Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wring Out The Old

I have known Terry Goldman for a long time, more than a decade but not quite a decade and a half. I was the first person he ever met online (though certainly not the last) and to show you how long ago it was, online then was a BBS in Los Angeles. And if you don’t know what a BBS is, you are probably too young to read this. Terry is a wonderful friend that I have hung out with in sunshine and now snow, in the desert and on the high seas. It’s been a grand adventure that continued on Saturday night in Chelsea.

Back in December after a long dry spell of not seeing each other, we went to see The Day The Earth Stood Still in IMAX and promised to become regular movie buddies in 2009. Last weekend, we had a gorgeous fatty meal at Outback followed by a bucket of popcorn at Gran Torino. Clearly, feeling on a roll, he suggested dinner, a movie and subsequent boozing this weekend. “We can see Bride Wars or The Unborn,” he suggested. Ugh. Is it January already?! Mercifully, we were spared a two hour sentence in wintry cinematic prison and opted instead for a huge dinner at ELMO, a popular eatery in the heart of gay Manhattan.

With house guests Ryan James and Andy in tow, along with Roommate, I was suddenly four in his ever growing dinner group, which eventually swelled to ten with even my neighbor Clayton thrown in to the mix. For some inexplicable reason, Terry invited only men who had the first letter J in their name: Jacob, Joe, Jeremy and JD. I kid you not that Jimmy and Jonathan were also invited at one point but for one reason or another were not there. For someone like me with so much trouble remembering names, this is mental suicide.

Jacob, Clayton and Terry were there waiting when I arrived, snuggled up close to the flirty DJ, and sandwiched between the plate glass front window and erstwhile party girl Zoe Murphy, her main gay, and what I suspect was her own mother, cooling their heels at the bar. I hadn’t seen Clayton since before the holidays so we had a lot of catching up to do. In short order, Joe arrived, followed by roommates Jeremy and JD. As I often do in these situations, when Terry told me that one of the people coming was on the Bravo series WorkOut, I for some reason thought it was Joe and assiduously avoided him, opting instead to sit next to JD, who it turns out was the reality show participant in question. The best laid plans of Mice and me.

It turned out that even our waiter was also a reality TV veteran, with three different shows to his credit. I am starting to think that reality shows are the new herpes. “Be careful going home with him. I hear he’s got a case of the MTV!!!” Waiter was very nice with a taut frame and the kind of ass you look forward to seeing in your face while he is waiting on the table next to you. But his TV exposure had apparently caused an outbreak that even infected his own apartment. When Terry asked him if he knew Davis from The Real World Denver, he became lovingly agitated. “He’s staying with me! He came for a couple of days and it’s weeks later and he is still there. I love him, but he has to go sometime!”

Despite having a reservation and waiting almost a full hour for our table, ELMO ended up splitting us up and putting us at two separate tables right next to each other. Clayton, Roommate, Andy and Ryan James squeezed into the booth across from us and I joined Terry and the J men at the table for six. Dinner went very smoothly but I started to sweat bullets when the check came. Looking around the table, I feared one of those situations where the check passes around and comes back seventy dollars short and everyone starts getting indignant about how they didn’t want to pay for an appetizer they only got one bite of while ignoring the three cocktails they consumed. We ended up only three dollars short and not wanting a fuss, I quietly threw in an extra five, grabbed my coat and started heading for the door.

Since Andy is underage, he and Ryan James went to the only 18 and over club in Manhattan, while the rest of us braved the cold two block journey to Barracuda for even more cocktails. As soon as we walked in, Terry informed me that Charlie was there, which was something of a relief. After a long meal of chit chat, it was nice to have someone else in the mix to talk to. Clayton and JD got cozy and Charlie became fascinated by Mike. “I love your roommate!” he gushed, ever the optimist, though he wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know. Meanwhile, Terry and I bounced around from person to person trying to keep all of the plates spinning properly, occasionally meeting up in the middle to strategize and relive the good old days.

At one point, while standing at the bar waiting to order more drinks, Mike and I gazed over at the hot bartender in the muscle shirt I have lusted after quietly since moving to NYC eight years ago. It made me a little sad. He is getting older. That means I am getting older too. You always notice your own age in other people before you see it in yourself, no matter how intense your daily wrinkle checks in the mirror may be. And it is always sadder. But as Terry and I stood in the noisy throng, discussing our friends and laughing at nothing, no time at all had passed for me. We were kids again, having fun at The Abbey, back when they still served just coffee and stale pie. I guess that is what keeps old friends together. No matter how old you are, they never get old for you.


McQ said...

Good one, D!

McQ said...

Good one Derek, so true, so true!

Anonymous said...

It is my first message here, so I would like to say hallo to all of you! It is definitely diversion to meet your community!