Hejira

new york in white

December 31. 2000

I awoke at 7 am on Saturday morning to a city already blanketed in 3 or 4 inches of the promised and much-hyped snow. After an early, sleepy breakfast with John, we parted ways. He to work, and me to a Barnes and Noble that was supposedly at 48th and 5th. I had to walk six blocks, the wind and snow in my face, only to find that the bookstore was closed. As was almost everything else in midtown. I was the only one on the street, except for people out shoveling sidewalks and a couple of tourist fratboys who stopped me and asked where Rockefeller Center was. Likewise, there was almost no traffic on the street, so the chances of getting a bus down to Koba's apartment was pretty slim. So I walked down to Grand Central, hoping to kill some time in there.

There was nothing open in Grand Central either, except for Hudson News and a lone Starbucks. I walked inside, grateful just to be out of the weather (by now there must have been six inches on the ground), and brushed off the snow that had accumulated on my coat, gloves and hat. I got some caramel apple cider, and then dashed across the street to a Duane Reade.

koba taking a picture out of his window dani and koba snow covered railings white lights and snow

There's only so much time one can kill in a drugstore, even if it is two floors worth. I bought some stuff so they wouldn't kick me out for loitering, and sat in the foyer of the store in front of the window, watching the cars and cabs and buses slip slide down Lexington, and watching the SUVs with four wheel drive smugly speed past them. I sat there for about 45 minutes, until about 10, when finally the boredom got to me and my bladder could wait not more. I had promised Koba I wouldn't show up until at least 11, so I know I'd probably catch hell from him.

I arrived at his apartment wet and cold, and he wasn't too mad, other than the requisite grumbling about how he hadn't cleaned up or wrapped my christmas present (which was a NYC subway shower curtain!). A short time after I arrived, Dani emerged from the bedroom and we wallowed in indecision for a while about what movies to rent and what to eat. We finally decided on "Apolocalypse Now" and "Dogma". We ordered from this Jewish deli called Sarge's that serves such things as tongue and liver. I had a reuben, of course.

After that, Dani retreated to the bedroom for another nap to nurse her hangover, I lay down on the couch and dozed off for a couple hours, and Koba sat at the computer working on his new webpage. The snow had been falling hard this whole time, and by the time I woke up, there was almost a foot on the ground. By this time, we were all eager to explore, so we bundled up and set foot outside, the rented movies forgotten.

one way koba making a snow angel on Park Avenue how adorable grand central

There still wasn't much traffic on the streets, so we were able to walk around pretty freely. All three of us had cameras with us (Dani's camera and my camera were both digital, and Koba's was a manual SLR), and we slowly made our way to the Port Authority where I was to meet John. On Park Avenue near Grand Central, Koba stopped and made a snow angel in the middle of the road.

The city was really beautiful, the snow was still new enough that it wasn't dirty and grey and slushy. We walked past Grand Central Station and the Library, intermittently throwing snowballs at each other and carefully navigating the still snowy and slushy sidewalks.

Once we got to Times Square, I said goodbye to Koba and Dani, and met John at the appointed Au Bon Pain in the Port Authority. He looked tired. Very very tired. Considering we had only gotten 4 and a half hours of sleep the night before, it wasn't surprising. I was in somewhat better shape because of the nap I'd had at Koba's. We went home to John's apartment, fell asleep at 5 and didn't wake up until the next morning. We lead such exciting lives, I know.

*

On Sunday, John had to go down to work yet again, so I killed time at the uber Barnes and Noble at Lincoln Center. The cafe there is on the top floor, with huge windows looking down on Broadway and stylish art deco ceilings. I took a seat looking out the windows, and finishing a letter to John, frequently getting distracted looking at the action on the street below me. I easily killed 2 hours catching up on some writing.

grand central the library trees lincoln center

John had gotten us tickets to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon at a theatre a few blocks down, so we walked down to it, arriving extremely early. We were the first ones in line, and got very good seats. And oh my. The movie was amazing. The action was amazing, of course, but the part that really surprising me was just how good and tightly knit the story was. All the multi-layered loyalties and passions between the characters, the secrets and lies and disguises, both physically and emotional, almost made the action seem like an auxiliary part of the movie, which was surprising. But the melding of the compelling story and the fight scenes was just flawless. Almost like using the martial arts as more of an emotional vehicle, unlike most kung-fu movies, in which the action is an end unto itself.

Whew. I have to go see it again.

By this time, it was 5 pm, and the madness around the Times Square area was already starting, so we hightailed it out of there, back to his quiet apartment in Long Island City. We watched "To Have and Have Not". I want to be Lauren Bacall in that movie. So cool, so smooth, so unflappable. At some point John got a headache and fell asleep. Since I was wide awake, I wandered into his living room to check my email.

nyc in the millenium traffic light with passing bus the library snow ball fight

There was an email from my mother. There had been a fire in our fireplace that night that had involved 2 fire trucks and a half dozen firemen tramping in and out of our house. The bottom floor of the house had started to fill with smoke, and my mother and sister panicked and call 911. As it turned out, the flue in the chimney was stuck shut because of the high winds, and the smoke had nowhere to go. In the end, all the damage incurred was the house reeked of smoke and there was soot on the ceiling. I called my mother immediately, and confirmed she was okay physically and mentally, and then crawled back into bed to tell John the news.

As I curled up next to him, I thought about what a wonderful, weird year it has been. And how blessed I am. And I laughed at myself last year at this time, how I thought I had it all figured out - love, sex, school, art, life, myself. And 2000 proved, as every year does, that I don't have it all figured out, and probably never will. But at least I am still willing to learn.

One Year Ago:
"I am delighted to report that the much hyped Y2K problems have gone bust. As I write this (5:30 pm) it's already the year 2000 in most of the world. Life continues, the trains, planes and automobiles are running, and the missiles supposedly pointed at us have not been fired. It makes me laugh to see the ridiculous proportions that this has been blown up to be. So now I can sit back and laugh at all the fools who bought generators and have emergency water tanks buried in their backyards. Suckers."