Date: Sat, 27 Aug
1994 00:12:34 -0400
RE: Dinner in New York, Part I
The Holland Tunnel entrance to New York City is only five minutes by car from where I live in Jersey City, so I decided to drive in for this historic occasion -- historic for me, that is. It would be the first time I'd ever met, in person, anyone I knew only via computer or on the net.
The distance from my brownstone (actually brickstone) to the Louisiana Community Bar & Grill is 4.8 miles. The LCB&G is between Houston and Bleecker Streets in Greenwich Village, only a block or two away from Washington Square. It was nostalgic for me to be back in that area; I went to school there (NYU) for three years.
The dinner had been set for 7:30. I got there around 10 of 8 and everyone else was already there, well settled in. They had obviously arrived on time. That suggested a cultural difference between ListDinnerMeets and New York Time. If you say 7:30 in New York, it means show up around 8-ish. But let me back up.
When I got to the LCB&G, I walked up to the very pretty girl manning the maitre-de's desk and told her I was meeting a party there, under the name "Emily." She smiled; it was one of those dazzling Julia-Roberts smiles. Well, maybe not quite that good, but I tell you, it was close. "Oh, yes, they're already here. Just walk straight back." I walked straight back and found myself looking into a small sea of people at tables with red-and-white checkered cloth. I walked back to the pretty maitre-de. "Uh," I said, "I actually don't <know> these people in the `Emily' party. Could somebody point them out to me?" A waitress escorted me back and pointed.
Emily, Marie, Tom, and Steve were there. We'd received a note of regret in the afternoon from Rashmi, who didn't feel up to dealing with traveling with her arm in a cast. Who can blame her? But we missed you, Rashmi.
The Louisiana Community Bar & Grill was a great choice by Emily. (She says she basically threw a dart at a page in a restaurant guide.) It's a lively, funky cajun joint, decorated with big gargoylish papier-mache masks of the sort you see at Mardi Gras, and it was populated by a young, animated, Friday-night crowd. High ceiling, exposed rafters, ceiling fans, some sections of wall brick, some wood. Colorful signs of a sort that I presume are common in cajun-country dives, like one that said, "Sweeny Snook's Mud Bug Boil." There was also a small band area; the band wasn't there, but a guy at the piano played this loud, bouncy music; some kind of ragtime, I guess.
That's the setting. Now, first things first:
The Beer Menu:
Selected Items from
the Liquor Menu:
This was not one of my tougher evenings. Here were two pretty young blondes, Marie and Emily, both librarians; Tom, modest and quietly funny, a library techie; and Steve, an economics professor. Words-L has what sports fans call deep bench. Steve looks to be around 40-ish, but Emily, Marie and Tom all seem to be in their 20s. Then there's me. Just call me Gramps.
WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT
This is the part you're waiting for, right? We talked about <you>, of course. Your charm. Your jokes. Your quirks. Your flames. Your list relationships. Your food preferences. Your political and philosophical beliefs. It's called Dishing the List.
Unfortunately I missed most of it because the joint was so noisy. But I had a good time. At least until our table got all riled up with people arguing about <censored>, and the name-calling and flaming started, with everyone getting red in the face and --
Okay, just kidding. Nothing like that happened. It really <was> hard to hear what everyone was saying. And the truth is, not much Dishing of the List went on. I learned a little (too little) about my dinner companions, who were all charming, smiley and good fun. We broke up relatively early, about 9:30, because Emily had to get to Penn Station to make a train to Long Island. I was home by 10.
Oh, before I forget, a message for Neal: Steve apologizes -- deeply, profoundly, profusely, copiously -- for missing you at the park. He thinks you were at different entrances; said something about there being an inner and an outer entrance, and he guessed you were at one and he was at the other. There seemed to be some discussion at his end of the table about the comparative virtues of roller coasters, but I couldn't hear it all. I gather he's a roller-coaster freak, also a trains and sailing buff. He had a twinkle in his eye and said he'd be back on the list in January. He had a camera, and a waitress was importuned to take a picture. She got off one shot, so whatever that is is what you get.
TOMORROW: DINNER IN NEW YORK, PART II
WHAT WE <REALLY> TALKED ABOUT-- YOUR <<<Extraordinarily Interesting>>> SEXUAL PECCADILLOES!!
Myles ("Does anyone mind if I leave this small, unobtrusive mini-recorder on the table?") Callum