Saturday, January 10, 2004

Thursday Night

I worked my ass off like I had never worked before at any of my previous jobs. It almost felt like I was back at Stanford again taking some monstrous CS class that was about to push me beyond the edge of sanity.

At 6:00 Phil called me to see if I wanted to have a quick dinner with him. Eager to take a break from all that programming, I went with him to dinner. We wandered a few blocks in midtown and settled on TGI Fridays. We regretted that decision the moment we saw the ridiculous prices. The people sitting around us gave us weird looks after hearing our loud guffaws. How can one not laugh at the absurdity of a $14 chicken sandwich at a TGI Fridays? Or a $14 BBQ chicken salad? Or $3 glass of ice tea? It must be the midtown luxury tax.

After wolfing down our food and having a few hearty laughs, we rushed back to the company and started working again.

8:30: I left for the PAC-10 alumni happy hour, which was being held at Cibar from 7 to 10 near Union Square. I would not have known about it had Maribel, who's the Stanford NYC alum activity coordinator and who also happens to work at my company, not sent out an email a day earlier and then reminded me again.

9:00: I arrived at Cibar and started looking for any recognizable face that would introduce me to his/her friends, who would then introduce me to their friends, and so on. In other words, I was trying to hunt down that elusive "in" person that would open up the party to me. No luck. No such luck at all. Maribel was nowhere to be found. All I saw were strangers looking like they were having a great time socializing with each other. I roamed from the entrance all the way to the end of the bar and still couldn't find a single person that I had ever met in my entire life.

I ordered a beer, which set me back $8. (Note to self: find something to do at night in Manhattan other than blowing money in bars). I sipped my Bass and bid my time, hoping Maribel, or Ghazelle (the cute class of 2000 Persian girl working at the UN that I had met at the last PAC 10 happy hour), or Josh (a guy from my class that I had also met at the last happy hour) would show up. They never did. Maybe they did show up but left before I arrived.

Normally, I don't have problems talking to people. I'm usually pretty social and can strike up a conversation with anyone on every conceivable topic, from theocracy in Iran with Ghazelle to investment bank recruiting with Maribel to photography with Josh. But I can't just walk up to a group of total strangers who seem to be in their own little world and start talking. That would just be too weird for me.

9:30: after wandering around the bar a few more times in vain, I tried to finish my beer so I could leave. All of a sudden, the cute Asian girl standing next to me, who was engaged in what seemed like an exciting conversation with her girlfriend and another guy, lifted up her shirt and showed off her purrty perky breasts.

I almost dropped my beer.

Her girlfriend and the other dude started laughing and exclaimed, "You really have fucking great breasts!" So I hanged around for 5 more minutes just out of curiosity. Then I decided to leave because, let's face it, what could I have added to that conversation? "Nice tits!"? Besides, the unexpected nudie show, though only so brief, somewhat made up for my shitty night, so I was pretty content to go.

10:15: after wasting some time in Circuit City looking at a bunch of digital cameras, and then remembering my new year's resolution to not waste money on gadgets, I went to the Virgin Megastore next door to check out the huge sale. I ended up buying Bjork's "Vespertine" album for $10 and then went home. I can't believe I waited so long to get this hauntingly beautiful album. Bjork's voice is just out of this world, sounding heart-achingly fragile at one moment and then morphing into a blast of pure energy the next.