At The Argo Tea Cafe

November 1, 2011

Going home always instills feelings of being home.

If you know what I mean.

In this case, going home meant comments from my parents and my sister about my appearance and grooming habits, obligatory letting my grandmother hold the crook of my elbow and, of course, dressing up in clothes I would never wear for others’ amusement.

This was a favorite game of my sister’s and my mother’s for as a far back as I can remember. Everyone would get very excited about “Let’s see Nick in that!” and I, who have always hated “clothing” in the aesthetic sense, would protest and squirm, maybe have a tantrum or run out in a huff, differing from which point of my childhood or adolescence this was happening in.

It was always at some sort of all-family gathering though, where the social pressure is highest and this time was no different.

It was my grandmother’s birthday, the night before Halloween, and in her attempt to constantly pawn clothing off on me, she had brought a top hat and “two different capes!” (her emphasis, not mine) for me to try on, presumably for some sort of halloween experience. My friends, Rob Malone, Matt Chao, Chadd Harbold and Frank Orio had all gathered as well (at my mother’s request) and they joined in on the pressuring which had a particular pervasive take this time.

First it was my grandmother just mentioning that she had brought the aforementioned hat and capes to the room in her up-tone excited voice as if she was saying “I have a great i-dea!” which then stayed in the room like germs from a lingering cough infecting the air as my parents heard, my friends heard and eventually my sister who, of course, was entirely enamored of the idea.

As I helped my mother set up the very nice dinner she had cooked for everyone, I heard my friends talk with my sister from across the room, feeling the onset in the back of my mind. As my sister continued to inflate the idea like a hot-air balloon, I grew more and more tense as I pointed out the almonds that could be toasted for topping the couscous, building to that moment in the back of my mind.

Slowly, my friends were infected by my sister’s charm and enthusiasm for the idea. Matt Chao, with his penchant for nerdy ideas and general geekery, was, as expected, the first to fall.

“You know what we should do?” I heard from across the living room. “We should see Nick try on that top hat and capes!”

“Yeah!” My sister instantly seconded.

“Oh, that would be won-derful!” My grandmother exclaimed.

“Damnit Cec.” I replied. “You rigged this.”

“I didn’t rig anything.” She said, putting on a faux-shocked face.

“Come now, dearest Nick.” My grandmother told me grabbing the crux of my arm.

“Goddamnit.” I told myself as the traitor Chao and my sister continued cackling from the back of the room, because now if I didn’t do it, I would be disappointing my grandmother at her birthday celebration.

My friends gathered round and Matt Chao took the picture with an iPad 2 that was definitely going to destroy his life (he already found an MMORPG to play on it) as we filed into the other room.

There I was getting dressed up again. I think I even called it out.

It didn’t look too bad.

And I hadn’t bought a costume.

I took it with me in a bag home at the end of a nice dinner with my friends and wore it the next day at the Magnet Theater’s Halloween party.

I hadn’t done any other work on it or changed my clothes, so I just told people I was a magician.

I had a pint of whiskey that I kept taking out (diet, folks) and people asked me if my costume was drunken magician and I said, yes, that seemed appropriate.

I made sure to take good care of it, like my mother texted me and said.

Magician Nick, the end.

***

I asked my therapist today a rhetorical question. Or maybe not a rhetorical question, maybe just a want or a desire.

I asked: “When is therapy going to help me improve my love life?”

I’m coming up on a year since I’ve been in anything really meaningful.

I weighed in yesterday at 182.4.

The Accutane seems to be working even though it’s making my skin dry as hell (the doctor told me this was to be expected and was not permanent).

I even perform some funny comedy and people are starting to agree that the stuff I do doesn’t suck. Scott Adsit sat it on the show I did last week and people seemed to like my sketch I brought in on my Magnet team.

I look at myself in the mirror and see someone who could be with somebody, see someone worthwhile, someone worth at least a date or two.

I feel like people keep speaking past me, like they’re unable to connect, like they’re interested in observing me or looking from a distance or having my acquaintance.

Several times in the past week, I’ve had young ladies tell me “I’m a big fan of your blog” seeming to mean both “I really enjoy your writing” and “Nothing will ever happen between us”.

One of them even said this probably knowing that I had talked about her rejecting me through process of ignoring me on it (Ladies, feel free to comment if this is something that does make you feel good or a fan of something).

There’s something funny about that to me (even if it’s glaringly obvious), the idea that my ability to articulate who I am and what I feel is the very thing that is both what intrigues people and also causes them to make sure they keep a proper distance. I feel like perhaps people wish they could be open or wish they could be honest or unashamed or public with their thoughts. But as have that sanctity of themselves that they choose, that privacy, they don’t want to be dragged into the zeitgeist and who could blame them?

Or they could just not be in to me, that’s fine too.

I still haven’t returned (yet) to OKCupid, though I have returned to going to a party or two and drinking hoping for something dumb to happen, always with disappointing results.

When I told my therapist my rhetorical question, she told me:

“You came to me a few years ago with a strong idea: that you wanted someone who would accept you for who you are, take you or leave you. And that’s good. But you’ve realized that you can change your appearance somewhat, you can put your best “you” forward, without changing essentially who you are.”

But there’s also something to be said for the repercussions of being a public person, it’s a strong choice to live like that, but people may react strongly.

As I was writing this, I got a message from someone on OKCupid, a reply from a message I sent 6 months ago.

 

Well, ladies. I guess I’m still on the market.

***

I apologize for the blurriness of this photo, only vouching in my defense that it is difficult to take a good picture of something when you have an intense desire to eat it immediately.

When I first passed “Za’atar” on Greenwich Avenue it immediately struck me as small and strange and oddly cavernous, a wild, ethnic joint offering 3-buck falafels amidst a string of mid-level restaurants and haute-crap bars.

It’s on my path both of walking to the “Improv Ghetto” (26th-30th sts bet 6th and 8th Aves) from my home and also just a preferred path for general walking for me. I love streets that are diagonals in New York City and Greenwich Avenue is one of the greatest and steepest offenders.

I passed it several late nights where I saw it oddly open with a hijab-clad woman working the back but it wasn’t till I was looking for a meal, running late for a rehearsal I had committed inanely to walking to that I ended up there.

The time I went a skinny, short older man manned the area, while what appeared to be a railroad-style hobo (of the type one used to see in Greenwich Village) sat in the front eating from a plate of kidney beans.

He said he was from “Damascus, Syria” when I asked him and asked me if I wanted “everything” to which I said yes.

What I got ended up as 5, as opposed to the advertised 3 dollars, but hell if it wasn’t worth it.

