Saturday January 28. 2001

sushi, sidewalk and schwervon

Due to a slight misunderstanding between me and John about the time we were meeting, I ended up waiting at the Port Authority for a good 45 minutes in front of a Hudson News stand. The manager there, a short Indian guy, kept giving me suspicious looks. Several people stopped and asked me for directions to the Subway, directions to the bathroom, directions to get to the street. Although waiting there all that time was rather upsetting at the time, now that I look back at it, it was amusing. There are so many um...interesting people that pass through the Port Authority.

John and I planned on having dinner on 9th avenue like we usually do, but 7 o'clock on Saturday made it hard to find a place that wasn't crowded or had a long wait. We walked up about 6 or 7 blocks, finally settling on a Sushi place. The restaurant was surprisingly spacious, considering that most restaurants in NYC are cramped and overcrowded with tables six inches away from each other. Once, when John and I went to Ruby Foo's, we were seated in close proximity to a couple who was fighting, and it's hard to ignore that sort of thing when you're practically on top of it.

I had never had sushi before. I stared, mystified, at the menu, and finally followed John's lead and ordered a combination platter. First was some sort of spinach mixture in an orange sauce and some sort of soup with tofu in it.

"I cannot do chopsticks," I muttered as I broke them apart and fumbled with them. "Is this right?" I held up my hand. John was already digging into his spinach stuff. He nodded.

The main course was served on simple wooden plates. I guess plates may be the wrong word, it was more like a little table, with the colorful food attractively arranged on it, along with some mysterious piles of paste and goo and shrimp wrapped in what I guessed were grape leaves.

I looked at John desperately. "Show me how to do this." I felt so incredibly unhip. 20 years old, my first time eating sushi.

"Okay. You see that green paste? It's wasabi, and it's very very hot."

The infamous Budweiser commercial came to mind. I surpressed a laugh.

"You mix a little tiny bit of the wasabi in with soy sauce in this little container here, and you dip the sushi in it."

"Okay...." The soy sauce and wasabi mixture was extremely salty and extremely hot. The delicate slices of colorful raw fish were carefully draped over balls of rice, and were hard to pick up with the chopsticks.

"Hey, how is this raw fish safe?" I suddenly asked John.

He looked thoughtful. "Well, technically, you can eat raw meat and not get sick..."


So that was my fist sushi experience. I'd say it's definitely an acquired taste.

We met Peggy (Tony was stuck at home, sick) at Sidewalk, a bar in the East Village that is one of the few I could get into in my presently underage state. We were there to see Schwervon, a band that is made up of a couple friends of John and Peggy's, Major Matt Mason and Nan Turner. Nan is also in another band called Bionic Finger, a band that gigs frequently at Sidewalk and many other places as well.

I was quite excited to meet Major Matt Mason, because I am slighly obsessed with him. I got his album last summer, called Me Me Me, and it has to be the most sardonic, funny and sarcastic music I've heard in a while. It's weird to finally meet and see in person someone whose songs you've been singing under your breath for the last six months. His songs are deceptively simple, usually just guitar and voice, but they have a way of getting in your head. Anyway, he was sardonic and brooding (a lot like his songs), and when he shook my hand it was clammy and fleshy. I couldn't think of anything clever to say, or anything to say at all, for that matter.

The show was really good. John, Peggy and I sat up near the front, so we could see everything (and I was once again bemoaning the fact that I hadn't brought my camera with me). Me and John ordered Cokes (though I almost asked John to ordered me a Rum and Coke, I thought that would've been too cute), and Peggy ordered seltzer water with lime. After Nan and Major Matt finished their set, there were hugs and handshakes all around. When I had confessed to Nan that I still hadn't seen Bionic Finger live, she just laughed and said, "Well, you will eventually!"

Once again I had a glimpse of the life that I could have. I could really get into this, sitting at that little table in the near darkness. with the warmth of John and Peggy around me. Going out on the weekends to see bands with John and his friends, hanging out with all their friends. Everytime I'm around them I feel like I should be here, like I belong here.

I want to have a group so badly. A group of friends who I could rely on, who I could hang out with and do all sorts of things with. I envy what John has with Tony and Peggy, they've all been friends for 25 years, have dated each other, been in bands together, gone on vacations together, and even lived together. I've never had a group, just a few isolated friends who drift in and out of my life. If I could, if it weren't a horribly bad idea right now, I pack my life up and move to New York, to finally be where I feel like I'm supposed to be.

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One Year Ago:
"Hi, Mom and Dad, it's, I know this going to sound stupid given that Dad was just down here today to drop off the car, but uh..I'm coming home for the weekend, because there's basically nothing to do here and I'm feeling kind of depressed, so it's...7:30, I should be home a little after 9. I'll see you then."