A Bohemian Dinner Rapsody

Not having an internal monologue

For some 18 months, I’d been trying to get a triple date lined up with Bryson and his wife, The Frenchman and his wife, and me and the Firecracker.

Bryson and the Frenchman were friends first, with the Frenchman being a white belt in BJJ when Bryson was a purple belt.

But, because life gets in the way, Bryson’s now a brown belt (4th level) but the Frenchman’s a black belt (5th level) and I’m still – laughably after over 20 years on-and-off – a blue (2nd level).

Like I said, life gets in the way.

Only found out through social media that they knew each other and, after we got together last time around, we’d been trying to do it again with no luck.

This past week, we’d finally arranged something – or so we thought.

Bryson: Hey guys I did not read the calendar right. We are [away next week after all]. We can do this Thursday or Friday.
Me: I’m putting this on your list.
Frenchman: Argh…that’s July 4th…sorry got a plan already.
Me: Is tomorrow out?
Bryson: We can do tomorrow.
Frenchman: Tomorrow 6:30-7pm would be the earliest.
Me: Wait, that works for us as well. 7PM tomorrow?
Frenchman: Oh, wow it’s happening.

So, after months of trying to plan something, we just randomly decided to meet up around the Frenchman’s pad within 24 hours.

The Firecracker suggested Bohemian Spirit as she knows I like Slavic food and the other fellas were game so off we went.

The Firecracker and I got there first.

Me: Oh man, this place is super cute.
Her: I figured you’d want to be able to take pics.
Me: (later, to waitress) Hey, do the chairs on the wall/ceiling mean something?
Waitress: (laughing) It means my boss was bored during COVID.

After a while, everyone else showed up.

While the Firecracker had met the Frenchman’s wife, Tess, before, and briefly met Bryson’s wife, Nikki, the two wives hadn’t met each other yet.

But, since everyone’s so chill, we all fell into a really easy conversation pretty quickly.

The food was killer to boot.

Me: Did you know that about 30% – or something – of people don’t have an internal monologue?
Frenchman: Wait, what does that mean? You have conversations with yourselves?
Firecracker: What? You don’t?
Me: You don’t talk to yourself?!
Nikki: I don’t talk to myself either.
Me: Whoa, is that 30%?
Firecracker: Your math is off.
Me: Asians are not known for their math skills.

Turns out that the Frenchman – and possibly Nikki but she was sitting farther from me – don’t have internal monologues.

Evidently, he thinks in images and concepts but doesn’t actually have a conversation with himself.

This was a pretty hot-button topic for us to end out the night but that’s more their story than mine, so I’ll stop here.

The Firecracker and I were stupid full, and she suggested that we walk home from the Upper East Side to the Upper West Side.

Her: It’s just like a mile. We can do that easy.
Me: Fine, but you’ll have to protect me if someone attacks us.

Can’t remember the last time that I walked across the park at night.

It was nice.

Actually, the whole evening was nice.

I’d do it again. Although, hopefully, earlier than 18 months.

Location: at another bar, limiting myself to a single burger
Mood: hot
Music: Will you let me go? بِسْمِ ٱللَّٰهِ! (Spotify)
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Meeting friends

My brain just glitched

Him: Hey! Any chance we could meet up a little earlier tomorrow? Say 10 vs 11?
Me: Sure!
Him: Perfect, see you then! I’ll be the gray-haired guy with the 6’ tall sixteen-year-old.

My buddy Danny came by with his kid the other day. He moved to Texas ages ago.

Don’t think I’ve seen him since this entry waaaay back in 2007, far before his daughter was born and before he had grey hair.

I gave them a quick tour of the Upper West Side before I had to run back for some zoom meetings.

Gotta say, I think about stopping this blog alla time but then I’m reminded how nice it is to have a place I can just remember things.

Me: His daughter really was six-foot tall.
Her: You know, one of these days, the kid and all his friends are gonna be taller than you.
Me: (…)
Her: (laughing) You ok?
Me: My brain just glitched.

Him: I’m glad we could meet up! And you’re right by my sister.
Me: It is the upper BEST side, after all. (stopping in the middle of the street) Hold on…
Him: Everything ok?
Me: Yeah. (pointing down) That’s a baseball imbedded into the street and thought it was interesting enough to take a pic of. (shrugging) It’s kinda what I do.

I’ve also been having some zoom classes for a physcian that lives in Pittsburg. He’s also a former boxer that’s gotten really into kali and reached out to me to see if we could do private zoom classes.

So, for the past few months, I’ve been teaching him here and there.

