24 Pell Street
NY, NY 10013
I ventured into Chinatown earlier this week with the intention of killing several birds with one subway fare. First, I wanted to try a vegetarian dim sum restaurant that my friend Travis had recommended and second, an old pal from college was in town on business and had suggested we meet for dinner. So the boyfriend, Travis and I headed from Brooklyn to Chinatown for what we thought would be a fun adventure and one of my first Manhattan dining experiences since I arrived.
We got to the restaurant early. It's tucked away on a side street between Bowery and Mott. The interior isn't anything fancy. We found a table in the back and positioned ourselves so my friend would see us when he came in. Tea arrived. We were hungry so we decided to go ahead and order a round of dim sum. My friend called for directions for the cab driver. The first round of dim sum was served:
Rice Flour Roll with Ham & Coriander
We ate. The cab driver called for directions. We eyed the remaining portions on each plate. We drank more tea. Finally my friend arrived, all in a hurry and wound up as hell. I introduced him to Travis. He sat. He poured tea. He reviewed the menu. He barely talked to my boyfriend or Travis. He was obviously drunk or agitated or coked up. He had an aura of aggression radiating from him.
We ordered our second round of dim sum:
Half Moon Pockets
Red Bean Cake
Rice Flour Rolls with Faux Shrimp
He made rude comments and questioned the meat content of the all vegetarian menu. He confronted me about my plans for employment and remarked disparagingly about the fact that I needed a guarantor to get an apartment at my age. He spooned his soup onto his plate and made a mess of the dim sum with his chopsticks. He kept turning the conversation into a monologue about himself and his business. Travis and the boy talked less and less as the conversation soured.
The third course:
Roast Pork Buns
Pan Fried Dumplings
Spring Rolls (again)
Finally, the last straw. I asked if he had read my travel blog Potholes and Pitstops, about my cross country move from Seattle to NYC. He could barely contain his contempt: "No. And I won't ever read it." Attempting to salvage my pride from this surreal encounter I offered, "Well, I know you are really busy. Maybe in your free time..."
"I don't have free time," he interrupted, "And if I did, I wouldn't waste it reading blogs."
Silence. I stared at my plate and pushed around the last of my spring roll until it encountered an equally lonely dollop of hot mustard. I think the topic was changed and the subject of leaving the restaurant was broached. We paid as quickly as possible and then walked my obnoxious friend to the nearest subway heading towards his hotel. He didn't seem to realize that we were getting rid of him, but as soon as he was gone I felt an immense sense of relief.
I know in my heart that I should give him the benefit of the doubt. I have known him for a long time and through many adventures. But for some reason, I don't feel compelled to settle this one. I have better things to do with my free time.