November 10, 2009

24 Hours (or so)

A weekend, more of a maelstrom - events, people, places, emotions. Life felt fast and full. It was a good weekend, to be sure, but a harder one than I expected. Throughout the weekend, I had to deal with a very bad chest cough. A loud cough that would rear its loquacious head whenever I would sit for long periods of time in dry air (aka, any sort of theater venue... basically the two highlights of the weekend). However, I mustered all of the open-mindedness that my personality could buy to prevent this minor issue from affecting my enjoyment.

The magic commenced on Friday evening. I ended work around five o'clock and quickly ran into the bathroom to change into my "premiere outfit:" skinny jeans, a blush pink chiffon ruffle top (I just love the blush) with sparkles, a black military blazer, and my red satin flats. My hair was still straight and pretty from my recent hair cut and I felt glamorous for the screening of Brief Interviews With Hideous Men. Everyone deserves this feeling, at least once in a while.

I dashed out of work and met up with Ingrid and her coworker friends (one of whom is a Brown University alum like John Krasinski and procured us these tickets). We had a delectable dinner at The Friendly Toast in Kendall Square and then walked over to the Kendall Square Theater, which was aflutter with people waiting to see the movie (and the man of the moment). As we entered the theater, I thought I saw John Krasinski waiting in line for refreshments. The man before me looked like him - tall and cute. However, it turned out to be one of his brothers as the actor's clan had turned out for the event.

The girls and I headed into the theater, which was almost full (we arrived fashionably late as anyone of importance might). We found some seats on the side, three rows up from the front. This location turned out to be perfect for almost as soon as we sat down, a theater employee walked to front of the room and introduced John (yes, I call him John - this is not The New York Times with its Mr. Krasinski nonsense), who came running down the aisle to introduce the film. Basically from that point on I did nothing but grin. I mean, John Krasinski was like TEN FEET AWAY (maybe a little more, but not much)!! He looked just like Jim with a white button-up shirt, a black tie, khaki pants, and that adorable hair and goofy, knee-buckling grin.

He was just as nice and funny and smart in person as he is on the screen, which made me admire him all the more. He introduced the film with a quick speech about how David Foster Wallace's book had influenced him when he first read it in college and then he ran towards the back of the theater to watch the film with his family. During this first part, I wanted to take a picture but didn't want to be THAT girl at the same time, so this photo was taken without flash (the quality is a bit surreal, which is how it felt to be there at the screening):

The film is short (around an hour and half), but it is thought-provoking and at times, so engrossing and poignant that I forgot myself in the plot's current. The vignette style of the story was handled seamlessly and the casting was superb. In particular, the last scene and monologue wrenches the viewers in the quiet horror of its content. And it was performed by John, who stepped in when the actor who had been cast dropped out. A moving performance by an actor most commonly cast in comedic roles.

After the credits rolled, the lights went up and John once again bounded down the aisle to the front of theater to take questions. I would have asked a question but I could barely speak without coughing and my voice had taken on a very masculine tone from said cough. So, I just sat there and marveled over the fact that I was here, listening to him.

People asked John how he liked directing over acting, how David Foster Wallace felt about the film (a tad awkward since the author committed suicide in 2008, but apparently, before his death, blessed the making of the film via a phone conversation with John), and what were his favorite scenes on The Office. John was intelligent and kind in his answers. I knew I wanted a better picture with a flash, so I waited until the Q&A ended and people were applauding (to be less distracting), which resulted in this one just before he exited the theater:

How cute is he?!?! Swoon...

We exited the theater and I saw him walk through the parking lot with his family, looking so dashing in a blazer and scarf. Though I didn't meet him, the whole thing was really thrilling. I mean, I can say that I saw a movie with John Krasinski...and about two hundred other people (minor detail). So...

...on to the next adventure!

Saturday was an early day (I awoke at 5 AM). My Bolt Bus to New York City left at 7 AM (ouch)! I slept most of the way and awoke to a brilliantly sunny day that charged my spirit. We arrived in the city in no time at all. I scrambled off the bus, so enthused to be back in THE CITY (not that lame MTV show). I have grown to deeply admire NYC over the years - a city that is so many things and so wholeheartedly itself. Boston is a town-city, good if you crave the best of both worlds. But with New York, you come here because you want a CITY in the full meaning of the word.