He randomly ended up like two blocks from my home the other day so we met up for a cuppa joe.

Whenever possible, I always try to make time for people if they’re willing to head up to where I am.

After all, I never know when – or even if – I’ll ever see them again.

Location: watching Rob and Andy sing in Newark
Mood: entertained
Music: If you would leave it’d be a crying shame (Spotify)
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Let’s hear it for the boy

Showing up

When I was a kid, there was either no afterschool programs or my family couldn’t afford to send us, but, in any case, I never knew about the very idea of “afterschool” growing up.

For my own kid, I put him a program so I had time to work, and that was a musical production of Footloose.

Because it was his first time, he only had a bit part with one line, but he was in the cast and had to sing and dance in a number of the songs.

In any case, they had their three shows last week and I went to two of them.

My MIL, SIL, and I went to the one on Thursday; ABFF, her kids, and her sister went on Friday; the Firecracker, her niece, her sister, and I all went on Saturday.

On the one hand, it was pretty well done, I gotta say.

On the other hand, watching two of the same grade-school musicals is pretty much my limit.

The kids with parents that went to all three are pretty lucky as they, clearly, have better parents than my kid has.

On the flip side, there was this nice kid that was also in the show that waved to my kid after the last performance was over and proceeded to walk home alone.

Me: Oh man, that really bothers me.
Her: What? That he’s going home alone?
Me: Yeah – it means that no one came to see him.
Her: Maybe they came to another show.
Me: Still…

I’m confident my kid will be angry with me because there’s something about fathers and sons that means there’s always friction there, somehow.

But I hope he remembers that, whenever possible, I showed up.

Him: Thanks for coming! I was looking for you.
Me: (laughing) And you found me.

I’m pretty sure the fella on the lower left-hand corner is Tony Danza.

Quick little side story:

On the first night I went with my MIL and SIL, Tony Danza from Who’s the Boss fame sat two rows ahead of us.

We all assumed that he had a kid or grandkid in the audience but one parent told me the following – which, keep in mind, is like the game “telephone” in that you’re like hearing it from the person that heard it from the person that heard it.

Me: Does he have a kid here?
Him: I just heard him tell another parent that he was at the park the other day and some kid walked up to him, not knowing who he was, and said, “I’m in a play on Thursday, will you come and watch it?” I think that kid was asking everyone he met to come by. Anyway, Tony Danza heard this and said, “Sure!” and he actually showed up!
Me: Man, I always liked him. I hope that’s true.

Regardless, he sat through the whole thing, laughed and clapped at the right times, and left without a fuss.

What a class act.

Should mention that my brother did that picture of my kid for the back cover of the Playbill above – he’s amazing at stuff like that.

Location: at a NYC splash pad, reading about Michigan and hating people.
Mood: upset
Music: Tell me why, ain’t nothin’ but a heartache (Spotify)
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The ladies group

Laughably large

After the kid’s recital, a classmate of the kid, the other kid’s family, the Firecracker, and my MIL all went to get dinner at Jacob’s Pickles, which I mentioned in passing to you over a decade ago.

I’d gone there twice before, this time marking my third time.

Me: I can really only come here every five years because it’s so carby and the portions are so large.
Him: How large?
Me: Laughably. You’ll see.

Now, I can pack away a lotta protein, fat, and fiber but something about carbs really fills me up fast.

Because he just did his recital, told the kid he could get anything he wanted so he asked for the chicken and pancakes, which are ginormous.

We split that and hardly made a dent in it.

Also, I ordered the 32 oz hard apple cider – all for my lonesome – which was a mistake.

Me: We have to walk home.
Her: Why?
Me: We gotta work off alla this food.

Now, the Mother’s Group – whom I’ve not seen in years just because one member moved to Taiwan and the others had kids that went to different schools – were meeting up at the pier by the Hudson River so we went there next.

I find it funny – and kinda sweet – that when the ladies write everyone, including me, they just write, “Ladies…”

Look, I’m just happy to be included.

By the time the kid, the Firecracker, and I finally arrived, they’d been there for hours.

But I was able to catch up with everyone.

Me: You spent COVID in Taiwan? How was it?
Her: It was awesome! Totally normal.
Me: Oh man, that was not my experience at all.

It was super late when we all got home.

Firecracker: Your friends are all really nice.
Me: I like to think so.

The kid had his school party, the recital, the dinner, and this last get together all on the same day, so he crashed hard.

I hope he’s creating good memories for himself.

Think that’s all any parent really hopes for outta this kinda stuff.

