"Update" NYC

The Comfort Zone

Everyone has it. Everyone’s is different. Everyone relies on it. It’s a little something called, The Comfort Zone. That zone that we go to when we want to feel safe, protected, secure and comforted. It ranges from food, booze, your home, your friends and family to your therapist. It’s our crutches that we use in order to make things in our chaotic lives feel better. Some are afraid to leave their comfort zones while others jump at the moment to leave in search of new adventures. For me, my comfort zone is my friends, my apartment and New York City. With all the many zones out there that differs from person to person. I couldn’t help but think…what happens when we leave the comfort zone?

Seeing that this past week was the week that most of us would be attending all of the holiday parties of the year before departing to our families; I knew that my body was going to be in for a doozy. So, my game plan was to eat right, get the gym time in and plenty of rest. Tuesday and I found myself in the afternoon sitting at the Regal movie theatre on 42nd Street with a few of my friends. I was going to see an early showing of the movie, August: Osage County, starring one of my favorite actresses of all time: Julia Roberts. I was so giddy and well, after the movie; all I can say is that everyone must rush out and see it. It was already the perfect way to start the week.

I had dates scheduled for both Tuesday and Wednesday with one guy marking our third date and the other being a first date. Both of whom I spent my time scheduling, rescheduling and texting and both men on the day of the dates ended up both canceling. Normally, I would be alright and suggest we find another time to meet. However, time should be respected and I just had no patience for either of them. So, my response to both men that canceled was simply: “O.K.” Of course, as of today, neither man has bothered to respond back to reschedule or do anything to make up for their cancelation. Which proves to me that neither of these men were exactly what I would call, Prince Charming.

Friday night and it was marking the first of many parties that weekend. I made a pit stop at my friend’s apartment in Chelsea to pregame there before we all grabbed a cab to go over to the East Village. By the time we left my friend’s apartment I had already gone from red wine, to white wine, to prosceco; this was not going to end well. When we arrived at, Phoenix Bar, the party was already in full swing. The place was packed with attractive people, the music was excellent and I barely remember any of my conversation; which means I was having a good time. However, I knew in my head what the next day was going to be like and so around 1:30 a.m. I did my famous Irish goodbye. I grabbed my coat and hailed a cab without saying goodbye to anyone. If I had stayed any longer, I would not be in any shape for Saturday.

As I woke up on Saturday, I even shocked myself for I wasn’t hungover whatsoever. The weather in New York that day was very frightful. It was snowing, windy and bitterly cold. However, that didn’t stop anyone. The first party of the day was starting at 1 p.m. but of course, there was no way I was going to make that time. So, I got myself together and picked up a friend at his apartment before we all headed over to the party around 3 p.m. The party, once we arrived, was packed and all I can say was that it was fantastic. There were attractive people everywhere but you could tell that everyone there was having a wonderful time. I met some really nice people and I had a moment of how grateful I was to not only be a part of it all but how amazing my friends were. The party wasn’t even close to winding down but my next party was starting at 8:30 and I knew I had to pull myself together or else I’d never make it. A few of my friends and I decided it would be best to leave and relax for a minute.

So, several of us managed to walk over to another friend’s apartment to take care of his dog and since we were there; we figured we might as well order pizza, grab some beer and collect ourselves before heading out into the snow storm again. As we stuffed our faces and listened to music from the 90’s, we all laughed at how only in New York City can you go from three different apartments and have three different experiences. It surprised me that after all these years; there are still moments where I fall a little bit more in love with the city. As it grew closer to when I needed to head over to the next party, I had some convincing to do. You see, the party was being held in Harlem. An area in the city that is definitely out of my comfort zone, I don’t have a lot of experience in that area and the snow storm wasn’t helping my case. I began my work on trying to convince my friends to come uptown with me. With some batting of my eye lashes and a few smiles; I was able to get a friend of mine to come up to Harlem with me.

