A Matter Of Burgers

March 31st, 2008

todolist.jpgOnce again, The Dead Poet has provided another dose of crazy serendipity. I’m beginning to think the place is some sort of Twilight Zone or Time/Space Portal. Let me set the scene.

Abbi and I have just stepped out of Chris and Jen’s Upper West Side apartment following a five hour babysitting stint. As adorable and genius as these little boys are, they’re also little boys: mischievous, relentlessly energetic and adorably conniving. Abbi managed them effortlessly. I found myself straight-faced more than once.

By 10:30, then, I was tired, irritable, and hungry. Being just two blocks from my favorite, non-descript New York bar, the wife and I slowly and almost reluctantly agreed to split a burger and a pint.

Sadly, the kitchen was closed. So we made an about face, and headed home (where I had a lackluster turkey sandwich and a Harp). This morning, I received the following email.

Sent: Mon, 31 Mar 2008 12:05 am
Subject: A matter of burgers

T: That couple that just came in…the guy who asked for a burger…

J: The one with the cello?

T: I’m pretty sure it was a guitar.

J: Are you sure? It looked huge.

T: I’m pretty sure it was a guitar. Anyway, his name is Benjamin Wagner. He’s, in a small way, one of the reasons I’m in New York.

J: So you know him? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him in here before.

T: Well, I don’t know him. I’ve never actually met him. We’ve traded a couple emails. A few years ago when I was in Oklahoma I emailed him about possible jobs in New York. He’s a VP at MTV. MTV News, I think. Anyway, I asked him if he had any jobs at MTV for writers…that’s what I do..I’m a writer. He didn’t have any at that time, but encouraged me to take the leap…move from Oklahoma to New York. “There are always jobs in New York,” he told me. A year or two after that I took his advice, quit my job at the state’s biggest newspaper – where I had a coveted beat – sold everything I owned and moved to New York.

J: How did you know it was him?

T: His blog. I still read it. I recognized him and his new bride. Silly, small world, huh?

J: Yeah, man. Small world. Another, Brooklyn?

T: Sure, I guess. There are only a few hours left in the weekend. Might as well enjoy it while I can… You know, it’s funny, that I recognized him. Really, such a small world. I wanted to say hi, maybe buy him a beer and say thanks, but I was on the phone when he came in and next thing I knew he was gone.

J: Yep. Small world. Here’s your Brooklyn.

T: Thanks.

I sent T and note and told him that I’d meet him there for a pint — and a burger — anytime.