Monday, August 08, 2005

Bitter Dan

My mom calls it the Irish. The Irish is your sixth sense, psychic ability, whatever. My mom has the Irish something fierce. Old Italian women give the eye, but my mother just calls it a curse, and when she puts her hex on you, bad things happen. I am generally completely lacking in the Irish. A year ago, I had a prophetic dream and my mom exclaimed, “I knew you had the Irish! You couldn’t be my daughter and not have it!” Well, I’m pretty sure I don’t have the Irish, but I knew Saturday that I would run into old friends and I was right.

Saturday I headed up to bucolic Mahwah, my hometown, to visit my parentals and buy a new cell phone. I planned to go home after mooching dinner, do some cleaning, and a little memo writing for work. But then Philly called.

Phil called because he rightly thought that I was going to be in the city that night…. but I had rescheduled those plans. As Phil was telling me that he and his people would be out at a bar on the Lower East Side, I thought, “Well, gee, I’m just going to go home. I have so much work and cleaning to do.” But my mouth wound up saying, “That sounds good. I’ll come out around 10:30.”

The trip into the city was lousy – accident in the Holland Tunnel, blah blah blah blah blah, I didn’t want to make a deal because I’m trying to be calm under such situations, and I hate to be a stereotypical Jersey girl complaining about traffic when I’m out with Phil and his decidedly un-Jersey surroundings. Long story short, I left Mo Plains at 9:45 and rolled into
Loreley on Rivington Street at about 12:00am. Good. Times. (Sorry Phil, I know the excessive sarcasm of that phrase is bothersome, but if ever it was called for….)

Anyway, it wound up being completely worth the hassle to get in. Indeed, I’m not the type of girl to stay out till 3:30am unless I’m having fun. Playing the role of typical Jersey lamer was yours truly, but it wound up being fun anyway. One of Phil’s buddies is actually from New Jersey, and we agreed (naturally) that true diners are only in Jersey (open 24 hours and owned by Greeks, of course), and that making a right on red is completely logical and it’s asinine that New York doesn’t allow this. Meanwhile, Rajeev has just returned from his three week trip to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, so there were plenty of stories to hear. I enjoyed Loreley, although I was certainly not cool enough to be there.

I headed upstairs to get a beer, and locked eyes with Jay from college. “Hey!” he said. “Demarite?” “Yup,” I responded, “Megan.” As I turned to see whom he was with, I found myself face-to-face, with TK’s old flame Rich and Liana friend (and Rich brother) Jim. “Megan!” Jim exclaimed and we exchanged the heartiest handshake I’ve had in awhile.

For those of you who didn’t know me in college, allow me to explain “Demarite.” For three years, I lived in
Demarest Hall. Residents were known as “Demarites.” Demarest was home to special interest housing – in other words, organized groups for whatever you had an interest in – mine was writing, Janet’s was visual art, Lauren and Roxey were in political science. For writing, we would meet and discuss each other’s writing. In poli sci, they’d argue politics, and so on and so forth. In retrospect, I’d say it was a real nerdfest, but it’s where I met all of my closest friends in college. So there you have it.

I stood talking to Rich, Jim and Jay for a couple of minutes and stuff like, “Hey, did you see that
Jeremy Glick was on Fox News?” “Yeah, he was on the O’Reilly Factor, it was crazy.” Then I threw out, “Guess who I saw walking down the street in Montclair last week? Bitter Dan.” “Bitter Dan!” the guys all yelled at the same time, as if this were Norm on Cheers. During my first year of college, there were about 5 different Dans living in Demarest, so they all got nicknames – Pipe Dan (smoked from a pipe, of course), Red Dan (had red-hair), etc. And Bitter Dan. Bitter Dan was simply very funny and very bitter. He was punk rock to the nth degree, ridiculously smart and lazy, and completely, singularly, himself. I have never met anyone like him, and don’t ever expect to again.

Bitter Dan was a celebrity in our dorm – everyone knew him and he clearly was important in all of our views of home. I’ve told about 7 different people now of my Bitter Dan sighting and everyone reacts the same: “Bitter Dan!” I can’t even count the number of times I would come back from class and see Dan sitting on the front stoop smoking a cig, complaining about the lack of unionization at Brower Commons or something to that effect. He represents so much of my college experience, and so it was natural that he would look at me and not know who I was. I guess it’s always that way for people who are representative.

Anyway, my Irish sense told me I’d run into law school people, but college is a better place to remember. The rest of the evening was spent in the company of Phil and many of his college and law school friends. I can’t stay up till 4:30am like I did in college and not pay for it the next day, but holding onto that youthful feeling makes it all worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Paul the Prefixless8:58 PM

    Bitter Dan!

    Don't forget Greasy Dan and Surfer Dan. Who were the others?