J and I are sitting on the patio of a German Restaurant on the Upper East Side.
“So what exactly is ‘German potato salad?’” I spent 3 months in Berlin so I should know this. But while I was there I spent more time in Indian restaurants than native ones, so I ask J. His dad is after all, off the Deutchland boat.
“It’s crushed up potatoes with a vinegar dressing. No mayo or anything.”
“So good, it’s not like American Potato salad? I fukin’ hate that shit.”
I know, I know. What don’t I hate?
A round of Spaten in authentic looking German beer glasses. Authentic as Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. I take a sip, swearing this will be my only drink of the day.
A few sips later, the waiter brings our plates.
“I wish we had a girl waitress. I’d rather get to look at a chick in a dress than some guy in Leiderhosen.”
“I’m glad we have a guy. I’d rather have a guy for everything. For friends, a waiter a boyfriend…”
“We’re you thinking about switching to the other side?”
I crinkle my nose in disgust. What kind of question is that? Besides, I’ve ordered sausage. Not tuna.
“At least the papas are good,” I offer. But I guess to a man, no potato can replace the enjoyment of seeing bosoms every time you order a refill.
“I don’t wanna move to North Carolina,” I blurt out like whiney 3 year old. An agency, an unfortunately good agency, is flying me down next week for an interview. Flying means they’re serious. I wish it was a bad agency. But it’s the kind of agency I’d be naïve to turn down. But I posses a problem that fosters this naïveté. I’m a city snob. It’s an arrogance that was fostered early in my youth and nurtured by my string of past residences. Buckling down with a good job in a city without distractions may be a smart career move. But then I picture rodeos. Unnecessarily giant muddy trucks with stickers of Calvin peeing on the Chevy logo. Waitressing in this city has been suddenly elevated to rock star status.
“No one says you have to,” says J.
Sure no one says I have to. I didn’t HAVE to work two jobs my first few months here either. But I did. And now I can still afford to feed my addictions.
I gulp down a mouthful of my Spaten and wipe off my top lip. “What am I gonna drink there? Busch beer? Do they even drink imports down there?”
“Sure they do.” He says cheerily.
My feigned confused expression goes flat. “Dude, I wasn’t being serious. I know they have imports. I’m not that fucking ignorant.”
“No, I was gonna say, they import their whiskey from Kentucky.”
I reply with an unenthusiastic, “Ha.” I am not amused at their idea of cultural exploration.
My whining re-commences. “But I don’t wanna move to North Carolina.” I am three years old. I’m at the dinner table. And I don’t wanna eat my green beans.
“It’s really the north of the south.”
This does little to comfort me either. It’s like saying they’re the best of the worst. “I don’t want no north of no south,” I say. My grammar already beginning to assimilate with the NC natives.
“Just use it as leverage.”
“Can I do that?”
“Of course you can. Tell all the agencies you’ve been talking to you here that Agency wants to offer you a job.”
“But aren’t I really screwing Agency over? My headhunter too? He’ll hate me.”
“It happens all the time.”
“What? People hating me?”
“The rican’s gonna hate me.”
“No he won’t.”
“I’m sticking him with rent.”
“And you’re stuck with it now.”
I look up at the fading sky. Then back down at my papas, nudging what’s left of them around with a fork. I’d finish them. I want to. But I’d spent the last week abandoning the gym in favor of 5 nights of heaving drinking with my favorite Korean drinking partner. I swore I’d use this hiatus to be “productive,” but it’s easy to forget your plight with eternal rounds of vodka. But after my week my body feels two pounds heavier. Multiply that by 765 and that’s how my head feels thinking about moving to the country.
I pull my sweater tighter. It’s getting chilly. I bet it’s warmer in NC. And if it’s not, a shot of Bourbon might do the trick. But then I remember my one beer limit. So I go home and pour myself a glass of water. Wondering if my future glasses will come from a Brita pitcher, or a well.