We headed out into the chill to catch a train to North Beach, where we were to see some comedy at Cobb's. Another member of the party, Jonah, had managed to secure us a table for nine, even though we seven didn't show up till almost twenty till seven, when the show started with the best opening comic I've ever seen, Ryan Stout. He had a very short set, but he had an absolutely brilliant joke about how he hates the n-word so much, he can't even say "vinegar." Oh, and there was this, which I've ganked from his Wikipedia entry, which tells me he's YOUNGER than me:
I got into an argument with this Pro-Life person about abortion and she said, "Well, Ryan, what if Jesus had been an abortion?" "Well, then, he would have died for our sins...sooner."
After him was Dana Gould, former writer for The Simpsons, whom I actually didn't like as much as Ryan Stout. He had a Lewis Black thing going with the "two emotions: rage and suppressed rage," and that's not really my thing, though he was funny. Next up was Greg Fitzsimmons, who was funnier and had some great audience banter. I appreciated his set a lot because half of it was based on his New Year's Resolutions, which made it sort of special for us since it's not a bit he could use all year, really. The headliner was Patton Oswalt, one of Dan's favorite comedians even though I'd never heard of him. He was funny, for sure, and also nerdy. He had an extended bit on how much the Star Wars prequels sucked, which is not new territory by any means, and I didn't think they were so bad, but he put a great new spin on it. Also, he had a throwaway line about Wolverine kicking Daredevil's ass that slew me since I love Daredevil, and he's one of the lesser-known superheroes. My face eventually hurt from laughing, and that's all I ask from a comedy show. Well, it's the least it can do after the ticket price and convenience fee and two-drink minimum satisfied by four-dollar Cokes.
After the show let out, more drinking had to be done, so our group hit a bar down the block, but I was hungry, not having been able to eat the meat, so I had one of SF's Famous Burritos from Ricos. It was pretty good.
As our final destination was the Embarcadero, we headed down Columbus to look for more bars. We stopped in Vesuvio for quite a while. Dan and Jessica and I camped out in a corner while the others reveled. I took this opportunity to flirt with Jessica, badly, as we analyzed how exactly to proceed from such classic opening lines as "Do you come here often?" and "What's your sign?" When Dan left to flirt with the other Jessica, his Jessica punched him, saying he was supposed to stop me, not follow my lead. After he left, I tried again:
"So, come here often?"
"No. See, where do you go from that?"
"...Where do you go?"
"Neither do I."
"What a coincidence."
"What's your bedroom look like?"
I may need to work on my technique just a tad.
(As I have not mentioned it, let me take this moment to mention that being the single guy in a sea of couples is rather annoying. It was surprisingly less annoying than I expected it to be because the Girlfriends were all nice people, and I felt like part of the group, but still. Hell, I even saw an attractive Indian girl in Vesuvio. With her boyfriend.)
Dan and Jessica and I finally cut out in order to meet up with Portland Jessica (ariiadne) and Colin (sadly, we never got the three Jessicas in the same place at the same time). After a few blocks, Dan spotted her unmistakeable purple hair, and many hugs were exchanged. We went down to the madness of the Embarcadero and passed the time by looking at sculptures like the Bow and Arrow...whatever its real name is. That was where we staked out a spot since it wasn't that crowded, although Matt claimed it was too far south to see the fireworks.
As it turned out, he could not be any more wrong, as the fireworks were right in front of us. Oh, those poor fools over by the Ferry Building. The fireworks were a pretty spectacular display of color and sound. There were smiley faces and cubes and swarming fireflies and those green bugs from the X-Files episode "Darkness Falls" and sperm and it was awesome.
Then it was time to brave the herd in exodus. Dan and Jessica left at the Transbay Terminal, and Jess and Colin and I continued to BART. Now, on the way our story gets interesting, and it's pretty much the reason for this post.
On our way, we encountered a couple Indian girls at a corner, and one of them asked me, because I am Indian, how to get to BART. I pointed in the direction we were going and then just said, "Follow us!" Colin added, "And everyone else."
I looked back every minute or so to see if they were still following and also to get a closer look at them because they were Indian girls and thus potential mates! What a way to ring in the new year, right?! But they were also, like, girls I'd met on the street, and I didn't know whether they wanted me talking to them.
That all changed when they caught up to us at a red light, and, out of nowhere, one girl said, "I'm Psoriasis, and this is Viagra." (Names have been changed to protect the guilty.) In this moment, I realized several things. Psoriasis had a very cool name and was kind of hot, in addition to being amusing with her declaration that she hadn't been drinking. Viagra had the same name as a little cousin of mine and was average-looking, in addition to not being amusing at all since she wasn't saying anything. But please notice Psoriasis's statement: "this is Viagra." Like she's presenting her to me. Oh, dear.