Light and crisp, but packed falafels, stuffed into a well-toasted whole wheat pita, with non-pickle cucumbers, lettuce, tomato, lightly-pickled onions, tahina, hummus and a potent, but sweet hot sauce.

It was the sort of falafel you wolf down and then spend several minutes after just contemplating the accomplishment.

I’ll have to go back to Taim and do a side-by taste-test.

But this is certainly one of the best falafels in New York City and quite a find.

***

ZA’ATAR

Falafel w/Hummus + “Everything”- $5.00

Greenwich Ave. bet 6th and 7th Aves.

123L to 14th St-7th Ave. ACEBDFM to West 4th St.

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On The Chopping Block

October 19, 2011

I found this outside my house the other night and just felt like climbing it.

A stacked pile of sheet-metal, probably once covering the road repair work taking place on perpendicular Prince St, built-up into what would have made a really awesome ramp for some skateboarding (longboarding?) kids in an attempt to jump both a motor-scooter and a car, or maybe just a good excuse to skateboard on top of some cars.

I just walked up it and jumped off in a nice display of something to do on a walk home.

If Matt Chao had been around, he would have referred to it as a display of “ninja-ing”.

But it was just me, so it was just walking up some shit.

Did I say I was feeling happy with my life?

I guess I have some excuses.

Nice things have been happening for me.

A funny sketch (more on this later) that a friend  from my improv team, Charles Rogers, directed went up and I was pretty proud of my performance and how it turned out.

I got put on a mini-sort of sketch team at the Magnet Theater which is actually kind of a big deal to me.

The Magnet Theater is a place I respect that has become sort of a home base for me, a place I go when I’m depressed or have nothing todo, or just to sit or use the bathroom. The little mini-sort-of team I got on is one of the first times I’ve been recognized as somebody sort of “cool” there (other than the generally supportive atmosphere) and it means that I get to put up sketches, I get to write them, have a deadline. The other people on my team are really talented performers most of whom I know and respect. It seems daunting but was fun and Armando Diaz, my teacher, is there directing everything and my sketches I was trying to kill before reading, even got some laughs.

Of course, I can’t feel good about myself without killing it for me and, the way I see it, unlike the other guys who were all invited because they were funny, I kind of emailed Armando on a tip from my friend Teddy (who had been on a team before) and just said kind of :

“Hey need anyone to write sketches? Because, uh, I’ve done that before. Yup.”

And I’m guessing the thought process was something like:

“Sure, I guess. Why not just invite him to this thing I invited everyone else to?”

But it felt good to sit in that room, to know I was on my first sketch team, that somehow I snuck in to this weird pseudo-thing.

I felt back to the place in my life where I was doing things and gaining pleasure from that.

It was nice to feel.

But then again, my romantic life continues to go nowhere.

I tried throwing myself back into online dating, OKCupid or whatever, but it just seems too weird to me still, too much of an emotional commitment. My therapist put it that I lacked the “emotional stamina” for it and that seems about right.

I asked a girl out the other night and she took about 3 minutes before saying no and somehow that period of contemplation still rests on me, somehow seeing that someone actually took the time to think about it before coming to the decision that this (read: me) was probably a bad idea.

I’m seeing my dermatologist tomorrow and I’m going to tell him that I want acutane, the strange, synthetic form of Vitamin A that apparently cures acne forever though there unsure why.

Part of the reason is easy, I’m cursed with acne on my back and shoulders, making it hard to sit in a chair sometimes (you wonder why I don’t get dates) and occasionally I get those big gross pimples (“cystic acne”) on my face and neck and they don’t go away and can’t be easily squeezed as I used to my teenage-brand.

But the other part seems more self-destructive or self-illuminating (self-clarifying?).

Now that I’ve lost a bunch of weight, now that I feel again like I’m doing something with my life, performing and learning (as opposed to just learning), I’ve got a job (still, for now) and a witty disposition, I guess I want to strip away all those venal things that could turn away people until I just get a solid judgement for me.

The acne on my back is invisible (except when I talk about on these blog pages) to everyday people, but the acne on my face sucks. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a real jawline, to be able to shave? Wouldn’t I look nice?

I want to reach that point again where I can look in the mirror and find myself attractive without too many qualifiers, where I can find and appreciate the distance between my perception of myself and how others perceive me. It’s an informational tool, but also some sort of self-destructive request.

That is, I just want to see someone look at me and reject me for all the progress I’ve made. Or accept me.

A reminder: Of course all of this is silly. As I’ve said before, my mantra is there is “No Honor, No Shame” in attraction. Some people like to fuck in Elmo suits. Some people like super-models. Some people have elderly fetishes or role-play. Attraction is a relative thing and you feeling attraction or receiving attraction (or the inverse) has neither honor nor shame to it.

But just as I’ve said before, when you choose to change your appearance, you lose the strength and happiness that comes with not giving a shit and it cannot be regained.

As my friends Jon Bander and Matt B. Weir and I discussed as I distracted them from writing for their new show (“What To Get”), it’s just like learning about movies:

A child or an uneducated adult appreciates a film as an act of magic, feats which they cannot possibly reproduce given unto them.

Someone however who learns about narrative or filmmaking or even just reads a lot, soon loses that magic as they see the craft, the seams, the tricks being played on them, the audience. They can never again experience that same ignorant or innocent magic of filmmaking. But they can see a movie they love and get close, they can see something that takes them away.

An adult’s appreciation vs. a child’s.

I want to get to that place where I can respect myself again. Where I can see myself and think I’m attractive, that there’s nothing wrong with me. That what I have is acceptable.

It’s a difficult place to find or to be.

My doctor’s appointment is tomorrow.

***

So as I said earlier, more on the funny sketch later: My dad didn’t find it funny.

“That was really intense.” My dad said on the phone about my performance. “But it wasn’t supposed to be funny, right?”

“Ok, Dad, I’ll talk to you later.” I replied.

“Why?” He asked. “Wait was it supposed to be funny?”

“It’s fine, talk to to you later Dad.” I replied.

I hung up and then again he called me and eventually I just did have to flat out explain to him that yes, it was supposed to be funny and that no, he did not find it funny, and that it’s okay, it doesn’t make me feel great, but that I’d rather not talk about it or go through the inevitable series of reconsiderations or “Well…” statements that accompany parental recriminations.

Of course this later came in the form of my mother calling me and saying:

“Nick, I just wanted to call to let you know, I saw that video of you and it was REALLY FUNNY. Catch that? I thought it was REALLY FUNNY. I just wanted to make sure you understood that.

“Yes, Mom.” I replied. “I’m actually about to go to class.”

And the point was taken.

