Tag Archives: new york

Philia

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Yesterday was the not only the end of a year, but the end of my trip home to visit my family in North Carolina. I had planned and packed for a trip lasting only three days, but thanks to the Second North American Blizzard of 2010 aka Snowmageddon aka Snowpocalypse, I was in the Good Ol’ North State for nearly a week. Left with no choice, I took the earliest flight out of OAJ which was the 12:40pm flight with two connections, returning to LGA at 6:30pm on New Year’s Eve. After less than lovely flights on propeller planes, I almost succumbed to my bed’s calls. “I’ve missed you. You’ve missed me. Let’s catch up, shall we?”

“Some other time…” I had two hours to go from Frequent Flyer to Foxy New Year’s Eve Reveler. I could hear the tick of my mother’s kitchen timer in my head while I showered. Hurry hurry! You can’t miss this bus, the next won’t come for another hour. There would be no way you’d make it Downtown before midnight. My next thought left me frozen. You’d ring in the New Year, alone.

*Cue the Psycho scream*

Call it tradition or superstition, but for as long as I can remember, my New Year’s Eve celebrations have always been with loved ones and/or friends. The thought of me, alone, on a subway car between the Hunts Point and Longwood Avenue stops at the stroke of midnight was terrifying. Entering a new year surrounded by strangers? What would that mean for the rest of the year? Was my Spinster prophecy coming true? No, I cannot enter the New Year with negative thoughts. As I dressed, I began to spin the outcome and meaning of me ringing in the New Year solo. I moved back to New York in December 2001. Twenty-eleven will mark my ten year anniversary, for which I do plan to throw a party. I moved here alone, leaving all that was familiar behind in North Carolina. I was surrounded by strangers. I went from seeing the same people everyday to utter newness. I had no friends, didn’t know anyone in any of my classes. I even ate lunch alone. Were things coming full circle? You’ve got no time to think about this right now. Hurry hurry!

The transit gods were on my side. I caught my bus and the train showed up as scheduled. Leaping over piles of now tarnished snow, I arrived at our meeting place on time. However, my friends had not. They were on their way, but stuck in traffic. It’s 11:15 pm, no big deal. Fifteen minutes pass and then another fifteen. They still had not arrived. The pounding bass of the music was not enough to quiet my thoughts. It’s fate and a cycle completing itself. You can’t fight fate. Just let it be. My phone vibrates and interrupts my internal pep talk.

It’s a text. “Nside.” My arms fly above my head and my feet do a quick shuffle. People must have thought the DJ was playing my jam. He wasn’t and I didn’t care that I looked like Mumble in the middle of the dance floor. And as we counted down to midnight, the tradition continued. Philia had foiled my supposed fate.

Happy New Year!

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Thank God for Google Voice! Act III: Call Me a Cab

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Getting into a cab can sometimes feel like stepping into your doctor’s office. You know you may be faced with an embarrassing question that you’re not quite sure how to answer. I’ve been living in New York for nine years and the Cabbie Q & A, as I affectionately call it, kicks off with the same question every time…

Where is your husband?

Pretty painless. I know the answer to this one. I got this. “My husband? I don’t have one,” I say to the eyes floating in the rear-view mirror. A blink and a nod is returned to my response while a breath is drawn in. “Oh, well I am sure you have a boyfriend,” ninety-nine percent of the time comes next, which used to garner a, “Yes, I do,” out of me. Used to. The first time I quipped back, “Well, no. No I don’t,” I sat back, looked out the window and thought the interview was over. I was wrong.

Wow, I am really surprised a girl like you doesn’t have a husband or a boyfriend. You should be married. I am not married too. Would you like to marry me?

A cabbie proposal! I finally felt like a real New Yorker despite being born and semi-raised here. “You’re funny,” I say after a hearty laugh, only to realize there were no longer eyes in the rear-view. We were stopped at a light and he had turned around to look at me. Looking at me, waiting for my answer. My laugh melted like Frosty in Florida. A disappointed look was smeared all over his face as he explained to me that he was not kidding.

