Kevin and Jill will be arriving in Venice Thursday night and I’m super excited. They’re actually staying at our apartment until Sunday, but we really only have Thursday with them because Mike flies home Friday and I have work Friday and then am making the trip down to Palm Springs for the weekend. It’s better they have the place to themselves for two days because it’ll be really tight in our little studio.
Kevin and Jill are our Hoboken friends. That’s not completely true: Kevin was our West Deptford friend first. I’ve known him since middle school when we both went to the same swim club in the summer. At some point I had a crush on him and his brother, Tim (not at the same time). We stayed friends through high school and our families have always been friends.
He was living in Hoboken with two girls I didn’t know, when I was in New York and Mike was still living at home. When the five of us decided to live together I was a little nervous, but mostly pumped. Jess and Courtney were also from South Jersey – they went to Atlantic City High School. The five of us were such a great dynamic – I really loved living with all of them.
Our first night in our new place, we walked down the street to a local bar – Liberty Bar – for a celebratory beer. Here we met two bartenders – Ryan and Heather. Ryan was hilarious and highly entertaining – an actor, of course. Heather was a little rough, but down-to-earth and real. I asked if they were hiring. Ryan said to stop by in the afternoon with my resume; Heather said, “Well I don’t think we need to hire anyone, but who knows.”
I went to a few other bars and restaurants in the area, but when I walked into Liberty I was hired on the spot. Dawn was the owner. I will hate that name forever. She was the craziest, meanest, most heartless person I’ve ever known. BUT I met all my friends at that place – or because of that place. Heather and I became great friends, along with other employees Sara and Ally. Through Ryan we met his best friend Crocket, and through Ally we met her roommate Jill (now Kevin’s girlfriend – I like to take credit for their meeting). After my experience in New York with no friends, I really wasn’t expecting to make such good friendships in Hoboken, but it was hard not to with this fun bunch.
We had a lot of good times – mostly lounging around our apartment. Everyone always came to us for some reason; probably because there were more of us living together and we were all too lazy to leave. Going out usually meant going to a bar where one of us worked. All of us eventually quit or were fired from Liberty, so we went our separate ways and all worked at different bars in Hoboken. There was Ryan at the Dubliner (one of only two bars with rooftop seating), Sara at Hoboken Bar & Grill, and Heather at Maxwell’s (where all the bands play) and then Clinton Social. Mostly, I went to Clinton Social. It wasn’t far from my apartment and I could ride my bike there after work and hang out with Heather.
She was the wild one. My bad influence but good influence if you know what I mean. A low-key movie night would turn into getting hammered off cheap wine. One drink after work became four drinks, three shots, and a terrible hangover the next day. On one occasion, it was a beautiful day and we both had off, so decided to go lay out in Central Park, listening to music and playing cards.
Heather and I don’t do activities without booze. Obviously. That would be boring. So we stop at a liquor store for some vodka, then a deli for a couple sandwiches, mixers, cups and straws. We’re having a great time and I’m being careful to keep the vodka hidden in its paper bag, but by the third drink we’ve gotten a little careless and Heather takes the bottle right out of the bag to pour another round. Mistake. Two cops are staring us down about 20 feet away, then call us over.
Heather sort of whispers to me. “Those cops are calling us over. Don’t look. Just ignore them, maybe they’ll go away.” Right. They’re not budging. We go over and these two guys are looking at us like we’re idiots. “You know you can’t drink here?” Really? No, we didn’t think it was a big deal. “ID’s please.” We hand them our Jersey ID’s and Heather plays up the tourist bit. “Yea, we’re just visiting our friend and she’s at work so she told us to just come to the park.” I chime in. Yea and we drink at the beach so we figured this was like the same thing. Again, the cop is looking at me like I’m an idiot. “This isn’t a beach.” Right. “You’re going to have to leave.” OK! See ya! We pack up our things and leave. We were leaving soon anyway. Perfect timing, Central Park cop nerds. (Actually, I was super thankful they didn’t like, arrest us or something.)
Anyway, my point is, it was nice to have friends in Hoboken. Like real friends. When we left, Mike and I were going home for two weeks, and I was so excited to go home I didn’t really think about how I was leaving my friends. Saying bye to everyone individually ended up being a lot harder than I thought. It was a good two years (except for the parking; that sucked).