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not without laughter

<--i just finished reading this book, langston hughes's first novel, originally published in 1930. the novel was ok, more successful as a portrait and a study of black america in the early 1910s than as a story, but the title is clearly the most apt observation. anything can be endured, as long as you've got a bit of laughter.

which is why i spent so much of last night laughing. after a rather long work week, i went out with some friends to chef yu, a restaurant in midtown west that has $3 mixed drinks during happy hour. we asked for a table for 3 (there were two of us there at the moment, but one was coming to meet us) and we were told that there were no tables available, and we'd have to wait. we went to the bar to get a drink while we waited...and then a party of 4 entered the restaurant was seated right away. i looked at my friend, she looked at me, and we decided it had to be the hair, me with my afro and she with her hair hidden under a black headwrap. we obviously looked too intimidating to be seated right away. well, maybe not. but i couldn't think of any other reason why we weren't seated immediately. (and this was not a reservations necessary type of place.)

eventually, we got a table, a waitress came and took our order...and never came back. so we flagged down a random waiter and made an order, and he said something we couldn't understand and disappeared. he eventually brought us our order. then i noticed that my menu had a random drink which careful inspection and interviews of patrons seated nearby revealed did not exist on any other menu: the woo woo. where my menu said woo woo, their menus said "terquila sunrise." yes, that's right, teRquila sunrise. ok. we asked a random waiter what a woo woo was, and he said he didn't know. hmmm.....if we had laughed at not getting service (and we did), then this was a knee slapper.

and about an half hour later, the original waitress came back, not to check and see how we were doing, but to ask if she could take the empty chair, since they were running low on chairs. ok, fine. wierd, but fine. then a waiter came by and asked if we were done with our drinks, since they were running low on glasses. umm...yeah, we're done with our drinks. if we had laughed about not getting service, and about our speculations about what a woo woo could possibly be, then this was just absolute hilarity. ridiculous. i suggested that the staff take a course on how to run a restaurant. they were so amusingly clueless.

i am happy to report that my shrimp dumplings had actual shrimp in them. that's a plus.

later, on the train ride home, i recounted the restaurant mishaps to a couple of random folks. one young man decried the rudeness of the waitstaff. i shrugged; can't get mad about everything, right? how small a thing, this was, at least at that moment. one of those random folks was a very nice, very tall young gentleman (who offered me his seat) who just so happened to be the tallest person i have ever seen in my life. turns out, he is 7'1. i have a very tall family (even if i'm only moderately tall) but this dude takes the very tall cake. and not long after he got off the train, a much shorter young man with a surfboard got on the train. it's rainy, it's cold, it's brooklyn, and he's getting on the train with a surfboard. seems a bit...unusual. so i asked him where he goes to surf, and in this weather, and he said, rockaway, this is the best time of year, the waves are great! the beach will be crowded with surfers! there are more surfers in the city than i would think! he needs to make it out there by 5am in order to get the good waves! (ok, he didn't actually talk with all those exclamation points, but he was rather enthusiastic.) and this other woman asked him where his wetsuit was, and he said he'd left it at his friends house, he lives not far from rockaway beach. and i asked him what a surfboard is made of, and he said, the core is foam and its got something or other wrapped around it (sorry, i forgot what).

apparently, some of the best waves to be had are at the very tip of long island at this time of year. not very many good waves to be had close to the city, the flow of the rivers into the ocean really messes up the waves, but the further away from the city you get...

well, thanks everyone who shared a laugh with me.


I like the story about the surfer on the train!

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About me

  • I'm call me aja
  • From nyc
  • 20something, black, woman, reader, writer, about to be a student again. i think i'd like to be heard (or read). child/grandchild of immigrant folk. yearning to travel. desirous of wisdom. a little bit ordinary, but working at being less so.
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