Location: my gym, testing out my wrist
Mood: less(ish) injured
Music: Maybe he’ll see a little better set of days (Spotify)
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Tearing away all but the things that cannot be torn

Forgetting I’m not 17

Her: Can you imagine what George Washington would say right now?
Me: “What an asshole?”
Her: Exactly.

A good buddy of mine hurt his leg the other day doing a harai goshi and sent me a video of it.

Fast-forward to earlier this week and the kid tried the same throw and almost broke his leg.

Him: Why are you mad at me?!
Me: I’m not mad at you, kid. I’m worried you’re gonna break your leg!

By Gotcha2 – Own work, Public Domain,

Both the body and mind grow through adversity.

This fella named Arthur Golden once said, Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.

Wanna give the boy enough stress to make him better, but not so much so as to make him worse.

On that note, I just went to my local urgent care office – again – because I thought I fractured my wrist in jits the other day.

Doctor: What happened?
Me: Essentially, I forgot that I’m 51 and not 17.
Him: (nodding) Ah…we get that a lot here.
Me: Yup.

Turns out that I didn’t have any broken bones, just a particularly bad strain.

The weirdest part was that no “event” happened – I just walked off the mat at the end and could barely move my wrist.

Not much to do but rest it up and hope it heals quickly.

I still have a small handful of kali students that I train over Zoom.

One of them is a doctor from Pittsburg that was in town the other day visiting his sister, who just happens to also live on the UWS.

So, we met up for a really brief bit to have a cuppa joe.

Me: It’s crazy when I think about it. My great grandmother was so poor that she sold her only child – my grandmother – to another family because she couldn’t afford to support her. She died not soon afterward. And here I am, an ivy league educated lawyer living in Manhattan. Nuts.
Him: Surprising how much similar history [we have] being second generation children of immigrants.
Me: Yeah. I wish my dad was still alive so I could tell him that I’m so sorry for being such an asshole when I was a teenager.

Location: yesterday, the waiting room of my local urgent care office
Mood: discomforted
Music: Sticks and stones won’t break our bones (Spotify)
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Turning 50 at the Downtown Association

Maybe. Someday.

Her: Wow, this place is beautiful.
Me: (nodding) Yeah. (thinking) This is the first time I’ve been back in like 13 years.

The surgeon turned 50 the other night so the kid, the Firecracker, and I all got dressed up and headed south to the Downtown Association to celebrate.

It was raining cats and dogs when we left the house.

I was actually a member there briefly in 2011 and I mentioned it in passing before.

Then things started going off the rails with me and Alison so that was just one of a million things that changed in my life.

Walking back in, I was shocked how little it had changed in all this time; I suppose that’s part of the allure of places like that.

The Boy: This bathroom is bigger than our apartment!
Me: You’re not wrong, kid.

He’s not wrong.

The party was mostly relatives and close friends so I was touched that I was included in the count.

The Firecracker had a good time as well, chatting with someone else in her profession.

Her: She knew she wanted to work internationally early on. I thought about it, myself.
Me: Maybe we’ll do that someday.
Her: Maybe. Someday.

One of the people I knew there has known the Surgeon for 44 years.

Me: When did you meet him?
Him: (laughing) When I was seven!
Me: (shaking head in amazement) Man, the oldest friend I have, I’ve known since I was 16 (the Professor).

The kid had a blast as he’s been hanging with Steele and the Surgeon’s kids for years now.

The Surgeon hired a magician and the kids were enthralled.

The Boy: How did he do that?! I was looking right at it.
Me: (laughing) You got me…

Of course, the kid was pretty interested in the food as well, because he’s my kid.

Then again, I was pretty interested in the food as well.

Me: OK, I gotta ask you something. At your wedding, I overate all the appetizers – after all, you had an entire table of lobsters – so, should I…?
Steele: (laughing) The [passed hors d’overs] are the appetizers and the main courses are [over there].
Me: Oh man, glad I asked.

The open bar was a nice touch as well.

There’s more but this entry’s getting long so I’ll write more tomorrow.

Location: Earlier today, two different guitar stores, trying to fix a broken Fender knockoff for the kid
Mood: exhausted
Music: Everyone tells me I’m crazy. Well maybe, well maybe I am (Spotify)
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Everyone’s a tough guy

You never know

So, this fella was sitting across from the kid and vaping so I asked him, politely, if he would stop.

He said a few rude things to me at which point I asked the Firecracker if she’d be ok with my fighting him.

After more of the guy mouthing off, the kid started crying.

