02.17.05 How I Met My Future Wife (or, "I Just Got Hit With Bacon")

NP: "My Old School" – Steely Dan. Best guitar solo ever?
NP: "Honeyside" – Shrimp Boat. Unreleased track from “Something Grand” box set. Holy shit this is heaven. Like hearing a perfect song from your favorite band that you have never heard before. Wait. That IS what’s happening.
NR: “Feathers” – Raymond Carver
NR: “Tricks” – Alice Munro
NR: “Fridrik And The Eejit” – Sjon (from McSweeney’s #15)

She’s crying at a table, sitting alone. I see her when I sit down at the counter, but I couldn’t tell she was crying. It just looked like she might be. When I get seated, I turn and get a better look and I see that she is.

It looks like a late-night lover’s fight. Like she was just sitting here with her boy having a drunken late night meal when they fought about something, and he got up and left. Left her there all alone. To cry, and probably to pay the bill. And to think about walking back to their apartment alone and cold and crying.

That’s my guess.

It’s Veselka… it’s 6:00 AM. I’ve seen it before. I’ve been a part of it before. Both the leaver and the one left behind. It’s not fun, this drama. It sucks, and it’s sad.

She’s sad. I guess it’s that kind of sad.


I get the desire to walk back there… to say something. I don’t order my food. I just sit there at the counter for a bit. Drink some water.

Then I see some guy walk up to her. She shakes him away. She looks bothered… Maybe a little embarrassed, like she doesn’t want the attention.

She’s tall and blonde and pretty. She wears a peach sweater, and reminds me of a girl I went to college with forever ago. Stephanie Brown. She looks so much like Stephanie Brown… it’s uncanny. If I didn’t know Stephanie Brown was married with two kids and living in Indiana, I would maybe think it were her, although this girl in Veselka is younger, I do believe.

So she seems to deflect this other guy coming up to her. I think I hear him offer to buy her dinner or to join him… something along those lines. She sends him away.

I order some food… not my usual order, and not to a waitress I’ve ever seen before. I’m in Veselka 3 or 4 nights a week. The short order cook asks me if I want “the usual” or if I want something else.

It took me 10 years, but… I’ve finally got them trained. Egg sandwich – two scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese, on wheat toast. They usually don’t ask, but American cheese if they do. The only question is whether I do or do not want a coffee milkshake with it.

Tonight I go with potato pancakes, a side of sausage, and a coffee milkshake. The waitress has to repeat it three times before she gets it right, but I see the short order cook is listening, and I know he’ll get it right even if she fucks it up.

I’m not feeling myself. I just dropped $1600 playing poker. Playing three different games, really. $700 in the first game at Stan’s house. Then I lost $400 playing $1/$2 No Limit at 72nd Street. Then I take my last $500 to the $5/$5 table, and eventually lose that, even though there was a chance I could have gotten even for the entire night. I did have $900 in front of me at that table at one point, and that put me at being down $700 for the night. I should have just walked away. Instead, I punish myself by taking the subway home, and then go to Veselka. I haven’t eaten anything since 9:00 AM, I realize.

I lied. I just remembered that I ate a sub at Stan’s house. And I also just remembered that I never paid him for the delivery. Oops. That makes me feel like a bad loser, and I feel guilty. Shit.

I decide to not bother the girl. No need to be a hero or whatever. I turn up the ipod and I open up the collection of short stories I’m reading.

She gets up to walk by to pay her bill. Dressed smartly in a nice black and white checked coat with a blue scarf. She’s very tall. She looks familiar, but now not like Stephanie Brown. But still sorta like Stephanie Brown.

She goes to the register, and I take off my right earpiece to listen. She starts talking to the register guy… and getting a bit worked up. I hear “I can’t believe I was treated like this” and “you should be ashamed for letting this happen.” Or at least that’s what I think I hear.

Now I’m kinda shocked… Was it bad service or was one or the waiters rude to her? Was that a waiter that was just offering to buy her dinner, and was she just being hit on by him while she was sitting there all alone minding her own business? I’m curious as hell, I’ll admit.

I can also see that she’s a little drunk, but… still. I’m curious.

She walks out.

She crosses the street… It looks like she might go into Starbucks, but she doesn’t. But she is walking slowly.

I’m struck by the impulse… I tell Chris (the short order cook) that I’m going to run home, and that I’ll be right back. That I’m leaving my bag and my book. I almost leave my ipod sitting there, and I really don’t think anything of it, but… I decide even if I know everybody there, I should still take it. But it was interesting to feel the comfort and safety and trust that I would just leave something like that lying on the counter. It made me realize that this is my home, and that Veselka is my neighborhood, and it made me realize even more clearly what I was doing.

