Well here I am. A bicycle planner engaged to be married. Maybe I stopped blogging because things started going okay and then things started going pretty well and a blog post titled Today I Wore My Engagement Ring to the Bicycle Factory is not very interesting and probably boring. Am I boring? Is this boring?
I miss HoBaB. It was a constant presence during my rocky quarter-life-crisis. And maybe it was oversharing and not always appropriate but it was my way of relating during the uncertain phases of my life like being an underemployed 25 year old writing 200 word paragraph spam for a part-time real estate agent. It was hard and ridiculous and I had to make it funny because otherwise it would have been sad. And sometimes it was sad. But I could make fun of the sad. Like a self-deprecating angsty adolescent diary. It really was a kind of second adolescence where I was awkward and experimented with new haircuts and androgynous outfits and tried to figure out what I wanted to be (a JSK!). And now here I am. I have clients, a dishwasher, a diamond, and a copper core saute pan. In one week I’ll have a husband.
And even though being alone was not always easy, I made an interesting life for myself in Chicago, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. And then I met Adam and my singlehood started to merge into a life shared with someone else and my career started to take off and I could afford nice dinners and soon enough I had a routine. And with that things became a little more stable, a little less ridiculous, a little less sad, and a little less blog-able. Is this what it means to be an adult?
The first time Adam was out of town I panicked and then I thought, Wait, I can be alone. I did this for years.
I learned how to eat alone when I lived in Brooklyn and then again in San Francisco in the summer of 2010 when I stood on the sidewalk and interviewed people about their sidewalk feelings. I learned how to sit at the bar. Put my phone away. Stare straight ahead or at the TV. Inevitably the person next to you will comment on something like your food or the TV and you laugh and say I was thinking the same thing, and then you’re friends.
So when Adam was out of town, I went to a pub called Perry’s. I finished two manhattans and my entire cheeseburger and salad and I after unfruitful conversation with a couple of regulars I decided to go home.
When I left the bar I stood at my bike and checked my phone when I heard someone say, How are you supposed to text me when you don’t have my number? Was someone hitting on me? I looked up and two older men got out of a large BMW and smiled at me. Were they a couple? They approached me and the first gentlemen held out his hand and said, I’m Ken and this is Marty how do you do?
Ken was a jeweler and Marty was a lawyer and they both grew up in the Midwest and were single after wrapping up their latest divorces. Marty did my divorce, Ken said, as if it was an interior decorating project. I did my own too, Marty said. I looked impressed.
They were impressed that I was also Jewish and from the Midwest and Marty kept insisting that he’d get in touch with the local Jewish Community Federation. I’m on the board, he kept saying. Then Ken grabbed my hand and gasped, You’re engaged! Yes, I smiled. Is he Jewish? No, I said, but he’s half Chinese. I don’t know why I said that, but they were pleased. Oh good for you honey they said, can we take you to Kokari for a drink? When we walked in Ken escorted me up to the bar where the bartender waved to him and said, Pinot? Yes Ken said and clapped once, then pointed to me and said, This is Alex she’ll have a manhattan, then he circled my face with his hand and told the bartender, Remember this face. I waved.
We grabbed a seat at the bar and Ken pointed to the front of the restaurant and said, If you ever come here sit in the front, don’t sit in the back, that’s for the tourists. Marty nodded in agreement and then clapped his hands as if just remembering something, Do you like rice pudding? Of course, I said. He winked and waved over the bartender. Then another gentleman and lady wearing large baubles sat down at the seat next to us, and the man said, Oh, Hello Ken. Hello George, Ken replied. Ken puffed up his chest, leaned in close to me and said, He’s my main jeweler competition but I made a resolution that I wouldn’t said anything bad about anybody and so I’m going to stand here quietly until he leaves. The bartender brought us a bowl of rice pudding and three spoons. And there we sat, in a tense silence eating rice pudding while Marty flirted with George’s date. At one point he picked up her hand and kissed the back of it. Ken scoffed. We talked about dating and they kept scanning the restaurant looking for women or maybe other people to recognize. And soon enough Marty clapped again. I need to leave soon, he said. But it’s Friday night, Ken said. Because, Marty said, I have to meet my Marin hiking group in the morning. You have a hiking group? Ken said. Jews don’t hike we’ve hiked enough! Marty shrugged. Ok, Ken said. I’m seeing my grandchildren tomorrow, let’s hit the road.
They walked me back to my bike and I handed Marty my business card because he wanted to connect me with the local Jewish Community Federation. They both kissed my hand and thanked me for a wonderful evening and then stood back and waved as I stooped down to unlock my bike. When I looked up, they were gone.
I don’t know what it means. Maybe they were my fairy Jewish single godparents reminding me what it used to feel like to be alone. Or maybe it was the opportunity to say goodbye to being alone. Like a bachelorette for my alonehood. Or maybe it was a reminder that I can always be alone. That becoming the legal half of a couple doesn’t mean that my single unit is gone forever. That I can still be with myself. Is this what it means to be an adult?
Ma Sweet gave me this look recently that was a combination of concern and sympathy and said, I think it may be time to shut down HoBaB. I gasped. Like, kill it?
I tried to come up with an excuse. I stopped blogging because I made it a rule not to blog at work and now I’m always at work and it’s been three years. Maybe in a couple of years I’ll turn HoBaB into a mommy blog. Or maybe it’ll just remain a capsule of my internet feelings. A place I can go back to and search keyword “diamonds” or “Switchey” and think about when things were hard and kind of weird and I had too many feelings that spilled onto the internet.