the question that left our lips was, “Are we there yet?” A little question that would drive our parents crazy until we either fell asleep or arrived at our destination. Little did we know that as adults, this little question will continue to be something that we ask of ourselves constantly. However, instead of it relating it to a destination, it is now related to things like careers, finding a home or finding that elusive soul mate. With this pesky question that continues to go unanswered; I couldn’t help but wonder if, “Are we there yet?” ever actually gets it’s answer.

Last Thursday, I found myself in a rather strange position. I was actually going on a third date. I was not only looking forward to it but had that feeling of hope again. Hope that this date could turn into a fourth and so on and so forth. We agreed to meet at Ariba Ariba for we both were craving margaritas. He was already waiting for me when I arrived and we immediately got a table. It was my first time seeing him since I got back from Greece and of course; I had a million stories to share with him. He listened, asked questions and was extremely attentive. I suddenly found myself having a great time and even enjoyed hearing about all that he did while I was away.

Toward the end of the date as our margaritas were definitely taking effect on us both; I asked him what his weekend plans were. He said that he didn’t have much going on and so I decided to take a risk and ask him to join me the next day; for I was meeting some friends of mine on the Lower East Side. I told him that it would be extremely low key and there would be no pressure whatsoever. As soon as I asked him to join me, I thought to myself, “Wait. We haven’t even kissed yet. Nor has he even tried to kiss me.” It was too late. The invitation had already left my mouth and he graciously accepted. As we were paying the bill, he said, “Wait. I have something for you.” A gift? From a guy? On the third date? This was certainly foreign to me. He presented me with a white gift bag and inside was cookies from one of my favorite bakeries, Milk & Cookies. He had remembered my weakness for chocolate chip cookies and I was extremely touched by his generosity. As we left, he said he was going to take a cab home and so we hugged goodbye and I told him I would send him the details later on about where to meet me. That night he sent a text message saying he had a good time and for me to get a good night’s rest.

I wasn’t at all prepared to have such a severe case of the vacation blues. I was expecting to just reflect on the amazing experience I had in Greece and get right back to the daily Manhattan grind but instead I found myself having a hard time shaking off the jet lag and adjusting back to reality. It wasn’t until Friday that I felt like myself again. So, after the gym and a shower, I made my way down to the Lower East Side to meet my friends at Donnybrook. I was the first to arrive and so I decided to do a shot of tequila and beer to chase it down. It would be the first of a few tequila shots that night and my friends started to trickle in one by one. It was so nice to see everyone and despite the fact that it was raining that night, everyone was in excellent spirits. Finally, my third date shows up and he immediately jumped right in and began talking with a friend of mine whom they both worked at the same advertising agency together and instantly hit it off. Unfortunately, something happened where I wasn’t interested in him romantically. I suddenly saw him as a friend and it was disappointing but you have to listen to what your gut instincts are telling you.

The drinks continued, more friends joined the party and now I was tipsy. At one point during the evening, my third date told me that he has VIP tickets to the Mariah Carey concert in Central Park the next evening. I had an engagement party the next day but it was starting in the afternoon so I wasn’t sure what to do. I told him I would think about it. Well, another round of tequila shots and I found myself with one of my best friends and my third date on the corner of Houston and Norfolk while he was hailing a cab and suddenly I blurted out, “Ok. I will go with you to Mariah!” He was excited and he left. As soon as he left, my friend looked at me and said, “Are you sure you wanna do this?” Damn it. My friend knows me too well and the truth was; I already knew I saw him more as a friend and I was just accepting the invitation to the concert to be nice. We said goodbye and I grabbed a cab home. On the way home, the rain had stopped and I was left feeling a heavy pain of guilt.

When I woke up on Saturday, I grabbed my coconut water and forced myself to attend an intense yoga class. Afterwards, I ran some errands before needing to get ready for the engagement party. While running errands, I knew what I needed to do and that was to send a message to my third date to tell him that I shouldn’t have ever accepted his invitation for the concert and apologize. He responded back immediately saying he understood and that he knew I had my friend’s engagement party and he should have never put me in that position in the first place. Argh. Why was this guy saying all the right things? Now my guilt was becoming heavier. I told him to have a great rest of the weekend and he wished me the same.

