Category Archives: New York

Not quite white

I was making my way back to work after lunch with a friend at La Loteria, one of the few Mexican restaurants I like in Manhattan.

I don’t like to walk around in Greenwich Village because I always get lost, but I do it because, as anyone will tell you, it’s rare to find good Mexican food in New York. I also like that place because most of the people working there seem to be Hispanic. I’m sorry to be so judgey, but I hate Mexican restaurants that only employ white waitstaff.

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Dance like nobody’s watching

It won’t come as a surprise to learn that I’m not comfortable dancing. That’s exactly why last year, for my wife’s birthday, I signed us up for dance classes. The gift was not me learning to dance, it was my willingness to put up with the humiliation of taking dance classes.

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A glitch in the matrix

As I do most nights (and as she described in this lovely article), I was reading to my wife in bed. This time, it was a very strange story about a community of people who believe a ’90s children’s movie starring Sinbad has disappeared, possibly due to a crossover with other dimensions, a glitch in the computer simulation we’re all living in, or simply a conspiracy (read it yourself, it’s amazing). Then the doorbell rang.

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Shrinked, part 3: Civilization and its discontent

Pt3I guess the Washington Square Institute thought they were making up for my previous therapist when they assigned me a new one who looked like Jay Leno. I wasn’t a fan of the TV show but found it encouraging that my new shrink seemed more amused than concerned by my problems.

Things went well enough the first few months. Sure, he had a few annoying quirks, such as only taking notes when I happened to mention a dream, or always pointing out with a titter the double meaning of the expression “it’s hard.” (To this day I still say “it’s difficult” because of him.) But such are the hazards of psychotherapy.

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Shrinked, part 2: Breaking up is hard to do

Pt2Not long after moving to Brooklyn I was introduced to two women at an art opening–a blonde and a brunette. They asked why I had come to New York. Embarrassed to say, “to be an artist,” I jokingly answered, “to be a poet.” The brunette pointed to the blonde: “She’s a poet!” “I’m sorry, I was kidding,” I said. “I came to New York TO BE A DANCER!” The blonde then pointed to the brunette and said: “She’s a dancer!” I skulked away.

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The five lessons I learned from strangers

This morning I crossed paths with the elderly Indian gentleman I see most mornings on my way to work. We went through our usual routine: I smile and say good morning, and he smiles back, performs an elegant flourish with his hand, and responds, “and a very good day to you.”

Not only is his greeting unique, the fact that I willingly interact with a stranger is itself exceedingly rare. Whenever I hear that Will Rogers quote, “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet,” I think, “That simple-minded Okie clearly didn’t live in New York.” I figured that out the first year I lived here.

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Rules are rules

I’m meeting an old friend for dinner at Angelica Kitchen (yes, no possessive) and arrive early. I ask for a table for two, and the hostess tells me I have to wait for the rest of my party.

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