Friday, March 24, 2006

Am I Living Here?

Tonight, I went to dinner at Lotus and ate, talked, and laughed with two impossibly gorgeous female models -- one blond and one brunette -- who swore they'd be my best friends and take me out on the town in exactly two weeks.

If you've ever written a "thesis statement" in high school, that would be mine for this post.

It's nights like these that I don't believe that I'm living here, experiencing this. On nights like these, twentysomething-year-old Newbie tries to make witty, modern conversation despite the fact that she's wearing a turtleneck she bought from the Express at Manhattan Mall two and a half years ago, but 9-year-old Newbie just wants to be silent, look at everything around her, and marvel at the fact she's really living here.

My friend Red is a talent agent, which means she occasionally gets to do really cool things for free. And sometimes she takes me. Tonight, we say this play at UCB, and I can honestly say I've never laughed so consistently throughout an entire performance. Trust me when I say it will be worth a Lincoln to see it. Plus, the female lead does VH1's "Best Week Ever" now and then and is also in that weird cooking show/salad Wendy's commercial. Star power, for what it's worth.

Afterward, we went to a dinner at Lotus I had no business being at. I'm 5'4", my face is round and long, my looks are an acquired taste, and my clothes are entirely unfashionable, even according to the Boyf, who lets his mother buy his dress shirts. I went to Lotus a year ago, but I was so tipsy I remember very little of it, aside from the fact I was somehow fed grapefruit juice out of a carafe by someone who said he owned B Bar. I think we can leave it at that.

Tonight, the glasses on the table reflected yellow sun-colored light, all the women at the neverending table looked as though they had glitter for skin, and I just tried to savor the moment and pretend I wasn't wearing a cable-knit turtleneck. Across the table were two real models: A standoffish brunette from Dublin, and a flippy blonde from Greenwich, Connecticut. Thanks to Red, a wannabe entertainer and born socialite, we became fast friends with the models -- models! -- who promised us we'd all go out soon. Whether or not we do is really beside the point. Because as Red wove stories of college, of New York, of our shared ex-boyfriend (more on that later), I just stared: at the dinner I couldn't afford if it weren't being comped; at the sublime, sharp, angular faces of these models I could have sworn I knew from films (the blonde was Michelle Pfieffer with a little Jaime Pressly-ish insecurity mixed in, the brunette was Gisele and Demi in one); and the baby-oil smell of the African-American actor who slid his card into my hand and told me that he'd take me dancing whenever I'd like, no questions asked. It was all so surreal, so glazed to a fine finish, that part of me didn't want to leave.

I got home at 12:30, I saw a letter from my hometown: My dad had sent me a card with a picture of a wolf amidst a cluster of daisies on the front. My Midwest voter registration card and a postcard for ordering a collector's postage-stamp catalog was inside. "We were at a wedding at church this afternoon," my dad's slender Sharpie scrawl read. "Nothing like spoiling a good [garden] work afternoon just to shower and get redressed again."

And it was true, and real, and what I needed after tonight. The point. What's Lotus when you can plant your own flowers?


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