"Shoulda Got the Bacon."
I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe that everything we choose matters. Because it somehow all connects. I believe sometimes life presents you with opportunities and sometimes its up to you to create them. I want to tell you how I realized you should always get the bacon. Vegans, this goes out to you, too.
It was the second to last morning of my trip and for someone reason I was just feeling extra content just laying in bed. Wasn't like I was tired enough to fall back asleep, I just felt no real urgency to start getting up. I putted around on my phone and then started looking up where I could get some breakfast. Avocado toast sounded good. I looked at some places online and the one that stood out the most was a bit farther away but got really good reviews. Got dressed and headed out the door around 10 and the short walk to the train was brutally cold. If I ran up the stairs I could catch it. But I didn't. Waited in the 19 degree weather about 10 min for the next one. I don't usually miss turns or directions when I'm walking according to my map apps I use. But this morning I wasn't on my game and I passed my turn by a couple blocks.
It's an Israeli influenced restaurant and the sign and logo on the building was in a Hebrew looking font and kind of nondescript. I must've walked by it 2-3 times before I realized I was already there. It was MLK day so a lot of people had it off and the place was PACKED. The host said it would be a 40 minute wait and by that point I was starving. Hmmm. He could tell I was debating and said I could order a coffee while I waited. What the heck, might as well. I put my name in and was seriously shoulder to shoulder with the other people waiting for a table the size of a school desk. Another perk of traveling solo: the host said I could cut the line and take a seat at the window bar since it was just me.
I sat down. Got my coffee. Already knew what I wanted to order. Waitress asked if I wanted bacon. I said "yes." Seriously, that plate of food was SO good. It was worth the long walk in the cold and the almost 40 minute wait that turned into a 1 minute wait. I was content. I was charging my phone in my bag and I left it in there. I had a feeling like I would meet someone to talk to. And what do you know my hunch was right.
About halfway through my toast, almost everyone else at the little window bar leaves. The host seats a guy one stool over from me. I don't really look at him but I somehow know he's really cute?? The waitress comes to take his order. He orders the avocado toast. I side eye him. Yep. He's definitely cute. She asks him "Would you like to get it with bacon?" He says, "No." What. C'mon. The bacon here is sooo good. Even if he wasn't cute I would have told him the same but he was so imma holler.
Without even glancing up as I continued cutting into my food I tell him, "Should've got the bacon."
I feel him look at me. So I look up and repeat "Should've got the bacon."
"I had bacon yesterday. I figured I should cut back."
"So, I had bacon yesterday, too. What's your point?"
Smirks are exchanged.
About 30 seconds go by and I debate whether or not I want to keep this conversation going or if I should accept that it was a cute moment but finish my toast and peace out.
"So, uh, do you live around here?"
No response. Doesn't move.
*thinks maybe he didn't hear me? insert Eminem lyric montage...
"SO UH DO YOU LIVE AROUND HERE?"
*guy behind him perks up like "I live around here" LOL....nah dude, not you.
Apparently he just didn't hear me. So good thing I didn't throw in the towel. He leans a little closer to answer my question and somehow a few questions back and forth go by and then he slides over onto the stool next to me. He asks who I'm here with and I tell him I came alone. Which led to how come I travel alone. Which led back to living abroad alone and barbering in London. Turns out he is a hairstylist and owns his own salon. An hour goes by and turns out we have a lot in common. What's the catch? He shows me the only beach in Williamsburg and I ask him some of my famous "would you rathers." We laugh about memes and watch dogs in the park and talk about what our favorite shows are. Every time I think he's going to tell me he has to get going he takes me somewhere new. We end up spending the whole day together and just very weirdly click too well. We even ran into one of his best friends and he introduces me to her. Is this how this works? I never get ones this good.
He told me that he had planned to go upstate that morning to get out of the city. When he had gone to get his car out of his garage some stranger had parked in the driveway blocking him in. I guess you can't just call a tow company in New York. There are steps. So he would have to go track down the owner to have a few words with him. But the guy had an aluminum bat in the backseat and apparently that is sign enough to abort mission. So with no plans he decided he was going to get some avocado toast. And then our mornings collided and we met.
I know what you're thinking and you're not totally wrong but it didn't go how I thought it would. He decided he did want to let me come home with him because he truly enjoyed my company. I figured it was a line. But he ended up really meaning it. I was used to guys saying what they needed to to get what they wanted. Feeling that maybe this guy meant it this time, realizing they didn't and feeling used. I would be lying if I said it didn't affect my feelings of self-worth.
This guy though. He actually meant it. He told me I was funny, interesting, articulate, intelligent, and beautiful. That he would date me in a heartbeat if I lived in NY. He told me I needed to stop selling myself short. That we had had such a perfect day that that was how he wanted to remember it. He told me he didn't want me to use him and he didn't want me to feel used either. Because he could already feel himself getting attached. Holy crap dude. Where you been all my life?
Cue the waterworks. I cried in his bed. I felt a weird combination of slight rejection but at the same time I felt so...relieved? It was truly one life's "ah-ha" moments: That I didn't wake up that morning with the plan to meet someone. I just wanted some freaking toast. I saw someone I thought looked interesting and rolled the dice and talked to them. And that there are kind and genuine people out there that don't always just want something from you. Even though in this case that is what I wanted, there are other ways to feel connected to people and that for a while I just only met people that didn't want to actually connect. That we can have experiences in our life that are amazing, they may not last forever, but they will impact us forever. This was a real, cool, humanizing moment.
So there I was. In one of the most amazing cities in the world. In the bed of a stranger. But one of the nicest, kindest, comforting strangers. And I felt relief and peace. We just talked and told each other about things we were going through. More intimate to let someone into your most guarded thoughts than to take your clothes off. I felt like I had known him for years. It was getting late. I looked out the window and what do you know. It started to snow. He insisted I stay the night and that I could leave whenever I wanted in the morning. I only knew him for a few hours but I felt strangely very safe. It was nice.
When I travel, I feel like I am my truest, realest self. Each day you can do and be whatever you want and start over. C'est la freaking vie, y'all. In a way it's very empowering and this principle learned is something I now try to adopt into life back home when I'm not on a trip.
How does this tie back to the bacon? (Besides life being too short to be on a diet) Trust in the timing of your life. If all those little things didn't happen, we both wouldn't have ended up there at the moment we did. And on a larger scale: your life will unfold in the time that it is supposed to. I truly believe that. Life favors the bold. You just never know what the answer/outcome may be so just take the risk. It will get easier to do each time you do something that challenges you. Even if you have to fake it till you make it, things will happen for you when you don't wait for them to happen. And if they don't work out, it was an experience. Go through life without always expecting things to turn out a very specific way, because sometimes it won't happen at all but sometimes it will happen better. You've got more to offer than you probably give yourself credit for so stop putting yourself down and settling for people that don't see that. And indulge in your life. Little things here and there that make your life enjoyable in the moment add up to a nice life. So just get the bacon!