Saturday, August 10, 2013

Streets of SoHo

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.”

I haven’t seen that movie in years, but those words came back to me this afternoon as I walked around SoHo.

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.

Rob Lenihan!

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.

I was devastated when I lost her, especially since I knew it was my fault.

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.


Bijoux said...

Aww Rob, that is sad, but also good at the same time that you saw your ex and survived the encounter. It's tough to run into an ex without some sort of warning. I think the wine fortified you for that!

Ron said...

Rob, once again, AWESOME post! I freakin' LOVE the way you tell a story!

"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."

Yes, isn't it something how every relationship teaches us about OURSELVES. And that if we can take those teachings and use them to expand, then they did their job.

I got such a wonderful feeling reading this post, and have a feeling that things are changing for you. GOOD changes.

I'm so happy for you, buddy!

Have a super week!

P.S. The next time I'm in NYC, you have to take me to Sullivan Bistro in Soho because it sounds awesome!

Rob K said...

You're so right, brother, relationships are a kind of emotional mirror, reflecting who we are.

You're a very perceptive person, Ron, so if you feel good changes in my future, I'll take that as a very good omen.

We'll talk about it over brunch at Sullivan Bistro!

Take care, buddy!

Rob K said...

@Bijoux: It was kind of sad, but I really feel I can move forward now and free myself of a lot of negativity.

And point well taken--I was half in the bag at the time!

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Wow. That is, indeed, stranger than shit (and trust me, depending on what your dog has eaten lately in the way of stolen and multicoloured objects, that can be very strange indeed).

I'm pleased for you that you met your old girlfriend and were able to deal with it. Maybe the lovely lunch you'd had with two great friends (five if you count the wine) helped to put you in a place where it would be possible.

Onward and upward, my friend!

Rob K said...

Oh, thank you, Jay. I swear I felt like a pilot who's been cleared for takeoff. It's really time to move on.

And speaking of great friends, let us not forget you and all my other blogging buddies who have also been there for me! :)

Calamity Jen said...

For years after the end of an 11-year relationship, I feared bumping into my ex during my daily commute by public transit. (Things hadn't ended well.) That was in the largest city in Canada... but NYC? I would have been as blindsided as you were if my ex had appeared in front of me in THAT large a city. Hooray for the wine!

Rob K said...

It was a freak show, Jen, that's for damn sure.

Sorry about the rough ending to your relationship, but that's why God gave us wine!