The Weather

Still in Search of Two AM Tsing Tao

The evening had begun auspiciously enough. Walking to meet VK at Scholar’s, I caught sight of a couple emerging from the Cambridge Veterinary Care on Mass Ave. Through the sepia haze of my sun-struck shades, I watched as they embraced and basically ate each other’s faces. Christ, what happened inside that office? Cat adoption, emergency open-heart surgery, job application, third date? “Show-offs,” I creepily whispered while passing.

At the monstrously large bar in the downstairs portion of Scholar’s, VK and I got into a decent rhythm, knocking them back and small talking the shit out of the night. VK explained to me that he had spent 2k on sailing lessons, but after missing the first two due to a flu of the Irish nature, forewent the remaining—and non-refundable—six other ones. How the fuck am I gonna sail if I don’t know how to tie the knots they teach you on day one? Can’t argue with logic that air-tight.

VK soon spotted a cute girl who he thought was in need of the Newbury Street brunch-breakfast treatment and went in for the kill with a wave and come-hither hand gesture. Not bad. She got up from her seat as did the previously-assumed unacquainted dinosaur sitting next to her. Son-of-an-effing-b-sting. Her t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Literally. Amazing.” went unnoticed by no one. I made a mental note to order just one Tsing Tao, if and when we were to succeed on our mission: Hong Kong Restaurant before closing time.

About seven minutes into the world’s longest dissertation on prime brokerage client relationship management, VK’s girl, with zero indication, and very likely no foresight of her own, profusely booted in all directions. My ruined shoes: a small price to pay for this girl’s early departure to the bathroom.

VK, the perpetual quip-machine, announced to all within earshot, “I’ve got a shirt at home for your girl that says ‘So. Predictable.’ 

The three of us—the brokerage client manager literally in tow—headed to Liberty Hotel for a nightcap. Four drinks later and the desire for the Tsing Tao/hot-and-sour soup combo had basically taken on a sexual dynamic. I went to pay the bill, but they wouldn’t accept my limited-edition Seal Team Six coins in acrylic casing which I had cumbersomely carried on my person. I explained that they’re worth two hundred and sixty dollars with the Operation Geronimo maps (also in hand), but my pleading fell on deaf ears. VK’s girl took this opportunity to run as far and fast as possible.

I put my phone away, distracted by the extremely loud patron sitting at the neighboring table. He’s an investment banker (which he both directly and indirectly references at least five times) with a proclivity for gratuitous abbreviation, calling people “guy,” and pretending that he is wealthier/smarter than he is in actuality. For a moment, I am convinced that I never left NYC, that I never came to Boston at all, and have only just awoken from a quick nap at Martignetti’s and that this dong has annoyed all of his friends to the point of no return, now relegated to shouting at strangers about what he told some chick the other night.

The diminutive hostess approaches our table cautiously. “Tsing Tao,” she either asks or explains. “Yes, please. Two of them,” I either ask or beg.

As the food arrives, the hostess appears from nowhere with two beers in hand. A rolling equanimity engulfs the room. Saturday night at Hong Kong Restaurant, and all is positively postcard-esque. I take a quick sip of my beer and peer down into the soup. I hope no one notices as I quietly season it with the salt of euphoric tears.

Has spent an inordinately large amount of time in school. He now lives in Boston/New York.