Later on that night, I did pretty well in a potentially stressful return to UCB classes, a place where I have a problem feeling judged and saw a fun show with my old teacher (the wonderful Cheslea Clarke) and my new teacher (Brandon Gardner, who seems like a pretty nice guy), where my friend Jeff got to get up and play somehow with Ben Schwartz and Neil Casey, both a pleasure, and I had to stand outside explaining to people I knew from high school the etiquette of OKCupid in front of (but not to) my old high school crush.

“Look, the way it works,” I explained. “Is that you can’t just go and tell someone that you’re not interested that you want to be friends with them. If they just put themselves out there and had that expectation and you rejected them, fine no problem, but to say oh let’s hang out, is to say ‘I’m so awesome that even though I just rejected you and you are probably crushed you want to hang out with me despite that.”

That last part the crowd’s talk just seemed to part so my old crush from high school could hear.

But that’s good, fuck her.

I mean I’m sure she’s a nice person so I’m sorry, world, but really, I’m sick of people acting emotionally oblivious in dating situations.

Just not feeling it any more.

Yeah.

***

Sometimes, I just want to do something nice for myself.

There are those days, you know?

I was up early, I trapsed all the way to NYU, hadn’t eaten in over 12 hours in preparation for a fasted blood test, was wandering the streets woozy having only eaten a post-blood test banana I had been carrying around for an hour.

And I saw Les Halles right there on Park on my way to the train.

And just decided screw it, I’m going.

I don’t care if everything comes with “frites”.

My one concession to my diet was asking for whole-wheat bread for my sandwich, since it tastes great and that isn’t the fun part anyway.

My waiter somehow found it (despite it not being on the menu) and brought out my simple chicken sandwich, deliciously prepared.

As I sat on that Park Avenue sidewalk, my ‘wich was the envy of businessmen, passersby.

I relished my frites dipping them each individually, crunchilly into the waiting ketchup,

The herb mayo even complimented the sweetness of the whole grain bread.

I polished everything off with gusto.

And damnit.

I still weigh the same.

***

BRASSERIE LES HALLES

Sandwich de poulet, Frites: quatorze euros

À Avenue Parc entre les rue vingt-huit et vingt-neuf (28th et 29th)

Prenez le metro sixième (6) à la rue vingt-huit (28th St)

 

 

 

 

 


Dating

September 3, 2011

A lot of annoying things happened to me this week, but the worst was done by someone who didn’t even mean it. Who meant well. I’m sure of that.

Then again, when people make me feel bad, I’m sure they don’t usually mean it. I wrote a tweet coming home drunkenly on Thursday saying “In real life, people can be cruel but they’re rarely mean”.

I then proceeded to vomit up a bunch of red wine, try to shower the puke out of my nose, played another half an hour of video games and went to sleep.

But the point wasn’t lost on me; Not since middle or high school to people just come over and push you or call you a faggot or something like that. People aren’t mean often, in ways that are transparently so, save for a crazy person or an angered pedestrian/driver.

No, more often the people are cruel in doing actions that might seem normal, but that hit the emotional crux of what someone is feeling in a way the person enacting the cruelty doesn’t necessarily know or empathize with.

Being mean is just saying or doing something obvious to effect your feelings on to someone else. Being cruel is making that person hurt while they believe they might deserve it.

This “worst thing” was real bad in that way, in that it seemed so obviously to come from a place of concern.

A fellow improviser had sent me an email telling me that “from reading your blog and your tweets it seems like you’re fixated on the idea of having a girlfriend”. They made it very clear that they didn’t presume to have the knowledge to help me as such, but here was their friend’s blog complete with “dating tips for nerds”, a self-help style odyssey in eight parts. This person now writes for “OverthinkingIt.com”, they told me.

The subject article was “Thought you might want to read this”.

I should specify that on this day, Thursday, I had already gone on a first date with a nice-enough girl, made plans for second date and then had her email me telling me:

a. “I am not available on Saturday, I told a friend I was around that day so she takes priority.”

and

b. “I didn’t feel that spark when I was with you so I’m not interested in continuing things romantically. I am sorry I didn’t express that when I was with you.”

As I walked along that Thursday, everything seemed to pile up on top of each other.

The date seeming good, having to reevaluate as bad. The curt email. The unconnected/connected email suggestion that I needed “dating tips”.

The fact that was the third girl in two months to tell me she wasn’t “interested romantically” in me.

By the end of the day, I was calling my father angry about my job somehow, for some minor shit, enough that he had talk me down and I had to admit that I had had a bad date.

I went to drown my sorrows on Thursday in improv. I went to the Magnet and sat there and watched show after show. Sebastian Conelli, an improv friend from Staten Island, showed up there, with two even more Staten Island-y looking people in tow. Andrew Parrish showed up and caught a show.

I was wrestling with whether or not to drink, but decided on the red wine, not to break my diet and drank about four glasses over 4 hours, enough to make me sleepy and a little more ready to laugh.

The vomiting was unexpected when I got home (probably a result of my relative abstinence and diet), as well as the tweeting, though I guess it shouldn’t be.

When you set your conscious mind at avoiding something, your unconscious, just like a good improv partner, goes straight for, attacking it.

Because as I walked home that night, as I got off the phone with my dad earlier, as I thought about in the spaces between shows, between drinks, or just zoning out into my mind as thoughts took over, I just kept wondering: what’s wrong with me?

That’s that picture, that thought going through my head as I used the Photo Booth feature of my computer to take a picture of me looking at other Photo Booth pictures from my computer.

There it was: I’d lost weight, I could see my face narrower. I had a decent job, in a creative field. I was performing in New York City. I was on television in a bunch of big and small ways. I was a sweet guy and odd and self-conscious. I was present and not looking to fuck a bunch of people behind other people’s backs. I was me. I had these good things. What didn’t I see?

The sadness in my eyes, pretty apparent. I took a few pictures before I was able to weed out ones that at least seemed appropriately sad without being weirdly angled. But it was always the same way, smile or no.

When I was walking around on Thursday, I thought I would write this post and it would be angry, a diatribe against women, singling out all the people who made me feel bad that day, all the women who’ve ever made me feel bad or less than who I am. A giant fuck you to these bitches, these dumb cunts who wouldn’t fucking look at me now, preferring someone more forceful, but once they hit 28 or 9, flocking to me looking for that guy who wouldn’t treat them terribly, victims of their own love-hangover. I was their B plan, I thought, that must be it, a thought only confirmed by the married women who come up to me on the street or in front of bars and flatter me and tell me “Women must throw themselves at you, you’re so handsome” because they want that attention from me that they no longer get from whoever the fuck they’re stuck with. They see the sadness in my eyes. They know I’m easy prey.

