18 April 2008

And a Strange Day It Was

Yesterday was one of the more surreal days I've had in a while.

I headed into New York for lunch with two friends at AOC on Bleecker Street. We sat in the outdoor patio area in the back, enjoying the loveliest day so far in 2008. As lunch was winding down, though, the exceedingly polite waiter came up to us and said, "Excuse me, but we're having a fire."

We did what any reasonable people would do in such a situation: we sat still and blinked at him uncomprehendingly.

Then, with a teensie bit more urgency in his voice: "I'm sorry, but we're having a fire, and everyone will have to leave."

We grudgingly gathered up our belongings and shuffled out, thinking that perhaps a pot in the kitchen had boiled over. Once we got out, though, we looked back at the building, and saw great tongues of flame leaping from the roof. Some of them were ten or fifteen feet high. And when someone tried to douse the fire by pouring something on it, the flames just leapt higher and windows exploded.

So we stood across the street, glasses of wine in hand, watching the blaze on a lovely spring afternoon. We got to see firemen breaking down doors and all kinds o' fun stuff. Who knew the restaurant threw in an entertainment package at no extra charge?

Then we strolled up a few blocks to an outdoor café to chat and sip wine. Across the street were perhaps ten uncommonly predatory paparazzi, all of them aiming cameras very close to our table. Once we figured out that we weren't the reason for their fascination, we discovered that, two tables away, sat the fetching Jenna Jameson, star of such cinematic masterpieces as Up and Cummers 11, I Love Lesbians, and who could forget Philmore Butts: Taking Care of Business? I did my best not to think about the fact that the café was located in the Meatpacking District, which seemed too appropriate a location.

It would have been a lovely day even without a fire and a porn impresario, but together they really did make for a memorable afternoon.

1 comment:

Sean B. Palmer said...

Ages ago I read a story in the Reader's Digest about a couple who were having lunch in Switzerland; they'd ordered a glass of milk each. The waitress kept trying to explain that something was the matter, but the couple didn't know much German so they couldn't work it out. Eventually the exhasperated waitress frankensteined together a clearer phrase, “Die moo ist kaput!”, and the couple understood.

Not quite as exciting as the restaurant exploding and then going to another one which happens to have Jenna Jameson luncheoning in it, but then that's Switzerland for you.