In the movie Sliding Doors*, timing is everything. The story begins when Helen, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, is shown running down a set of stairs to catch the train. For the rest of the film, her life is split into two parallels based on whether she makes it or misses it, which is enough to make you evaluate of all of the coulda, woulda, shouldas in your own life. When life seems to splinter into different storylines, what you're experiencing is The Sliding Doors Effect.
This past weekend, I schlepped back to New York for an old college friend's wedding since moving away three years ago. It was a considerably short trip: I arrived on Friday night and departed on Sunday afternoon. On paper, it looks like I barely have enough time to blink yet, somehow, I magically compressed a week's worth of nights out into two. This involved staying out until 7:30 a.m. both nights, which is obviously not something one plans. Personally speaking, nothing sounds more delicious than completing a nightly beauty ritual and climbing into bed at a reasonable hour, but what could I do? I was in New York City with my best friend! We were bound to stir up some mischief...
Our original plan for Friday night, if it must be known, was to meet for drinks at Virginia's and then head over to Lupa for a 10 p.m. dinner reservation. We'd have a lovely time catching up at an old neighborhood-y spot and scurry home to rest in preparation for our ambitious plans on Saturday: an early coffee session at Sant Ambroeus Soho before an 11:00 a.m. Pilates class, and then, lunch at Pietro Nolita before going back to her apartment so that I could get ready for the wedding. In regards to Sunday, I'd have just enough time to squeeze in brunch with another bestie before scooting off to the airport.
Everything was going according to plan. We had fabulous mezcal cocktails at Virginia's and were halfway through our cassarecce with shortrib ragù at Lupa when occurred to me that I owed someone a visit–an artist friend who I had missed while he was in L.A. last month.
"Do you want to meet my friend?" I asked from across the table while texting him on my phone, "He's really cool."
"Sure," she replied, taking a sip of red wine.
And so, at midnight, we landed ourselves at a corner bar on the Lower East Side with two artists. After a round of drinks and introductory chatter, we were spontaneously swept into a cab to go dancing at The Blond. "Let's burn off that pasta!" we screamed to each other as we bopped around the floor. After that, we all stumbled down to my huckleberry friend's gallery in Tribeca and smoked Glamour cigarettes while discussing art and drinking cheap whiskey in plastic cups. At some point, I cried. And then we hung out at an apartment somewhere. Next thing we knew, it was 7:30 a.m. It was one hell of a fun night.
Needless to say, we missed our morning coffee, Pilates class and lunch the next day. The weather turned cold. Sometime around 2 p.m. on Saturday, we both stood in front of a ramen shop in the East Village, staring at their picture menu with glazed-over eyes.
Me: "What's the difference between these pictures?"
Best friend: "I can't tell."
Me: "I think it's the egg."
Best friend: (long pause) "Yes... Yes, it's definitely the egg."
Me: "Is it weird that I want the egg with the non-spicy one but no egg with the spicy one?"
Best friend: (glazed eyes)
It would've been a completely different universe–no, a different reality–if we had taken a taxi home after dinner. What a difference a text makes.
*It's an oldie from 1998, but still remains one of my favorites. Gwyneth cut her hair into a modern pixie cut for this film and I thought it looked so chic that I went out to the salon and requested it for myself right after I saw it.