But having written that and being unexpectedly taken back to that swell of emotion, I know the fallacy of it. That any such “theories” or “dynamics” about women or anyone really, are just ways of rationalize and making sense of the irrational, the many and countless ways that selves can interact and touch. If someone isn’t attracted to me, that’s great and they should own it. And I too.

These things I talk about, that I’m angry about, not only should I not be angry about them, but they don’t exist.

There is no grand overarching theory, there are no rules or “what women want”.

In short, there is no centralized problem with any of this, which means there’s nothing I can fix, no “thing I shouldn’t say”, “shirt I shouldn’t wear”, no “girls are crazy” or any of that.

Which is both freeing and awful, because it means I’m not doing anything wrong.

It’s just life.

No tips necessary.

Which means, conversely, that all those women have their own reasons, their own world, their own individual natures and specific whatever that ends up as it does to me.

That’s cool.

No apology necessary either.

When I said that the “dating tips” email that I got on Thursday was the worst thing that happened to me that day, it was because it made me think that it must so obvious to people that there’s something wrong with me. That I’m damaged, or crazy, or out of control.

But the truth is like my friend Andrew Parrish told me over GChat the other day, when I asked him how he was coping in the wake of his recent breakup.

“I’m feeling okay.” He said.

“I feel like shit.” I told him. “What’s your secret?”

“Nothing.” He said. “Just don’t feel like that isn’t normal. Because whatever you’re feeling is normal for you.”

***

So how do you get over a day like Thursday, going everywhere bad from bad dates, to unintentional belittling, to throwing up a bunch of red wine and some leaf-like things I didn’t know were in me?

I don’t fucking know, but I feel a bit better.

Sure-fire non-lame-o Matt Chao sent me a text and we got breakfast at the Sullivan Bistro, a Goat Cheese and Spinach Omelette with Wheat toast and Home Fries I ate maybe 5 of, if I’m being honest with myself.

I had a nice iced coffee with milk and splenda.

I did some improv and fooled around with some friends.

And a bunch of us hung out after and ate some food.

And I got good lunch too with Matt, from Pepolino, the place my boss had wanted me to try last week, but I had ditched in favor of a hotel Mexican restaurant (Sorry, Jason).

It was a little pricey for me, and a little cheat-y in terms of my diet (Pollo Milanese is breaded, after all), but it was a nice big meal, on a nice fall day.

Fall, my favorite season, had come to New York City, as we sat outside, in the sidewalk cafe.

And there I was, caffeinated and sleepy.

Sitting across from a great friend, hearing his dating problems and references to web comics and Nathan Fillion from “Serenity”.

And for that meal and for the day that came after it.

Things returned, as they do, to being right with the world.

Thanks guys.

-Nick

And P.S.- Don’t take that lady stuff so seriously. I don’t actually think you’re all cunts.

Alright, just saying.

Thanks.

***

SULLIVAN BISTRO

Goat Cheese and Spinach Omelette w/Home Fries and Toast- $10

Sullivan St. bet Houston and Prince Sts.

1 to Houston St. ACEBDFM to West 4th St.

PEPOLINO

Milanese di Pollo w/Marinated Leeks and Wild Rucola- $17

West Broadway bet. 6th Ave and Canal St.

ACE to Canal St. 1 to Canal St.

 


Two Days

July 5, 2011

I knew on my birthday that I wouldn’t be alone.

This may be strange to say, but remember, my last birthday was spent staring into the arms of someone who loved me, swaddled in some sort of lovey-dovey haze.

Even though I’ve managed (as of very recently) to de-romanticize some of that romance, the part of my birthday which ends in kisses and eventually sex was one I knew would be conspicuously absent from this particular day.

Instead, we would be bowling.

24 didn’t feel like a very significant number to me and still doesn’t.

When I turned 23, I thought about what in my life I should be accomplishing now that I was out of college, my joblessness, my depression. It was probably when I really started leaning on my relationship to get me through the day.

When I turned 24, I guess, I had a job I liked, I wasn’t in love, but I was trying and I had friends and some sense of peace in not knowing.

I felt settled in my mind. Unhurried. Who the fuck knew what they were doing anyway? And if they did, namaste, fine. There was something nice in that acceptance.

On my birthday, I was surrounded by friends.

Frank Orio, who I’d only seen rarely over the past few months, my best friend from middle school, stayed with me most of the day, with lunch with my parents, Super Smash Brothers with Matt Chao on my dusty Wii, the movie “Terri” at the Angelika and bowling at Brooklyn Bowl.

The last part, though, almost didn’t happen. We almost left, but I smooth-talked our way in, trying to be nice to the manager, who afforded us our lane for two hours.

My dad bowled the first round and beat us all, leaving his credit card, incredibly, in my hands to pay for it all as he headed home to search for parking spots.

Matt Chao hobbled on one crutch or hopped to throw the ball exuding great delight that we received as I yelled manically over more and more beer: “Cripple Bowling!”

I for my part, was and still am terrible at bowling, bowling even less than Matt Chao the last round we played, much to my friend’s taunts and jeers.

Pitcher upon pitcher was laden in as more people showed up: my comedian friend Jon Bander, sometimes-“goob” Blake LaRue and Andrew Parrish and his unduly hot girlfriend Kelly, among others.

We drank and ate and ate fried chicken and macaroni cheese, for which Brooklyn Bowl (a division of the Bromberg Brothers “Blue Ribbon” empire) was famous for.

It looked like this:

Cheesy and gooey, covered in breadcrumbs, with salty skin-on fried chicken, reminiscent of the “Combo Meals” I used to get at Fresh Farm grocery as an elementary school student. We feasted and feated.

We danced a bit, Brooklyn Bowl is a hip venue and finally we went to the Soft-Spot, a bar down the street where you drink free if it’s your birthday.

And that day it was.

I drank more than I should have of course and nearly bit my friend Ashna’s ear when she showed up to the party, in a drunken, amorous, stupor.

I remember towards the end of night, sitting by myself surrounded by people, introspective with a Whiskey-Ginger Ale in hand.

I realized what I had at the beginning of this post, that no one was coming home with me. That there would be no loving arms, no sense of “I love you”, no neck to nuzzle when you awaken.

I got sad, is what I’m saying.

But in the end, ol’ crutchy Matt Chao ended up missing his train and staying at my place.

And don’t worry, I didn’t moves on him.

But we did get brunch afterwards.

And I did appreciate, for that night, not being alone.

***

I woke up the next morning, realizing there was the bleach from my bathroom where my water bottle should be and, soon after, staring into a coffee that looked like this.

I can’t really explain either one of those phenomena.

For all the drunken sadness at the end of it (predictable) it had been an excellent birthday.

