I Love New York
“I don’t like cities. But I like New York. Other places make me feel like a dork. Los Angeles is for people who sleep.”
On the day of my usual bimonthly trip back to the west coast I decided to hit the Barney’s warehouse sale with ‘Freckles’. It was disappointingly bad.
Not having tamed our insatiable need to swipe some plastic and purchase unnecessary garb, we headed uptown to the flagship so we could pay full price and feel somewhat accomplished. I had a flight later that evening and I didn’t have much time to browse properly so after a somewhat unsuccessful shopping experience at Barney’s, and still with a lingering desire for more overpriced goods, we ventured into Bergdorf’s. Jackpot. I left with two Thom Browne shirts and a slight boner. The sales associate, a B-list actor in a few of Van Sant’s movies, was cute and flirty.
We took the train back home, I finished packing, grabbed my dog, and to JFK I went sans cellphone (which I’d lost the night before). The flight was standard.
I landed at SFO at around 10:30 pm. I messaged my friends through facebook because I had managed to find a replacement phone but had no one’s numbers. They contacted me and I took a cab to the Mission to my friend ‘Chogi’s’ place. She had just moved back to the west coast from Ohio, of all places. Upon arrival, three quarters of the party (the ones with vagina and a vast knowledge of fashion) greeted me with open arms and big screams, the other quarter (the one with a dick and the palate of a chef) was already in an alcohol induced coma. Then slowly, one by one started laying down and giving in to the same fate. I was getting a bit annoyed as I had just flown in and was expecting to make the best of the briefs number of nights we would get to spend together. Somehow, someway, and with the help of ‘Reindeer’ who showed up a bit after I got there, we got them up and ready to leave the apartment at the almost useless hour of 1 am (bars in California close at 2).
We took a cab to a place called The End Up. I had never been nor heard of it, and I’ve been in San Francisco many times, but I got quick good feedback as soon as I posted my plans for the night on facebook. Upon arrival, the place was annoyingly crowded by the wrong kind of crowd. That on top of the few minutes we had left to party, and the annoyingly overpriced cover, forced us to make the executive decision to walk back, pick up some booze at the store before they stop selling (2 am… again… ridiculous), and head back to ‘Chogi’s’ so I could catch up and they could kill their second wind. Being a New Yorker (yes, sometimes I do grant myself the right to claim that title), I was fine with walking the mile and a half journey. My fellow west coasters weren’t and, although they put up a good effort, after about two thirds of the way we ran into a limo parked at a gas station and, due to the lack of cabs, I asked the driver how much he’d charge us to take us home 7 blocks away. I was ready to pay whatever as long as the complaining stopped. Luckily, he said he’d take us for whatever we wanted to give him. We hopped on the stretched white car, opened our super classy bud light + clamato cans, and poured them in wine glasses.
The ride was ridiculously short. When it dawned on us that we could pop our head out the sunroof, we were already home. Despite the car being parked, we did so anyway. One by one we all passed out. I don’t recall in which order, all I remember is ‘Reindeer’ left and, sadly, that was all I saw of him that trip.
Saturday morning we had plans to go to Napa for some wine tasting good times. Surprisingly enough we were all up and ready by elevenish. Me, ‘Chogi’, ‘Dandayamana Janushirasana’, ‘Chet’, ‘Honey’, and ‘Toto’ rode the Volvo for an hour to wine country. First thing on the list was In-N-Out so me and ‘Chogi’ could indulge in the much missed West Coast fast food smorgasbord. We stayed at ‘Honey’s’s friends’ place, the same lezzy couple who’s wedding I’d crash back in July. The locals had another wedding to attend so the rest of us out of towners just drank and hung out around their apartment as they attended their previously scheduled festivities. After a few lazy hours we decided to explore the town. We called for a cab which proved out to be ridiculously inconvenient. Apparently, you have to wait anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour for a taxi. Eventually, we managed to get to the ghost town that was downtown Napa.
We walked and walked amidst closed businesses until we found a place we’d yelped about that had great reviews. We asked for a table and went across the street to have a drink as we waited for the estimated 45 minutes till our table was ready. In reality, it turned out to be more like an hour and a half. The food was good but not great, the service sub par but it got a bit better towards the end. With our bellies full and with hopes to party like only me and my Californians know, we tried walking back until we either found a cab, or a bar, but preferably both, neither of which were miles to be seen. Napa sucks.
Since all of our brilliant minds were together, we devised a plan to go to the grocery store, buy bottles of our favorite flavored drink (in my case ginger ale), and a bottle of vodka, make some road sodas and walk the 2.1 miles back to ‘Honey’s’ friends’ chateau. At first the Californians argued with me, God forbid they walk anywhere, but eventually they realized, like most of us New Yorkers do, that we don’t need no car or public transportation when we have a healthy pair of legs. Despite a couple detours and getting lost for a second, the walk home was fun.
That night I was really tired and somewhat drunk. I believe most of them stayed up chatting and drinking. I grabbed my cuddle buddy ‘Toto’ and dozed off on the couch.
Early Sunday morning I woke up and skyped with ‘Twentyeight’, one of my 50 Grind Dates. I’ve been keeping in touch with him because I want seconds, and because I find him very attractive. He definitely left a lasting impression. Then I skyped with ‘Jose Maria’ who was still in Greece on holiday but was about to come back to New York. Everybody started waking up. I said bye to my skypees and planned the rest of the day with my non virtual buddies. We went to Whole Foods to grab some pre-made goodies to eat and some vodka and 5 different kinds of olives to make our own bloody marys. Brunch at its best.
