Big Time New Years Deal.
For a concurrent view of this trip, please see Petullant.
So, I went away for New Years.
I was invited to a dinner party and after a little initial waffling, decided to go.
Ms Laura Llew drove up on the 30th. She was 2 hours early (she us Llaura Lleadfoot), so I didn't have time to make the appropriate Andes Mint Cookies and hot cocoa. Fortunately, this was the only disappointment on the trip. We went to Henry's and Lantern for drinks -- well, I drank -- and mooched around campus for a bit. We broke into Old Playmaker's Theater and nosed around as well for a bit.
Amusingly, we ran into Gordon, the Coolest Bartender in These Parts, while at Lantern. He told us how he thought BWWBR had MS till re realized he was just very drunk. Then I taught Gordon how to make Sazeracs. Then he made another one for me on the house that was better than the first.
We left early on the 31 to glamorous* Jersey City. Well, early for me, 10.30. We zipped through Durham and Richmond, got on I-95 and zipped though DC and left the South listening to The SantaLand Diairies We stopped outside Baltimore (in Finksburg) to drop off books to a Random House warehouse. It was closed, contrary to what had be promised the Llew. I left my own form of criticism**. Fortunately, this necessitiated a longer stay so we could drop off the books on the 2nd. About this point we saw a sign that created the expression "Jesus Doesn't Do Smack."
We ate our meal at a Bob Evans (I had a Chicken Cordon Blue Sandwich with tasty fries. Llew had an omelette without many of the listed ingredients.)
I fell asleep at one point, clutching the bag of CDs like a teddy. This was, apparently, quite Cute.
Then we got back in the car and zipped across Delaware (mean little state with mad tolls: I disapprove) and into Joisey. We got in Jersey City about 8.30. We found Brian's place and Llew managed to parallel park nearby. Now, the funny part was as we argued about who would ring the buzzer, people were watching. And, I suspect, laughing. But they let us in.
Brian and Matt, his boyfriend, were our hosts***. Will and his girlfriend Katy were there, and a little bit later Laurel appeared. We ate fondue and spicy sausage stew. I drank a rum and coke. We watched Trading Spaces (had never seen it and found it tedious) a Channel 4 show called Spaced (the newest trend? I dunno, I'd never heard of it but found it amusing). At midnight, we went outside and listened to fireworks we couldn't see and drank champagne and a fascinating raspberry champagne. After that, we watched an episode of The Gold Girls -- one where Rose has a triple bypass -- because Laurel had never seen the show before. We listened to Tatu (?), a group of Ukranian Teenage Lesbians covering "How Soon Is Now." Then Laura and I walked back to Laurel apartment, maybe three blocks away, where we were staying. I must have fallen asleep within 20 minutes, throwing myself on the floor when Llew claimed the couch. Or so I am reliably informed. This was 2 am.
We woke up late the next morning to have brunch at a place called The Coach House. It was filled with amusing Jersey stereotypes. There were old ladies with flourescent light blue eyeshadow and fake leopard fur shawls and toughs in a party of 10 trying to get in ("Who do you have to be to get in here, God?" "Jesus, party of 12!") I wanted them to continue talking despite the fact they were terribly loud and obnoxious. We also met Ben there. I had a Spicy Buffallo Chicken Sandwich. Llew had another omellette.
After bruch, we stopped off at a Kohl's in Secaucus (late the home of W H Allen, imported of Target Dr Who books) to exchange Ben's sheets. Then we went through the Lincoln Tunnel -- "Lincoln dug this with his bare hands" -- to the Algonquin Hotel. We had $13 cocktails (my biggest expense on the trip, actually) that were quite good. I had a drink named after Woolcott's radio show, Brian (Matt had gone back home and Ben to somewhere else) had one named Woolcott's suite, a Wit's End, I beleive, and Laurel a martini. We smoked in the Blue Bar.
Then we went to Grand Central Station ("You can look up now.") of which I was secretly thrilled to see because I used to have the great picture of it in my dorm for years. We walked from there to a store called H&M, with Llew and I about 20 paces behind Laurel and Ben, with me gawking at the buildings and Laura avoiding heating grates.
Did I mention it was pissing rain and 30 degrees? It was.
We nosed around the store, me attempting to thaw and dry simultaneously, and debated me buying another fuzzy hat. I didn't. After that, we hoofed it the flagship Banana Republic store. Usually, this would have had me in three kinds of extasy, but since I couldn't afford Jack, it was a bit pointless.
We opted next to go to a bookstore called Rizzoli's (I think) and walked some more. On the way -- quite unexpected, I might add -- we passed Rockefeller Center, complete with Tree. I was secretly floored, since nobody had even mentioned we'd pass it. I stared. We stopped at a Japanese bookstore, Kuni-something, where I read up an hamster care (I was doing it all wrong, apparently) and Hamtaro.
Then we hit Rizzoli's just before it closed and they kicked us out. They had "art" books by Bel Ami there. I wanted one.
We caught a taxi (my second) to Penn Station for Llew to meet her date. (Oooohhhhh... It went well). After we say them off, we took the PATH train back to Jersey City.
Laurel and I spent the rest of the night waiting up on Llew, watching a Vin Diesel movie (actualyl quite good) called Pitch Black and eating Chinese Food. When Laura got back -- ecstatic, as I predicted -- she was thoroughly debriefed. I fell asleep quite quickly again.
We woke up the next morning and stopped at a coffee shop called Grounds. I inadvertantly left the barista a $15 tip -- I had used a $20 to pay, then another single for the 4 cents change, telling him to keep the change. He looked at me funny, but said nothing. Once I got outside, I realized my mistake and dashed back in. I mean, he was cute, but niether he nor the chai was *that* good.
We met Brian on the way out and said our goodbyes. (Laura got a cool book from Brian.) I only left two rings, surprisingly. We only made one wrong turn on the way back to the NJ Turnpike (my fault, as I am an awful navigator) and zipped not stop back to Finksburg. They were open this time and we dropped of our books.
And I swiped a recording of Anne Rice's Merrick read by Derek Jacobi from a box marked "trash." Llew disappoved. We ate there again, at a Ruby Tuesday. I had a cheeseburger; Llew, a veggie burger.
Traffic outside DC was awful, as in the 3 hour delay variety. We missed the exit onto I-85 from I-95, but found a little cut through in Dinwiddie County, VA.
We got back about 11.30 and pretty much crashed. In the morning, Laura followed me to the Interstate as I drove to work.
Then I worked. I was quite dull, as life generally has been since then.
*I saw this with no irony.
**As I told Laura, don't ask, don't tell.
***These boys have the most gorgeous apartment I've ever seen. I'll probably go on about it at length soon.
Oh, this was long.
Regular service to resume soon.