Do you ever put your ipod on shuffle and then get mad that it doesn't understand exactly what song you'd like to hear? Frustrated by tune after tune of audiobook or that CD a guy made you in High School, you just want to get to the good stuff, the gels with where you are in time? You can either be upset or, you can reframe it, as I have decided to do so, by deciding well, at least this means all the really great ones are on the way. And that is officially how I am going to think about dating from now on! With that being said I am totally psyched by this last string of dates, so lovingly chosen by my friends to support me in my hour of need, and what wonderful companions they have helped me find for this crazy adventure of mine. After spending 15 hours in a car in upstate New York with my friend Kyle for research, I finally weaseled out the information about his very charming friend Brian, in town for three months to film an upcoming documentary. Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you date 16.
The Date: Brian,6'4", filmmaker, bloody mary hater
The Place: Trinity Church, 74 Trinity Place, Manhattan
What Creative Time Says: To be buried in the city is to become part of the city. (sing it sister).
You know a date is going to rock when you exchange texts all morning pushing back the meeting time. Thanks to a bottle of red wine and the fact that Jared works a few blocks from my house, was having girl troubles, and gets off his shift at 1am I did not quite receive the nine hours of sleep I was planning on in order to ensure I was bright eyed and bushy for a morning date. Thankfully, Brian was right there with me and we agreed to step into the sunshine Manhattan-early at noon. We searched the corpse-like wall street area with its no man land of no-work sundays, and finally found stone street, the strangest little mecca of italy meets boston meets the 19th century I have ever seen. Tables are packed so that you can pick food off your neighbor's plate and the cobblestone ground cannot even be seen, but we were outside, our surly hostess found us a seat, and Brian hilariously mountain climbed over the benches to reach a nice landing point. I was good to go.
Smorgas Chef, and Brian had me laughing throughout my Jarlsberg eggs and chive whipped mashed potatoes. It's tricky knowing with these set ups if the guy is actually interested in going on a date with me or if he's more into the whole blog exposure, but I am sure they must feel the same way about me and what's fair is fair. Besides, Brian's obsession with Paul the Octopus made for a skippingly delightful breakfast topic when one is working very hard at staying awake. Even if he did compare me to Julia Allison. Bastard.
With a very full belly and my cheeks hurting from laughing I brought Brian to the elevated acre, one of my favorite spots in an area I don't much love, the financial district. Whoa the website makes this place look like an outdoor disco club but in reality, it's quite beautiful, with native plants and pensive couples and groups of men practicing their parkouring skills. Yep, you read me right, every Saturday and Sunday at 1 30pm a group of men in their 20's gets together to practice doing the grapevine and making high high highkicks so they can jump over the 2.5 foot stairs located around the turf grass. I love parkouring but my goodness if we NewYorkers aren't good at turning everything fun into a talent in need of perfection. I was content to lie on my blanket (I never leave my apartment on a summer weekend without packing at least one book and a giant tapestry blanket from China) and try and figure out just what the heck these guys are doing in the section of the city where the sky peaks out in quilt-like fashion and each building stands imposingly as a high school security guard on a pot bust.
Nuyorican Cafe or UCBT. The creative magnet is an attractive lifeforce wielded by those very talented at adding art and inspiration and life into our sometimes gray world. I know I've focused a lot on the dating here but, as important to me is the art, heck, I'd be clamoring over Paul Ramirez Jonas if the guy wasn't married as he is, inarguably, the greatest relational aesthesian of our time. To be fair, this is not always a good thing, the search of the creative magnet, and the misplays it creates, have lead me down some pretty dark paths (think rats crawling on your feet in a theater space in Manhattan, literally!), and I, who hates being liked for what I put out there rather than who I am, should understand the dangers this can bring. But creation of art, additions to the world, making people smile or cry or think or spin, is incredibly important to me, and I can't help but recognize and celebrate that in another person. So, clearly, when Brian showed me the trailer to his movie which may be telling one of the stories that most makes me want to hopscotch that I have encountered in awhile, well, let's just say my tongue was a little more tied at the end of the four minute twenty five second trailer (but who's counting?)
Luckily, I pulled myself together and we made it to Trinity by the 3pm deadline, laughing over Brian's stories all the way. I swear this guy collects characters in his life like burs in a meadow and I loved stepping for a few hours into his world. Baring down the tourist traps of high waving American flags, just steps from the most inflammatory argument in our present time, rocking out on Mr. Softie and catching snapshots of Lady Liberty herself, we led ourselves into the back gates of Trinity only to discover the promised gate was wide open for all to explore (how indecent!) Saddened (ok, that was just me) we walked through the weathered tombs, listened to Brian's This-American-Life like collection of voicemails on his phone (seriously, he should start a podcast "The Answer(ing) Machine" is what I would title it), and then, fittingly, were locked into the park at closing time. Though Brian could have easily stepped over the 5' gate, he was kind enough to signal the guard so that I was not locked in. Thank you my dear.
Now, many have complained about Trinity's lack of a lock (clearly whoever connected with the project was incredibly quick to change her mind regarding the exclusivity of the place) and, frankly, there are a lot of whiners out there about many of the key sites that don't provide some sort of "special" prize at the end. Yes, I was as sad as the next at the inability to unlock my own world but should certain places be turned into the standard hotel, available only to those of us lucky to stumble upon the key? I like the far thrown places, the community gardens and boxes on buses, because just getting there is half the battle and the key is a wonderful reward but Trinity Church 'aint no secret friends. Sometimes you just have to let go and be grateful for the experience, regardless of the package it arrived in.
So I left Brian in the heated fog of the 14th street subway station, eager for more of his stories, more of his art, and more of, just generally, him (though maybe after a nice shower, a nap, and some AC this time, since when did July return to NYC?). For the first time in a while, however, I genuinely had no clue if he felt the same, which, let's be honest, usually means they do not. But the really nice thing about these creative types is that their art lives on. And that I got to go home, make myself some lemonade iced tea, and watch his rocking trailer, realizing, perhaps for the first time, that the art is separate from the person. Regardless of how he felt, I was laughing and smiling and dancing on my toes all the same.
And I hope that for the men of this project, if I'm on your cutting room floor or left behind on the paint pallet, if the gate is locked open or the key just won't turn, that the same will hold true: regardless of how I've gotten here, it's been a wonderful place to end up.