My birthdays (July 3rds) are usually marked by the absence of friends, of a big party, because usually everyone’s gone for 4th of July and even if they’re back, they’re back on July 4th Eve to see the fireworks and it’s not longer my birthday when they’re there, just the nation’s and my belated.

In this way had been a good birthday, surrounded by friends and food and movies and family, the things I love.

But I still had a hangover, that I tried to combat with food and Excedrin and coffee.

Matt Chao hung around crutching a while, through my barely-coherent phase in the morning, trying to forestall my hangover into oblivion, with a mix of time, video games and episodes of “Community”.

“Chris and I used to quote this episode.” Matt mentioned, naming his female best friend. “It features LeVar Burton in various strange positions.”

Matt left eventually though and the sort of ennui that comes post hangover on a day with nothing to do combined well in me, sending me towards reading a book.

Well that and this article I spied on the Times’ most emailed, a review of the book by the interesting “sex-ologist” Annie Sprinkle.

The book was called “Paying For It” by the cartoonist Chester Brown and I went down to Barnes and Noble and read it in the Starbucks next door all in one sitting.

The book is nominally about a man who becomes a “john”, a  patron of prostitutes in Canada, after being dumped by his live-in girlfriend.

This could be a straight story of “breaking bad”, or someone going on a bender of self-destruction after their break-up (his is kind of a doozy) but he is instead as R. Crumb names him “an advanced human”, an introverted intellectual who sees the failure of his relationships as a sign that romantic love isn’t for him and thus tries to engage an alternative.

The book is interesting (especially given it’s graphic novel or “comic-strip” format) but it’s not as much about a “john” and “whores” as it is about one man’s search for love and meaning in the world.

In particular, he rejects monogamous love as something for “people with fragile egos who need to be told the words ‘I love you’ in order to feel ok.”

This, I admit, hurt.

I wondered about this as I wandered the street and ended up, upon my plan to give the book to fellow graphic-novel enthusiast Blake LaRue.

But I ended up, with my lack of 4th of July plans, partial hangover and severe doubt about my capacity/reasons for love, I found myself snuck into a pier full of food trucks, surrounded by my food-truck vending friends, a beautiful view of the fireworks and one pretty amused-by-it-all Blake LaRue

I worked when I could there, somehow snuck in to a paid event, trading items between food trucks and skimming a taco or a souvlaki off the top before bringing the rest back to Blake’s immobile food truck co-workers.

I was stopped by people for pictures (it was a food event), I found some pretty good port-a-potties and I had lots of different cuisines in one and shared them with friends.

Doug Quint of The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck grabbed me at one point and kissed me on the cheek in front of his customers when I kept talking him up.

“Well, in case you wondering about the name…” I told the on-lookers.

We had front-row seats to the fireworks on the pier in front of our parked truck.

We had a left-over pizza, some Greek Fries covered in Feta, some Smart Waters provided by Coke, we were there, sitting together, through the sunset, the terrible stylings of Nick Lachey and the impressive-looking fireworks.

At some point in the day, my friend Mark Zhurovsky told me in response to my worries about love that it’s “fine to not be whole when you seek it” as long as it isn’t “the answer to your problem”, which at least made sense to me.

“Or you could just pay for sex.” Blake suggested as we sat towards the edge of the pier.

“No thanks.” I told him. “Guy’s an interesting case, but I think everyone needs some sort of romantic love in their life. Keeps us interesting at least.”

I hopped a ride in the truck towards home or at least off the pier, wending out way through bumps.

For the time, I felt a part of something.

And now that I’m home, even with that sad stuff in the middle, I look back on it all with some pride and happiness.

So I haven’t found love. So I didn’t have anyone to stare at in the morning other than my 3DS and a comatose and entirely-clothed Matt Chao.

I know what I want. I feel like I’m struggling towards truth, asking questions and finding, well, some answers.

I have friends out there, people who care about me. I’m inherently valuable to them, worthy of something.

I can feel ensconced by that, I can feel good.

“There’s a difference between feeling happy where you are in trying to find romance and feeling happy in your romantic life.” I once told my ex-quasi-roomie John Beamer.

I can count on that, I guess, some goobs and some fireworks, some cripple bowling, some chicken.

Some time together.

Was nice.

***

BROOKLYN BOWL

12 Piece Fried Chicken- $23.00 (Mac and Cheese Extra)

Wythe Avenue between N. 12 and N. 11th Sts. Williamsburg, BK

L to Bedford Ave.


Breakdowns/Breakthroughs

June 29, 2011

 

I let this make me feel bad for a little while.

A friend of mine seemed to be having some sort of psychotic break, or “social media meltdown” as I heard it referred to which, unsurprisingly, is a real thing.

Apparently some sort of traumatic or inferred-as-traumatic event caused her to begin going on a massive Twitter and Facebook rant that lasted for days, literally, without sleeping, going off much in the character of the things posted above, about “rich white people with penises”, smoking “rainbow blunts”, ranting at the CIA, Barack Obama and, perhaps most strangely of all, Judd Apatow in an attempt to have all of her political anti-male/society rants as some sort of case that she should be hired to help him explore “#FemaleComedy”.

Of course, I was fucking stupid.

This had been going on for days when I first saw it (and as far as I can tell is still going on). It seemed clear to me that this was some sort of psychotic-break, some sort of Charlie Sheen-level of lack or disregard for self-insight. What’s more, as the internet is prone to do, people were fueling her rage with re-tweets and likes and sympathetic comments. She even called out people who would try to message her or text her trying to help her or talk her down.

Which is why I thought it was a great idea to publicly write on her wall, trying to gently call her out on her behavior and tell her I was worried about her.

Dumb, I know. This whole thing was a social media rampage from which making yourself identifiable to the government by tweeting at them about your drug use was not enough to calm her down, why would I be able to?

“Well,” My pops said when I showed him over an iced coffee. “It’s always attractive to think that you’re the one person who can reach somebody.”

Truth.

I did just want to help this girl, as I wanted to help myself. She was a friend, someone who’d I gone through traumatic experiences (not her fault) with before and she supported me when I had gone through similar, mostly non-social media fueled rants based on my anger at authority figures. I also wanted to not see this anymore, the stream of information brought to my face by Twitter and Facebook by this person off-the-rails. As my friend John Beamer would tell me “I’m addicted to hating it” and I was until I finally stopped following her, stopped looking, fearing I was just playing in to whatever was hurting her.

Which this might too, for all I know. I defended her from my friends when they belittled her, because she obviously seemed like someone who was sick to me. But in posting this am I feeding into the frenzy? The obvious answer is yes. But this person has already chosen to put this out into the world and the internet. We’ll see what harm posting this will do. It’s just that I haven’t yet isolated how to feel about all this or how others do. Is this what Charlie Sheen’s friends think before they disconnect with him? Is this what I think when people tell me things about my sister? Is this the work of a crazy person who cannot be helped until she comes down, or some sort of crazed inside joke as she so frequently claims it is?

