Friday, May 10, 2013

Brooklyn’s Finest (Part I of II)

Feeling giddy, I called my new friend, Gümmë, from the train two weeks ago. She was rushing to a meeting while I was approaching New York Penn Station. “My friend owns a rock-climbing gym in Brooklyn, so some friends and I are going this weekend,” I said.

“That sounds fun.”

I didn’t share that we would also be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of my bone marrow transplant. I dislike self-promotion, though sometimes family and friends partake without me having to try hard. My parents sent me on the comfortable Amtrak instead of me paying for the bus, which is what Dirty-D, my first-year roommate at UVA, took from Richmond. “I wasn’t going to balance a computer on my lap for eight hours so I didn’t even bring it. I didn’t want to do work, anyway,” he said, reminding me of the time he drove me to the ER and stayed with me. “Watching TV here with you beats going back to the dorm to study,” he had said.

One World Trade Center towers over New York City
I envision President Bush sitting atop Freedom Tower holding a Bin Laden voodoo doll while "God Bless Texas" plays on repeat
Dirty-D and I met up with our New York-residing friends, Sonny and Jammer. Jammer, who was our first-year hallmate, lived with Dirty-D for the remaining three years in college. Despite Jammer probably never having weight-trained, he developed the kind of deceptive strength I see in men our fathers’ age because he carried all his books in a backpack, unwilling to leave any behind. Jammer still has that same backpack, but two weeks ago he carried my heavy travel bag to help keep weight off my hip. He looked like a tourist in his own city, but to me and Dirty-D, he now belonged.

Sonny went on my Birthright Israel trip two years ago. Our Birthright group stayed tight after the trip, but as time went on, the clock ticked more between Facebook posts and gchat conversations. That trend was broken for Sonny and a few other Birthrighters, including Fiery.

My requirements for a successful trip used to be good food, beer and people. My latest addition is culture. The four of us ventured to the Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere of A Single Shot starring Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy and Jeffrey Wright. We arrived an hour early and entered the far shorter line with the sign that read something like Ticketless Morons Who Have a Tiny Chance of Getting In: Wait Here →.

Sam Rockwell at the premiere of A Single Shot at Tribeca Film Festival
Sam Rockwell looking fly (the gentleman in the back, not the one consuming most of this photo on the right)
One woman tried selling us one ticket, but we needed four. After two more people offered to sell single tickets, we kicked ourselves for declining. When the gates opened, elegantly dressed people in the other, ticket-possessing line flooded down the red carpet. There seemed no chance of us getting in.

When all the patrons with tickets entered, our line moved. The attendant counted down from the number of seats left. She stopped the line with a few people ahead of us and then said, “Eight.” The line moved again until she secured the rope. We were the next-to-last to enter. “I’d like to thank my bone marrow for our good fortune,” I said.

The film was intense with limited dialogue and superb acting, especially from Wright, who played a drunk. When the actors entered the stage for questions at the end, Rockwell said, “That was a heavy way to spend your Friday night.”

When someone asked an equally heavy and inappropriate question about gun control given the film’s use of rifles, Wright deflected. “Ask Sam, I was drunk the whole time.”

Keep reading: Brooklyn's Finest (Part II of II)