I had an hour or so to kill before an interview the other day. The weather was practically perfect so I parked myself on a bench in Union Square and did something that people do while alone in public. A homeless man would have masturbated for a group of pigeons, I decided to do some writing. I took out my notebook and began to jot something down but I soon noticed many eyes on me. Those eyes judged me as one of those downtown types that likes to do art in public. Sometimes I think people write or draw on park benches just so they can be asked about what they’re doing. I’d rather eat my notebook than share it with someone so I decided to just stare into space, past the people who were jealous of me for being slightly literate.
It was then that I remembered how cruise-y Union Square can be. Hell, all of New York is a meat market but those hungry NYU boys are relentless. One kid in white sunglasses was burning a hole in my face with his gay-stare. He was mildly cute but probably under twenty-three and I have a rule about people under twenty-three: they’re dumb. There’s a crucial moment of development at that age that makes people begin to realize what they really want to do and who they want to be. I’m sure white sunglasses was plenty nice but he’d be having a quarter life crisis in a year and half. I couldn’t deal with that. I smiled and moved to another bench. Suddenly, an Armageddon-style wind picked up. It was a sign to get out of that would-be sex den and find cover on a side street.
I walked east down 16th Street, knowing that I could duck for cover in a Dunkin’ Donuts with some dementia-ridden elderly people. A over carmelized latte from a mchine would hit the spot. My mad dash for the next avenue was interrupted by a delightful electronic charm. I’d received a text message. I stopped for a brief moment to see who or what could possibly be so important as to interrupt my journey to caffineland. With my head buried in my iPhone, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up to find an older Indian man sporting a turban and clutching a holy book or sorts. If I were not the man I am, I probably would have thought that he was a terrorist with a hand full of powdered bio-warfare poised for my face. Thankfully, I had worked at a yoga studio for three years and could tell the difference between yogis and Islamic fundamentalists, saving myself from a potentially embarrassing and racism-fueled getaway.
“You are a very lucky man,” he said through a thick, magical, shaman accent.
I though he was reading my text, which was from an old booty call who happened to be a-callin’. With the potential of some no-strings sex on the horizon, I supposed that I was a lucky man, indeed. “Well, thank you,” I said, quite proud of myself for re-joining the human race and becoming a sexual creature.
“I couldn’t help but read your aura. It is lovely,” he said, obviously not invested in my dirty message. “You, you will have a very good month next month.”
My go-to horoscope site had been telling me the same thing for years but I was still mildly poor and living in an outer-borough. Unless my aura was telling me to step to the left to avoid a falling piano, I didn’t care. He was probably going to ask me for money next so I just thanked him and put my head back in my screen. Most people would take that as their cue to keep walking but my little fortuneteller couldn’t leave until he’d invested me with every piece of wisdom he had.
“You, you are not hungry,” he shouted, pointing at me with an accusatory finger. I panicked for a moment as I thought people around me would confuse the exchange as some sort of dispute over the last loaf of bread. I tried to give him the universal sign for “quiet down” but he was deep into my reading. “You are not hungry for food. You are not hungry for money,” he continued. Part of me was thinking, “LIES!” because I was kind of hungry for a cheeseburger that I’d buy on credit because I have no cash. Then he seemed to take an actor’s beat. He took a deep breath and smiled a yogi smile. “What you are hungry for…is love.” The last word floated out of him like a magic carpet. His fingers conducted it out of his mouth and into the atmosphere.
Before I could even have a “what the fuck, buddy” moment, he barreled through with the final part of his prophesy: “You will have two great loves in your life and you’ve already suffered from a broken heart once. Don’t worry, you will have another!” Yoga McGee left me with a shit-eating grin and asked if I’d like to discuss the matter more. I didn’t. I couldn’t. I wanted him to evaporate into the wind and return to his lamp. He clutched his book, bowed and walked away, leaving me with his words.
I’d found great love and enjoyed it for almost three years. How did that guy know that it was over, that I’d recently stitched up my broken heart and was ready to try again? Why was that overweight man in a turban suddenly a skinny Charlotte York, telling Carrie Bradshaw that she only had one more shot at love after ending things with Aiden Shaw? Why am I so gay for referencing Sex and the City? Because, like Carrie, I was freaking out that I was only twenty-five and fifty percent done with my ration. Did just me, Jeremy, get two loves? Did the girl across the street get three? Did the yogi get four? Shouldn’t this stuff be regulated? Damn.
Now, with every man that spoke to me, I would have to mentally evaluate if they could be the next big one. Being that I only have one left, the next one is it, right? I didn’t know if great love number two was supposed to last me through the end of my natural days or not. Maybe I’d meet him at age forty. Until then, am I’m just wasting my time? Maybe I’ll meet him next week and be stuck with him forever and ever amen. That’s also terrifying. I wished I hadn’t dismissed that strange man on the street. Yes, I did want to discuss it further! Come back, creepy Sheba!
I didn’t have much time to be a drama queen about the rules of th universe because I had an interview to get to. It was for a writing position at some big gay blog that had me super excited/frazzled. One of the first things the editor asked me was, “How do you describe your writing? What do you like to write about?”
Even though I’d sent him about ten samples, I indulged him and told him what he already knew. “Well, I like to write about being me…a twenty-something New Yorker trying to work and date in the city. I try and approach my experiences with some thoughtfulness and humor. I’ve had a lot of weird experiences.”
The editor chuckled and said, “You’re kind of like a gay Carrie Bradshaw.”
On impulse I replied, “That’s gross…the gayest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Luckily that didn’t insult him. He laughed heartily and said, “I know. I realized that as soon as I said it. But it’s kind of true.”
I smiled and took a second to digest the events that had led up to that moment. Ever the professional at making a full-circle experience I said, “Speaking of Carrie Bradshaw, do you remember that episode about great loves?”Thanks, J-Hud.
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#tbt to being able to move my head without the constant fear of traumatizing my neck 🙃May 2, 2019