What Jews Do Round Christmas Time

I went to see “Colin Quinn: Long Story Short” on a Thursday night I had off from work and nothing to do.

Some friends had texted me about maybe helping them out with some Final Cut problems and coming over to my place bringing some beer, but they’d canceled a little after asking, causing no small amount of melancholy to form in me.

With my most frequent quasi-roommate John Beamer back in Palo Alto again for the holidays, I wasn’t relishing going home with nothing to do and no one to talk to there.

Somehow, even when you’re in a relationship, even if you can’t see the person you want, times like those seem more bearable.

Though walking around the movie theater last night, waiting for shows to get out, I thought about all the times Eva never called me back or answered my text messages, when we were together, especially towards the end. Did she not want to talk to me, even then?

Anyway, it was a good idea to see the show, as it would garner me some company for the night.

I even went back, after some absent-mindedness, to my old lunchtime spot, Good N’ Plenty to Go over on 43rd St, where they still remembered me and even where I worked now.

Sometimes, having the illusion of friends like that can be enough when you’re feeling low. It’s probably why I wanted to go to a Chili’s after my last funeral.

The show was good, smart. Mr. Quinn was more energetic and engaged than I had ever seen him previously in his comedy and what’s more, he’d really worked out some funny characters, which was nice to see him expanding, since he was always known for his Brooklyn-y dry wit.

Courtesy of some good timing and an (expired) Student ID, I had a front row-left seat by myself in the theater and at the end of the show when I stood up to applaud, Mr. Quinn called me out from the stage, not by name, but by a double take, pointing to me and saying “Angelika!”.

After the show, I waited by the stage door with my program for him to sign, by myself. It was a slow, cold Thursday night and he seemed to expect me when he came out with his hat.

Our conversation was short, made sillier by his assistant (girlfriend?) who (of course?) instantly recognized me from “that Bethenny show” and wanted to talk about it.

When Mr. Quinn signed my program, it was to “Some guy who’s more famous than me”.

I wrote him an email yesterday, before going in to the movie theater, apologizing for talking about me and not congratulating him enough and thanking him for all the advice he’d given me.

I mentioned that my girlfriend had dumped me, a situation he referenced, in other cases, a couple times in the show.

He answered me a few hours later.

Nice guy, that Colin Quinn.

***

I had needed emergency text interventions by Rob Malone and Chadd Harbold the other night to keep from contacting Eva. I say emergency and maybe it’s fair, because I did want to talk to her, but similar to suicidal thoughts and actions, it’s much different to tell someone you’re thinking about something than to just do it.

Chadd and Rob though were buddies, as many of my friends have been, trying to step up to deal with my sometimes collapses.

Chadd tried to give me some practicals about th ways such things worked, having known as both dumper and dumpee, while Rob just tried to hit at my melancholy and sympathize, just saying that it wouldn’t make things better.

It’s been affecting me still in big ways and small.

I saw “The Illusionist” today, at its first how at the Paris, a wonderful theater, if you’ve never been there and a wonderful movie.

The film is about, for a part, relationships and accepting their decay and living in the sadness of them. I cried a lot at the end, which is appropriate to the film, but I can’t there weren’t some scenes that brought up memories to me.

My work had a holiday party the other day, which was fun, full of presents and sandwiches and drinks.

But the party, in a way, was just like the job: trying to connect with people who aren’t interested in your life.

As I sat, getting slowly drunker. I saw Andy with his easy-going So-Cal charm float freely and happily between people, while I just behind bottles making drinks, trying to feel like I had a purpose, if not a place.

As my co-workers flirted and kissed and bopped each other on the head and recounted stories, I fell deeper and deeper into myself, away from everything and finally, back home.

Alcohol lately has seemed like a trap to me, something that just sends me spiraling backwards towards thinking of her, puzzling out what we had, asking questions, finding unsatisfying answers.

And as for Mr. Quinn’s advice, the implementation seems hard.

