The weekends are never, ever long enough.
The majority of my weekends are generally spent planning to do things. Planning being the operative word. I plan to do my laundry, I plan to drop off my dry-cleaning, I plan to pick up my contacts, and I plan to run all sorts of errands that I was either too tired or too lazy to take care of during the week. After all this planning, I reward myself with an afternoon of picnicking in Central Park with Wicked Cool Kelly, a full day of wandering through the West Village with Bex (I love my Kitchen Girls), and an evening of swank barhopping with Sir Gay, my beloved queer boyfriend, and my fellow Gaiman-lover Kim.
And then comes Sunday, the day of rest, when I spend the entire 24 hours recovering from Friday and Saturday by indulging in a Kyle XY marathon on ABC Family with my roommate Sofa instead of doing other productive things like cleaning the apartment or picking up my damn contact lenses. (But the show was so good! Subtle references to the Genesis story of the creation of Man! Adam as God! Kyle as the New Adam or Jesus Christ! Krycek from The X-Files! A really, really hot protagonist!)
The weekend started off on a great note. Friday afternoon my boss let us off of work early.
“All right, everyone leave at 4:20,” he announced.
My coworkers and I exchanged sly glances. “Ooh, someone’s going to have a little fun tonight,” we snickered.
My boss seemed genuinely confused. “What? What?”
“4:20, eh?” we tittered.
“What? What about it?”
After a moment, we realised that he honestly did not understand the sub-cultural significance of 4:20 and began to shrug it off. “It’s nothing.”
“What? Come on, tell me. What?” But receiving no straight answer from those of us on the team, he then proceeded to ask the entire office, “What does 4:20 mean? What does 4:20 mean?”
Finally, someone replied, “It’s a significant time for smokers.”
“Smokers?” he asked. “What about cigarette smokers?”
At last, someone just blurted out, “POT SMOKERS, MIKE!”
My boss didn’t even blink. “Oh that? Well, whatever. Everyone leave at 4:20.”
Which I did.
I called Wicked Cool Kelly, who by some cosmic karmic twist, was standing right on my block when I called. We walked to Central Park together, but not before grabbing a picnic dinner of macaroni and cheese and berries from the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle. We ate in the park while we told each other the epic love stories from our lives and gloried in New York summer afternoon. We also played the game that The Kitchen Girls do, which is The Archetype Game, in which we try and figure out which of the Kitchen Girls is which children’s story, or which old-time film icon, or in the movie of our lives (barring race and age), which actress would play us?
Wicked Cool Kelly is Grace Kelly, all graceful femininity and decorous pearls. She said I was Audrey Hepburn, which made me squee in a very un-Audrey Hepburn-esque way. I later told her that in the movie of her life, she would be played by Kate Winslet and she returned with a very flattering Natalie Portman. (Yes! I possess a gamine-esque essence!)
Later that night I went to a farewell party at the St. Mark’s Alehouse for a friend of mine and Sofa’s, who has since left for Dublin, never to return. I managed to not drink myself into a retarded stupour and subsequent hangover (although I’m not prone to hangovers) as I had to get up in time to meet Bex in Union Square for a day of therapeutic West Village wandering.
Except it wasn’t quite so therapeutic for my feet. I wore a beautiful pink boating dress from Anthropologie (with a strand of pearls and a white hair band; sometimes I can out-prep even my roommate Sofa) but had no shoes to wear with it. In the end, I went with a pair of white kitten-heel sandals that I figured wouldn’t be too hard to stand for seven or eight hours in.
And it wasn’t. The problem wasn’t my shoes; it was the cobblestones in the West Village. Balancing on an itty-bitty heel on a flat surface is trying enough, but wobbling through uneven streets is hell. But I adore the West Village: the streets defy logic and turn in on themselves, gorgeous stately Edwardian brownstones vie for attention next to the brightly painted Mediterranean stuccos, and unexpectedly here and there, you find a quaint little English cottage with a fence and a yard (in the middle of Manhattan!). I pretend I’m back in Europe whenever I’m there and it’s the last place in Manhattan where I can still get truly, completely, and utterly lost. Bex and I bought caffeinated fortification from Dunkin Donuts and then set out exploring the street fairs and Farmer’s Market in Union Square before watching the storm clouds broil over New Jersey from the Christopher Street Pier. We went to Cowgirl for dinner, a restaurant neither she nor I had been to since our respective freshman years in New York, and ate ourselves into food coma on cheese enchiladas and vegetarian chili. It was fabulous.
Stumbling home, I checked my phone to see that I had received a voicemail from Sir Gay, who said he was taking me out to a rooftop bar. Now, being as I’m twenty-one, poor, and well, poor, I usually stick to my East Village dive bars and dress accordingly. Getting out of my infernal heels, I changed into something more casual and met up with Sir Gay and Kim in Union Square.
The bar was not a dive bar. The bar was the sort of bar that you had to know was there in order to go because it didn’t advertise itself. It was also the sort of bar to which people arrived in limos. We stood in line behind a cult of yuppies (all dressed identically in the same dark blue Diesel Jeans, white Armani dress shirt, and black blazer) and I felt woefully underdressed. The bouncer checked our IDs and (surprisingly) let us in and we went through a marbled corporate lobby to an elevator which took us up to the penthouse floor.
Inside was the sort of New York bar that the movies and Sex and the City tell us exist in Manhattan: a high rise building with plush black velveteen lounges and neon purple light, an exotic animal or two standing in the corner with a gorgeous six foot tall woman draped over it, and futuristic glowing tables topped with gleaming martini glasses. Bypassing the lounge downstairs, Sir Gay, Kim, and I headed upstairs to the roof where we were greeted by every investment banker in Manhattan and the most breathtaking view of the Empire State Building.
It was sort of unbelievable and something out of my early adolescent fantasies. I always dreamed I’d be standing on top of a roof gazing at a surreal New York skyline swathed in fog and ethereal lights, with a $12 cocktail in one hand, cigarette in the other, flanked by one fabulous homosexual and one thin, gorgeous friend. I felt impossibly sophisticated and for one moment, the tickling shiver of glamour slithered down my spine before disappearing into the summer night.
And then I looked down at my pseudo-goth skirt from Hot Topic and generic red tank top and remembered that I was still fabulous with my Sex on the Beach and my cigarette and my fabulous friends, standing on a rooftop gazing at the Empire State Building in a bar that sells bottles of wine for $300, and loving what it feels like to be twenty-one and reckless and young in New York City.
We spent the rest of the night deciding whether or not the stunningly attractive young women on the arms of the jarringly unattractive old men were third or fourth wives, or possibly an expensive, high class hooker.