It struck me at the wrong time, anyway.

I had just been turned down by yet another lady, who had made me very excited via our obvious mutual nerdiness and the sense of excitement/electricity we felt talking to each other before an improv show. Too sweet, it would sound except it fulfilled my fears when it turned out whatever I thought wasn’t real and even asking her out to dinner was a step too far. I struggle frequently with my own sense of “creepiness” or “unattractiveness”, the sense that girls want me at a distance, fine to talk to, but any move I make is unwelcome. It’s this sense that keeps me tentative from making strong romantic moves, having confidence in myself or feeling good or hopeful when I meet someone. It’s a sense founded in my own history and one which I feel many people struggle with and find ways to overcome with booze, pot or experience.

Getting turned down for dinner was, of course, something I did appreciate since it was a clear move that told me to back off, rather than the once-upon-a-time “oh you don’t like me, six months in?” but of course, the value of that honesty (appreciated) is always tagged-on-the-end with that sense that you are unloveable.

Which is what lead me to text my ex, when I was downtown one day and wanted to get coffee. It wasn’t that I wanted to “get back together” with her, though I still miss our times together. I just wanted the sort of friendship I had often mocked among my friends who kept their exes close; the sense that even if there’s not something romantic going on, there’s still that part of you that cares deeply for the other person. That doesn’t want to see them hurt. There’s still all that knowledge and love, somewhere there. Not all the things you once shared, but something. A reminder.

I saw her and I didn’t find that. We caught up and talked a while about what our friends were doing, our families. It wasn’t a disaster and I didn’t try anything stupid. But there wasn’t that informed interest anymore, an excitement at familiar things, but no connection. I tried to make myself vulnerable, telling her about stupid things I’d done, my family, even asking her as we left if she still thought of me, thought of us, at all.

“Well, I mean. I remember you.” She said. “You are in my thoughts.”

But that wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear.

I broke down crying the next day in therapy, wondering if she’d ever loved me, if I’d ever been loved.

And then, of course, I talked to Rob who has his own complicated relationships and friendships as well.

“Of course she loved you.” Rob told me. “Anyone could see it, see how close you were. Maybe because of that, she was afraid to be close to you.”

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” Rob continued. “But maybe she thought if she made herself vulnerable to you or showed affection, you’d take it the wrong way.”

Rob was right, of course. Even if I hadn’t, it was a legitimate fear to have. A man desperate for love seeking affection in his life can run mistakenly at what’s in front of him, as I’d done so before.

“But also don’t take this the wrong way.” Rob said. “But you’re also a lot cooler now than you were then, Nick. You kinda woke up, grew up.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, towards the last two months before the breakup, whenever anyone would ask you howsit goin, you would give them a list of everything wrong in your life and then just list Eva as the only thing right. But there was so much more going on in your life than that, so many other good things.”

“It changed you after that. You started cheering up a little. It’s nice to see, frankly.”

With that, Rob provided the insight I hadn’t had in so long.

In the wake of my first meaningful relationship, I’ve felt a lot of nostalgia and longing and pressure to find that sort of happiness again, an edenic vision of something that I had lost.

But the reality is that I was so caught in remembering how I great I felt, that I missed that I really felt like shit back then.

So to Nina, who is still there on the internet, ranting for all I know, stuck in some place of disconnection from reality, this is what I say to you:

Find your friends, find the people you trust, the people with beards (if you’re me) or whoever in your life cares about you. Just check in with them, be honest.

Because it’s easy to waste your time feeling angry or sorry about things that have no relationship to reality, the truth, and the possibility of really kicking ass in this world.

That night, I wrote my first new web series episode in 5 months, full of Matt Chao beating me up on crutches, a party where I drank too much and insulted filmmakers and a conversation with Rob where he sets me straight over the internet, while talking about Shelly Long from Cheers.

Everyone enjoyed it and, even if they didn’t. the writing group happened, we drank and we talked about movies and caught up.

We went to the Odessa Diner, because Rob wanted a good grilled-cheese sandwich and I drunkenly ordered some Chicken Parmigiana that ended up being surprisingly good.

Crispy and crunchy on the outside.

Some good cheese, some good pasta, a nice waitress who tolerated the circus of a bunch of film kids coming at 11pm and gabbing drunk-loud about whatever.

I felt good about my life.

And didn’t tell anyone, anything else.

***

ODESSA DINER

Chicken Cutlet Parmigiana (w/pasta upon request)- $13.95

Avenue A bet. 7th and 8th. St, near many homeless people.

6 to Astor Pl, F to Lower East Side, 2nd Ave. L to 1st Ave.


Bag.

June 23, 2011

 

It should come as no surprise to my friends that I have a new backpack, but still, I thought I should just share it with the world.

The saga of my bags goes something like this:

Since last summer, when I worked as an over-paid but sadly honest worker for the U.S. Census, I had been using their cool messenger bags as a way to finally not wear a hoodie with pockets full of useless shit.

Literally, I was a man who didn’t know how to wear a bag. Napkins, cell-phones, gaming devices, umbrellas, you name it; I would try to fit it into my pockets.

Things that were too big, like my New Yorker, I’d carry sweat-soaked under my arm or butt-sweat-soaked in my back jeans-pocket.

But that came to an end with the era of the census bags, two because I snagged an extra one at a meeting at the World Financial Center where they asked if anyone wanted another.

They both ended up ripping in the same places, diagonally through the dyed nylon that said “U.S. Census Bureau” and then horizontally right next to the zipper.

Oddly though, I still kept using them for a really long time.

A New Yorker could be placed along the side of my bag to internally cover the widening gash and the bag didn’t ever really need to close as long as I didn’t tip it or anything.

All in all those census bags were useful, they had a pouch for water bottles and they were relatively capacious and good and not bending pieces of paper, which is why they attracted so many errant sketches, script pages, other writing bric-a-brac from errant projects and classes that I never cleaned out, filled them to bursting, until, well, they did.

I carried the bag around all through winter, getting snow on my stuff when the “snowpocalypse” happened, finally capitualting and returning to the man who carried his stuff around crammed inside his jacket.

But then spring came, but then summer and it was too hot again and I couldn’t wear a jacket, it’d exacerbate my already profuse sweating condition.

So I carried my stuff around in errant plastic bags left in my apartment by me and my then quasi-roommate (now moved-out for good) John Beamer. The problems with that were:

1. John would throw stuff out in my carry-things plastic bag, because we also used plastic bags for trash and he’d get confused

and

2. My parents kept thinking I looked like a hobo, which I guess I somewhat did with my non-changing pants, broken-buttoned shirts and plastic bag full of slightly trashed-on crap.

