A Matter Of Burgers

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.

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