It was a good writing group last night.
It was small, but there would good people.
And we drank about “the right amount” of beer, enough to make the rest of the night feel cushioned without feeling hazy.
Not a lot of people came.
Blake was back in San Diego (though he’d usually have some basketball excuse anyway).
Langston and Emmeline were working on a hellish shoot from which I had barely been able to speak to them over the last several weeks.
Even Eva was too tired from Babysitting to come right round, though she stopped by to play scrabble and to kiss me.
It was Rob though who gave the lamest excuse:
“Sorry, bro.” The text read. “Forgot about it. Also, just put in my laundry. Also, meeting my roommate later.”
“So, leave the laundry.” I replied. “And see your roommate later. She’s your roommate.”
“Nah, it’s more of a sublet.” Rob replied. “Maybe I’ll start my drinking later.”
And that was the end of the conversation.
“Wow.” said Dan Pardue. “That’s like the archetype of an excuse someone would give to not go somewhere. I mean, ‘I’ve gotta put my laundry in’? Oh no, what will happen if I leave my laundry!”
The table laughed and I felt less paranoid/annoyed that Rob hadn’t shown up.
The writing group had been dwindling lately, half out of work obligations on all our parts and for my part, out of concern that writing movies was what I should be doing.
After all, I still had a lucrative career in movie theater servicing to look forward to.
But I’d come back and wrote a passionate e-mail out to listserv members asking anyone and everyone to come, bring their friends, enjoy the beer.
It was longer than that, but that was at least the short of it.
Which had led at least Dan Pardue and his girlfriend Mary Helen to come on by, along with an awkward encounter where Mary Helen’s dad heard me utter some passing profanities.
They had meant to bring some stuff, but they got their file formats mixed up. Still, they brought some good cheer and some witty (and mercifully readable) sarcasm, which was welcome at the table.
We gabbed about Scott Pilgrim and Andy Roehm’s Grizzly Bear Docu-Horror movie.
I even brought in some pages from the feature I hadn’t written in two months.
I felt pretty proud, even if no one knew the context of my measly 4.2 pages but me.
Ant Jones, the other stalwart of the group other than so-cal duder Andy, was in good cheer and good braces and we scared each other with our attempts to hug.
The only bummer was when we all walked off and I had to wander home down Houston by myself.
I tried to fill the void in my life with food, adding up little things.
I stopped by my old standby Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwiches to grab a now 5-dollar (once 4) Chicken Bahn Mi which, as always, was delicious and crunchy and warm.
My only disappointment was that, when I went in, the small TV screen that usually shows South Park or The Simpsons for the employees’ and the customers benefit was instead, to my horror, showing the end of the movie Hitch.
“Is this… Hitch?” I asked, visibly dismayed, to the attendant sandwich-maker.
He gave me a grave nod, without turning from the screen.
Unfortunately, I found myself under the spell too, staring at the screen as Will Smith and Eva Mendes attempted various funky-chicken style dances down their wedding aisle at the movie’s finale.
I think this movie made like 500 million dollars.
When I left, I doubled up with a Samosa Chickpeas from Punjabi Deli over on Houston between 1st and A. I condescended to the guy behind the counter there when he told me the sauce I was putting on was spicy, when I told him I wanted the tamarind sauce.
“I know that.” I said with a sneer, only for him to take out the actual tamarind sauce and for me to feel like a total douche.
Now that I’ve started working in the service industry, I’ve tried to get more aware of how I treat people who might be in similar positions.
Sill-i-ly, I believe it all comes back karmically when you get on shift, but that hasn’t stopped me from being a jackass about food.
Still, I tried to make up for it when I saw a truck called inexplicable “Hearts Challenger” on Houston outside American Apparel.
I should have been turned off by both the placement of the truck and the kitschy Japanese toys inside of it, but the truck was comically small and they had some kinds of ice cream I hadn’t seen before mixed with regular stuff like creamsicles, so I sat down to finish my chickpeas and order something cold.
I ended up having a nice talk with the lady about her truck, the ice cream, what people order mostly and the story behind the name (she advised me to check out their website, which features what I believe are dancing rhinestone unicorns).
She pointed me towards Mochi, which I believe I had heard about in various video games/anime I had engaged in nerdily, but never tried.
They ended up being dollops of ice cream wrapped in a chewy light dough.
At 3 bucks for 2, they seemed about right, like a mini-cupcake.
The one on the right was strawberry, which the lady recommended. The one of the left was chocolate because “you can’t go too wrong with chocolate.”
They both did an admirable job of cooling down my mouth after I had doused it with hot sauce from the chickpeas.
They were almost like a frozen cream puff, but better I thought, as I never cared for how crunchy and plain a cream puff exterior was.
I write about the writing group because it’s the section of my life I feel is the most productive right now.
I’m still doing shifts in the movie theater (alright), I saw The Other Guys for free (pretty terrible), I even got half-offered a few jobs (we’ll see).
I ended up chasing down a friend from work, who quit recently, but still comes by for free films.
When he told me he worked at Mexicue, the famous/new/hot Mexican BBQ truck, I sort of freaked and tracked him down for some sliders.
As Alex, my work friend, had explained to me, MExicue sells sliders and tacos so that you end up spending 10-12 dollars on a menu that tops out at a 4-dollar item. This is because 1 taco won’t do you. You have to have at least to be good and 3 to be full.
I ended up getting 3 grilled chicken sliders. And if they weren’t as good as they looked, it’s because I’m not sure if there was anyway they could have been.
Those sliders looked damn good.
Grilled jalapenos, a brioche roll for each slider and what looked like some tomatillo-guac combo on top.
They were good, but I just watered looking at them.
It was 9 for all 3 of them, though Alex later told me he had told the cashier to hook me up (he didn’t).
I ate them in the park, ran in to an old friend, walked with her awhile and went to a doctor’s appointment.
When my old friend asked me what I’d been doing uptown I pointed at the truck.
“Just for that?” She asked.
NICKY’s VIETNAMESE SANDWICHES
Chicken Bahn Mi (w/Sriracha but no jalapenos)- $5.00
2nd St bet. Ave A. and Ave. B
F to Lower East Side- 2nd Av
Samosa Chickpeas (w/yogurt, onion, tamarind and
2 Mochi (any flavor)- $3.00
SW corner of Orchard and Houston (in front of American Apparel) 6:30-11pm nightly
F to Lower East Side 2nd Ave.
3 Grilled Chicken Sliders- $9.00
Position changes daily (follow @mexicue on Twitter)