Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

Birthdays, Baby Pickpockets and Brunches, Oh My!

Posted by evankessler on October 2, 2009

My apologies for bringing you this weekend recap on the cusp of the next weekend.   I’ve been a tad bit ill this week and thus have left most of my wholly irrelevant personal blogging duties at the mercy of my aching bones and all too unhappy stomach.  Despite a few lingering effects I’m pledging to press on with the task at hand through occasional fluid replenishing breaks to tell you just how packed with activity this past weekend was.

Then let’s get right to it shall we?  Indeed we shall.  After somewhat of a mentally grating week the specter of a little Hakuna Matata (it means no worries) time seemed to linger in the distance until the clock read oh, I don’t know, 6:45 pm on Friday.  All dressed up with someplace to go, I traveled from Point A in Park Slope to  Point B, a.k.a Blossom, a Vegan restaurant in the Chelsea area of Manhattan with a pit stop at Flight 151 to meet up with Arby, Jeff, and Alix along the way.  My only previous experience with the herbivore’s and synthetic carnivore’s dilemma was a semi-disastrous one which left me jonesin’ for a burger.  Though seeing as said previous restaurant seemed to get the Vegan lashing of disapproval, I came into my Blossom experience with an open mind.

Elegant Table Settings

Elegant Table Settings

More importantly than the intake of pseudo-food, was the reason we were gathered together at this lovely space in Chelsea.  We were celebrating the 30th year of our beloved Marie L who like a Communist dictator handing out propaganda A)Is always there for us and B)Always has  the best interest of her friends and colleagues in mind and C)Does not intern minorities at special “camps” know matter what you may have heard.

Thanks to stellar planning by Robert, all the right people were on hand for a loving tribute to dear leader.  There were affectionate recollections, admiring speeches, many heartfelt toasts, and plenty of wine imbibed as we dined the night away.  While I’d sooner dine on upholstery foam than order Seitan again, the food was probably the least vital part to the evening, though my ravioli appetizers and the birthday cake were quite good.

Fake Steak

Fake Steak

Contemplating A Wish Worthy of 30 Years

Contemplating A Wish Worthy of 30 Years

Not all of those who participated in the birthday dinner continued to dance the evening away.  A fairly generous contingent of us ended up taking their evening’s back to Park Slope’s Royale.  Matt, Jenny, Courtney, Arby and I hopped a cab back from Chelsea and first stopped at Commonwealth, which was our original plan of attack.  There we met up with Pete R before heading over to the more lively bar across the street.  The birthday girl, accompanied by Abbi, Robert, and others were enjoying the dance music while I rustled myself up a High Life.  When I went to the dance area I noticed a weird Egyptian themed birthday party going on.

Courtney, Marie, and Jenny on the Danceflo' (though not exactly dancing)

Courtney, Marie, and Jenny on the Danceflo' (though not exactly dancing)

Later on while hanging outside with the smokers we became entrenched in a strange conversation with a female Brit from said party, who was quick to point out my Judaic ancestry.  It was a little odd and led to a confusing conversation which Matt took as semi-offensive and I took as a misguided attempt at drunken flirting with two guys standing outside. Either way, the night would soon draw to it’s logical end as alcohol, white people, and cutting a rug most certainly do mix…but they often combine to create exhaustion and embarrassment.

Saturday morning I awoke with no immediate plans, but upon checking my email I noticed Kayvalyn had sent out some feelers to see if anyone felt like going to the Ft. Greene Flea Market.  Normally one to keep my Saturday afternoon for lazier dealings, I instead threw caution into the wind and decided to join her, Jason,  her cousin Ruthie and her husband George at the outdoor market for an afternoon of commerce or at least browsing.

When I arrived at the market site a little after 1pm, I noticed everyone waiting on line at the mexican food vendor.  Originally, I wasn’t feeling super hungry, but once asked if I wanted anything I felt a rush of non-existent peer pressure to partake in culinary delight.  Jason and Kayvalyn looked to be getting Flautas, which seemed to be really huge.  To counteract the hugeness of their choice and to be more in keeping with my hunger level, I decided to order a quesadilla, because those things are never that big when I get them.  It’s a good thing I had plenty of room in my stomach though, because when Jason emerged from the front of the line with what he told me was a quesadilla, my eyes nearly shot out of my head like something out of a Looney Tune.  This “quesadilla” needed two paper plates to encompass it’s massiveness.  Originally intimidated, I settled down and got on with the task of destroying my midday meal.

