B is is for Meyers-Briggs, ballrooms and bongos.
scripted By: Tania
Six months late, but better late than never, and certainly worth the wait! Bonnie and I tried to go to Brighton Beach back in April and were thwarted by suspended weekend B service. On one recent Friday, we finally made it. We met at the West 4th Street station at 7pm headed south.
I have only ever been to Brighton Beach in the day, when there is a lot of activity – vendors on the street selling Russian food to beach goers. By the time that we arrived, it was dark and felt unusually quiet. For the first time in EOLD history, we decided to accept a recommendation, and so had planned to go to Tatiana – a Russian restaurant with a show on Friday and Saturday nights. We located the restaurant straight away, but it was a bit early so we walked to the boardwalk, stared at the sea and ventured off to find a bar. There was not one bar to be found! Perhaps the locals keep them a secret…
Joining us on this trip was Adrienne. The circumstances under which I met Adrienne were quite unusual. We had been sent by our firm to a 3 month leadership program in Shanghai—50 people from 17 different countries trying to get “underneath the iceberg”. We wore our Myers-Briggs profiles like a badge (“he is so E”), and had more time to discuss our goals, aspirations, motivations and feelings than I ever imagined possible in a work environment.
My first experience with Adrienne was to review the 360 degree feedback that we had received from our staff and colleagues back at home. Adrienne’s feedback was off the scale positive. It was so good I was a bit in disbelief that anyone could be so smart, generous, supportive and enjoyable to work with. Now I know. Of all the people in our program, Adrienne was the tireless coordinator of happy hours, apartment crawls and other social events. If it were not for the program’s focus on our Myers-Briggs profiles, I never would have guessed that Adrienne was an introvert. It is very clear for me to see now, though, and it drew me closer to her as a friend (I too am an introvert – INTP if you know the lingo). For those of you who might think that introverts have less fun, Adrienne will quickly prove you wrong!
We entered Tatiana through a long hallway filled with pictures of Tatiana herself, posing with various celebrities. It took a few minutes to find someone to seat us. When we entered the main dining room, it looked a little bit like that time when Shane Smith went to North Korea and sat in an empty banquet hall that was set up for a crowd that would never arrive. There were flashing lights, a stage, tables set and NO people. Eventually we were joined by two birthday parties, and later learned that a party of 150 cancelled at the last moment due to a death in the family. We promptly ordered some vodka martinis. The party was to start with or without the large crowd.
We decided to share, as usual, selecting a few items from the menu that we had never heard of and could not pronounce. We started with the smoked fish assortment (lox, smega, red caviar and butterfish) and 3 hachapuri. The very tall, very Russian waiter informed us that it is customary to eat the smoked fish with potatoes, and so we ordered some of those as well. The hachapuri turned out to be a delicious cheese filled pastry. The highly anticipated caviar on the fish plate, however, tasted like something that you would eat at a cheap sushi restaurant. Bonnie and Adrienne seemed to enjoy the beef stroganoff that they ordered. By the time the vareniki with sweet cheese arrived, we were several martinis deep, filled to the gills and posing for pictures with our food (which are frankly too embarrassing to show!).
Around the time the fish plate was served, the entertainment began. I understand that it is usually much grander, but they waived the show fee, and it was certainly good enough for us. Two ladies in ball gowns sang the hits, while a bald man donning a tuxedo ran the show. Adrienne made it her mission to play the bongos on stage, a feat that our waiter said that many had tried before, and all had failed.
The birthday parties were the first to dance, followed by an extremely grabby couple. We jumped in at some point, and eventually the whole room was whipped into a frenzy. We were all dancing like no one was watching (introvert) – or like everyone was watching (extrovert). We drank a bottle of wine, Adrienne made it onto the stage to play the bongos (I never doubted her for a second), and Bonnie did some intimate dancing with the man from the grabby couple. One of the things that I love most about Bonnie is that she does not discriminate when it comes to dance partners. I once saw her shake her tail feather with a man dressed only in a strategically placed ice cream scoop.
It felt nice going home on the train, one of those moments where you are happy being exactly where you are, having had a really great time with your friends. There were three doc martin wearing teenagers sitting across from us. We took it upon ourselves to give them life advice (which they asked for – we do not make it a habit of spouting off unsolicited wisdom). I can’t remember exactly what that wisdom was – but I’m sure it was life changing….
Adrienne got off the train, followed at a later stop by Bonnie and me. I gave a homeless man a $20 bill, went home and walked my dog. Upon reflection, I can’t say for sure whether the man was homeless – the only thing that I know for certain is that he was a man and he had a sign. I also know for certain that everyone should experience a night in Brighton Beach!