This might become my new thing. I could become “That lady who sits in the Chinese restaurant off Exit 37 on the Long Island Expressway on Friday night drinking Manhattans”. Of course, I’d rather be “That lady who writes those books that all of America loves” but the ways things are going I’ll probably need a Plan B and sitting in the Chinese restaurant off Exit 37 knocking back Manhattans on Friday nights looks like as good an alternative as any.
So last Friday night I went to the Chinese restaurant off Exit 37 (from now on called “The Scene”) hoping to catch the end of the story that began last week (scroll down, yon new readers) when I was picking up my take-out order and eavesdropped on a man and a woman on a date there at the bar whose flirty chit chat contained references to bail money.
Turns out that happening upon a man and a woman in a Chinese restaurant whose small talk includes petty criminals is a once-in-a-lifetime-thing. And that not hanging around long enough to hear the whole megilla is a whale of a missed opportunity here on Long Island, where characters out of a Raymond Chandler novel rarely come to life. Yes, characters out of letters to the editor of The Enquirer come to life all the time on Long Island, but not characters out of noir fiction. OK, the two people I eavesdropped on last week were only medium-grey, a light noir-ish at the most, but even that is pretty dark-side for Long Island.
Except for when a neighbor kills his wife and his daughter and himself like that guy did, who lived two streets over, two months ago. Oh, and except for when a local teenage girl shoots the wife of her statutory-rapist 36-year-old “boyfriend” in the face and they make two Made-For-TV movies out of it . . . but that was ages ago. Otherwise, people are way normal around here, on most days.
If you stood at the entrance to the Chinese restaurant on Exit 37 on a rainy Friday night this is what you would see, looking sideways towards the Long Island Expressway. That’s the Mobil station behind the Chinese restaurant sign, and behind that is the Long Island Expressway. If you’re having trouble seeing the Long Island Expressway here, try this daytime view, taken the following Saturday afternoon:
That overpass in the background is the L.I.E. , which is just down the road from where I live.
Note for my BRITISH READERS: “Overpass” is American for “unsightly highway bridge that crosses an unsightlier highway, whose concrete supports are used as a target (some say “magnet”) for drunk drivers on highway below”. You may or may not use the same word for that in the U.K., but I wanted to make sure that you were not confused, plus I wanted to show off that I have BRITISH READERS of my blog.
But back to Exit 37: If you were The Great Gatsby, and you lived in 2009, and you wanted to drive from your house on “West Egg” (i.e.; King’s Point, Long Island, where my husband grew up, about 5 miles to the west of our house) to have cocktails with Daisy on “East Egg” (i.e.; Sand’s Point, Long Island, where rich people still frolic, about three miles to the north) this is your exit on the L.I.E., Exit 37. Yes, I live smack in the middle of Great Gatsby country. You wouldn’t believe how many people are impressed by that when I tell them.
Anyhoo, back to my first night as “That lady who sits in the Chinese restaurant off Exit 37 on the Long Island Expressway on Friday night drinking Manhattans”: Seeing as how my medium-grey noir-ish couple didn’t show up last Friday, it’s a good thing I’d brought Top Cat with me — if anyone were eavesdropping on us they would have had quite an ear full.
But I see that our time is up so that’s a story I’ll have to tell you tomorrow.