Whatever happened to this girl… It happened in Veselka. I felt intruded upon by outside forces. This is my place, and somebody is fucking around with a girl alone, and I can’t stand for it.

I run across the street and down 9th. I finally see her at the corner of 3rd, standing at the light waiting to cross. She is still crying. It looks like she might be talking to herself. She looks upset, and angry.

I call to her. “Excuse me. Are you OK? I was just in Veselka, and I saw you leave and…”

“I just got hit with bacon. Bacon. Maybe I’m a spoiled rich bitch who deserves it, but.. I just got hit with bacon. It never happened to me in high school… Maybe other people it happened to all the time, and this is just what I finally deserved, but… I don’t think I did. That’s just fucked up.”

“I’m sorry. That is fucked up. What happened?”

“They threw bacon at me. And then when they left they mooned me. Both of them.”

“What?!?!? Are you kidding? People in the restaurant?”

“Yeah… when they left. They went outside the window and they mooned me.”

I kinda laugh a little, of course. It IS a little funny, and I can tell the girl is a little drunk. And I can see she’s starting to work it out for herself, of course, as well. She’s starting to come to terms with what happened.

I say, “I’m sorry that happened. I live right there… I’m there four nights a week… I felt bad, and that’s why I wanted to see if you were OK.”

She’s starting to calm down a little bit. But also getting more angry, but I think that’s a step in the right direction.

She says “I know! My sister used to live on that block for three years, and I was in there all the time. I’ve been in there so many times. It’s not what you’d expect. There was a guy sitting there who saw the whole thing, and he was writing in his journal.”

“And probably laughing a little bit.”

“Probably not… he looked like the kinda guy that got hit by bacon in the cafeteria.”

I ask her what really happened.

She says that some kids were in there throwing food, and she asked them to stop. Then the next thing she knows she’s having food thrown at her.

I realize that she doesn’t live in NYC. I apologize again for what happened to her. I ask her if I can walk her home. She says “I’m already there. This is where I’m staying.” We’re standing at the white high-rise at 9th St. and 3rd Avenue.

I ask where she’s from, and she says Austin.

She starts going on a bit of a tangent… Talking about how she’s thirty years old and that this is all kinda silly… I believe she’s feeling a little embarrassed, but now also feeling a little more concrete with her indignation. She works for Dell, she recently broke her foot and wasn’t able to do anything except sit on the couch and eat bon bons for three months. “And this from a girl that usually runs every day.”

I guess this is all by way of saying she wanted to come to NYC for vacation. I ask her if she’s going to see the gates in Central Park, and she says tomorrow, and that her sister used to work at the MoMa and that she hasn’t been since the renovation.

A bit scattered… A few non-sequitors.

She was out with her friend Katie who lives in this building, but they separated. She went to get some food with a Nicaraguan guy who barely spoke any English. They went to get a burrito and she said to him that the burrito sucks and that she was going to go to Veselka. He actually said to her “Adios.” And that’s how she ended up at Veselka at 6 AM getting bacon thrown at her.

I’m obviously getting a bit more than I bargained for, but… She is nice and smart and it’s good to talk with somebody. Somebody new especially. Even if it’s freezing and it’s 6:30 AM and she is a little bit crazy.

She notices that the sun is rising. I tell her that now’s the time she should be in Central Park to see the gates.

At some point I do put my hand on her shoulder. I don’t necessarily know why I do it. I mean… I do it to be comforting, to be comradely. I don’t think I do it to hit on her. But I do feel that perhaps she thinks that. Sure enough, within 90 seconds she mentions her boyfriend. But she also mentions Katie again. That Katie is getting her Masters at Columbia in Social Work. How great she is.

She says you should meet Katie.

I say I knew one person that used to live in this building, and that’s Joey Ramone. She says she can’t wait to tell Katie, that she’ll be excited to know that.

Again she says I should meet Katie. I say I’d love to, somehow.

She thanks me for taking the time to talk with her and to see if she was doing alright.

She reaches out her hand. “What’s your name?”

“Chris.” I give her my hand. “What’s yours?”



“Cille. Short for Lucille.”

“Ah… I get it. I like it.”

“What do you do?”

“I do music industry stuff… Some tour managing, I work at a small label. I’m bummed I won’t be going to SXSW this year for the first time in forever.”

I’m awkward about answering the “what do you do?” question, I realize. I tell her I don’t have a card, but that I would be happy to right down my info for you. I realize that all I have is a Brooklyn Player’s Club business card, and that probably won’t look so good, but… whatever. I write down my name, number, and email.

She says again “You really should meet Katie.”

