I met my old lover on the street last night. Really.

I met my old lover on the street last night.
She seemed so glad to see me. I just smiled.

Still Crazy After All These Years
Paul Simon

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I did more than just smile. I was equally glad to see her. I walked out of my office at the end of the day and bumped into her, almost literally. That’s one of the many magical aspects of Manhattan. Your past can walk down 6th Avenue and right into your office building.

We exchanged surprised greetings and since we both had time to kill, sat down at an outdoor table for a chat. I don’t know what precipitated our break-up but whatever it was has been long forgiven and forgotten. The conversation was easy, like no time had passed at all.

I showed her pictures of my daughters and she did the obligatory ooh-ing and aww-ing. Then something unexpected happened to me. Something extraordinary and unwelcomed. She revealed that she was engaged to be married. I found myself suddenly overwhelmed with heartbreak and loss. It felt like someone hit me with a bag of mud. What’s WRONG with me? We were intimate but never that close emotionally.

Next week is my 14th wedding anniversary. No mean feat! Lots of folks don’t make it past 14 months. I have two beautiful daughters who, as anyone reading this space knows, I adore. I don’t understand what provoked these feelings. I didn’t even grieve when we broke up but there I was suddenly deeply saddened.

We touched cheeks, wished each other well and parted. We didn’t bother with “Let’s keep in touch,” because we’re both old enough to know it wouldn’t happen. I slunk off to a Brooklyn-bound subway, where I was meeting friends for dinner.

I tried reading but as you all know, there’s no distraction when you’re in a cage death-match with your raging emotions. I got off the subway in Williamsburg, walked down the stairs, north on Broadway, looked up and saw this:photo-1

THAT cheered me up right away! I might’ve had a heartache, but things could be a hell of a lot worse. I was having dinner with two good friends at Peter Luger, a 125-year old steakhouse, one of the oldest and most highly respected in New York City. Reservations have to be made months in advance. I had a glass of Pinot Noir. Then guess what? I had another one! Then, a medium-rare steak. I told my friends about my bizarre heartache and they found it to be a tremendously entertaining dinner story.

Take a look at this menu:photo-2

Hummm…let’s see…should you order the Steak for Two, Steak for Three, Steak for Four or the Single Steak? Oh, they have other items on the menu, but if you order anything other than steak, the old world, Eastern Block European, Iron Curtain professional waiters give you a dirty look. As well they should.

Eating across the aisle from us was a family of four. They sat down and dad immediately pulled an iPad mini out of his briefcase, propped it up in front of junior and this is how he spent the ENTIRE EVENING:photo-31

Father of the year. And I thought I didn’t know what I was doing! This isn’t Applebee’s.This is an expensive restaurant. Going here is an event and a privilege. Call me a judgmental old coot, but I think that kid should participate.

Later, we heard a loud THUD. So loud, in fact, that everyone stopped talking. A man passed out and banged his head on the table so hard that they couldn’t revive him. I’ll NOT have what he’s having. An ambulance was called but it took about :10 minutes to arrive, which seemed an eternity. He never revived. The waiters continued to scurry around delivering giant platters of sizzling meat. Heartache, red wine, beef and death. It was a lot for one evening.

*     *     *

Do any of you guys play ATM poker? If there’s a receipt sticking out of the ATM from the previous transaction, you examine it while waiting for your cash to be dispensed. If your checking account balance is higher than that of the receipt left behind, you win! Well…you don’t actually win anything, but it gives you something to do while waiting for your cash.

Take a look at this receipt I pulled the other day. Look at that balance!photo-11

Who, in their right mind, keeps $44,922.18 in a checking account?! The checking account interest rate at Chase is 0.01%. Literally. Perhaps there’s a high-interest checking account for the über-wealthy that we commoners are unaware of? Needless to say, I lost that round of ATM poker.