He was a forty-two year old man from Pakistan who had never been married. He said his parents had been putting pressure on him to marry a nice girl because, as he put it, time was running out. So he figured since I was unmarried and he was unmarried, we should marry. Creepiness aside, the whole thing sounded so apocalyptic. I got a mental image of us standing in the middle of Times Square after the world had ended. Light bulbs are flickering and shredded paper wafted in the air like Armageddon’s confetti. He is alone and I am too. Mankind depends on us to save the human race…

Pulling up to my house brings me back to reality. It is not the end of the world. He is not the last man on Earth and I am not the last woman, so I decline his offer. He pleads with me to think about it, cajoling me with free cab rides to and from work. These rides would provide us time to get to know each other. A riding engagement. Then we would marry and he would take me to Pakistan to meet his family, who would love a big-eyed girl like me. He would be all the husband I would ever want and I would be his queen. I again decline and he asks for my phone number so he can show me he is serious.

Now, I know you are thinking, “Just get out of the cab!”, but this man now knows where I live and it’s dark outside. And besides, the doors are locked. So, I give him my number… my Google Voice number, which he decides to test while I am in the cab. To his surprise, the number is not a fake and he unlocks the doors. “I hope I can get you to change your mind,” he says as I collect my things from the backseat. “And I hope you find the woman you’re meant to marry,” I call out as I close the door.

Thank God for Google Voice!

photo © Typhoonski | Dreamstime.com

Thank God for Google Voice! A Story in 3 Acts…

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Forget a new haircut.  A new pair of heels.  A new attitude.  The one thing no dating girl should be without is Google Voice.  My request for a GV number was answered a week into my new adventures in Singledom and could not have come at a better time.  Though I’ve only given out the number a handful of times, its endless worth is unmistakable.  Let me count the ways.

Act I. Jamal. 29. Internet Marketing.

Jamal approached me outside of Maoz as I about to cross the street.  “Excuse me,” he says, in such a tone that I thought he was looking to walk around me, not start a conversation, so I move to the left.  As we cross the street, he looks over and says, “That was an opening to talk to you.”  A wordsmith he is not. Once we cross, he formally introduces himself, chats me up a bit and actually gets a few laughs out of me. “You seem like someone I’d like to get to know,” he says and asks for my number. Awkward opening aside, he is upbeat, confident, the owner of a killer set of dimples. I oblige and give him my number. My Google Voice number.

It doesn’t have a local NYC area code which automatically draws a raised eyebrow from him. He clears his throat and sternly says, “Hold on, let me call you so you can have my number as well.” I know what that means… “This sounds like a fake number. I want to make sure your phone rings.” Phone to his ear, he’s studying my face for a trace of deceit, as if he had busted me. My rule is this: If I don’t know you and none of my friends know you, you’re a complete stranger. Strangers get the Google Voice number. Needless to say, my phone in fact does ring. “You thought it was a fake number,” I say upon answering. “Well, it didn’t sound like a New York number…”

Later that night he calls and boy was I glad I had not let those dimples sway my judgment. Gone is the easy-going cheerful guy I had met hours before. His tone is now accusatory, investigative. He asks me why I gave him my phone number, what I was looking for a in a man, and what I felt I had to offer. Jesus Christo, tranquilla papa! I felt I was being interrogated. I decide make the convo less SVU and more Sweet Valley and ask him what he does for fun, what his hobbies are. Simple enough question, right? “I like to think everything is fun. From working, to going to the club, to having sex. Even taking a shit is fun.” I laugh out a What?! only to realize he is completely serious about what he said. He then spits my question back at me with an air of “I couldn’t care less” in his voice. To make things worse, in response to everything I say, his response is, “Hmmm.” Hmmm? I’m growing increasingly annoyed. “What are you ‘Hmmm’-ing about?” I look at the clock… 11:30pm. “Oh goodness! I totally didn’t realize what time it was,” I say ever so sweetly. “I have to wake up early tomorrow, so I’m going to say goodnight, but it was nice talking to you.” He’s silent for a second. “Hmmm. Yeah, likewise.” Another Hmmm. I rolled my eyes so hard I gave myself a headache.

He texts me a couple of days later asking if I want to go out. I wonder, if I had texted back “No.” would he have texted back “Hmmm”? Oh well, if he decides to ring me again, he will be greeted with a recording saying that my number is no longer in service. Google Voice, you are a beauty.

Oh, and regarding what he said about my number not sounding like a New York number… it’s not. It’s a Florida number. Florida to reflect my sunny personality.