Toby hasn’t been feeling well lately so yesterday he stayed home from school and I made him tea. It was nice having him around all day. Towards the end of the day, Dee wrote me and reminded me about a rock ‘n roll show we had discussed attending. And since Toby didn’t feel well, I wasn’t sure that we could make it.
Many, many years ago, when Toby and I first met, we moved into a HUGE 3,000 square foot loft overlooking Manhattan.
It was in Greenpoint, right on the river. We had only known each other a month. The cost of living in NYC can drive people to do strange things. I remember the phone calls.
Yeah, I’m thinking I might move in with him.
Are you insane? That doesn’t seem like the best idea. What if he’s a serial killer?
We did it anyway. (It was the best insane thing I ever did.)
We moved in on December 15th. Technically it was ours on the first but there had been an gas explosion that week on the second floor, so the place was off limits for a bit. (This is what happens when you move into a commercial building not zoned for living.)
I remember the day we moved in. It was really cold. And since the explosion, they still hadn’t turned on the heat. (Another thing about moving into a place NOT zoned for living, you can’t call anyone to complain.) We dealt with it. We moved into the biggest coldest loft in all of Brooklyn.
I need to back up for a minute. I have an obscenely large supply of blankets, soap, and towels. I am not sure why. We would have to have about 15 people staying with us to employ every towel at once. But I still keep them around. And I can build the best forts or the most amazing nests with my blanket collection. (I wish there were a job in blanket fort-building.)
Now, back to my original story. So we moved in during the dead of winter. Our new loft was right on the water. It was December and our loft had massive windows like this:
And while they weren’t particularly drafty, they still managed to absorb the winter chill reminding us that things outside do freeze.
So I built a massive nest and every night we would get under those covers and not move again until morning. We even slept with winter hats on, sweaters, sweat shirts, socks and sometimes scarves. I wore gloves one night. It was a mere tactic just to see TobyJoe laugh. We could even see our breath! And sometimes I’d light a candle. And sometimes I’d pretend to camp. For two weeks we lived without heat or hot water. On our way home from work in the evenings, we would walk to my brother’s apartment and we’d shower. This worked out o.k. In the winter, I don’t sweat much even in New York City on a Subway beneath a steaming street.
But the mornings were the hardest. I had a CD alarm clock at the time. And every morning at around 7 it would spin to, sending out the most twangy, metallic sounding guitar riff.
Twwwwwwannnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggg…… this one goes out to all you rock and roll philistines – all you non-believers…
And Toby and I would moan ourselves awake. And I used to think I might someday hate that song and that sound. I used to think I might hate that man’s scratchy voice as he screamed me from my warm bed. I used to want to hurt him and break that c.d.
Had we been able to stay beneath the 7 blankets like two fat beans, tucked between them and warmth of our small futon, the mornings wouldn’t have been so bad. And I haven’t ever been so excited to get to work. After the Soledad Brothers would do their thing, I would peel myself out of bed and boil some water on a camp stove we purchased at the local Greenpoint Five ‘n Dime. Since we didn’t have a working kitchen, we had to make do in other ways. I’d fill the bathroom sink up with boiled water, turn on a small space heater, and like two human tea bags we would steep. It is incredible what you’re willing to do when you are in love.
Last night, I convinced Toby to come out to see the show. Even tho he wasn’t feeling well, I figured it might be a nice thing to do. They are called The Soledad Brothers. And they come from Detroit, where there too it is cold in the winter. You see, the Soledad Brothers will always remind me of that time where I lived in a 3,000 square foot loft without heat, over-looking a river separating Greenpoint from a much larger city. They will remind me of a time were I was newly introduced to love after having been so sad for so long.
And even if those bastards didn’t play our morning song, it was great to see them finally. And it took me back three years. And it made me miss a time I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to let go of.
If I could give today up just to go back and spend one wickedly cold December morning lying beneath 7 blankets with my boy, I so would. I would give it up instantly. I would boil that pot of water and steep us both awake.
Those were good days. And the strangest thing is I knew it even then.