If you’ve ever read my blog, you’ve probably gathered that I’m in an ongoing state of nostalgia. As much as I love change and adventure and meeting new people, nothing compares to reminiscing with the oldest and most familiar of friends, especially when they come to this city I love so much. The level of giddy these reunions raise in me only escalates when they happen by surprise, and this was a weekend for such an occurrence.
One of my closest friends from high school, Zane, is as determined to hold onto old friendships with firm, sometimes desperate, stubbornness as I am. This commonality yields the best of sporadic, catch-up phone calls in which we pick up right where we left off no matter how much time and experience has passed. We all have these go-to, longtime friends that make the eventual in-person run in’s deeper than a series of standard, insincere, interview-style questions that could’ve been answered with a glance over mini-feed. When Zane and two friends’ trip to Europe was stalled by one cancelled flight after another, I was treated to such a run in. The trio accepted my never-ending offer to see NYC and arrived at little 5A bright and early Saturday morning, my first day off of both jobs in weeks. The pressure to make NYC as enticing and fulfilling as Spain or Italy, or the chance to see both in the same week, was a job in itself, but the Big Apple doesn’t easily disappoint.
After we all caught up on much needed sleep, we joined the rest of the city for Saturday brunch at a rooftop garden called 230 Fifth. I’m all about this spot for its amazing view of the city from above and year-round accessibility. I’m inexplicably partial to giant menus as well, and it doesn’t hurt that there’s a section specifically titled, “for skinny people.” After relaxing in the sun and laughing, a lot, we moved onto a more affordable venue for Sangria by way of Madison Square Park. I squeezed in a mini-tour of Central Park as well, where we found ourselves at a Gay Pride Rally right as a soldier stood up to bash the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Zane and said friends just graduated from the Air Force Academy and after strolling at what can only be described as tourist speed all day suddenly found the motivation they needed to pick up the pace for an exit strategy.
I chose the The Frying Pan as the main nightlife attraction, because I’ve found a bar on a boat never ceases to amuse, and our experience only supported my case. As could only be expected, there was no shortage of girls who perked up at the mere correlation of men in uniform. I found myself voluntarily spreading the rumor in the ladies room just to spike interest. I reasoned if I could simultaneously serve as a tour guide and mother taking charge of a vacation, I might as well take my turn as their matchmaking publicist. To say the least of our night out on the town, strangers and humor weren’t hard to come by. By the end of the night, our joking had inevitably turned to trash talk beyond the tone of sibling rivalry, but I conceded at least we were all comfortable with each other.
The boys made an unforgivably vocal appearance at my restaurant for dinner Sunday after my guilt-ridden text attempts to have my shift covered fell short of achieving one more day off. They were able to make touristy stops while I worked, and we wound down over pillow talk before getting back to the grind today. I’m admittedly bitter that they’ve moved on to Orlando and have weeks of travel ahead of them, but I was so contented by an endearing presence and newfound friends. In this stage of new adulthood, we never know where many of our friends will be in the next year or two or ten, and I don’t even know where I will be. The military gives Zane the advantage of stability and structure, but means when we won’t see each other for a while, we know we won’t. He’ll be in Oklahoma for the next two years, which for me is about as foreign as…Dover, Delaware. But for now, we got a little fix of old stories and new memories and that good, long catch-up talk.