As my therapist somewhat predicted, I have been “active” on the dating website I’m on, a feat made easier by the discovery, almost laughably, that it would seem that all my single friends are actually already on there.

It’s a mark of their comfort versus my discomfort that I could text a friend the other night, only to have him tell me he was “OKCupid dating”, a fact he had never revealed to me before, shot so casually in response to a “hey whatsup”.

I guess a positive out of all this is I feel less bad about my pratfalls, when a girl doesn’t respond to a smile in real life, or a message virtually, I don’t feel bad like I once would, judging myself for it. I feel good that I’ve put myself out there, step forward. It’s a numbers game, after all, just like college or jobs or anything else. You just got to find someone who’s looking for and who can give what you have, like a set of gloves or shoes.

I guess there’s some freedom in accepting you’re not the right fit for everyone.

Still, it would be nice if someone tried you on, once in a while.

***

I’d be remiss I guess if I didn’t say “Merry Christmas” to people.

As a Jew, this sort of day fills me with the sort of questioning ennui only made less painful by the sense that there are X million other Jews feeling about the same way right now too.

After I saw the movei with my grandma, we headed down to The Plaza Food Hall, a favorite spot of ours, to eat some lunch.

My grandma has a way about her, with her glamorous natural-red hairdo, more sensible and lighter than my hair, though you could see the resemblance.

Anyway, we skipped past various Omaha-ans and Frenchies to be seated in the crowded Todd English joint.

“Oh, Nicholas!” She exclaimed in her particular way, throwing her hands up on her comically high stool. “You should have last Christmas! I went by the Jewish museum and there was such a line!”

“Weird.” I replied,¬†monosyllabically. “Why’s that?”

“One of the only options, I believe for entertainment for us on Christmas.” She opined. “Ooh and look at these people next to us! Swedish I think!”

The people were sitting but inches from us on a communal table.

“Excuse me,” She asked excitedly. “But are you Swedish?!”

The blond woman in glasses politely replied “Denmark.”

“Oh, but close enough!” Grandma said. I knew somewhere ex-Scandanavian Jonny-Jon-Jon was laughing at what was certainly in insult to the self-considered superiority of the Danish.

“Oh, but Nicholas!” she exclaimed further. “Do you know how the Danish pronounce Copenhagen?”

“Huh?” I replied.

“Kwapin! Kwapenin!” She said excitedly. I spared myself looking over at the people next to us. “The funniest! The funniest language!”

And our meal continued.

In addition to the Spit-Roasted Chicken flatbread pizza that was my usual dish there, I tried the “Risotto Tater-Tots”, tiny rice balls breaded and filled with white truffle cheese and some delicious garlic aioli.

They were delicious, but what more I can say about them, for the break in conversation they elicited, the people next to us seemed relieved.

***

THE PLAZA FOOD HALL

Risotto Tater-Tots w/White Truffle Cheese + Garlic Aioli- $8

Central Park South bet. 5th and 6th Avenues.

NR to 5th Avenue

***

BONUS-

Sometimes I use this area to plug things and I’m happy to do that today for some really funny stuff. Fellow film-schooler and current improv buddy Ben Perry has a pretty “dope” hip-hop group that you might have heard of called “Buckwheat Groats”. These guys are blowing up and they don’t need my help, but since I was the first comment on their new video on YouTube, I feel like I should at least mention it here.

It’s called “(Take U 2 Da) Shopping Mall” and, I should mention, my favorite moment has to be the “Hot Topic girls”.

Enjoy!

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One Response to What Jews Do Round Christmas Time

  1. Lisa says:

    Your grandma happens to be one of this world’s true grande dames and there is none to rival her. Almost everytime I am with her, someone stops us to remark to either her or me on her beauty, elegance and grace. I hope you actually feel delighted and lucky to have her, because she loves you so much and has a great sense of humor to boot. Merry everything!

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