Wednesday, March 31, 2010

70. TO THE ISLE OF STATEN WITH REINDEER

Both Jane and Meera have called to let me know that in addition to being hot, it is so steamy outside that they both have uncontrollable, untamable frizzy hair. “Don’t bother curling your hair,” Jane advised. While Meera’s suggestion was, “Don’t wear a lot of clothes.” Hhhmm, my date with perfect Reindeer is going akimbo before it starts.

Because I am in my third week of sobriety, going on my third Reindeer date, I toss some caution to the wind and wear the outfit I wore on the Sikh Banker date (Post 55). When I get to Bowling Green, the Native American Museum captures my attention. The beautiful stone building is ornamented with gargoyles. I read that there are thousands of gargoyles all over the City. Though they began as throats to direct water, they became synonymous with warding off evil spirits. In some ways, I think they keep me safe.

The majestic columns are so mesmerizing that I don’t notice Reindeer until he says, “You look like a tourist.” “This building is stunning. Have you been inside?” I ask. He shakes his head. “But I see it every day. Shall we go?” I nod and say, “Once we get to Staten Island I will have officially been in all five boroughs.” He looks amused, “How long have you lived here?” Reindeer asks. “Six months,” I reply. “There are some New Yorkers who have never left Manhattan,” Reindeer says. “Those people are stupid,” I reply. He laughs, big and rich. “You’re something else!” Hhmmm that must be good right?

We board the Staten Island Ferry and head to the top level. The breeze feels amazing in the oppressive humidity. I turn back to look at Manhattan, the larger than life City, fading in the distance and she steals my breath. For the first time it finally strikes me. I live on that island that does not seem to sink under the weight of 8 million people and thousands of buildings.

We sail past Lady Liberty and Ellis Island, and I return my attention to Reindeer who chat about his day. Once we get to Staten Island we hail a cab to Bocelli (the Zagat rated restaurant Reindeer selected). Though the d├ęcor is painted with frescoes and feels very Italian, it’s in an ordinary strip mall found anywhere from Minnesota to New Jersey.

To be cont.

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