We got there and the wait was astronomical for a table. The cute waiter (who I found out was gay RIGHT before I put my bid in...ugh, why do I keep doing that. I digress.) The cute waiter said we could do communal seating. I wanted nothing to do with that. I came to see my girl. I hadn't seen or talked to her in months. I didn't want strangers in our mix. Then hunger set in. Communal seating it was.
They sat us at a 6-top and 2 men were already eating. Then I realized they didn't know each other. One had on a suit and asked if he could move to the middle to sit next to us, sure why not? The other had on a hoodie and headphones, the ultimate leave-me-alone outfit. He left soon after we sat down.
Come to find out our suited friend is an older [like at least 50] black French gentleman and a marketer of high end Champagne. Champagne Paul Goerg actually. He told us of the places that it's sold in Chicago and discussed how he came to the country, why he loves New York, why he's never been married or had kids and how Marcus was his good friend.
At this point, it occurs to me that I'm at THEE Marcus Samuelsson's restaurant in Harlem and I kind of freak out a little bit, but then I'm pleasantly surprised that it's so down-to-earth and homey and reasonably priced and overall phenomenal.
So a couple sits down next to us. She's probably about 40 and he's probably about 50. They're the cutest couple. He's talk, dark and handsome with a full beard, a roaring voice and has on a polo with the collar popped. And she had a medium complexion, with a tank top, capris and sandals on.
My friend noticed how ripped she was and says to me "Wow, she's probably about 40, but look how ripped she is at that age." She then asked the woman about her exercise routine. We're all at dinner "together" might as well get some fitness tips. The woman said something about more reps with larger weights and somehow mentioned that it's important to stay in shape after you turn 50.
WAYMENT. We both nearly choked on our Champagne and told her we were JUST saying how she looked about 40. She goes no, I'm 54 and my husband is 67. O_O So at this point, she buys a round of champagne for the table because we put here in a whole 'nother younger generation and we inquire about what they do to stay so young looking. There must be a secret.
I don't remember her exact words, but she said something about seizing the day. Don't stop going out because you're getting older. Don't take jobs you don't want to do and enjoy your life. The older French gentleman in the suit replied to that same thread, if you will. His entire family in France is made up of couples with children, they think he's nuts, but that wasn't the path that he wanted for his life. Coming to NYC and being the marketing arm of the business suited him perfectly. [It's at this point that I realize that having a sugar daddy isn't the worst possible path in life and immediately thought about how Carrie met Big... that's not my life though, but it crossed my mind.]
This entire conversation with strangers, their lives, their perspectives, their hour at dinner with me is part of the reason that I love traveling and I absolutely adore the energy and diversity of New York. I'm not saying that dinner changed my life, but hunger took over in more ways that one that night.