I lie on my bed eating dinner, fish and chips (which involved me going to Duane Reade and buying a bag of Swedish fish and Ruffles sour cream and onion potato chips). Since it is St. Patrick’s Day I wonder if I should wear green. If you take one look at me you know I am NOT NOT NOT Irish. But is it better or rude to embrace the custom. I mean, I go to Indian weddings and regularly see the bride’s non-desi girlfriends in saris.
I pop the last chip into my mouth and pull out a maroon tee-shirt and jeans. This is the outfit I had on the day Reindeer told me he didn’t want to date me anymore. Normally I think wearing cursed outfits is an omen, but today, I am setting my desi superstitions aside.
* * *
I get to the Social and it is jam packed with the Irish, clad in green and shamrocks. Ainsley texted me that they were in the back so I shove and push my way through what feels like half of Manhattan before I find my friends. “Where have you been? You know it's bad when I get here before you!” Siobhan asks and sips beer in her power suit. She works CRAZY hours and generally joins us later. And since I am punctual, my friends worry and assume the worst when I am late. “Sorry, sorry! Train traffic on the A line,” I say.
For hours, we drink adult bevvies, eat greasy bar food, and listen to bagpipes. At some point Siobhan and I strike up conversation with men in kilts, one whose accent is SO strong I have no idea what he’s saying. I nod and smile and at some point he must have offered to buy me a beer because suddenly I am double-fisted.
At the end of the night we’re a little drunk and giggling. Ainsley and her boyfriend leave. Siobhan and I stand outside the bar and two Irishmen from Ireland strike up conversation with us. Because Siobhan was recently in Ireland and has an Irish name, they become fast friends. “So are you single?” one of the Irish men asks me. I nod. “What? How is that possible?” he asks in his strong accent. “I know, right?” Siobhan asks and tilts her head at me. “Whenever you girls are in Kearney, look us up.” Sure. I have no savings and live paycheck to paycheck. Another desi man just rejected me and I am kind of fighting with my parents. By the time I get to Ireland, I’ll be old, cranky and crusty, but thanks for the invite!
"Come with me next door,” Siobhan says and we duck into bodega. “How are you getting home?” she asks and withdraws cash. I furrow my brows wondering why she would ask as I only have one option. “Subway,” I reply.
“Oh no,” she says. “Half of New York City has been drinking since noon, you’re drunk, they’re drunk, and you don’t live in a safe area.” I roll my eyes. “There is nothing wrong with Washington Heights.” “A rapper was killed here,” she says. “A year ago,” I correct. “And a woman was raped,” Siobhan adds. Lord, don’t mess with Lady Lawyers! “I will be fine,” I insist once we’re outside again. “Oh I know you’ll be fine, “ Siobhan says and sticks her hand out. Immediately a cab comes, she stuffs me inside, hands me money and says, “Text me when you get home.”
Tears spring to my eyes and I nod. I blow her a kiss and the cab pulls away. Okay, desi men be damned. With a little luck and the love of my friends, maybe I will just make it.