A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 11: In the Company of Strangers

July 7th · 1 Comment

You’re at a wine bar called Buceo 95 on the Upper West Side, the kind of place with red lounge lamps suspended from the ceiling, and it comes time for everyone at the table to boast or lie about what they do for a living.

The census reveals you’re sharing a bottle with a radiologist, a neurologist, an asset manager who deals in derivatives mostly, an assistant to someone shortlisted to be the next surgeon-general, and the CEO of a company that makes Christmas ornaments, with operations in six countries. And what do you do? The CEO asks.

“I’m a journalist,” you say, peering up from the glass in which you have been hiding.

“Cool!” the CEO replies, and the conversation moves on without anyone pressing you for details. Your wine glass receives a quiet sigh of relief.

You immediately add fifteen items to tomorrow morning’s to-do list so the next time you’re at a wine bar your career could withstand a cross-examination by Mayor Bloomberg, Madonna and the editor of Vanity Fair.

The wine is a Torrontes from Argentina, silky and complex, and instead of enjoying the taste you are now searching for other wine adjectives, like floral and perhaps oaky, just so you’ll be prepared to say something intelligent if anyone speaks to you again.

You look over at the bartender, who is a handsome black man with a black shirt and a moustache that are both cut just so. The air pulses with thrummy, bassy music and tea lights flicker on the table. Suddenly you feel like a sucker.

You wonder if that’s how this year in New York will go, playing name games with people in silk shirts, seduced to part with your hard-earned twenties by downtempo iPod selections, a few tea lights, and the beads of sweat on a chilled bottle of wine.

Tags: Dining · Schmoozing · The Rat Race · Why I Hate This Town

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Kimberly Winston // Jul 11, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Newsflash – yeah, that’s how your year in NY is gonna go. Sorry. That’s the diff between the East Coast and the West, You’ll survive. You are da man. And being a journalist is nothing to be ashamed of. See: Watergate. See: Walter Reade Medical Center. You da man.

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