There’s a line in Sergio Leone’s gangster epic Once Upon A Time in America that pretty much summed up my day today.
“Life is stranger than shit,” the mobster Joe Minaldi says, shortly before his violent death. “That's all. It's a pisser.”
First, I had an excellent brunch at Sullivan Bistro with my two fabulous friends, Jen and Heather.
I love these ladies so much and I always have a great time when we get together.
I worked my way through a delicious vegetable omelet and a glass of wine that was so tasty that I decided to have two more.
So there I was, stuffed, buzzed, and satisfied. The weather was great and the company was even better. It was a perfect summer afternoon.
We finally parted company and I headed toward Broadway for a rendezvous with a bus back to Brooklyn.
I believe I was crossing Thompson Street when I heard someone call me.
In a city this big, with all these people rushing by, you don’t expect to hear your name rise above all the goddamn noise. And if somebody calls your full name he's probably waving a subpoena or whipping out handcuffs.
I turned in the direction of the voice and there was my ex-girlfriend, whom I had not seen in—Oh, my God, can it possibly be three years already?
I could not believe my eyes. How could you just turn a corner in this cauldron of teeming masses and run into someone you know?
We’ll Always Have the Bronx
If you saw that in a movie, you’d walk out, unless the movie was Casablanca, of course, in which case you’d stare at the screen transfixed while Humphrey Bogart once again says, “of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”
My ex was selling her paintings on the street, like so many artists do on that block. And it occurs to me now that we first met at a speed-dating event that was held at a bar just a few blocks from where we were standing.
It’s a pisser, all right.
Now I have to swear before God and the Internet that this woman was one of the best things that ever happened to me. She always made me feel special and supported everything I did, so naturally I found a way to fuck that all up.
My own private saboteur had done an excellent job of making me miserable and it’s only just recently that I feel like I’m getting better at identifying—and hopefully stopping--that little bastard’s subversive acts.
There was a time that I thought I’d die if I ever saw my ex again, but this afternoon I finally accepted that it’s over between us and that I was just holding on to memories.
I’ve made progress in getting my mind together since the break-up, but I know I have a long way to go.
We talked for a little while longer, and then I went to catch my bus.
As I stood on Broadway, looking at all these people, all these strangers passing by, I still couldn’t believe what had gone on in the last few hours.
Most days virtually nothing happens to me and I end up sitting in front of the TV in my underwear tearing up the junk mail.
But today I met up with two dear friends and ran into someone who’ll always hold a special place in my heart. I just wish God or Fate or whoever could do a better job of putting some space between these emotional events so I don’t feel so crammed.
Whatever’s going on, it’s stranger than shit.