Friday, January 14, 2011

just in case the latest platitudes are true

New Yorkers are busy people, acclimated to the fiendish pace set by a zealously over-competent service industry. In no other city in these United States can you order a sandwich and already be holding up the line by the time you find your wallet. In bodegas, in coffee bars, there is an infrastructure to maximize efficiency; things happen fast. We are therefore soft on waiting.

Cue the inevitable anomaly: a tortoise-paced barista pacing from pastry case to cash box with all the expediency of a low level bureaucrat on lunch hour. The sighs behind me are audible.

Jesus fucking Christ. (Always the first comment overheard.) You try to ignore, hold your weight evenly between your two feet, balance your heavy donkey’s load of laptop, purse, and Whole Foods lunch, have patience with the questions in your heart and remember this is the only Friday, January 14th, Two-Oh-One-One we're ever gonna get. You watch this creature lumber back and forth and begin to fantasize about your own till proficiency, your bygone bartending wonder days. This is amusing for approximately seven minutes and then, just as your own impatience is about to pop, the dampening hulk of a man behind you mutters more—

Wow, lady, you are fucking slow.




Slow slow slow slow... fuck me. Wow.

I mean, he's right and all, but somehow the ugliness of his short fuse builds an almost beatific buffer between you and all the douchebags of the world. You start to think perhaps there's not a fire to run to after all. And, by the time your turn comes at the counter, you are able just to smile, order your latte, and say thank you very much.

That got me thinking. Breathe in, breathe out. Have a little patience, have a little faith.

My dad has been . . . unenthusiastic? About Jack? Mostly I think just to keep me from spinning off the road in eagerness to celebrate my relative domestic contentment. Meg, he said, you were just so desperate to have a boyfriend. And that might be true. But not as it applies to Jack.

You see, had I just inhaled and exhaled my way through the wilderness back last December then this July, perhaps I could have avoided the belly flop I took trying to get Gatz and the G.I.Q. to give two shits to rub together.

If I'm learning anything new these days, as a new woman and a New Yorker, trying to walk mindfully in this city of quick and dirty sin, it is perhaps that good things come to those who wait.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd better nip off and embroider that on a couch cushion somewhere.


pro said...
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Anonymous said...

HHHMMMM, guessing I am embracing a new honesty. I think you should continue the New York Barista concept and in truth you are fine and my guess is to express the same concept the barista had an say " fuck you" to the elusive father and enjoy your new found love. Whom by the way never spent a moment of his life without a psuedo love and has no concept of the actuality of emotion. Go for it and enjoy!

Phoenix said...

Heh, I do the same thing re: people's impatience. Particularly if they feel the need to share it with others, as in, Hey, if everyone in this line is now acting like a douchebag, it's okay for me to have started it all. The amount of time and life that people feel is OWED to them still blows my mind. And I get protective, too. I want to set myself apart from the rest of the impatient assholes on the planet, even if sometimes I am that one.

Keep in mind that your father is not dating Jack so it's not really his job to see things from your point of view. It's his job to see things from his point of view.

(Just wanted to point that out - that it doesn't necessarily mean he's not happy for you, though I've got a strong inclination that you know the man much better than I do.)