Good Memories of 2011, Day 3: New York City

In New York, with Phil. I'm the one with glasses. (Photo by Angela Rockstroh)

Looking back at the “good memories” I’ve already posted, and the ones I plan to write, it’s striking how interwoven the subjects are, and how personal. In previous years I’ve posted some personal stuff, some entertainment stuff. But this year, the topics all fit together, bright shards from the broken window that was my 2011.

Day 1 I wrote about the electroconvulsive therapy I underwent as part of my ongoing battle with chronic depression. Day 2 I wrote about the music of the lovely and amazing Brandi Carlile, because her songs helped me cope during the dark times (as well as delighting and moving me even when I was doing well). Those posts are further related via the romantic break-up I suffered just before opting for the electroshock, a romance that was born and died while I listened to Brandi’s songs.

Today, I’m writing about a trip to New York City to visit friends. In memory, and at the time, that trip was bittersweet, because the original plan was for my sweetheart to visit me for several days here in Atlanta, then I’d accompany her on her train trip back to Philly for a brief visit, after which I’d continue on to NYC.

By the time of the trip, my sweetie was my sweetie no longer, and wouldn’t give me the time of day. The tedious loneliness of hundreds of miles of Amtrak travel were magnified as I thought of how the trip might have been with her at my side. While the train stopped in Philadelphia, I thought of tweeting “I tracked my heart to Philadelphia, then lost the trail forever.” But the thought seemed pathetic, so I didn’t. Right call, I think.

Then, while talking about her with my friends one day while walking through a New York City park, I realized the street musicians we’d just passed were playing “I Just Saw A Face,” the Beatles song which, covered by Brandi Carlile, was the tune I most identified with the start of that love.

Oh, synchronicity, how you can fuck with a guy.

See how everything is intertwined?

All of which is a long way of getting around to the fact that, even though I didn’t get to spend lots of time with the woman I loved, or actually any time at all with her, the trip was a hell of a lot of fun.

The folks I stayed with were Phil Rockstroh, a writer friend I have known a very long time, and his charming wife, Angie. They were incredible hosts, gracious and generous, and I loved exploring the city. I’d visited when I was about five I think, and then spent a weekend there back in the mid-nineties, doing a promotion for White Wolf Games, my employer at the time, but naturally recalled little from the first visit, and hadn’t had much time to explore during the second. Oh, and I’ve played a good amount of Grand Theft Auto IV, which does a pretty darn good job of capturing the place (though the food’s nowhere near as good in the game).

The highlights of the trip were a walk with Phil and Angie from one end of the incredible High Line park to the other, then on along the river a good ways, and a similar excursion across the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn itself; a night of drunkenness with writer Ross Isaacs, an old friend from the White Wolf days, which culminated in inexplicably drinking lots of booze for free at a bar I’m pretty sure was run by the Russian mob; and a trip to the Museum of Modern Art, where I got to see “Starry Night” in person, and was absolutely electrified by the huge Jackson Pollock they have. There was a long, casual evening of walking all over the place in search of good music, where we kept attracting random fellow travelers, saw a dog peeing while doing a handstand, and almost got caught in a street fight with some drugged lunatics. And lots of good food.

And there was another interesting bit of synchronicity. I had just started getting to know the second woman I spent a lot of time with last year, and we were texting and talking quite a bit, which added a lot of enjoyment to my explorations.  Earlier, I’d teased  her with the thought of us showering together in a waterfall. Now she was also on vacation and had just texted a photo of a small waterfall she’d come across, referencing the tease, when I looked up, on a busy NYC street, and saw a small park between the buildings with a lovely waterfall. Though hers was in the mountains and mine in the heart of a major metropolis, mine was bigger and more suited to erotic ablutions (aside from its public location). I ignored the sign saying photos weren’t allowed and texted a pic back to her.

Good friends, good time, good memories. Definitely one of the best parts of last year.

Thank you, Phil, Angie, and Ross for showing me your magnificent city.

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