After showers and more laying around my best friend, appropriately nicknamed ‘The Wife’, showed up. Her parents, who live in the bay area, dropped her off very Middle School style. We all eventually left for Hess winery. Being one of the most sober ones (if not the most), I drove one car and ‘Honey’ drove the other one. The winery had an amazing art collection. I am not the biggest Rauschenberg fan, but there was one very colorful and very flat piece of him that I loved. Sadly, our day had started late so we only had half hour to walk around the gallery, and half hour to wine taste. Regardless, it was fun and relaxing, as I’d expect it to be.
We drove back home and finally agreed on what tattoo we’d all get. We’d been toying around with the idea to permanently mark our “friendship” on our bodies. The first thought was to get the word “Love” tattooed. I of course almost threw up. The idea evolved from “Love” to “Phylia” to “Love” in Braille. The efficient ‘Chogi’ found and contacted half of the only two studios that were open and available in that ghost town, and we walked right over. Coincidentally, it was a couple blocks away from the restaurant were we’d dined the night before. The “artist” wasn’t ready, so we went a couple of blocks more east to have a beer and some Mexican food. An hour later we returned. The first time under the needled gun was ‘The Wife’ who, in her very usual fashion, decided to fuck any plans we had and scribbled down the word “Love” with her own handwriting and got it tattooed near her wrist bone. After we all saw how pretty it looked we decided to get branded by her design. I, of course, still reluctant to have such word forever ingrained in my epidermis, came up with the brilliant idea of getting it etched on my ass. I figured it’d be funny and ironic. The rest of the tattooees got it either in the same spot as ‘The Wife’, or in the case of ‘Chogi’ and ‘Honey’, they reverted to the original Braille idea. All in all a fun experience. The tattooist, although a bit sketchy, was a really nice guy, who had now become part of the “pact” we had all partaken in.
We left the tattoo shop at around 11:30 pm, packed our bags back at the lezzys’ and drove home at midnight. It was a bitch of a ride. I drank some energy shot and drove for the first half of the trip with ‘Dandayamana Janushirasana’ keeping me company. We woke up ‘Chet’ and ‘Honey’ to pass the baton. She fell asleep, he drove the rest of the way down, I kept waking up every so often worried he might doze off and we might all end up sleeping with the fish (or in this case, since most of California is milk farms, cows).
Finally, after an exhausting seven hour drive, the sun had come up and we were back in LA. We all passed out almost instantaneously.
A few hours later, ‘Dandayamana Janushirasana’ woke up and went to work. Me and ‘Chet’ lingered around for a bit. He finally agreed to cater to most my needs and drove me to pick up ‘Talent Waster’ so we could all eat some delicious fish tacos at Rubio’s, one of the only reasons I really miss California. We then drove to buy some much needed and much cheaper cigarettes. We showed off our tattoos to ‘Talent Waster’ and she implored we get one with her as well. Despite the fact that I wanted to go to LACMA to see the Tim Burton exhibit, I gave in to my addiction and agreed to get inked for the 23rd time right before I had a dinner date with ‘T Rex’, an old teacher of mine who I briefly dated after I finished college. We googled and yelped our fingers away trying to find a spot that was both reputable and had a very low minimum because we didn’t want to pay 80+ bucks for such tiny tattoos. Our search ended when we discovered a place not too far from ‘Chet’s’ place. Being LA, we drove the less than a mile walk.
The place was empty, as expected on a Tuesday afternoon, but the staff seemed really nice and welcoming. I was the first to go. This time, the marking in question was the word “black” in Braille. I am not sure what the whole obsession with Braille is, but I liked how it looked. I got it injected on my chest. Up next ‘Talent Waster’ got “Love” in Braille on her arm, and ‘Chet’ got the same right under the handwritten version he’d just gotten done the day before. We dropped ‘Talent Waster’ off at her place and I said good bye for the last time in a while. My lovely friend had decided to leave everything behind and head to the land down under in search of new experiences. Although I’m a bit pissed at her for doing so instead of coming to New York, this is one of the reasons why I adore her and I wish her the best. Besides, I’m sure she’ll come around to her senses and move to the city I love.
On the way back, ‘Chet’ dropped me off at a random intersection where I met up with ‘T Rex’. He looked different. A bit more haggered, a bit more heavy, still somewhat attractive. I think that New York has raised my standard and given me a new appreciation of beauty because I used to find this man absolutely stunning. We went to dinner at a Mexican spot next to the bar we used to go to all the time. It was incredibly pleasant to see him and catch up. I could tell he still had a thing for me. In our usual manner, we drank and drank and drank. An hour and a half later, we went for one last round at the aforementioned bar, and then we walked back towards his car and ‘Chet’s’. I had to catch a plane in a couple of hours. On the corner where we logically had to part ways, we said goodbye, I gave him a peck, and walked buzzed back to my friends’.
My last few minutes in California outside LAX were sappy. The people I’ve met there are probably the hardest thing to leave every time I go back. Despite the fact we see each other regularly, it never gets old. I packed my bags, grabbed my dog, said good byes, and got driven by ‘Honey’ to the airport. I got there at the right time, unfortunately, my plane didn’t. My flight was delayed an hour and a half, and that was just the beginning of my 12 hour long return back home… completely worth it but so annoying that I don’t even want to write about it.
“Other cities always make me mad, other places always make me sad. No other city ever made me glad except New York. I love New York”