I say “I’m not dumb… you’re telling me about a smart cute texas girl that lives a block from my house. I’d love to meet her.”

“You’re right… she’s smart and cute. You should meet her.”

“OK… I’m sold. Send me your info. I’d love to meet her. Call me if you’re bored at all.”

“I’m only here for another 24 hours, so I doubt if I’ll get bored. But, Katie...”

“So, yeah… Katie. Definitely. I look forward to it. It was lovely to have met you, Cille. I’m sorry again for what happened at Veselka.”

“Thanks… you’re very sweet to offer to walk me home. It was very nice to have met you. If you’re in Austin...”

“Drop me a line. Be well. Goodnight, Cille.”

“Goodbye, Chris.”


I go back to Veselka, finish my food that Chris kept waiting for me under the heat lamp, I read some more. I pay my bill. And I come home to write this down.

I steal the title from an Alice Munro short story called (I believe) “How I Met My First Husband” but I can’t seem to find which book it’s in so I can’t verify.

I get ready to write the fictional part. About where Cille really does call or email. About where Katie and I do email each other and agree to meet up at Telephone Bar or Black And White. About how she really is beautiful and funny and smart, and how I’m so fucking happy that I made that one impulsive random action.

Maybe even throw in some stuff about how I might feel guilty because I maybe wasn’t doing the act of kindness for any reason other than to specifically get some good karma… because I had a certain feeling that I should talk to this girl.

But then I justify it by saying… Well… it clearly wasn’t selfish. There really was something drawing me to this woman. And that if I hadn’t listened to that voice telling me to run down 9th Street that I wouldn’t have met her, and therefore I wouldn’t have met Katie.

Katie the love of my life. The woman that I can’t live without and who makes everything OK and that I can’t believe I lived a block from for three years and hadn’t ever meet her.

Katie my future wife.


And then cut to 45 years from now. This is all just some sort of story I’m telling around the fire to the grandchildren at Christmas. Katie and I wearing matching sweaters and still in love in our seventies. All the grandchildren rolling their eyes at the corny story that they’ve heard a million times. All wrapped up in the same old schlocky vehicle you’ve seen and read a million times. The romantic flashback to a story of coincidence, of courtship, of one-in-a-million luck, of refined-by-repetition lies and white-lies.


But that’s all just silly. It’s 8:39 AM. This all just happened two hours ago. The sun that was starting to come up has just now become fully morning.

The events of two hours ago are fresh in my head. Everything else is a crazy extrapolation. And not really a very good one, quite honestly. It’s standard, at best. It doesn’t cover any new territory. It’s all been done before, and done better. It’s NOT good writing.

Cille hasn’t called or emailed. Katie hasn’t called or emailed. Neither probably will. This is positively the end of it, I’m sure.

And if it’s not… could I ever show anybody this story anyway? I really don’t think so. Who would believe it?


Written 5/10/05:

the funny footnote, is that a couple of weeks later i get an email from Laura saying "you met my friend Lucille the other day, and she gave me your contact info"

i think... weird... where did i get katie from? whatever. so... i email with her a bit... she's pretty square but i figure what the hell... we agree to meet up for drinks.

we meet up at a bar right around the corner (we live 1 block away from each other.)

she's nice... cute but not really. she's one of those people that's 33 going on 49. dresses like a mom, acts like a mom. is clearly Looking For A Husband. at least that's my guess.

we chat. it's fine. we get along, but no sparks or anything. she talks about working at the parks department. i'm a little confused... i mention something about columbia... that Cille had said something about Columbia.

she says that that's her sister. Her sister named Katie.

i was a hand-me-down. or i got bait-and-switched.

either way... unbelievable.

maybe katie started dating the guy that she had met that night that she abandoned Cille. or maybe Katie just thought i was weird or whatever.

i don't really care... but it's pretty fucking funny.

02.05.05 “Life is chasing around inside me like a squirrel!"

NP: nothing
NR: nothing

I just tried to stare down Tom McEvoy. Not a household name, but… Tom McEvoy is a professional poker player. A good one. Considered to be one of the best at high-stakes tournaments. And I’m playing him in a high-stakes tournament, along with 19 other people. Only I don’t know it’s Tom McEvoy… I just know it’s a guy in a cowboy hat. We’re heads-up before the flop, and I look at him to watch him watch the cards get laid out. The poker books tell you to wait to look at the flop yourself later. Give yourself a few seconds to watch your opponent watch the flop. See if he gives away any information in his look. Did he hit his card and look excited? Does he look dejected? Tom looks up and sees me looking at him and gives me a little “howdy” smile. I smile back and realize I’m barking up the wrong tree.

