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Tuesday May 30, 2000, 21:40

I went to the dance last Friday. I wore my vinyl pants (a bit too big, but still shiny!) and even had someone shout, as I passed through a crowd "Nice pants!" Nostalgia all around, even for a few months ago, for that other life I had. The dance was good. It was fun, I had fun, and that's about all there is to say.

The decision to go to New York was pretty much one I had on a whim. I had been lying on my couch (couch! my couch!) after a particularly bad day at the office, I had done my nails in preparation for the dance, and I lay down to rest and to let the nails dry. I was there, in the dark, the halogen lamp burning dimly, music playing, softly. I was struck with. What was it? Something akin to angst. Pain. Misery. All those feelings that you hate to have, that eat you up from the inside. I was miserable, and I had to leave. So I packed my bags, emailed Catherine to tell her I was coming to town, and went to sleep, ready for an adventure.

Or something that wasn't this everyday life.

It is appropriate here to mention another part of my life. I had tentative plans with Simone to do something (where something was defined rather loosely as, well, something after her ultimate game) which I was about to break by going to New York. Had we been in some sort of dating situation, my breaking these plans would have been catastophic, Hindenberg disaster and Mount Saint Helens and all that. Break plans? Shudder even thinking that.

But whatever it is we're doing right now, it isn't dating, and I emailed her telling her that I was going to New York and I wouldn't be back until Monday and that I would tell her all about it when I got back. She emailed me back the next day telling me to have fun and that we would talk when I got back. No fuss at all. Because, well, there is no obligation involved here.

With all loose ends tied up for the weekend, I set off to Providence.

Work, show, dance. Then off to New York. The train ride down was uneventful. There is something about traveling by train though. And traveling by bus as well. There is a big thing just aching to get out here, but I will outline it here with the intent that I will someday write a full article or something about it elsewhere. Given the facination that Americans have with their cars, I feel almost dirty saying that I like to travel by bus or train. Train is, of course, preferable to bus, given that buses have to contend with traffic and that you, as a passenger, have to contend with the driver of the bus. Trains also offer more leg room, and more room in general. One is free to wander about the train, and is given the option of over half a dozen cars to choose from, including a cafe car in which one can find over-priced snack foods that come straight out of the microwave.

Even still, both options are preferable at times to driving yourself. You, as a passenger, are not forced to deal with the stress, the rising blood pressure associated with driving this nation's highways. And, more importantly, one is given the opportunity to sleep, or to read, or to flirt with the girl across the aisle. The one with the glasses and that sweater that is just tight enough to accent her breasts but not so tight as to look slutty in any way. And those pants. Yeah, you know you want to go over and talk to her. And on the train, if there is a sudden lurch, or if you are stopped unexpectedly in the middle of Connecticut, you are given an excuse to look over at her and giggle a bit, share with her the absurdity of the situation, that you are both stuck in Connecticut. And by the way, where is she from and would she like to tell you her life story since you are both going to stuck there for a while?

I arrived in New York and headed not to Catherine's apartment but went instead to the Ford Center on 42nd street. She had left a voice mail for me which I had retrieved in New Haven telling me to meet her at this theatre at 4:20, that sh was catching a matinee. Well sure, whatever. I walked over to the theatre from Penn station, it being a lovely day in New York and I having about an hour to kill and, wait a minute, what's playing at the Ford Center these days? Oh. My. So she told me that she was going to get us tickets to see the new Broadway Jesus Christ Superstar and, well, yeah, that's what was playing at the Ford Center.

I did some quick math.

She's seeing the matinee, and we're going to see it tonight too. Wow, she's totally insane. But hey, I guess it's cheaper than drugs, right? And everyone needs a hobby.

I waited in the HMV music store, downstairs, and read an issue of Detour while listening to some country music as that was the only listening station with an easy chair that was available at the time and I had really wanted to just sit down and wait until.

Yep, time to go and meet Catherine and I walked up the stairs down the new 42nd street without the prostitutes and the crack addicts and with the Disney and the music stores and the Starbucks and this new eatery food court thing and met her at the steps to the theatre. Yes, we did indeed have tickets to the show tonight.

Yes, she did happen to see it last night as well.

Yes, that's three times in a row.

Yes, I made fun of her for it.

Yes, I still am.

No, it doesn't get old.

A trip downtown where I dropped my bags off in her one-bedroom apartment now housing three people, one in the bedroom two in the living room and two cats, friendly, but obnoxious as cats are. And, and a balcony. Hello. In New York City, a balcony. On the seventh floor, able to look up and see the Woolworth building and the buzzing of air conditioners and lawn furniture and it must be amazing there at night to look up at the sky aglow with a couple of stars but more than that the glow absolutely lit up with the light from the city. I am moving back there some day. Sooner rather than later. It's got this hold on me, this hold that I realized again this weekend. This hold that is equal parts city and the people that I know who are in it.