My feeling was confirmed when I told Psoriasis I was a medical writer and she responded that Viagra was studying to be a doctor! IT'S LIKE WE WERE MADE FOR EACH OTHER OMG. The light turned green and we crossed the street. "It's good you know your way around, Sunil," said Psoriasis, for Viagra's benefit, clearly, since she wasn't the one interested in me, a fact again confirmed when I told her I was from Texas and she responded that the guy she was dating was from Texas...as was the guy who had dumped her before.
As we continued down Market, Psoriasis asked if I was sure this was the way to the BART station because they'd gone down this way earlier and not found it. I assured them that there were like thirty thousand BART stations on Market. I said this as we continued walking, talking more in the direction of Jess and Colin, and she said I could look over at them when I was talking; she might have said it was rude or something. And while I could have, yes, I also thought it was rude to completely ignore the existence of the people I was already with before they arrived, and besides, looking at people when you're talking is scary because of all the unspoken connections that occur. I thought making the first move was hard enough, but it turns out that it's just as hard when the girl makes the first move, or maybe it's just hard when the girl who makes the move isn't a girl you would have made a move on, but in fact the girl making the move was one I would have except for the fact that she was merely a move-proxy...GIRLS ARE CRAZY!
We hit the Montgomery station, which didn't seem to be very popular for some reason, so we headed down. Psoriasis and Viagra, who didn't come into the city often, needed to buy their tickets, and I think Psoriasis asked me to wait for them, but, again, I was with other people to begin with, and Colin looked to be shooing Jess through the turnstiles. I inadvertently managed to stall, however, when she marveled over my new EZ Rider card (hey, Jess, it did work through my wallet, by the way, which rules!). The girls followed us, but we seemingly lost them again at the stairs; I couldn't see them behind me. The Richmond train was boarding, so we jumped into the nearest car. Maybe the girls were slow; maybe they had given up; maybe they were just incredibly BART-impaired. Actually, I think it may be that last one, since I remember my early days when I wanted to make sure I was getting on the right train. I waved them in, saying, "You made it." To my surprise, however, they sat down at the other end of the car, and I think Viagra did the leading on that one. I wasn't meaning to ditch them or anything, and I didn't mind the extra company, but we hadn't formed some magical bond.
It was their loss, however, since they missed my amazing feat at the Embarcadero station. We remained still for the longest time, as if they were trying to fill the cars with as many passengers as possible. Even after the doors closed, we didn't move for minutes. "Train," I decreed, "I command you to move."
AND IT DID.
"I'm fucking awesome!" I cried. I swear a few people even clapped. Colin advised me not to try it again, and I absolutely agreed that I wasn't going to spoil the magic. But for a second there, I was the motherfucking train whisperer.
At West Oakland, Jess and Colin got off, and I exited the train to run over to the other side, where the girls appeared to be exiting. "Why are you getting off?" I asked. "I thought you were going to Fremont." Psoriasis appeared surprised to see me, and I said they could transfer at Macarthur, as it was the big transfer station. So they sat back down. "I trust Sunil," she said to Viagra.
"If you don't mind my asking," asked Psoriasis, "what's your nationality?" I couldn't help grinning at the utter brazen transparency of the question. I gave her the answer she was looking for. "Are you a Patel?" I was, in fact. "She's a Shah," she said.
Viagra spoke perhaps her first words: "Could you not give out all my personal information?" Her tone was one of resigned exasperation, as she realized I, unfortunately, wasn't interested in her, and Psoriasis couldn't make it any better. This is why you should not have a hot wingman. I would make a good wingman.
She asked me where I went to school, and I said Rice, and she laughed...because the guy she was dating or maybe the guy she was going to date or SOME GUY in her life had thought about going to Rice. It was rather amusing that Psoriasis and I had these random, irrelevant connections. I continued the education talk, and she remarked, "That's impressive." For Viagra's sake, of course. I had to stop myself from joking about exchanging biodata...s.
We hit another transfer station, and they wondered if they should get off, and I said that Macarthur was it, but then I looked at the map and noticed that, yeah, they could actually get off here. I meant it as a statement of fact, nothing more, honestly, but I think Psoriasis took it as a final sign. I missed some of her parting words, but I definitely got the sense that she sensed they were unwanted, which they weren't, really. The last thing I heard as she disappeared was "We were just joking around, don't worry." I wasn't sure whether to be relieved or insulted. "Hey, no worries, you're not actually worth pursuing!" But I think she just admitted that she had made us both uncomfortable with her aggressively superficial matchmaking.
So, 2007. This is how it's going to be, huh?