2 is for: My 2 Cents
2ted by: Bonnie
Tania said something to me during our most recent End of the Line Dining trip that hasn’t left my head. It had, of course, been awhile since we took our last trip. When we started this project, we were raring to go, hitting two end of the lines a month. Now, our pace has slackened to once every couple of months. I just counted and we have twenty-four ends left. So there’s definitely a couple more years of journeys ahead. So much has already happened. We wrote down our goals when we started, and I’ve already accomplished them. I’ve realigned, reconfigured, and reconstructed a hundred times. I’ve fallen in love. I’ve gotten an MFA. I’ve sold my first novel! I’ve worked my ass off, and this is what brings me to what Tania said while we were catching up.
“I don’t know when I became one of those people who works all the time.”
Now, if anyone has a real-life, grown up job, it’s Tania. I (try to) sit at my desk every day and make stories for people to eventually bind into books to read. Tania sits at the big girl table at a major accounting firm every day and has done so since the year 2000! In all the years with all the success and accomplishment, she has managed to keep a perfect balance with the other aspects of her life. In other words, she hasn’t been one of those people who works all the time, despite the demands of her job.
But recently, it feels like work work work!
That’s New York though, isn’t it? Ask ANY one in your life how things are going lately and I would say that nine times out of ten, that person will answer, I’ve been SO busy!
Tania and I met up one Saturday a few weeks ago, somewhat of a feat considering how much she’s been travelling for work. The pictures will show that I still had long hair, so if you know when I cut it off, you will know how long I’ve sat on writing this post. We met at Sixth Avenue and 14th Street to catch the 2 Train downtown to Flatbush Avenue/Brooklyn College. We spent the 45 minute train ride catching up, as usual. I was feeling a little drained and was on my second cold in two weeks. We were definitely hoping that the presence of the college would mean the presence of something tasty to eat.
When we descended upon the neighborhood, the first place we saw was Target. Don’t you always need something from Target? This particular time, we both needed to use the bathroom. And of course, we were tempted to do a little shopping, but decided that if we still felt like it after eating, we would come back.
One of the next things we saw was a skate shop. Now, a year and a half ago, I may never have noticed a skate shop. Now that I cohabitate with a handsome skater, I notice all kinds of things I never did before. We didn’t go in though.
We found the Brooklyn College campus, which isn’t difficult as it is the neighborhood’s main feature. It looked like a college campus should, with majestic brick buildings and great lawns and iron gateways.
This is surrounded by a residential neighborhood, with most of the commerce along Flatbush Avenue. We passed a window full of brightly patterned fabrics, a sign above reading “God’s Grace.”
The door was locked, but we knocked to get buzzed in. It smelled like curry, there was a television playing, and we were not greeted by the friendliest of salespeople. On the contrary, it felt like we were seriously interrupting someone’s lunch. Still, Tania managed to get a few different pieces of fabric. I think she’s going to make pillows out of them.
The thing is, we definitely were not passing by any interesting places to eat. A thing that happens at many end of lines. We had spotted a Dallas BBQ right off the train, and were reserving it as a last resort if we didn’t find anything.
Well, we didn’t.
So, when in Rome, eat where the locals do! Even if that’s Dallas BBQ. I’d never been to a Dallas BBQ, so the choice felt right.
It is one of those massive, multi-level restaurants. Neither of us was drinking, but the cocktail selection looked off the hook. A place to get those giant fruity drinks with, like, booze bottles sticking out of them and other wacky accouterments. Like this: Tsunami Royale with a bottle of moscato poured into it.
The server was sweet to go through all the drink specials and their ingredients. I should have written them down because they were wild.
Tania got a virgin piña colada.
We didn’t share as we usually do. We were at a Dallas BBQ so I had to do baby back ribs, right?
Well, Tania is pescatarian, so I had to ride solo for the rib special lunch, while she ordered the grilled shrimp platter.
The food tasted exactly like you know it does. That’s the thing with chain restaurants. That shit is streamlined. And hits a particularly satisfying part of my nostalgia, as a person who grew up going out to them almost exclusively for special dinners. Even though I’d never been to a Dallas BBQ, I knew what it would taste like, and I knew there would be a shitload of food. Yes, I used shit twice (now three times) in this paragraph.
But I didn’t know we’d get mini cupcakes with our bill. That was a surprise treat.
And we didn’t go back to Target. We boarded the 2 train, but with different plans on how to get home quickest. We had enough time on the train together for Tania to teach me a little bit about snapchat.
But we had different transfers. I switched to the bus. Tania to the 4.
About a year ago, I decided to try to cut the phrase- I’m so busy- out of my life. I do get busy. Insanely busy. But cutting out that response as my go-to has created a shift in my head and my life. I’m not actually that busy. I can always find time for the things I want to do. As my dad always says, I don’t have any trouble having a good time.
Sometimes the pendulum shifts one way though, and we have to put in those hours. Break our backs. Eat dinner at our desks. Skip the yoga classes. Fall behind on Game of Thrones. Tania is at one end of the pendulum right now, but I have no fear she will swing back and find the balance again.
Until then, I’ll take our bi-monthly train excursions and savor every moment.