My gal and I were at a reading at bluestockings bookstore on the Lower East Side the other evening. The Reader that night is a friend and colleague, lost and found. Her new-ish girlfriend is another mutual friend, not real familiar, but we all know each other from “around.” Around meaning the Brooklyn lesbian community and the New York City literary and arts scene.
The event was a big deal: our friend the Reader is a pretty (in)famous writer, poet and spoken word artist. Her girlfriend was beaming proudly and snapping photos relentlessly—of the crowd, her girlfriend reading, of the store, of anything and everything to commemorate this momentous undertaking.
Our friend the Reader’s girlfriend chatted with us, addressing us thus: “Hello you two people who are together but not a unit.” I found this utterly hilarious. She said this because I always, in correspondence as in conversation, make it clear that my girlfriend and I are, and will remain, separate entities, even when/if we live together. We are each individuals who are accomplished in our own right, have different yet overlapping groups of friends, colleagues and acquaintances, but are motivated by extremely divergent abstractions and operate quite differently in the world.
We went out with a group of various friends, fans and hangers-on afterward. In the late February night chill, we traipsed to a fancy joint called the Village Tart in Little Italy/Chinatown. We hung with friends old and new. I sat next to the Reader, told her I enjoyed her reading, said it was quite an accomplishment and a really big undertaking to read from her memoir-in-progress for an hour. Then I didn’t know what to say. I was in the middle of the table, hearing pieces of five different conversations, but I wanted to talk to the Reader. I really admire her, but she also kind of intimidates me. She’s younger than me, but with a lot more street cred in the literary world. However, I didn’t say much more.
It got pretty late and the chairs were going up on the tables around us. We settled the bill and said our goodnights. Most of the women jumped into cabs outside the restaurant while my girl and I walked to the subway, passing what I always refer to as “the scene of the crime.” The so-called scene of the crime is actually a Starbucks on Delancey Street where we first met after corresponding on the Curve Personals. A few phone conversations later, we found ourselves at this particular Starbucks on the way to an art opening nearby. I acted like a total asshole, talking about another chick the entire time. We didn’t even go on a real date until several months later, and then only because we reconnected by happenstance.
A funny memory always, passing that Starbucks. And now I also remember that I reconnected with the Reader at the same time I re-met my girlfriend after our ill-fated coffee drive-by at Starbucks. The NYC lesbo community is a small one. It’s amazing that my gal and I had never met previously. But I’m sure glad we finally did, that I asked her out again and that she gave me a second chance.
Blogger Bio: Stephanie Schroeder is a dreamer, wanderer and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She likes to exchange apartments with artists and other interesting folks from around the globe and travel in search of new friends and singular experiences. She makes purple a way of life and also fancies green, purple’s complementary color on the color wheel. (stephanieschroeder.com)