Back in 1999, after I had left my first law firm I worked part time at Dean & Deluca in Soho. During this time I was also actively seeking a public interest legal job, but was in deperate need of some time for introspection. The people at Dean & Deluca thought I was crazy to take a job serving prepared foods and making crepes when I could be off in an air conditioned office somewhere making much more money. Perhaps I was, but at the time it was exactly what I needed. I was surrounded all day by food designed to dazzle the senses, I learned how to make crepes (which took a great deal of practice, so my co-workers and I just ate the mistakes), and I thoroughly enjoyed it every time a former law firm colleague or law school classmate came in, saw me in my chef's jacket and dopey hat and did a complete double-take. One of my dad's friends, realizing that one should always take advantage of personal connections, used to call me to set aside one of their delicious rotisserie chickens for him, since otherwise they'd be gone by the time he stopped by.
Working there also inspired me in a few other ways. It was the first time I considered doing creative writing. This was long before I started this blog, and I thought that somehow I should capture some of the utter ridiculousness that I encountered at Dean & Deluca in writing. Maybe they'd publish it in the New Yorker Talk of the Town or something. It was also during this time that I got my tattoo. It was something that I had wanted since college, but knowing that I'd be stuck with it forever, I made myself wait before I actually got it. Not wanting to make a hasty decision, I ultimately waited over 5 years fom the moment it occurred to me until the moment I began researching tattoo parlors.
After a long and detailed search process that involved my going to a half dozen tattoo parlors in the East Village and asking them a litany of annoying questions, I settled on a very sterile looking spot called Inkline. As the date of my appointment approached, I must have mentioned to my co-workers that I was quite nervous about the prospect of having ink jammed repeatedly into my body with sharp needles. Vinnie, a then 18 year old kid who worked the prepared foods line with me, offered to come and hold my hand. And so I took him up on it. I hadn't seen Vinnie since 1999 on my last day at Dean & Deluca shortly after the tattoo had healed, at least not until the other day, when I bumped into him on the street. I recognized him immediately. We exchanged greetings, I showed him my tattoo, and told him again how grateful I was that he had come with me to help endure the pain. Although he was never a close friend, I will always be reminded of Vinnie when I think of my tattoo, and it made me think about all the people I've encountered over the years and how each has touched me in some way, large or small.
And thus concludes the long-winded story portion of my post this evening. Stay tuned for the weekend recap -- spa treatments, rooftop parties, swine, crustaceans, and afternoon cocktails.