My, how time flies! I can hardly believe that I was gone from New York for so long, nor that I’ve been back here again for nearly two months – because New Yorkers are used to time truncating, they help it along: “You were gone for a year!” they remind me, helpfully. I’ve been correcting them: “No, just eight months,” and to me there is certainly a distinction between 3-quarters of a thing and the whole of it, but now it is almost a year – ten months – and the distinction has become blurry.
This weekend saw me back in my old office, Snohetta, attending one of the parties I used to be in charge of throwing when I managed the office there. It was delicious to be so very free of responsibility at one of these events and the place was packed, a creamy nougat of people from my last four years, my former life. It felt a little like going to your own funeral, only instead of a cause for mourning, it’s a celebration. I kept having deja vu and I couldn’t decide if I’d had dreamed this before, or if it was really just that I threw that party three years in a row. Regardless, I rubbed elbows and kissed cheeks and felt so very light and happy on that first day of summer – the first truly warm day, where I was wearing a sleeveless dress (one of Erika’s I’d never worn before) and no jacket was required. My roommate was there, and my former boss, the girl who is the “new Kira,” there was someone I dated back in 2010, my friends from the Norwegian Consulate, the same DJ I hired for our first of these parties, the same disco ball and the same caterers. Beautiful, beautiful people all crowded together and drinking the traditional beer of these parties, from Brooklyn Breweries. I danced and gave a tour, for old time’s sake, and it all came back to me without effort. Happy to be back, happy to have left. My rubber band ball has grown in my absence, still perched like an oversized egg in the same little wicker basket nest it has called home since its inception.
I felt so happy to be among this friendly throng, at every turn another familiar face smiling, surprised to see me again in such a normal context. We went for a very late dinner at an old Stone Street favorite, Adrienne’s Pizza, a large and happy group of us altogether. We made it back to the office for the tail end of it, often the most fun, when everyone has cleared out except for 8 or 10 stragglers who were the most glorious of all, flowers blown out, petals streaming, spinning and dancing with the decorative blankets, drinking Serbian plum brandy. Someone held out a flower to me as we danced and I pulled the Gerber daisy from my hair and gave it to him and it somehow felt like a May ritual of new beginnings, dancing for the promises held in the season of growth and bounty to come.
Saturday morning I went to Central Park for yoga with my friend Silvia and a couple of others and I felt the joy in each step I took to the Sheep’s Meadow where we stretched and posed beneath a giant spreading oak tree, surrounded by families and nannies pushing strollers, the requisite crazy person crouched nearby, keeping the crazy mostly to himself, politely.
I read Silvia’s tarot cards on a tapestry in the meadow before heading back to my neighborhood for lunch and a quick change of clothes to ready myself for my first shift at the Beauty Bar as a manicurist. Afternoon turned to evening and after a few swiftly passing hours of painting nails and making small talk I ended up at the People’s Improv Theater for a show with some friends.
I trekked down to my old hood to meet up with my friend Claire and she fed me some delicious lentil stew and showed me her new abode. We grabbed drinks with another amazing lady in my life, Susanne, at the Brooklyn Inn and then I headed back into the city to cap off the evening with Dave and some of his friends before we cabbed it back to our house.
What a difference an almost-year makes! Last year I was surrounded by these same people, but now contexts have shifted and things have changed. I have changed, and it makes the difference more profound, to have gone around and come back down, perspectives adjusted but nothing is erased, new images of old faces and places projected onto the screen of this new reality and what to make of it all is up to me.
Sunday has become the day set aside to reconnect with my friend Nora, now living in Copenhagen, and this Sunday we managed to connect with Sarah and Mary Caton, too – my core group of besties, all brought together through the wonders of the interwebs.
I met up with my former boss, the amazing and wonderful Craig Dykers. We had tacos and beers at La Esquina diner in Williamsburg and caught up on each others’ lives. Dave joined us for dessert and then we all went our separate ways in the gray drizzle to our various engagements. I popped by a place in my hood called Santos Anne, where I knew there was an open mic going on that evening. It turned out to be a ton of fun and I met a band, Bevel Summers, a bluegrassy group on tour with their new album from North Carolina. I conversed a bit with a waiter in French and performed a few songs of my own and, when it turned out a few of the band members needed a place to stay, their arrangements having fallen through, I invited them to sleep in my living room for the evening. We made our way back to my place end ended up jamming on the roof until some rather wee hours.
Next morning we breakfasted on bagels with the fixins (how’s that phrase for North meets South?) and hung out for a bit before heading into Manhattan where they were playing a show on a pier somewhere on the east side.
I joined my friend Melinda for sangria with a group of her friends (and my favorite little dog, Tatertot!) on her Fidi (that’s Financial District = Wall Street) rooftop Monday afternoon for happy hour.
Monday evening saw me with Dave and one of the Carolinians at the Reverend Vince Anderson and His Love Choir’s weekly performance at Union Pool. It was a beautiful cap to a beautiful weekend, with new friends and old, full of music and dancing, yoga and nail painting. And finally some beautiful weather.
And the fun stretched into Tuesday when I went to see the Bevel Summers play at a backyard in my new hood – really a stones throw away from my place. The band was tight and the night was warm and lovely. I met a lot of new people and everyone enjoyed the music.
After the show and the ensuing house concert we went out for drinks and grilled cheese sandwiches at a nearby bar, a whole merry crew of us. I tucked several band members into our living room and met up with a few others to jam a bit before calling it a night.
In the morning everyone convened at my house for breakfast and to regroup before leaving the city for Ardmore, PA. We played some more music and drank coffee and tried to get past the whiskey imbibed the night before.
And the fun continued into the evening, when, after finishing my class at the screenwriting studio, I joined Dave and a few others out for drinks with a consultant from Canada, a lovely man named Gary with who I always made small talk on the phone, back when I was Snohetta’s Jane-of-all-trades. I met up with them, already in progress, and a bar called Winnies in Chinatown and Dave gave a spine-tingling performance of Clarence Carter’s masterpiece “Strokin.'”
We grabbed the only cab crazy enough to cram five clearly somewhat intoxicated passengers illegally across the East River for a little bowling at the Gutter and then a downward spiral of a bar crawl as we slowed to a stop after late night taco-truck action and one final beer. Everyone took a cab home but Dave and I who hoofed it back to the apartment and finally, maybe, the weekend is over now that it is Thursday 🙂
The landscape of my life seems to shift around me daily in a way I relish, changing how things look and feel with each new dawn which finds me in this new reality of mine. Time is fluid, flowing, forwards, back again, what will be might have been, what once was will be. I’m giving more of myself, while also keeping certain parts off limits, holding my space, perhaps more so than I have done in the past. It feels good and honest and true. Ok – time to get last night behind me and look on toward what’s to come.
Love and miss,