Last night, I met up for the first time with Eileen in the East Village for dinner with two of her friends. Eileen and I played volleyball together in middle school. We were never really friends. She was a cheerleader and hung out with the popular crowd. I was awkward, lanky, lacked fashion sense (more so than other middle schoolers in the early 90s) and had about four friends.
I happened to run across Eileen's myspace page in an odd, almost unbelievable way. Last November or December, I was sitting in my boring apartment in a boring town, scanning the myspace photos of artsy, trendy and/or socialite-ish New Yorkers, and I happen to notice that her picture looked strangely familiar - like an aged composite photo of a someone I only remember as an eighth grader.
I clicked on the picture, whose screen name was "Eileen." Immediately I remembered her last name so I went to the search feature on myspace and entered her full name. Her picture popped back up in the search results. Wow. I thought, she looks amazing! Feeling a little like a weird stalker, I read some of her blogs and looked at her photos. Then, I thought, what the hell? Let's send her a message. So I did and she responded. I couldn't believe she remembered me. At first, I thought she was just trying to be nice, but I believed her after she mentioned that her immediate recollection of me (upon seeing my photo and message) were side barrettes, shiny shorts, jeans with different color panels, and cotton T-shirts of various solid colors - my exact wardrobe rotation in middle school.
We exchanged messages on myspace over the past few months and she offered invaluable advice about moving to New York City and becoming a New Yorker. When I met her last night, she was a fifteen-years-older version of the eighth grader I remembered. Hilarious, witty, radical and fabulous! At the restaurant last night, she introduced me to her coworker at a famous American leather goods company and best friend Annisha, and Annisha's lifelong friend Dana, who is a teacher in Brooklyn. Both being just as friendly, funny and fabulous.
After dinner in a trendy Greenwich Village spot, where we drank Sangria (that we all agreed wasn't that good), we headed to the Meat Packing District, where I got my first dose of Lower Manhattan night life. We toasted the night in a bar just blocks from Carrie's fancy apartment stoop in Sex & and City (in the show, her apartment was on the Upper East Side; in realty, the famous front steps and doorway are Downtown).
I arrived home at a less than decent hour, but realized that the rough neighborhood to which I was returning wasn't quite as intimidating as I thought it would be because dozens of late-night barhoppers were just getting back, too. Twenty-something girls were hobbling down the sidewalk in painful heels, the homeless were sound asleep instead of begging for spare change, guys of all ages were listening to music on street corners and once I came within view of Tokii's apartment building, I knew I was almost safe. The drug dealers who hang out on the front stoop of the building are almost like our 24-hour security and concierge. One of them stood up as I approached, took out his key and opened the door for me, told me I looked really pretty and said good night.
It was a good end to a long day that involved more disappointing bouts of apartment hunting that continue to leave me feeling emotionally drained. I'm glad I didn't spend the night laying on my air mattress, flipping channels on Tokii and Candice's TV and feeling sorry for myself. Tonight reminded me why I came to New York City - to have a life, the kind of life I want for myself in my late-20s, where something ... anything ... happens to me before marriage, babies, minivans and vacuum cleaners.
Oh yea, and a stealth bomber flew really low over the train station I frequent in the Bronx while I was waiting for the 4 train yesterday afternoon. It passed slowly overhead, banked left over Tokii's apartment and headed toward Manhattan. I don't know what the significance of including that sighting in this blog is, but it's not everyday you see a black, flat, triangular "Bat plane" fly over your head.