Food. Fast. At the seaport. Standing outside, her smoking, me just standing there, looking out over the Peking, the boat, sitting in the water, the barge with garbage, the long long bubble covered docks. Those are tennis courts, you know? I used to work down there, and I gestured down to the end of Manhattan and around the corner. I used to work there, and now everyone I know has quit. Well, not quite everyone but almost and by the way, hello? Stock price?

We went to the theatre and hung out with then guy playing Peter, who happens to be friends with Catherine. Friends through the show, friends through some other connection? I didn't ask. We watched as he showed up pictured that he took with his (girlfriend? i think we found out not...) that they had done at a new (brand new!) 24 hour arcade in Times Square. This particular "game" would take a picture of each person and then merge the two faces together to come up with a "child." The results range from cute to hideous and frightening. But they ended up blowing $30 on pictures of merged faces, so I guess the arcade is going to be doing pretty well for itself.

We left to go to the bathroom at the local hotel (we it a Marriott? I think so. Maybe it was a Hilton.) where there was at least one prom in progress. Ah prom. I actually never went to my prom, opting instead to watch Rocky Horror Picture Show at a friend's anti-prom party. This is not the part where I start bawling and regret not going to my prom. I had my version of what a prom should have been last year, when I went to campus dance with Elaine. One year. Ago.

So there were these kids at the prom and Catherine and I were just standing there watching, rating dresses, checking out girls' butts and bodies in general. Noting that while boys just look good in tuxedos, there's really no variation in the style except for that guy every year who wears the white tails. There's at least one. Oh and the one guy with just the white tux jacket. But nothing other than that. Oh, and that girl has a nice ass.

Rush rush back to the theatre where. You've seen this show seventeen times? Did you say. Oh, sixteen times. This will be number seventeen. This is obsessive you know this right? Ok, as long as you. Oh right. The Rent line. That was you too wasn't it?

[ warning for theatre commentary in the following paragraph ]

Yes, I really enjoyed the show. There was that line that it kept on walking between rock opera and concert. Although as I type it, as I actually see the words "rock opera" there I am reminded of what an opera really is. More concert than drama, an opera exists to showcase the singer's voice, not acting ability. And for that reason, I think that the JCS revival actually works. It falls short in the drama department, opting instead for some clear clear indicating ("Sleep and I [hands to her chest] will soothe you [hands out, gesturing towards Jesus] calm you [hands to Jesus] and anoint you [hands towards Jesus again]") and a lot of the lead singer running down center, highlighted with a followspot and just belting out notes from there, but that was ok. Judas was wonderful, with some exceptions in certain songs, as was Annas. Mary was good, and Jesus was ok, but made the production interesting by being so whiny and annoying that you could not help but want to root for Judas for the entire show and almost want Jesus to end up on that crucifix at the end of the show.

Oh did I just ruin it for you? Yeah, he dies at the end.

Back downtown after the performance (still still in my head, still thinking about how I liked it, stil thinking about how that was the last show that I lit at school and how good it came out and how I really still still really have to get my slides scanned) and to a bar where Catherine bought me a drink (ok, so I was a bad bad person and didn't offer to pay but next time in town, drinks are on me yes indeed). A cider.

I don't drink. It's not really any sort of philosophical thing, short of not wanting to lose control. Not wanting to have my fun be something I can't have unless I've had "a couple" in order to "loosen up" believing instead that I should be loose enough on my own without the addition of drink.

That said, I had a pint of cider and noticed by the end that I couldn't keep my head upright on my neck and that any sudden movements would make my head go careening off into space only to be stopped by the fact that it was still connected to my body by my neck. I was, what was I? We call that tipsy. I wasn't slurring my words, I just couldn't keep my head on my body. I wasn't ill, I was just dizzy. And most of all, I don't think I was anywhere near "drunk" as in the state of being in which most people would like to be in order to forget their woes.

I saw no appeal.

The alarm was set for early, so early, so that I could run off and have breakfast with Amy before going over with Catherine to try to get Rent tickets via lottery. I alarm in the other room went off and I was up like a shot. Woke up, folded the sheets, and sat reading Maxim while I waited for her to get up out of bed to stagger into the living room and tell me where the towells were kept and then stagger back into bed. Oh, and I love Maxim. I love a magazine that can tell you the best tips for a summer barbeque and include features about the different secret service-type groups in different countries and how they train. I don't think that I'm "that guy" who understands what the hell most of what Maxim is about, but I do read it. For the articles. Not for the revealing pictures of Melissa Joan Hart. Or anyone else.

Catherine staggered out of the bedroom, told me that the towels were sitting on the table behind me and that she was going back to bed. See you at the lotto, I said and proceeded to shower and then dry myself off with what felt like the cat's bed as I ended up with short white hairs up my nose.

Achoo.

I think that I am slightly allergic to cats.

Later, I take a picture of Ruby and hang out with Catherine:

[ ruby overlooking harlem ]

[ catherine with soda ]

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