Kayvalyn Goes For The Corn

Kayvalyn Goes For The Corn

In the midst of our mexican fiesta mode,  as sauces were dripping from our folded tortillas to the concrete below, we were met by Andrea, Enisha, Summer, and her friend Hermano.  Once our feasts were done, we decided to take a walk through the crowd of knick knacks, wearibles, and edibles.  I ran into my Syracuse friend Josh M. (who I would run into again days later) and had a lengthy discussion about work and general life stuff before I decided to catch up with everyone else.  We were also joined in our wanderings by Kishore.

I didn’t end up buying anything save for some extremely rich and tasty Earl Grey hot chocolate, but other than that, it was just a great day to be outside.  Not everyone was so spendthrift as Jayvalyn ended up purchasing a lamp -type thing that we would eventually leave at Kishore’s before heading our separate ways.

After a brief trip home to make sure my roommate’s cats were fed, the next order of the late afternoon/early evening was an uncharacteristic trip uptown.  My old roommate Matt from the Bleecker St. days was in town for his girlfriend’s doctorate program graduation party and despite me having never met her, invited me to come along anyway.

It was relatively easy to get to the site of the party up on 90th street on the west side from Park Slope.  All I had to do was jump on the 2-3 train and coast up to about 72nd before switching to the one train.  That’s just what I did, but by the time I had switched to the one train I was pressed up in tight quarters holding my self upright by asserting my grip on the bar above.  When the subway pulled into 86th street I had to fight my way through a crowd to make it through the door as Tom Waits’ “Step Right Up” blared into my ears via my iPod.  As I passed a baby stroller I noticed that my headphones had become entangled on said stroller and I worked to pry them loose. After managing to do so, I emerged onto the platform with no music blaring into my ears on account of the disconnect that had occured while entangled.  I reached into my pocket to reestablish contact between my headphones and my musical lifeline when I noticed that something may be missing, though I wasn’t completely sure.  Rather than take the chance that my iPod was in my pocket and I just hadn’t managed to fish it out yet, I hopped back on the train to make sure it hadn’t fallen.

The first place my eyes went to was the ground.  There was nothing there.  And then my quickly scanned the people to see if there was any acknowledgement of my loss, and then finally to the stroller with which had previously complicated my escape.  That’s when I saw it.  The baby in the stroller was playing with an iPod.  It was an odd site.  If the iPod had fallen out of my pocket the way I was leaving, it didn’t seem feasible that the thing coudl just fall ever so gently into this baby’s hands.  The part that I found most suspicious was that the child’s parents had not reacted to the fact that their baby was now brandishing 80GB of sweet tunes spanning the last 5 or 6 decades in it’s hands.  They just went about their business of staring into their own laps.  Their lack of interest was confusing.  Maybe the baby was playing with their iPod and mine was still somewhere on the floor.  I felt the brief sting of indecision and quickly tossed it aside snatching the iPod from the child’s hands and narrowly escaping through the closing doors.  I’d never felt as though I had stolen anything from a baby before, but there was something ever-so odd and wrong about grabbing something from a stroller-bound child.  As I made a phantom-like exit from the car, a lone “wow” hung up in the air from a fellow straphanger who had apparently been taking in the entire scene but felt none too compelled to alert me of the goings on.  Maybe he was in on it with the parents.  Maybe they had trained their baby to pick shiny objects out of people’s pockets hence the lack of response.

Relieved to have come to the rescue of music collection, I slipped my player out of the casing to make sure it was indeed mine.  But as I glanced down to check the song now playing, I noticed a cut on my finger.  I’m not sure what this swift action caused me to brush up against, but the whole odd sequence of events and the subsequent bloody finger lent an ominous air to the night, like something described by a certain Phil Collins song.