It was an extremely hot and sticky day in New York and that didn’t help for picking an outfit out for the engagement party. I opted for a tucked in white button down and a really nice pair of shorts. I was still thinking I was in Greece and holding onto that belief. When I arrived at, Los Feliz, I arrived only a half hour late and I am so glad that I wasn’t a minute later for things took a wonderful turn. I greeted the future bride and groom and quickly hit the bar for a cocktail. After making the rounds in the room and saying hi to everyone, suddenly the music stopped and there was announcement that was being made. As we all listened with anticipation it turns out the sneaky couple ended up getting married the day before and what was an engagement party is now their wedding party! It was amazing, beautiful and I don’t think I have ever seen a bride or groom smile as much as they did. It was infectious. It was contagious for everyone in the entire room for everyone was beaming from ear to ear.

With that amount of love and energy, I found myself thinking that is how a wedding should be. With the people you love, no muss, no fuss, just food, drinks, dancing and most of all…love. After several cocktails and a few shots, I found myself feeling confident. So, confident that I started talking to this rather handsome guy that was part of the groom’s side. He was funny, charming and we talked for most of the wedding. My friends that were there pushed me, like they always do, to get his number. I wasn’t sure if the guy was even interested in me or just found me entertaining. After another confidence drink, the wedding was winding down and I knew it was now or never. I quickly asked the groom what he thought about the situation and he LOVED it. He said to go for it and so I did. It wasn’t smooth at all how I went about it but I walked right up to him and said, “Take out your phone. You are taking my number.” I wish I could have been smoother about my approach but it was too late. He looked stunned at first but this was a man who had been getting my drinks all night, asking questions and acting as if he was interested and so he took his phone out. I gave him my number and he sent a text message to make sure he had the right number. At the same time that this wedding is happening, Mr. Engineer whom I haven’t seen in months was texting me to come see him in Brooklyn. When I told my friend this, he wasn’t having it. He told me no and that I need to hang out with our friends. He was right and luckily I declined the invitation just in time because Mr. Engineer said, “It would be you, me and my brother drinking wine and playing video games.” Not the kind of evening I had imagined. So instead, as the wedding was winding down, my friends and I grabbed a cab and headed for midtown.

The night was just so much fun, with us meeting more friends in Hell’s Kitchen and ending up at Industry Bar and finally around 3:30 a.m. I had to say goodbye to those still standing. I went home with such an amount of love that it took me awhile to finally fall asleep from all that emotion.

I woke up yesterday with a hangover. I knew I couldn’t even have the luxury of staying inside and sleeping it off because I had two things happening that day. I had to be in the West Village by 1 p.m. to meet this guy for a first date. We met on OKCupid about a week ago and after only a few messages, we agreed to meet yesterday. It would be a rather casual date for we didn’t even plan anything except to meet on the corner of West 8th Street and Sixth Avenue. We agreed to meet there because before he was to meet me, he was going to church nearby. I arrive wearing a tank top, shorts and flip flops and he shows up in his Sunday best. I felt bad for him because it was another hot and humid day and he was sweating buckets. When he arrived, he said he apologizes in advance but asked if we could go to 43rd Street and Ninth Avenue for he left his credit card at a restaurant from the night before and had no way of paying for things. I didn’t mind at all but didn’t want to go down into a hot subway, so I suggested that we walk and talk. On our walk I learned that he is from Georgia, just moved to New York and could carry a conversation. As we walked, this poor guy’s shirt started to become see through. He was sweating so much from the heat that I offered to buy him some water. He declined but I could tell all he wanted to ask me was, “Are we there yet?” We get his credit card and stay inside to cool off. There he tells me how he is finding some negative things about the city. The heat, the small apartments, how he misses his car and how he just got a huge penthouse apartment in Long Island City. As he went on about his hardships, I was getting defensive about New York. I get defensive the way a parent gets defensive if their child is being picked on the playground. You just don’t talk shit about my city. If you don’t like it, then might I suggest you leave and go back to your biscuits and gravy.

After the date, I went home to cool off before meeting a new friend of mine. We met on Fire Island a few weeks ago and instantly hit it off. We have seen each other a few times in the city and finally found time in our schedules to meet for a Pinkberry and a movie. It was my first time at a Pinkberry, so he gave me the full rundown on how to order. Afterwards, we took a subway (which I hate doing) to the Upper West Side, which was where we were seeing the new Superman movie. We sat, giggled, talked and had a really nice time. After the movie, we walked back to Columbus Circle where we said goodbye. It was a nice way to bookend a rather fantastic weekend.

As we get older and our questions about life and the future become more significant, it really isn’t about the “Are we there yet?” But rather it is about how we get there and the life lessons that we learn along the way. If wonderful things are handed to us without any work, we will never fully appreciate what is given. So, “Are we there yet?” No. But damn what a journey it is getting there.

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