“I want to live here, on this avenue,” I tell Haynes Thomas Taylor as we leave our meeting. Humidity lingers in the air, a warm dampness blankets the City. Electric bubbles of mist frolic under the glow of the street lights. The night feels mystic, like anything is possible. "When? Today?" Haynes Thomas asks. "No, some day," I reply.
We stop at the corner of Park Avenue and 79th Street. Haynes Thomas looks downtown towards the Met Life Building, then Uptown towards Harlem, and sighs, “Why? This is new money, you are more original than this – I see you in the Village or SoHo,” she says. “Uhm, my family came to America in 1967 – if we were money, any kind of money, we’d be the new kind,” I remind. Haynes Thomas laughs and asks, “How was the date?”
I look her square in the eye and say, “He said he wanted to ‘do me’ the first time he met me… ‘Do me’ … like I’m a Bell Biv Devoe song?” I ask when we reach the corner of 79th and Madison. Haynes Thomas smirks; it’s a special smirk she reserves for me. “Well…yes, not the smoothest thing he could say. But he’s a man and it was meant to be complimentary. And honestly – that is something my father might say,” Haynes Thomas says. I find this stunning Haynes Thomas’ family can trace themselves to the Mayflower or the Daughters of the American Revolution – or both. These are not people I imagine saying, “Do me baby”.
“Well, I didn’t like it,” I finally reply. A taxi cab turns and throws light our way revealing her flawless, porcelain face. "Fine -- if Town and Country said it to you, would you be this bothered? If the answer is yes, then your issue is Dr. Froggy is crass and you should see about fixing that. If your answer is no, then perhaps your lack of tolerance is because you are not attracted to Dr. Froggy…” Haynes Thomas asks. I sigh and shift as I absorb her words.
For a moment we stand silently at the bus stop, and then she adds, “And you don’t have to tell me the answer. You only have to be honest with yourself.”