Uptown Saturday Night

In an effort to help out with my overly-hectic schedule and appease the blog gods, who require a sacrifice of one blog each day Mon- Fri., one of you—Gym Nazi, in fact—graciously submitted a very Belle- worthy blog.(The rest of you should feel free to do the same. We’re a community, dammit!) A thousand thanks to him, ‘cause ya’ll were not getting one today otherwise.

Saturday night, I was out in Harlem with a gang of folks celebrating my boy John's b-day. There were drinks, wings, and the fight (Mayweather, baby!), bowling, and talking shit, i.e. a great night. The fun continued from the bowling alley to some random hose party, then finally to IHOP on 135th. There are 9 of us seated at 2 tables—at least there are until John leaves for an unknown Harlem locale to pick up a woman, promising to return shortly.

We’re trying to wait for John to return before we order since it’s his birthday celebration. So to pass the time, we all chat idly. At my table, the topic of who pays for the bill on a date comes up. Gerald presents this scenario to Wilma, "What if a waiter slides the check to you first? Would you pay?"

Wilma ponders the idea for a moment. "Is this a first date?"

Gerald nods. "Yeah, it is, but in general would you pay?"

She shrugs. "Not a problem… if it’s not a first date, of course.” Pause. “And I’ll happily pay if I asked him out.”

John finally returns with his “friend” Shauna (40 minutes later) and introduces her around to the crew. She’s a very attractive sista, and every dude held that same “DAMMMMN!!” look (dudes you know that look). After we meet her, she saunters to the other table and takes the seat next to my boy’s. He parlays with us for a moment and I resist the urge to dap him up on his latest acquisition. I’m trying to figure out exactly what she is – she’s new, so is this potential wifey? A J.O.? He's bringing her out at 3am. Gotta be a J.O. Then again, she's meeting all the crew, including the girls. The J.O., especially a new one, would never meet the friends at any hour. Must be a PoW (potential (of) wifey). Hmmm.

We order, we wait, we eat and then bill time comes. The waitress informs us that the checks will have to be divided individually because this IHOP doesn't take different cards on a large check (you know Black people never carry cash.) She hands all ten of us our separate checks and nine of us proceed to pay.

John takes his bill, reaches into his wallet, and pulls out a $20 to cover his meal, plus tax and tip. Check paid and stomach full, he relaxes back in his chair without a care in the world.

Shauna’s bill is resting on the table. She is looking at it the way a woman looks at a small insect (not roach) that has invaded her home—part fear, part curiosity. She stares, and stares and stares at the paper print-out for what seems like an eternity. I guess she finally realizes that John is not reaching back into his wallet for her, so eventually she goes into her pocketbook and fumbles for some singles or a ten, anything to pay for her own damn food. She settles her bill and looks off into the distance. Clearly she is pissed. (Me and my boys laughing at her from the other table hasn’t helped matters, I guess.) I feel bad for her, but now I know the right answer to my question.

When we leave the restaurant, the Brooklyn crew, who are copping a ride back to the borough with John, give John and Shauna space to walk ahead of us as we follow them to John’s truck. We’re far away, but not so distant that we don’t hear Shauna hiss at John, " I can't believe you acted like such an asshole. I'm soooo embarrassed!!!"

I figure it’s gonna be a long time before we get back to Brooklyn. This sista is about to flip and he’s going to have to drop her wherever she came from in Harlem before we head to back to BK. Maybe she is-better, was--a PoW. J.O.'s play thier position. and this sista is about to spazz. I debate whether if time-wise it would be more sensible to just take the A train and knock-out till I get to my spot.

Shauna gets in the car, taking the passenger seat. Reluctantly, we pile in the back. I’m only half-way paying attention, but when I become fully alert, I realize we’re on the West Side highway, headed to BK at 5:30 am—no detour.

I chuckle to myself and settle back to knock out till the truck pulls in front of my house.

Actions speak louder than words. Jump off. Definitely.