the red hook
the red hook bar in the neighborhood of the same name in southern brooklyn was where were ended the night sunday and started monday. the gin tonic i had at the suggestion of our host cost a mere $6 with tip and hit me after three sips. i found myself sitting in the middle of a table of five. they were talking to each other. i was admiring the decor. a guy who pointed out my "cute glasses" sat across me at the bar, with his back turned to our table. i didn't realize i wasn't talking to anyone when our host stopped talking and also started looking around. i turned to them and tried to contribute. they fell silent, so i asked them to translate something sent to me in spanish.

ahaha, two weeks into the new year, and i still don't fully know what had been texted to me in greeting for the new year. i truly had intended to find out, though. and this was the first. i knew it was lame to ask someone on the street who i knew spoke spanish, but i guess it's ok to ask someone you knew?

she said she didn't know, but that pascua is easter, and not christmas! oops.

halfway through everyone's drink, i got hungry and asked if anyone wanted to go find someplace to eat. they just wanted to go home. i shrugged, and sipped my gin tonic. midnight is early for me, but it wasn't my trip to begin with. i was happy to have explored the back part of the bar - we had just missed a band playing there - where a friend of mine wanted to make sure he still had control of his legs, and took to a videogame and started playing. our host looked at a jukebox, but didn't find any song she liked. she'd been playing mellow tunes of country, avant garde and alternative all weekend. her friend, the driver of our party, liked the postal service.

"they're a two-person band, and the way they form tracks is they mail things to each other. one plans the beats while the other sings and writes lyrics, and then they mix tracks together. they both belong to other bands, but the way they create the songs is by sending each other their work. i don't think they've ever actually met," he said, explaining the band to me. he did that at least three times the entire weekend, once going to new york city, the next two times while there.

the postal service is a great band. it mixed well with six feet under. while at another friend's apartment, also in the red hook neighborhood, we saw "back to the garden." later, i learned why i chose not to learn how to smoke various types of leaves that evening, ahaha. but i'm not sure if it would have made a huge difference if i did.

the friend had a cat, and her owner chose also not to smoke, and instead she stopped the show and rewound a bit so she can hear a line by claire obscured by everyone's happy laughter.

"she had some witty comeback to that, and i didn't hear," the host said.

she is the host, and we were in her huge apartment with 6 rooms (two bedrooms, a storage area, TV room, kitchen, a second shared sala space) and two bathrooms. all hers, she shyly, giddily, laughed, and it was an accomplishment, in the middle of the big apple. something she can show that's truly hers. we left after seeing "back to the garden" and headed to "the red hook" bar, where a band had just concluded their night's set.

after one whiskey shot, my friend groaned, he was so unused to the bar setting, that wanted me to talk, "talk about anything."

"oh gosh, what haven't i told you," i said to him. the warm gin helped get stuff out of me: why i went with them in the first place, a story complete in a 90 seconds flat.

it was great to be somewhere other than the 6-bedroom apartment, or the brownstone apartment, or chicago. it's acutally a trip away from the guidebooks, completely original, and shared with company.
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