So finally, my dad just said “order some bag on Amazon and I’ll pay for it” and there it was.

The Voltaic Off The Grid Solar Backpack.

It slices, it dices, it charges my phone or my PSP or my 3DS or friends’ phones or appliances as I walk around the city.

It’s capacious and can fit my big-bootied laptop, my various rechargeable batteries and hard drives, my New Yorkers, a brownie sometimes if I want one.

It’s powered by the sun and can charge anything fully even if there aren’t any power sources around.

I don’t have to go to strange Starbucks-es any more quibbling for that table nearest to the outlet, or begging someone I don’t know to let me plug in to their computer, like some weird sexual-innuendo’d joke.

Nope, I’m a self-sufficient man, with my water-bottle on one pouch and my small umbrella in the other, my devices, my panel.

Maybe the best part is, now, when people stop me on the street, it’s not always about a TV show, but sometimes about how fucking cool my backpack is.

Maybe this is just some vain transition out of pseudo-fame, maybe it’s compensating.

Either way, that long-haired nerd in me, once skulking around high-school. He’s nodding inside. He’s proud.

Not to say that the regular me isn’t also there, carrying my bag.

Coming home, plugging in batteries.

And looking at my broken census bags and missing the memories and the times that came with them.

Not that I’d want to use them again.

It’s bag nostalgia, if you will, not nostalgia for a bag.

***

Matt Chao got a splint last week, but he actually broke his foot the week before.

“Yeah there’s like a part that’s black.” Matt said over G-Chat as I asked him about it.

“What the fuck,Matt, go to the hospital.” I told him, with certainly worse punctuation.

“Yeah I was going to but my parents just said to rest it.” Matt replied.

“The fuck?” I asked.

“Asian Parents.” Matt said in about that punctuation.

“What?”

“If you had them, you’d understand.”

I didn’t. I had Jewish parents and Jews believe in (and largely are) doctors. If you got the sniffles you go to one, if you got cramps or rashes or allergies or anything, you don’t sleep it off, you make an appointment with your internist.

But Matt Chao, who had had a 15-20 pound stage fall on his foot on the set of a commercial was such a fucking–I don’t want to say “good” but–good PA that he didn’t opt to go to the hospital, nor did he the next few days.

“Just go Matt.” I told him still. “I’ll go with you. Just call me. We’ll hit up Beth Israel. I’m good with the Jews. It’ll be cool.”

Matt had never been to a hospital before as a patient, he told me proudly after he “proudly” opted to take the subway, hopping up stairs to the hospital. He had been born in front of the intake-doors to the emergency room and delivered there, according to his lore, which he followed with a signature staccato Matt Chao laugh.

When the Physician’s Assistant, a nice seeming Orthodox Jewish dude saw Matt he seemed pissed that Matt had walked on his foot for 5 days before seeking a doctor, stating that he had broken foot not in one but 3 places in fractures and prescribing him Codeine for if he needed it.

“Nope.” Matt Chao said blithely, proudly, though the PA insisted he take the prescription.

“That stuff can be useful to have around.” I told Matt, but he seemed unconcerned.

I spent the next while trying to convince him to stay at my parents’ house while he got a splint for his legs that the doctor told him would last 4-6 weeks, not terrible.

He was back to doing intern (read: slave) labor for PBS in a lull between gigs and the commute into the city from Jersey on the trains left him without money for cabs.

I kept arguing with him, even getting my mom on the phone to convince him, trying to tell him he’d be better off in the city living my ‘rents. But not even my mom, who’s always right, could convince him to get in there.

I think, honestly, he enjoyed the challenge, the game of swinging around on crutches through people, around people, to take them up on the offer.

“I’m going to jacked.” He told me on the way out of the hospital, swinging. “But fuck, I might not be ready in time for Christine’s paintball birthday.”

“23rd, 24th, 25th… Should be at the end of the fourth week.” Matt counted to himself.

“I don’t think you should be playing paintball for a while after you get out of that thing.” I told him.

“Nick, it’s paintball.” He said, as if that was all the explanation needed.

We hopped in a cab up to PBS, for this time at least.

He was supposed to stay with my ‘rents tonight, one night, for an early orthopedists appointment but missed that by accident.

“Oh well.” He said after I g-chatted him reminding him, too late, he’d gone home. “Your parents are really nice.”

“Obv.” I replied thinking how much fun Matt Chao and only Matt Chao would have tomorrow at 6am, navigating Penn Station rush hour on crutches.

***

I feel like it’s weird to do this, but I really liked this iced tea.

I was meeting up for a rehearsal (for a show this weekend) in mid-Brooklyn at Blue Marble Ice Cream, where a friend’s ex used to work and where I still feel jittery.

I had to sit there though, it was the meeting place for a rehearsal in a weird mid 90s-style church basement where we’d go after meeting up.

And I had to get something, well, because.

I had discovered in the last few months my somewhat lactose-intolerance and I knew that if I ate ice-cream I would feel like crud when trying to be the weird magician character I was to play.

So I asked if they had any iced tea and they said yes.

And I asked as I often do if the mid-20s hippy lady behind the counter had a suggestion for which kind I should guess and she said yes.

“I defer to your experience then.” I said and let her pour me some.

It was an herbal Hibiscus iced tea, slightly sweetened with Stevia, which I discovered after asking.

It was just really, really good and refreshing and didn’t need anything.

I find myself getting Arnold Palmers (half tea/half lemonade) when I’d be in the mood for tea, just because it’s a less artificial way to add that necessary bit of sweetness to iced tea, that is usually just over-killed with shots of syrup at Starbucks.

Here, on the other hand, the Stevia wasn’t sugar or a syrup, just a slightly sweet tasting thing.

I remembered it once from going to a weird coffee shop across from the McKibben Lofts and pouring in my coffee and thinking it distinctly tasted like soap.

But this time it was just right and it didn’t feel heavy and it just felt light and a little bit sweet.

I drank it and was happy and commented so to my theater director.

Who thought it was weird that I was talking about how much I liked my iced tea in character.

And noted me on it after the rehearsal was done.

***

BLUE MARBLE ICE CREAM

Hibiscus Iced Tea w/a touch of Stevia- $2.35

Underhill Avenue between St. John and Sterling, Brooklyn

23 to Grand Army Plaza, BQ to 7th Avenue-Brooklyn

***

P.S.- Happy Birthday to “goob” Blake LaRue and honorary “goob” Simon Robinson, who will soon be embarking for Japan to go wife-hunting/teach English or something.

