The night after St. Patty’s Day I have a date with Vijay. He works in the financial district, and like me, is from the Midwest. Since Vijay contacted me, he suggested Hell’s Kitchen and made a reservation at Chelsea Grill. A part of me is annoyed that I reigned in my inner control freak, and let him pick this place. I have been to the Chelsea Grill before and don’t love it. But I must give this desi his just desserts for having and executing a plan.
I have also decided to arrive late. We’re meeting at 8:00 pm and at 7:40 pm I leave my apartment. The west 40s are a solid 40 minute commute so I should arrive exactly at 8:20 pm. As I watch the slooooooooowest moving A train leisurely come into the 181st Street station I am excited that my plan will work. I will certainly be WAY late, so excellent!!!
From that point the train makes all the stops: 175, 168, 145, 125 and 59 Streets in record time running like a jackrabbit on amphetamines. I just DON’T believe this. Why doesn’t the MTA run ALL the trains with German Six Sigma precision? Especially when I have pressing matters to attend to, like go shopping or getting my manicure!
Five minutes after eight I am in front of the restaurant reading a text message from Vijay that says: Running late. Be there by 815. What is this nonsense? I have to wait for him? He was supposed to be waiting for me. I cannot WOO him if he’s not here!!!
I go into the restaurant and get seated. The most notable feature of this place is that part of the façade is comprised of a garage door that opens the restaurant to the street. So on the first few balmy April days when grassy, floral, leafy rebirth washes freshness over the City, the Chelsea Grill’s happy hour patrons can bask in Spring’s joyous arrival.
I push the menu aside. There is no need to review it. I have been here before and know there are only two things I can eat (it’s Tuesday), pasta or the portabella mushroom burger. Another ten minutes pass and there is no sign of Vijay and I order a glass of white wine. I can’t remember if his profile says he drinks, but I don’t care.
Normally I submit to conspiracy theories and worry that I am being stood up, yet today the thought doesn’t bother me. If he doesn’t come I’ll finish my wine, pay, walk to Columbus Circle and get lost in the J. Crew cashmere section. See how zen I can be?
At 8:30 pm Vijay arrives. He’s dressed nicely, in a button-down and dress pants. He’s tall, well over 6’-0”, nice build, great hair, brown eyes, standard north Indian. “Hey, I’m Vee-jay,” he says. Oh my. He has intentionally mispronounced his name, VIH-jay, by Americanizing it to VEE-jay, which is one of my pet peeves. Then he commits my second pet peeve and SLAUGHTERS my name. UGH! If I could get my bevy of blonde friends back home and in college to say my name, then I sure as sugar expect brown folks to say brown names!
I hope this is not indicative of the entire date.
To be cont.