Thursday, August 4, 2016

Reflections Of, The Way Life Used to Be

In August, what now feels like a million years ago, I went to see Lucinda Williams at Lincoln Center Out of Doors with Miss H.  I arrived to our meeting place early so I wandered around Times Square and tried to remember what it felt like to work there.  I couldn't.
We ate at John's Pizzeria, a familiar haunt from the Virgin days.  I thought it would feel great to be there.  I remember thinking how lucky I was to eat at such a grand pizzeria, back when that was a big deal anywhere, let alone in the middle of New York City.  Set in an old church with stained glass windows, I loved the openness and light.  But today, it was kind of dirty.  I have to say the bathroom was disgusting, really bad.   They didn't have a table in the main area, so we were seated in a crowded side room in the front.  Not great so far but I didn't want to give up and I was just happy to be in air conditioning, seated and with a friend.
The conversation is always so intriguing and constant the moment after we meet that it's hard to focus on food.... for Hope. Me, I think of food every 3 seconds like men think of sex.  It's always difficult to even order because we immediately get deep into those long talks.  Hope always drops strong hints of what she doesn't want right at the last second but leaves you flailing when the waitress comes.  But I managed to figure out a salad that I ended up loving even though it was just mandarin oranges on arugula with shaved Parmesan. The dressing was very light, non sweet with just the right amount of garlic.

So the pizza I figured would be the easy part, right?  The highlight.  But nope. First of all let me mention that I am not the gal that eats out all the time.  When I do, it's special.  I have some basic expectations but mostly just wishes and fun anticipation.  I am very fond of frequenting familiar good restaurants.  But the pizza was cold-ish.  How could this be possible at an actual pizzeria?!  Perhaps the server was so busy it stood under the lights too long.  They were packed.  That's okay, I thought.  It will taste amazing.  I think we settled on the veggie combo of black olive, mushroom and basil.  The basil tasted weird, like what I remember black truffles but not as cool when its supposed to be basil.   The crust was like flavorless cardboard.  This was not exceptional.  This was bad pizza.  And I ate it.  Very sad this was the way history chose to play out.
I've been here many times in the past and it was fabulous so this will not taunt my memories.  I won't come again because now it's over between us, especially after seeing that bathroom.
But thank goodness that is not the case today with my pal. When I met Hope it was a time when I so wanted a girl bestie to finally have and share the city.  I was sure we would connect and instantly bond when I heard of her coming arrival, another music retail veteran.  I was fairly new to New York and all my friends were guys, which was normal but before in SF they were all gay.  Straight guys are harder to bond with intimately. But instead of insta-buddy, Hope and I had a very slow moving 'coworker' relationship that very seldom went beyond the walls of that building.  Sure we chatted for hours in our windowless offices. listening and critiquing music, sharing cab rides home, diner lunches and bitching about everyone.  Those days and nights turned to years. I always thought it was a shame we weren't closer then.  Now I wonder if we were and I just didn't realize it.  And what is close anyway?  You may have great memories of someone and be only an acquaintance in their mind.  Who gets to hold the real truth?  Its who they are in the here and now that matters I suppose. Friendship is a living thing.  Maybe it too struggles with its past.
Because you can call someone friend or promise them you'll never go away but what if one day you do just that?  Than what do you call yourself?
This days events are more proof to me that what and who you keep circulating in your present from the past should always depend on how they make you feel today.  And perception can change with time.
Lucinda's voice is sometimes magic and it was again that night. 

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