We rode the subway and the entire time my friend looked at me and said, “You owe me so much.” He was right because when we got off on 125th Street, the city was fully covered in snow and we didn’t really know where we were going. It took us about fifteen minutes in the storm but we finally found the apartment and went inside. The party was a totally different vibe from the party earlier. Not that it was a bad thing; in fact it was a great thing. We met so many creative types, new faces and some familiar faces.

After we took our coats off and dried off, we made a beeline for the booze. Drinks in hand and we made our rounds through the guests. The apartment was amazing!!!! It was huge and the bathroom alone I could have lived in. From the decorations to the guests; suddenly I was enjoying being out of my comfort zone. Then I was introduced through a friend this cute guy. Upon meeting this guy, my first impression was that he had a nice smile and I that he was boyfriends with the friend that introduced us. So, I pretty much left the cute guy alone and went about my business. Every now and again during the party, he and I would chat and laugh. He thought I was very funny and enjoyed my laugh. He would say cheesy things like, “I have a thing for dark eyes and dark hair.” To which I would say, “That is too cheesy of a line. Come back when you have something wittier.”  This went on for the entire party, even at one point the cute guy said he was going to kiss me but I didn’t exactly hear what he had said and when he leaned to give me a kiss, I backed away and he ended up kissing my neck. Wasn’t sure if he was embarrassed or I was so confused but he walked away.

After he walked away, I pulled my friend aside and said, “Is this guy single? What’s his story? I thought he was dating so and so.” My friend said, “No. He is very single. Cute and if you want, I can hook it up.” I had to love my friends because even in a drunken state, we still look out after each other. I told him that I could handle it and went back into the party. The party was beginning to slow down and people were trying to get cars to take them all back downtown. The cute guy and I managed to find each other again and were now sitting on a bed. He said, “I really want to kiss you now but everyone is around us.” I gave my friends that were in the bedroom a look that said, “You can leave now. I’m ok.” One by one they left the room and it was just the cute guy and I. As the last friend left, I knew there would be little time before another person from the party would be entering the bedroom. Maybe it was my drunken state, maybe it was me feeling o.k. being out of my comfort zone but I just looked at him and said, “Now would be a good time to kiss me.” He got up from the bed and planted a wonderful kiss. It was a kiss that made my knees buckle and it was like a bag of potato chips. I didn’t want just one chip…I wanted the entire bag. He said that he is in town only for a week before he has to see his family in Chicago before heading back to Hong Kong where he lives due to his job. Time wasn’t our friend in this situation, even when I noticed the time was 2:30 a.m. He said that he wanted to see me that night at his hotel, which was 14 blocks from my apartment. We tried a few attempts to exchange numbers, even him writing it down on my arm; neither of us realizing we could have just used our phones but the numbers were finally exchanged. My friends were waiting patiently with their coats on while I snuck in a few more kisses and said I would do my best to meet him.

It took forever to get to the subway because no cabs were available and we were so far uptown. On the subway, as I was telling my friend all the details; I get a text message from the cute guy. He said, “Hey handsome.” I instantly became giddy and nervous. I am not the type to just go over to someone’s hotel nor am I one to show up at such an ungodly hour. As we sat on the number 3 train heading downtown, my friend told me to go and be adventurous. I was unsure of myself and I had a lot of concerns. I got off on my stop, rushed to my apartment to freshen up while still texting with the cute guy. The last thing I wanted was to get to his hotel room and find him passed out. However, he wasn’t even close to be being tired and was patiently waiting for my arrival. So, I left my apartment and walked the 14 blocks in the rain to get to his hotel.

I arrived soaked and wet but that didn’t seem to bother him. He told me to get comfortable and so I did. Instantly, all of my nerves and concerns washed away. It is rare for me and probably many others out there to connect quickly. Fortunately, for the both us, there was major connection. We laughed, talked and made out till the wee hours of the morning before falling asleep in each other’s arms. I never stay the night and with him snoring…I managed to somehow fall asleep.