Twenty minutes later somebody tells me that that’s Tom McEvoy. And “the books” that I mentioned earlier that tell you to watch your opponent? I own a whole bunch of ‘em. Including a bunch written by Tom McEvoy.

Whoops. I feel a bit silly.

I go on to finish in 5th in the tournament. Tom goes out 7th, so I feel a little bit of personal victory, but… I would have much rather have finished in the top 4, because those are the people that got paid ($2000 to the winner, $1000 for second, $600 for third, and $400 for fourth.) I keep finishing on the bubble. Monday night I did a $100 buy-in tournament, and… same thing… 5th place. Always the bridesmaid…

But, still… I’ve been playing well, so I say to myself “keep playing the tournaments.”

Cash games? So erratic. In the last two weeks I’ve had a couple of the most solid poker playing performances I’ve ever had, and they’ve been incredibly profitable. And then I’ve had some of the most inconsistent, impatient, and downright shitty nights that I can imagine. Nights that make me think I should be embarrassed to even claim myself a poker player but should downgrade to the dubious “card player” or the even-worse “gambler.”

Thursday was one of those nights. But first: Wednesday.

Wednesday I have off, so I try to decide what tournament to play… Different clubs offer different tournaments on different nights of the week. Different buy-in amounts, different number of starting seats, whether or not they allow rebuys or add-ons, etc. I decide to play a tournament at RRRR’s, because I won that tournament in December for a nice little $750 profit, and I want to keep playing it.

I’ve started listening to music lately while playing, and I even like to read. And I find it’s necessary to have a bottle of water, too. I’m becoming an old lady going to the beach. I might as well start bringing my own seat cushion, a pair of slippers, and a blanket for my lap. Gotta be comfortable. I gather up the ipod, a book, make sure I have layers in case it’s hot or cold. I jump in a taxi. I get water. Oh… and gum! Can’t forget gum and Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1. I call the club to have them hold a seat. I get there just in time… They start seating everybody 2 minutes after I walk in. I pay my $50 and sit down with $40 other guys.

I play for 15 minutes. Nothing spectacular. I get one decent hand, raise and everybody folds. I limp a couple of times and don’t really hit anything. I make a nice tiny little bluff on a pot… I started with 1500 chips, and I now have 1800. Nothing special, like a said, but I feel like I’m in a bit of a groove and have a bit of a read on some of the guys on my table. A couple more hands go by and I have 86spades on the button. There are like 4 limpers when it gets to me, the blinds don’t look like they’ll be raising, so I give it a shot. Not normally cards I’d play in a tournament, but 6 or 7 way and seeing the flop for the minimum… I’ll give it a shot since I have position and since I’ve picked up a few small pots.

The flop comes Ahearts, Jspades, 4spades. I’ve got a flush draw.

The little blind comes out betting. I saw him thinking about raising pre-flop but then pulling back and checking at the last second. I’m sure he has a big Ace… like AT, AJ, AQ. Probably not AK or he still woulda raised pre-flop.

So, yeah… he comes out betting 350. there’s 350 in the pot. Everybody folds to me. I call the 350.

The turn: 9spades. I hit my flush. He hesitates, and checks to me. I bet 600 into the 1050 pot.

He goes all-in. I felt like it might be a trap, and I guess it was. Or is it a bluff? Or a semi-bluff? Maybe he just has the Aspades, not two spades. He has me covered (has more chips than me). I only have 800 chips left. Which is still a lot. I realize in hindsight that I really should have just folded and tried to fight it out with a half a stack to see how I could do. But I guess I just got frustrated, so I call. I tell him I’ve got the flush already… I ask him if he does, too, or if he just has the Ace. He says he has the flush. I know I’m beat. In a tournament you have to turn the cards over (I guess to prevent collusion / mis-declaring hands / etc.). He turns over Aspades, 10spades. I’m “drawing dead.” There isn’t a card in the deck that can come on the river that would make me win the hand. Sometimes there’s like one miracle card that would make a straight flush that would let me beat somebody else in these kinds of situations. But this ain’t one of them. I get up and start walking away before the dealer even flips over the last card. (they still have to run the entire board, even if somebody is drawing dead. Hold ‘em is still a 7 card game, and a winner can’t be declared until all 7 cards are out. Minor detail.)

All that preparation, for 20 minutes of play. I go out SECOND of all 40 players. It’s kinda the poker player walk of shame. Now I want to play some more. I try to distract myself by luring a friend out for a drink. I text her “come and meet me and there are 3 amstels in it for you.” No response.


I start walking towards PPPP.

Just then I get a text from Eamonn. “Food?”

“Sure” I text back.

