Tuesday, September 20, 2005

There Must Be Something in the Oysters

Ever since I moved to New York, I've wanted to go to the Grand Central Oyster Bar. It just seemed like a really New York thing to do, in a kitschy, touristy kind of way. Like something right out of a guidebook that promises to take you “where the real New Yorkers go.” And since I’m basically still a glorified tourist in this city, I was desperate to go. So spiceboy and I went last night after work.

Was it kitschy? Yes. Touristy? Yes. Did I love it? Yes. I loved all of it. I loved the cavernous space with its vaulted ceilings and the dark echoey conversations of the after work crowd. I loved watching men and women emerge from their trains and disappear into one of the many corridors on their way to wherever. I loved watching the tourists look all around, pointing here and there at signs, trying to find their way. I loved it like I’ve loved everything about New York so far—the millions of situations playing themselves out around me every second while I sit back and watch—trying to soak it all in and figure out where I might belong.

At the bar, spiceboy and I held hands and chatted while men in rumpled suits raised bottles of Bud to their lips and the pretty barmaid shook up martini after martini for her patrons. spiceboy and I toasted each other with glasses of white wine, shared a dozen oysters and eavesdropped on the rude counter giving the other customers a hard time. The whole scene was loud, garish, and not entirely comfortable, but I loved every minute of it.

As we made our way outside, I envisioned a simple, romantic evening. We would walk home hand in hand while the city happened all around us. We would have a quiet dinner at home and maybe I would even get a little lovin’ from spiceboy.

Isn’t that sweet?

It didn’t happen.

Upon stepping onto the dusky sidewalk, a blast of hot air hit me in the face—bus fumes, hot concrete, perspiration--and I was dizzy with nausea. For a few shaky seconds, I thought I might get sick right there on the corner of 42nd and Lex, thus ruining my happy Grand Central Oyster Bar experience. So I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. When the nausea passed, I realized what the problem was.

I was completely plastered.

That’s right. After only two glasses of wine, I was stark raving drunk. For those of you how don’t know me (which is pretty much all of you) I generally have a moderate to high tolerance for alcohol. I drink wine with dinner several nights a week. I go out almost every weekend. Even when I overimbibe, I very rarely get hangovers and I almost never throw up. It's against my family's religion.

Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was my mostly empty stomach. Maybe it was job stress (new job, boss quit last week, etc). Whatever the reason, those two little glasses of wine had one big effect on me. I was dizzy, giddy, and slurring my speech as if I’d been drinking for hours and hours. I was also convinced that I was the funniest, most charming, most adorable girl on the isle of Manhattan. I was a modern day version of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. I was a not-as-annoying Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. I was hosed.

Poor spiceboy did his best to get me home safely as I bobbed and weaved my way up First Ave. Once in the apartment, he fixed me something substantial to eat while I laughed like a madwoman at my own jokes and made up a really fun dance called “The One-Plus-One.” I wavered between embracing my drunkenness and blaming the oysters for my behavior. I also called my mom and dad, just to remind them what a hilarious daughter I am. I'm sure they are so proud of me right now.

Me (to Mom): “There must have been something wrong with those oysters. I feel so weird!”

Mom: “Of course there was, honey. Maybe you should stay away from shellfish for awhile.”
She’s so supportive. I love her.

Me (to Dad): “Dad! How could this happen to me? I only had two glasses of wine.”

Dad: “Well, honey, even a professional athlete has a bad game now and then.”
Well put, Dad.

Spiceboy was a little more logical about the whole thing.

Me (to spiceboy):
“There must have been something wrong with those oysters. I feel weird. Don’t you feel weird?”

spiceboy (to me as he tried to corral me into bed): “It wasn’t the oysters, honey. Bad oysters don’t make people slur their speech. You’re drunk. Now will you please stop dancing in front of the window in your underwear?”

He loves me. There’s no way he can deny it.