This weekend my brother-in-law Henry came into town. We had a very good time, despite being homebound for most of Saturday due to torrential rainfall. Other people might have been discouraged by the prospect of sitting in a small apartment, staring at each other as the rain pours and as we wait for our damp jeans to dry on top of the radiator, but not us!
On Friday Henry and I went to Chipotle for a late lunch. Massive lines of people waiting for their burritos. We went to the one on Varick, which is like a ghost town when I go at night for dinner; the lunchtimes hordes were kind of shocking. Later, like any two normal dudes, we went up to McNulty's on Christopher Street to buy some tea. That night we went to John's Pizza for dinner, where we had a great time until Henry felt something brush against his foot and it turned out to be a mouse. We were standing up, preparing to exit the place after our meal, and there was the lumpy brown mouse sitting perfectly still. Was it dead? Was it cowering? L was uncharacteristically shocked by the grossness and wasn't moving. I tried to steer her to the side, and then a restaurant guy swooped in and covered the mouse with his foot, and I thought OH SHIT DO NOT CRUSH THE MOUSE, so at that point I darted away to the side to miss the carnage, nimbly dodging tables until I met up with L and Henry at the front of the restaurant. Delicious pizza, though. Four stars, all the way.
Saturday we woke up to the driving rain. It was coming down in sheets, pounding the pavement and turning the air white. No one was outside. We spent a lot of time reading, doing homework, trying to find something new on the internet, staring at each other blankly. During a lull in the storm in the afternoon we ventured to Five Guys for some burgers and complimentary peanuts (I always eat too many peanuts, end up feeling sick later on) and went up to Three Lives to check out the new books. Five Guys, Three Lives. Hmm. As the rain picked up again we headed home.
Around six o'clock it seemed to let up once more, so I decided to go for a run by the river. (During those horrible witching hours of 5-7 pm, for some reason, I get so antsy and just can't be cooped up in the apartment -- I have to get out). As I ran along the river the clouds were billowing up into the sky, creating a broad gray band dividing the lapping water below and the surprisingly clear night sky above. Quite pretty. Two thirds of the way through it started raining again, cold flecks hitting the t-shirt on my back. A few minutes later the hard rain had returned, soaking through my clothes into my skin. I could feel the soppy weight of my pants against my calves as I ran. I sprinted for the last couple miles, whooping with cold as I tried to get home as quickly as possible. When I finally made it I was drenched and shivering, stripping in the kitchen and heading directly to the shower. Another great run!
That night we headed up to Rickshaw for dinner, after the rain finally abated around 8:30. Went to the Strand, and I got Raymond Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." Excellent short stories, very spare and sharp and whittled down. I can definitely see the line connecting him to Richard Ford, one of my favorites. Henry met up with some friends so L and I watched a surprisingly good SNL with Ashesh and Mona.
Today I got up and spent a couple hours at the gym. As we left my teacher told me that I was getting stronger, since I was making it through the full set of push-ups. Humiliating compliment to receive. I immediately tried explaining how we don't do push-ups until near the end, when we've done a lot of upper body work already, how we do them extremely slow, how I'm focusing on form, etc. After Chipotle, where I was stuck in line behind some clueless Europeans who were mystified by the idea of selecting from a menu of salsas, I met everybody to head up to Union Square for various shopping and browsing adventures. We also ate lunch at the saddest Subway ever, which we should have recognized immediately based on the sign in the window advertising "FRE COFEE." Ultimately we made it home exhausted and Henry headed for the bus.
Despite the weather, it was an excellent weekend. I was glad Henry made it up, and he was a really good sport about our limited range of activities (hampered by the rain and our own weird proclivities -- three bookstores in two days? Really?). He is one of those people who I just wish would live up here, nearby. That list is distressingly long.