Blake just sells coffee-infused frozen yogurt out of a truck and refs lo-rent B-ball games between comedians.

Actually that’s not bad.

Happy berfsdays.

Luff,

Nic


Boys and Friends

May 18, 2011

“You know, you’re something of a celebrity.” My friend Clark told me, as he got into clown makeup. “You could really get people coming.”

“It doesn’t work that way, Clark.” I told him, putting on the partially-ironed blue button-up shirt I’d stored in the prop-closet.

“Maybe if it was something food-related, people would show up. Otherwise, 5,300 people on Twitter don’t care.”

It was the second week, the second time we were performing our Improv-to-Sketch class show at the Magnet on a torturous 4-week run of doing the same show to about 6 people.

This week was a little better; my parents and my roommate John Beamer showed up with my grandma and they did the work of a family, giving dutiful laughs at the places that seemed appropriate.

Still, it was a different kind of learning to do your semi-improvised same-show 4 weeks in a row to a dead house and watch sketches you thought you loved fall apart.

“Well, maybe you can tie it in somehow.” Clark offered, foam nose now on. “Offer them a food tour upon successful completion?”

“Goddamit, Clark.” I replied. And went to go find my cop hat, buried somewhere in the prop bin.

These past few weeks have been a strange admixture, or taste of celebrity as it would be, for a longer period than I’d expected.

As I told my friends, I’d been getting recognized (i.e: approached) consistently at “about 1-3 times a day” but it still wasn’t certain what the effect would be on my life or what I was supposed to do with it.

In the two street fairs I went to this weekend, I was approached multiple times and mostly brushed people off with a “hi” or a nod, an acknowledgment, given not knowing how to reply to people just saying “it’s you” on the middle of a food fair.

In the meantime, I felt pressure as I went to the food-fairs in Hell’s Kitchen and Park Slope respectively, to take pictures, to micro-blog to show my experience.

There was a sense that I had to feed this new “Nick the Foodie” persona, this identity that 5,300 people followed, with images and content and wit or else people would go away.

As I told blogger this afternoon, even before the show, I would watch my “blog stats” and aim for 100 people to come on a good day, to get up to that. Now that those numbers are so inflated, I still check them and take the loss of followers even the more personally, even as I know with even more certainty, that these people virtually do not exist.

It’s a fallacy of numbers and insecurity, I suppose, the same habit that led me to math in high school when I couldn’t stand the subjectivity of my English Class Essay “B-pluses”, now leads me to think of the solid-ness of numbers for my self-worth, the way that every time I lose this follower who I do not know, I am losing something else, popularity or fame, things I don’t even crave.

It’s just easy when you don’t know who you are or what to think of yourself, in high-school or post-college, to cling to a digestible set of numbers.

I still don’t get messages on OKCupid (even as I admit the dating site I’m on) and I still don’t have the confidence to approach a cute girl in an improv class, or the strange chick-with-glasses in front of me on a three-hour line.

I guess I just don’t know the meaning of this, or what I’m supposed to take.

The gentlemen pictured above were skateboarders who stopped me with Matt Chao on Saturday as we walked down Broadway. They first said their moms watched the show, but later admitted they loved it do and the picture they took of me was really for them. I asked them as Matt and I walked in the same direction as them if they’d reciprocate with a picture and they agreed.

I’ll never see these kids again, though it’s cool they watch the show.

It just seems like yet another split though, a disassociation of me watching them, watching “me”.

As we got through the show on Monday, Clark said hi to my parents after, briefly and congratulated them on my “success”.

I later got a message from my manager, telling me that I had an audition tomorrow and that she hoped “you come back on season 3!”

***

I still want to hang out with Blake LaRue.

Another thing about having a lot of Twitter followers is that it doesn’t make Blake LaRue like you any more than he already does.

“Blake apparently broke up a fight that the UCB Basketball Team had.” Rob-beardo Malone reported to me, from his coiffed/slick suit, on the set of Sean Dunn’s Confabulators.

“Was Chris Gethard involved?” I asked. “Because he didn’t let me in his class and I tried to attack him with twitter followers for it. Also he plays basketball.”

“Yes and I’m pretty sure that was one of the stupidest things you’ve ever done.” Rob replied.

“Yeah,” I replied. “You know you’re right. But I was drunk with Twitter power. I wanted to see if I could use it to change things. The answer was no. No, you cannot.”

Rob nodded and we sat in the silent acceptance of that fact for a moment.

Then Blake appeared and proceded to ditch me off the film set, walking hard and fast with Matt Chao, whose only reason for being there was to come visit me.

Blake, why do you make me so jealous like that?

But the man who was involved in an improv-team basketball-fight had work to do and made it to his truck.

He had just gotten a job at Joyride a “Buzzed FroYo” and Coffee Truck that serviced the UWS among other places.

I caught up to Blake and Matt somewhere around Lincoln Center as Blake settled in.

“Blake, why don’t you love me anymore?” I asked him, from the distance separating us outside the truck. “All I want is to be close to you and your friend.”

“You’re just too famous for me now, Nick.” He said, prepping greek-yogurt mixture. “I’m afraid you’re going to embarrass me on the internets.”

“Well, Blake.” I replied and took the picture above while he was looking.

“See!” He said.

“Yeah, I do.” I replied. “Point taken.”

Matt and I both tried some Froyo as he much more easily conversed with Blake about his life and the truck, which Blake admitted to driving “about four times”.

“I’m getting real good.” He said.

I wasn’t much a froyo guy, preferring the decisive unhealthiness of ice cream or, better yet, gelato when I was going for my frozen treats, but I did try a “soy-Mark Hamill” which turned out to be something like an iced Mocha which I downed in about three gulps.

We said our tearful goodbyes to Blake, as he assured me he wouldn’t be seeing much due to b-ball ref-ing duties and his need to go back to NYU to draw caricatures of people.

“It’s not that I don’t love you.” He told me. “It’s just that I don’t have time for you.”

Later, Matt and I ran into two women who asked me for my info so they could talk to me about reality food shows and their ideas. They gave me their info and told me to use it.

We were late to “Bridesmaids” at the Loews, couldn’t get tickets and Chadd Harbold, whom I had guaranteed an early ticket, was pretty (understandably) pissed.

I had a caffeine head-ache as I went with my remaining friends down to Battery Park and the inevitably excellent Apatow-film.

But when I busted out those Motrin in the movie theater for my Caffeine-crash headache, I thought about Blake on that truck.

Too cool for me.

***

JOYRIDE TRUCK

The (Soy) Mark Hamill (Espresso, plain soymilk, 2-Scoops Chocolate)- $5

Broadway bet. 66th and 67th Sts on Saturdays (Locations vary per day)

1 to 66th St- Lincoln Center.