Me: Stop crying.
Him: What if you get hurt?
Me: I told you before, we don’t ever start fights. But if someone else wants to fight, sometimes we gotta. You can’t just let people hurt you without trying to protect yourself.

As we got off, this older lady took my hand.

Her: Be careful. I know people like that. You could get hurt.
Me: Thanks, ma’am. But I think I’ll be ok.
Her: You never know.
Me: (laughing) Yeah. You never know. One of us will have a bad day. But I don’t think it’ll be me.

Of course, the guy disappeared.

Like I said, everyone’s a tough guy until it’s time to actually be tough.

But the Firecracker and I were out to eat the other night for St. Valentine’s Day and she told me that she and the kid talked after the whole thing.

The kid: I was so mad at him for almost getting in a fight. I already don’t have a mom and he coulda made it so I don’t have a dad.
Her: Do you think your papa would do anything to put himself at risk?
Him: Well, it was stupid. All over some dumb guy. It was all so dumb.
Her: You dad loves you. He’s gonna make sure he’s around a long time.

Felt awful.

Her: (later with just me) You know, it’s not just you anymore. You’ve got to think about him.
Me: I think about him alla time. (thinking) But you’re right.
Her: It’s done. Just remember that he needs you here.
Me: Will do.

The irony of the whole thing is that I so rarely get into these types of situations on my own. I always tell people to walk away from rando confrontations.

Still, when it involves the kid (or the Firecracker) I get overly protective, I suppose.

But he’s right; he’s lost enough in the world.

I’ll try and do better for him.

Location: off to dinner with the Firecracker, Thor, and the NFL Player
Mood: peckish
Music: wherever, doesn’t matter, I follow you anywhere you go (Spotify)
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Chinese New Year 2024

A year later

Me: (to Firecracker) Can I fight him?
Her: Don’t. It’s not worth it.
Me: OK. But if I have to, I’m gonna have to hurt him.

The Firecracker’s kid was away with her ex so I invited her to join my kid and me to Annabel and her husband John’s annual Chinese New Year party.

Her: Should I wear red?
Me: You don’t have to but a lotta people do.
Her: I swear, Logan Lo, if I’m the only person there not wearing red…
Me: *I’m* not wearing red…well, except for the leather jacket.
Her: I swear…

She reminded me that our kids met the year before on Chinese New Year; she remembered because I told her I wouldn’t be around that night as I was heading to Annabel’s.

Always find relationships so interesting – and how time changes things.

We took the train to Penn Station and then hopped a cross town bus to see them.

Again, being centrally located has its perks.

As soon as we walked in, there was a crowd of people making dumplings, so we washed our hands and joined them to make some for everyone.

That is, until the first batch came out to eat.

That was when I stopped the production component of the evening and switched over to the consumption component.

There was also a ton of traditional Chinese veggies, which I appreciated.

Think I mighta eaten half of the pickled bamboo shoots which are the the white things in the small bowl below, between the black wood ears and the wine bottles.

Afterwards, the parents gave out red envelopes and we were told to sit down for the kids to come up to us and wish us a Happy New Year.

One British boy walked right up to me and put his face less than an inch from mine, which was a bit startling and his dad yelled out, with a proper British accent, “Personal space! Give him some personal space!”

It was pretty funny. You had to be there.

The kid collected like $38 dollars or something.

Me: Great! I get 10%
Him: Dad!
Me: (shrugging) I don’t make the rules, kid.

I actually handed out $2 bills, including to the Firecracker’s kid and niece on other days.

The Firecracker’s BIL commented that they would be more impressive if kids were used to seeing other bills.

That actually didn’t occur to me: the fact that $2 bills are no more/less special than any other bill because people just don’t use that much cash anymore.

Afterward, we took the train home.

On the way back, I almost came to blows with this loudmouth, but everyone’s a tough guy until it’s time to actually be a tough guy.

But that’s a story for another time.

Location: off to dinner with the Firecracker
Mood: hangry
Music: knew I’d figure it out some day (Spotify)
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A night at hot pot, the Library, pizza, Criff Dogs, and (almost) a Speakeasy.

And we ran into another friend, too

The Firecracker needed to get some legal work done but it was outta my wheelhouse, so I asked my buddy Reed to take a look at it for us, which he did.

So, as a mini-thanks for the help, the Firecracker and I took him out to eat hot pot and get some drinks.

We started off at Hou Hot Pot; the Firecracker and I arrived first, and he came just a few minutes later and had on a pearl necklace, like the Firecracker.