Mysterious goings on or not, I had made it to my destination. I stopped at a local Duane Reade to pick up some beers and subsequently be chatted up by a manager who wanted to talk to me about the Brooklyn Cyclones for ten minutes.  That’s the whole problem with wearing clothing, if you don’t stick with solid colors or simple designs something on a shirt or a hat my spark a conversation you don’t want to have.  So let this be a lesson to you.  If you’re going to be so bold as to wear a shirt or hat with a logo, be prepared to have a relevant conversation even if you don’t want to.

Once I had procured some budweiser and paid for it…I made my way up to the Matt’s girlfriend’s party spot.  After a few knocks I just sucked it up and opened the door.  There were no familiar faces and I was briefly introduced to a few people whose names would basically elude me for the remainder of my stay, though it didn’t prevent me from having enjoyable conversations with them. It was good to see Matt and excellent to meet his girlfriend who seemed like a total sweetheart.  Coincidentally, this has to be the first time I’ve ever used the words “total” and “sweetheart” together in the history of this site.  I stuck around for a few hours catching up with Matt and making inane yet enjoyable conversation about how much time one could go between drinks in the span of one night.  I had a brunch to go to the next morning and didn’t want to overdo it on the alcohol end.

My trip back to Park Slope was without incident, but when I arrived home I called Jason and Kayvalyn to see what they were up to.  Earlier in the day I told them that I might catch up with them when I got back if they were doing something.  Lo and behold they were.

Despite my previous stance on the evening’s alcohol intake I wound up at our friend Erika’s sister Siska’s apartment party Along with most of the folks from the flea market stint other familiar faces on hand included Ahmerika, and Liv, to go along with plenty of new, fun people enjoy a few beers and laughs, to go along with unsavory odors  invading via the bathroom.  I’m not sure how long we hung out there, but we eventually ended up at Soda Bar where we were met by Andrea’s roommate and her friend Pete.  After one beer there and several food orders, the night was called.

Sunday morning began necessarily early.  My alarm went off at 10:30am .  I realized nothing required as much preparation as I was requiring of myself on this particular morning that had been reserved for a special brunch in honor of Matt and Jenny’s wedding, which would be taking place less than a week later.  After making a wake up call to Arby I sat around for a few before showering, freshening up, and dressing up for the lovely event.  The only negative about the brunch at Best Man Pete’s apartment building, was that the Giants were scheduled to play at 1pm and this event was in direct conflict.

Arby and I attempted to split from the Slope around 11:30, but were delayed twice due to our foolish contention that we might be able to get champagne in Brooklyn prior to hopping on the train.  It took our brains too long to realize that every liquor store was closed until Noon by law.  Eventually, this popped into our umbrella-protected heads and we just headed for the Subway.

Once getting out of the train on Chambers street we  peered down unfamiliar streets searching for liquor stores.  Before we found one Arby and I were stopped by young tourist girls looking to be directed to Little Italy.  One of the girls noticed that Arby was carrying a lavender umbrella and asked if he wanted to trade.  Despite the fact that she was carrying an accessory of much higher quality, she made the switch and Arby had gained a more masculine and certainly more able umbrella in the process.

We weren’t the first ones to the brunch party, but we certainly weren’t the last.  That honor fell to Marie, but that was fine.  Anyone enjoying their birthday week deserves a force field from scorn.  And really, there’s really no scorn necessary in being a little late for brunch on account of crappy train service.  With everyone on hand a tasty bagel brunch complete with mimosas, cranberry scones, chocolate cake, and fruit salad began.  It went on for about a half hour before the focus changed from food to Football.  Seeing as a large portion of the revelers were men, and one of the ladies was a big Giants fan, we turned the room into a home theater of sport.

Brunch In Motion

Brunch In Motion

Seeing as we weren’t in Pete’s apartment, but in a room reserved in the building, we couldn’t stay and watch the game forever.  The room reservation ran out at 3pm which prompted us to go on a hunt for the perfect sports bar.  We found that perfect sports bar to be Warren 77.  We sat through the end of the Giant blowout of Tampa Bay and the Jet win over Miami, and probably most of the first half of the doubleheader game before everyone started to split.  The party moved on with Matt, Arby, and Chris V…but rather than rage on through the night, I capped off my afternoon with a burger and headed home to atone for my sins with a stomach full of grade A beef that would have to last me through to the next evening.

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