Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Dinner in Manhattan Saturday night, a little planned spontaneity with Kristi Bennett who found the cyber-me, what, last year? And has supported this blog for months now with some seriously thoughtful comments that reassure me these hundreds of thousands of words are not for nothing. 

On vacation in the Apple from the land of OJ (juice that is), she asked if Bryan and I could meet her and her husband for dinner, and I couldn’t pass up a chance to meet her in 3D surround sound. Because Kristi and I have only written to each other, I worried for a second about how seamless we'd be in the flesh. It would be like deaf date, as opposed to a blind one. We’d seen each other’s pictures, knew each other’s inner landscapes, but sitting and talking and breaking bread together, that'd be a different story. My heart revved a bit hearing her voice on the phone for the first time. I called to tell her we were stuck in Holland Tunnel traffic, the kind that reminds you why you hightailed it out of the city in the first place. Her soprano southern lilt registered exotic to my alto monotone northeast ears. She even told me, “It’s a good thing you’ve seen my picture, otherwise my voice would make you think I had big blond southern hair!” Which I know, she doesn’t. But I would have been game for that too.
Rick picked the restaurant, Prune, on 1st and 1st in the east Village. He’d been hankering for their bone marrow starter since he’d seen Anthony Bourdain rave about it on the Food Network. I had the duck, washed down with not one but two Ketel One dirty martinis, and okay, I admit it, I would have been fine with just the one. But they were smallish, and I was in the mood to hoot with my new friends who turned out to be fun, smart, creative kind-hearted people, exactly the way Kristi is in cyberspace.

The wait staff wore pink t-shirts which complemented Prune’s color story. (It's good to insert something about a color story now and then. Reminds me of my passion for aesthetics and design, kind of like Project Runway does.) So yeah. Nice joint. The ricotta ice cream with caramel croutons kicked my duck entree's ass, but Kristi’s sweetbread appetizer was pretty good for a plate full of throat and pancreas. Mmmm... Throat and pancreas.
After dinner, we joked that the tab would prompt us to take out second mortgages. Hello crappy economy humor! Then we walked around (for free), browsed three-hundred dollar shoes and ducked into Starbucks to use the loo and so Bryan could grab himself a coffee for the road as we’d be heading back home that same night, acting as if we lived in the suburbs of Manhattan and not Philadelphia.

In line for the bathroom, I eyeballed a homeless man and wondered where he got his sleek laptop. An Iggy Pop type joined me in line. Dirty black everything uniform (jeans, leather, sneakers), missing some important teeth and sporting a hulking camera hanging like gangsta bling from his ruddy veiny neck. He picked up conversation with me where he’d left off with someone else, or himself, ranting about “the Sartorist” being a hack. When I gushed, "I love the Sartorialist!" he practically spat, “I have one million myspace friends!” I nodded and gave him an awed wow, hoping it wouldn't seem over-the-top charitable. “Do you know who I am?” he asked, and eyeballed the floorboards with disgust when I told him I didn’t.  The word lunatic rattled around in my vodka smoked brain even as I marveled at the fact that I was not completely put off. Would I have felt this guy like a prison shackle if I still lived in Brooklyn? If I didn’t steep myself day and night in Buddhist teachings? “Mark Fisher,” he said, and I clarified, “just S-H-E-R? No C in there?” as I had every intention of checking his stats online at my first opportunity. I was even getting a little excited about it, in a meta way. Because when somebody stops you in line for the bathroom at Starbucks on a Friday night to declare his dopeness, you'd better wonder why you don't know who he is.

When it was my turn to pee, I mouth breathed through the doody-scented ordeal, only to find Mark Fisher again, ready to ply me with more examples of his meteoric success. Kristi and Bryan and Rick had joined me by then. Kristi asked him, “Is that Mark with a C or a K?” I gather because she was also bent on looking him up, to which Mark held up a jeweled digit and said, exasperated with the lot of us, “What do you think?” his bleached wispy hair dancing in the breeze stirred up by his zeal.

Our eyes zoomed in on his pointer finger, clad in a black and silver ring emblazoned with the letter R. “So that’s Mark with an R?” she might have said, I can’t remember exactly, but Mark spat, “Uh, Rolling Stones? Heard of them?” as if that settled the matter, but for us the matter it settled was that Mark was now fair game to tease openly. Which is mean, but irresistible on a Herculean level. (That's an attempt at an apology, Mark, if you're reading.) When he started in about the brown Brownie camera he’d used to capture images of the Stones back in the day, not the black one, I nodded and repeated his boasts, “Oh yeah, the brown one, not the black one,” urging him on like a special ed. teacher. It surprised me that it didn’t take him long to be offended and he muttered a passive-aggressive something or other, maybe about wasting our time, or about idiots who just don’t get it, man, and with a flap of his leather coat, stormed back to his tiny round table, blond wisps bouncing after him like anorexic groupies.

Kristi and I were mildly wounded that the sinister “sartorist” hadn’t deemed us worthy of photographing, and joked about it outside as we feverishly googled him on her iPhone. We found him herehere and here. By the way. Just to make it official,

Dear Mark Fisher, 

I am sorry I teased you at Starbucks Friday night. Please know that the context of our meeting prejudiced me, and even if Andy Warhol had approached me waiting in line for the bathroom, he would have been received with a hearty helping of dubious doubt. And not just because he is dead. 

Maybe it's a matter of etiquette and unspoken social codes. In any case, I hope the world rewards you with the riches and recognition you desire. Amen.



Amelia Plum said...

sounds like an absolutely wonderful evening, i just wish we could see a pic of you & kristi from your face to face meeting.

elise said...

thanks amelia, wish you were there. we'll have to organize a bloggers' summit meeting. somewhere tropical. I forgot my camera so kristi if you read this, send those pics! I will post. xoxo

kristi said...

well crap. i just tried to leave you a witty comment and got kicked offline so now it's gone. :(

sent you the pics. post them! and you know my place is tropical...except there are kids there. it would be more fun to have martinis on the beach without kids.


Mr. B. said...

Rick and I can watch the kids while you guys drink more filthy martinis on the beach (martinis and beach? Do they go together?). As long as I get to be tropical, too.

Amelia Plum said...

yeah, now we can see you two together! very cute pic. are you telling me a blogger trifecta in pittsburgh this winter won't be tropical enough;)