I start walking towards Union Square. He calls… I miss his call, and call him right back. I say “where are you?” and he says “Walking towards Union Square.”

I say “I see you.”

He’s 30 feet in front of me.


We go and get a drink and a bite to eat, although I don’t really eat much because in my preparation to go to the tournament, I ate some food. Sometimes those things take 4 hours, and you really don’t want to eat during a tournament. So I’m not really hungry.

He has to be at work early the next day, so he leaves me at a little before 11 PM. I go home.

I decide to check out the tournament situation online at Paradise Poker. I log on, and see that there’s a $150 buy-in tournament starting in three minutes, and there are 33 people in it. I say “what the hell… I’ll do a 40 person tournament right now.”

Well… over the next 5 minutes, 63 more people register. I’m now in a 96 person tournament where the winner is getting $6000. Whoops. I mean… I’m ready for it, but… this could take quite a long time if I do well, and it ain’t easy beating that many players EVER.

But… here we go. I play for a while. It doesn’t seem like much happens, but an hour goes by, I’ve doubled up, 40 players have dropped out, and I have a slightly above average chip stack. Then… the same thing happens the next hour. I don’t feel like much happens, but… Somehow there are 32 players left, I’m like 12th, and I’m feeling OK. It gets down to two tables, and suddenly I go on a little run. I’m like 4th in chips… And I stay there for a while. I go down to 7th out of 15, but then I climb back up. When we go to the 10 person final table I’m 4th. I play well… get a couple of good hands. I’m chip leader with 7 people left! I make a bad call, lose some chips. Another player gets knocked out… I’m 2nd. Another player gone… Still in 2nd. I’m in first for just a minute again. Then I have a decision hand. I have AJclubs. Under The Gun is a short stack, and he goes all-in for 7000 chips. I’m in first with 44,000. I know he’s going all-in with any Ace… I’m sure my AJ is beating him. But I’ve got 4 players behind me, including the 2nd and 3rd place players. And… I’m reminded of a specific paragraph in one of the Tom McEvoy / TJ Cloutier tournament books: beware of “bunching.” TJ believes that if there aren’t that many good hands on the table before the button, then there’s a higher probability of there being a premium hand in the blinds. Normally I would raise all-in to try to isolate, but… what if I run into a monster hand and lose all my chips?

I decide to just call.

Sure enough, the button folds, and the little blind goes all-in for 35,000 chips. Now… that’s the kind of bet that’s rarely a bluff, because he only betting into a side-pot. No matter what his cards are going to be seen, and the only reason he would go all-in is because he’s pretty damn positive he has better cards than I do.

I fold.

Sure enough… Under the Gun shows A10diamonds, and little blind shows KK. A good fold, for sure.

The flop: 7clubs, Kclubs, 9 clubs. If I had called, I would have flopped the nut fucking flush. Of course, the little blind flopped a set of Kings, so he has a killer draw for a full house. But the turns a blank, and the rivers a blank. His trip Kings beat the other guy’s Ace high, and a player is eliminated. I would have been a monster, but… I made the right move, but now I’m in second place.

I play for another 20 minutes… the guy that just won that hand eventually knocks out the other big chip stack (the third place guy), and I knock out the short stack… it’s head’s up, but he has me like 80,000 to 35,000. two hands later I get AK, I make a small raise which he calls. The flop comes 6A6. I bet, he raised, I re-raise all-in. sure enough… he has J6. his trip 6’s beat my pair of A’s, and I come in second place. Which pays out $2650. For a tidy $2500 profit for a bit under 4 hours work.

I’m smile… I feel like it all happened for a reason. I busted out early of the other tournament. Michelle didn’t text me back, but Eamonn did text out of the blue, but then has to go home early. So I find myself at the computer, and the next thing you know I have my biggest tournament win ever.

Nice nice NICE.


But remember… I told you the story about Wednesday, JUST so that I could tell you the story about Thursday.

Which isn’t really much of a story. I play for 7 hours at BBBB on Thursday night and lose $750. Then I go home and start playing online. I start playing $8/$16 limit and then $10/$20 limit and then $20/$40 limit. I play all morning. I get BAD BEAT after BAD BEAT. I keep flopping sets and losing to gut shots and four-flushes. I keep flopping the nut flush draw and not hitting it and watching some guy with top pair and a shitty kicker take it down. I get CRUSHED.

I play all day Friday… for 12 hours. I don’t sleep. At all. I just play. And I lose… you guessed it… $1800.

I won $2516 total on Wednesday. Thursday into Friday I lose $2585.

All that hard work… 19 hours of poker. A big second place finish. And it all adds up to negative 69 bucks.


Not smart.

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