The next morning or rather a few hours later, we both wake up. There we talked about a lot of things. This was turning into a mini-date, just with no cocktails or clothes. We covered the topics of where our families live, work, a little bit on past relationships and then the topic came to movies. I asked him what his favorite kinds of movies were and he said, “I love romantic comedies. All my friends make fun of me for it.” I said that my friends also make fun of me for my taste in movies, then he said, “And no one had better mess with Julia Roberts.” As soon as he said that, I began laughing and said that my favorite actress is Julia and our bond grew. He asked me to stay as long as possible and to not leave because we both had plans in the afternoon. I was dying for coffee and so he suggested we go down to the lobby for the hotel’s breakfast. He was affectionate. Arm around me, kissing me and it felt like I had known him a little longer than just hours. I told him that I needed to pee and when I came back; he was sitting down at the table with several different muffins because he didn’t know which I liked. This guy was killing me with his gestures. We drank our coffee and he dunked his muffin in his coffee, just like my dad does. It was freaky but it didn’t scare me. I was completely out of my comfort zone and I found myself having an amazing time.

After our breakfast, we go back upstairs, get undressed and under the covers where we watched a romantic comedy and cuddled for a few more hours. It was time for me to leave for we both needed to get ready for our brunches. I didn’t know if he was going to say that he wanted to see me again and I wasn’t going to push the topic. I wanted to just enjoy the moment for what it was and then he said, “You know I am in town for a week, so I would like to see you again and again.” I am not suave in any shape or form; instead I think I uttered, “Um…uh…sure. Um…that would be nice. You know how to reach me.” I gave him a quick kiss and left.

My phone was all a buzz as I walked back to my apartment from the hotel. All my friends asking me what happened and of course everyone saying, “What is this that I hear that you didn’t go home last night?” I didn’t have much time once I got home to shower, change and head downtown for my good friend’s birthday brunch. Several of us arrived at, De Santos, in the West Village. We all sat down and ordered but the look on everyone’s faces was that they wanted the scoop from my escapade. From Friday to the brunch, we all had managed to party ourselves into a state of pure exhaustion and we all were paying for it. That didn’t stop us from ordering bottomless mimosas but I had to give the crew the story and so I did. That is what brunches are for. The minute the bill was paid for, everyone parted ways, we had spent the past 72 hours together and everyone wanted to go back to their comfort zones aka their apartments. I shared a cab with a friend to my apartment and had only a few hours before I had to get ready for a date with someone new. Yes, I know, how this all sounds.

This date was with someone new. I had met him on OKCupid and had been texting for awhile. He had canceled on me once before and he was sorry for it. So, he made it up by offering to meet this Sunday. He was going to be attending services at a church near my apartment and so I offered to pick him up once the services were done. This would mark a first for me. I have never picked up a date at a church but he was already outside waiting for me when I arrived. He looked just like his photos, he came across as very polite and so he said, “It’s cold, let’s get some hot chocolate.” It was perfect because I simply couldn’t drink anymore booze. We actually managed to find two chairs in a Starbucks and there we sat. Me with my hot chocolate and him with his chai and we had a nice chat. I admit, it was rather difficult for me to switch gears and focus on my date when I was still on a high from the cute guy I had just left only hours earlier.  I stayed focused and asked questions and after our drinks were done, I knew he had a commute to get to since he lives in Queens, so we agreed to end the date there. Were there sparks? Not as intense as the cute guy from the party. However, that is why there are moments in life that are simply so rare and that we must seize them. We did agree that after the holidays to see each other again, which I am interested in seeing where the second date would lead to. Once I got home, I changed into my comforting clothes and focused on getting rest.

I didn’t need a holiday party, a snow storm or even tryst to remind me of how blessed I am in my life. What I did need was the push out of my comfort zone because the one thing I realized was that when we leave our comfort zone that is when real transformation happens. Some of it can be good and other times it is all about a life lesson that we are to learn. That is the lesson I learned, if you don’t step out of our comfort zone, how will you ever know other experiences?

Everyone has it. Everyone’s is different. Everyone relies on it. I guess that is the “comforting” feeling to know that no matter where life takes you, you can always return to…The Comfort Zone.  


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