My dear friend Stefanie picked me up on 34th street and after many hugs, we strode over to the West Side to walk along the High Line Park, a gorgeous landscaped walkway that is constructed on an old 1930s freight train track 30 feet in the air (elevated to protect the public from the dangerous freight trains). In lieu of demolishing the tracks, the Friends of the High Line and the City of New York sponsored the creation of the park. On this glorious day, it was just lovely to explore.

{Several New Yorkers enjoy the High Line}

{A quick shot of some kindred spirits!}

{Some snazzy High Line landscaping}

{Purple clouds}

{A view of the trendy Meatpacking District}

{Fire escapes - I couldn't help myself}

We strolled through the Meatpacking District and into Greenwich Village where we had a late brunch of divine Oeufs Benedict at the charming Cafe Jacqueline. A long meal, full of good conversation (my favorite). We walked through Washington Square Park, where I spotted the cutest white Scottie dog, who was making an unreal amount of noise (he gave me a dirty look after I snapped his photo...hehe).

{A very boisterous white Scottie at Washington Square Park}
We took the subway back to Stef's apartment, where we dressed for our evening out on the town. Our other college friend, Jen, who lives in Brooklyn, joined us to dine on a delectable meal of chicken, oven-roasted vegetables, fresh salad as well as a mozzarella and tomato salad (all lovingly prepared by Stef who is in a master's program for nutrition at NYU). Stef is such a gracious hostess who always shows me the best parts of the city whenever I visit - I am truly blessed to have her friendship!

{Chef Stef cooking up a storm}

After a delicious meal, we prettied ourselves a bit more and headed for Times Square and the blazing marquees of Broadway (couldn't help but hum a few bars of "Give My Regards To Broadway") to see the revival of West Side Story.

{My first Broadway show!}

We met up with another friend, Susie, at the Palace Theater, which was fairly bursting with theater-goers (buffs and dilettantes galore). We had balcony seats that were quite good but I remembered to bring some small binoculars to see all the action up close (okay, to see the very handsome Matt Cavenaugh up close). The show was simply stunning!

Without getting too schmaltzy, the story, music, and movement of West Side Story resonates with a deep part of my creative and dramatic spirit. To see it live on Broadway was humbling, checking off a line on my List. The singing was as gorgeous as the soundtrack recording (although Matt did not hit the high B flat in "Maria," which I missed), but it was the dancing that made this show a true spectacle to behold. I was so happy to be sitting there (despite desperately trying not to cough) experiencing something I had loved for so long. A true gift, this feeling. The show is over three hours in length, an opus of emotions that leaves you trying to catch your breath and your heart. Such fervency of love and then in a matter of hours, all is snuffed by some knife stabs and a gunshot.

As we exited the theater, I saw Matt Cavenaugh selling show memorabilia for charity. He was still covered in the faux dirt and blood from the performance, his blue shirt torn from his toil with the Sharks. So handsome and perfectly in character. I thought of going over to tell him how much I enjoyed his performance, but again, I didn't want to be THAT girl. So, I walked by him, ever the cool pretend New Yorker leaving for a post-theater drink in the Village.

However, walking down Broadway with my friends, I felt a weight of a sudden sadness befall me. Strange, I know, because this was an incredible weekend. But I like to attribute meaning to my story. I constantly try to explain why things happen. The whole of this beautiful weekend overwhelmed me - seeing two men whom I idealize in person in the matter of 24 hours. It sort of felt like a sign but also a big slap in the face by the universe.

To be blunt, it's been a long time since I've had a meaningful relationship and to temper the sting of my singleness sometimes, I daydream about fictional characters like Jim Halpert or Tony. I see qualities in them that embody the type of man with whom I hope to one day be. Seeing these two men in person somehow made that type of man seem unreachable and I felt lonelier with this loss of mystery. A sharp pang of reality. Maybe all this makes me a sad person or maybe it's something that everyone experiences. I'm not sure because I have never really talked about it openly before. But this weekend really brought everything to a head and now I feel a little bit lighter somehow. Better, maybe. I suppose it's all in the perspective you choose.

Alas, this post is quite epic but these 24 hours were epic in activities, travel, the people, and the meaning attributed to the entirety of my pastimes. Thanks for reading (if I didn't lose you a few paragraphs ago!)!

1 comment:

  1. THANK YOU for the wonderful play by play with jim...i mean john! i'm terribly jealous, but your wonderful description kind of makes up for it.

    i think you sad feelings at the end of the weekend are completely understandable and normal! i definitely know how you feel. it seems like every man i'm attracted to is either in a relationship...or is a celebrity! talk about unreachable!

    thanks so much for this post lovely emily!!



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