Her: Hey, we’re both wearing pearls!
Him: Yes, yes, we are.
Me: Dammit, left out again.

We ordered a ton of food and just caught up.

Afterward, we went to the Library of Distilled Spirits

….where we chatted with the bartender, who also starred in Drunk Shakespeare.

Me: Is it always the same person drunk each time?
Him: Nah, we take turns.
Me: Seems sensible.

Reed ordered a Paper Plane variation, while I had my old standby, the Old Fashioned…

…and a rum drink that I’ve never had before.

Bartender: Have you ever had an Old Cuban?
Me: Nope, but I’ll have one now.

It was honestly, pretty good – but nuthin could beat that first Old Fashioned.

We got pretty lit there and I got snacky, as I’m usually wont to do.

So, we got some pizza.

Her: Whenever Logan drinks, his “no carbs” rule goes out the window.
Me: You sold me out!
Her: But it’s true!
Me: That’s not the point!

It wasn’t enough.

Reed: Let’s go to Crif Dogs and get cheap beer and some dogs.
Me: Sold!
Him: We can also check out the speakeasy there that’s hidden behind the phone booth.
Her: What? Wait, is this Please Don’t Tell?

It was.

But the line was waaaaay too long so we just got dogs and beer.

Turns out the guy running the front desk grew up in Ithaca, where I went to college.

Him: My family owned Rogan’s.
Me: For serious? Man, I haven’t had that in ages.

We just ended up chatting the night away.

Him: Oh, I was engaged once.
Me: No kidding?
Him: We’re still friends. Her daughter visited the city not too long ago and I showed her around.
Me: You’re such a mensch!

It was late when we headed back, and we ran into my buddy Lau who had just finished up a private show.

A lot more happened, but I suppose this is all I wanted to tell you.

Location: in bed almost all day
Mood: sick, send soup
Music: Lethal poison for the system (Spotify)
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Sorry I’m late, what’s the topic of conversation?

Two Christmas Office Parties

This Christmas season’s been different from the past few years.

For one thing, I’m just a longer way away from 2017, which is when everything went to hell.

But the Firecracker’s also been really good about pulling me out into the world this season.

She actually had her holiday office party in the neighborhood and dropped me a line.

Her: At the Dakota Bar.
Me: I could swing by to say “hi” for a second after I drop the kid off if you’re still there?
Her: Yes, please.

This was a different group of people than I met in the past, so it was interesting meeting these different people that she worked with.

Me: Sorry I’m late, what’s the topic of conversation?
Someone at table: We’re just talking shit about people we know.
Me: I’m a guest here so I’ll talk shit about anyone you’d like. Fuck those guys. Hi, I’m Logan.

One of her coworkers ended up buying me two drinks, so that was pretty nice.

One young lady was pretty dedicated to her job but you could tell it was draining her.

Me: What’s the biggest issue?
Her: (waving hand) What do you see here?
Me: (puzzled) Your hand?
Her: Yup, my hand. No ring, no guy, just the job. It’s exhausting.
Me: Oh, there’s someone out there for you; I believe there’s a lid for every pot.

Afterward, I went to get the kid and headed home.

A few days later, I got invited to my own law firm party at Capital Grille at the Chrysler Center – we’d been there a few times before.

On the way there, I ran into the Grinch on a powered tricycle.

Swear to god, it does NOT sound like she’s saying, “pumpkin pie,” in this video.

I was late to my own office party because I had to drop off the kid with his Chinese class, so I came in while everyone was already settled.

Me: Sorry I’m late, what’s the topic of conversation?

I ordered my usual Old Fashioned – it’s my go-to when I know they don’t have fine aged rum.

They already ordered a ton of appetizers and I ordered what was essentially a surf and turf.

The Firecracker had, evidently, called me a number of times.

Her: You need to answer your phone. They won’t release [your kid] to me.
Me: I’m so sorry, it was in my jacket.
Her: [It’s fine], I have him.

The firm hired a new lawyer that practiced the same area of the law as me and this was the first time we got to talking outside of work.

Me: I assume you met your girl the traditional way of some app?
Him: (laughing) Yup.
Me: Honestly, I like it. You can’t just walk into a bar and ask any rando you meet for a head shot and a writing sample.
Co-Worker: The writing sample’s so important.
Me: SO important.

Everyone else left so it was just the boss and me drinking in the end.

There’s a lot more to that part of the story but I’ll just end that part here.

Location: home, doing word problems with the kid who was losing his patience
Mood: chilly willy
Music: Later we’ll have some PUMPKIN pie and we’ll do some caroling (Spotify)
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