Under the Boardwalk

Ahhhh 2009 Halloween Memories!

Other than my family, there are a few friends I am very close to who I care about very deeply.

One is the Cuban “Big Sister” type I have mentioned in a previous blog who makes the awesomest cookies and might have seen nearly 100 movies with.

The other is the goofy yet lovable new mommy who lives in Philly who got me addicted to the show “Storage Wars”.

There was my irish best friend in Junior High and High School who used to join me in playing hooky to catch daytime Yankee games.

My endearing boss who looks out for me and a few more great people I am grateful to have in my life.

One friend in particular to this day still surprises me how we are still great friends to this day and I don’t mean that in a bad way, at all. Far from it. Let me explain.

I met her five and a half years ago through my  friend Leah (the new mommy in Philly). She was her college roommate and had moved to New York City to make a living as all do most young people in New York City with dreams including yours truly.

My initial reaction when I first met her was that she was the polar opposite of Leah. I could imagine an “Odd Couple” situation with them as college roommates, very easily and that was just initially meeting her and saying a few words.

While Leah was more outward, she was more inward. Leah was chilled, and happy go lucky while she was more adventurous and unpredictable. While Leah was a sassy goofball, she was a sarcastic smart-ass. One was sweeter Kristen Wiig and the other was a more badass Tina Fey.

I still remember vividly, the 2nd time I met her and got to know her more. I had went to Leah’s apartment to watch movies and eat candy.

I had bought a ton of candy and chocolate from a nearby Duane Reade. I didn’t know she was going to join us and she stopped by amazed by all the junk food I brought and deadpanned to me, “Are you on your period or something?”

That moment pretty much sold me that this was someone I felt comfortable, really liked and wanted to be friends with. She was definitely different than anyone I ever met in my life which was a welcome to me especially during my transition in life after college.

We started hanging out while she was staying at Leah’s for awhile, sleeping on her sofa bed. She had a tough transition living in NYC in the beginning going through a lot crappy jobs and bad luck trying to find her way in the big city, living from paycheck to paycheck.

At times, it was really bad for her, but she never quitted which tells you the type of person she is despite all the bullshit she dealt with.

I remember the first time we ever did hangout without Leah. We went to see a late night showing of Spiderman 3 at the AMC Times Square Theater in Manhattan. The movie sucked, a horrible sequel when compared to how great the first two movies were. But we made the best out of it, trading sarcastic quips about how bad the movie was…”Maybe they should have called it “Emo Spiderman”, etc. After the movie, we tried in vein to find a diner to eat food but being unable too, until we called it a night.

We started to do more stuff but then we almost hit a wall. Leah was moving to London with her future husband, Peter. Which meant she had to find a new place to live.

We had talked about moving in together, but circumstances that had happened in my life including leaving my first job prevented that from happening, which sucked because I was worried we’ll lose touch with each other since we lost that connective thread to our friendship being Leah.

Which did happen. I was worried for her considering her situation though I knew she had other friends in NYC. Though fortunately for me, a few months later, she got in touch with me. She took a job as a camp counselor in the city giving her room and board atleast for the summer.

We hung out a few times and again, we lost touch because both our lives were in flux.

A few months later, she reached out to me and told me she was able to get a solid job and got a small apartment in Greenpoint with her cat, who loved to lick my fingers, which for some odd reason reminded me of the scene in the remake of “Cape Fear” when DeNiro seduced a teenaged Juliette Lewis to lick his finger though this was a female cat. Things were also better for me in my life also. It was the right time for both for us.

Our friendship was really solidified when that happened. We pretty much did anything and everything as friends.

Whether it was painting her apartment with this weird Slime Green color while listening to Nirvana and I would make repeat trips to Home Depot to get more paint.

Going to Indie rock shows with great bands I never heard about until she introduced me to them and after the show, having drunken french fries at a Diner at Williamsburg. She’s increased the awesomeness of my iPod by 750%

The seemingly annual Halloweens when we dressed up and went to parties. She always wore these awesome homemade quirky costumes whether one year as a black angel or a comic book villain.

Always eating at this great mexican place in her neighborhood especially for the Sangrias with the chips and guacamole and going to the local bar near her house.

Though she never really liked sports, she always was game to go to games with me and shoot the shit while having beers and having boozy brunches because she respected by passion for sports like I did for her passions.

She also forgave me for the several times I got really drunk and puked on the couch I slept on in her apartment as do all great friends do. I think I puked on her cat once also, thinking about it now.

She like Leah and Liz and others have had a great influence on me in my life.

She got me to think about things in a different way. She got me in touch with my smart-ass “inner child”. She opened my horizons to things I never knew existed. Most importantly, she taught me how to be adventurous and never just sit down in life.

Perfect example being Leah’s wedding. Leah and her Husband got married at Chapel Hill, NC. It’s where they met when they attended UNC together.

I flew down to their wedding and to be honest, I was very nervous. I was pretty much by myself going there and I didn’t really know any of Leah’s other friends from NC who I was meeting. As I have said about myself in the past, I am very awkward and shy especially in new situations, meeting new people without much of a safety net.

Other than her and Leah, I didn’t know anyone and I kinda reverted to a Wallflower initially during the rehearsal and the after-party at a local UNC bar.

She wasn’t going to have none of that and started to introduce me to her friends and got me to feel comfortable. On the wedding reception, she dragged me out of my seat to dance.

Please note, I am a horrible dancer and it’s very hard to get me on the dance floor without a lot of will and alcohol, but she did. I remember one of the songs being “Under the Boardwalk” and I hung out with all of them at the after party around Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. One of the lasting memories I’ve had the last 5 years. My mom was shocked when I told her I went out to the floor to dance.

As do all great friendships, we eventually hit a really rough patch about a year or two back. It was really tough to get through and could’ve ended our friendship but I am happy to say, we got past it because we cared about our friendship and each other and looked past that the time.

We are still great friends today and still have our adventures including when I almost broke the toe of a Outback Steakhouse Hostess with a Bookshelf I was lugging for her when she moved into a new apartment.

In closing to my friend,  if you are reading this, thank you for being in my life and being a great friend to me. Thank you for accepting me and looking past my faults. I am proud of you considering how you over came the struggles you had when you started here in NYC and that you never gave up and overcame it all.

I am a much better person because of you and the others I am grateful to have in my life. I also apologize for puking on your cat and couch, and also spilling some of the slime green paint on your floor.

-V. for Vinnie



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