How to Dismantle Your Band

I vaguely knew M. because she worked 2 floors down from me at Barnes & Noble in Managing Ed and was always cheerful no matter how many times we changed the page count or trim size of a book. Joe from Bayonne I knew because he was the drummer in my band and one of my best friends. I went to watch the B&N softball game on the East River sometime in late August of 2006, and afterward a few peeps went out for $3 strawberry margaritas at LIVE and M. was one of them. At one point during a conversation where it came up that M. was single I shouted diagonal across the table in my usual style that she'd be a good match for my friend Joe. Twice I've done this, and in both cases it led to marriage. (To be fair in the other case the two parties had already met and at least one was already attracted to the other.) It wasn't until October 20 I think that Joe and M. finally went out for dinner. The date sticks in my mind because it was the day I met my cousin Leah, the re-organizer, coiner of the term "fomo" and Life in Gratitudes author. Leah was over that night and we were all having dinner with Alex and Miriam. Of course Leah and I had known each other since childhood, but that was the day she crossed over to a friend and not just someone I saw at bat mitzvahs and funerals whose mom grew up with my dad, who looked like me, who lived sometimes on MacDougal Street and sometimes in London.

The reason it crossed over to friends mode was this: Joe from Bayonne swung by Miriam's after his first  date with M. from my office. Joe, Alex and I drove down to drop Leah at MacDougal but all four of us ended up getting a drink. Later that night Joe drove Leah to catch a 5 AM flight out of Newark only to arrive there and find out it was a 5 AM flight out of Laguardia. They turned around and swung back under two rivers and she made it on time. It did not seem, for a few weeks, that anything was going to come of that dinner with M. But by mid-November it turned out that Joe and M. were in fact "together" and as things got better with Joe and M. they got much worse with Joe and Alex and me. Joe's "I'll be there in five minutes" turned into an hour or two, or not coming at all. Not a Yoko Ono thing, just a shifting away from one priority to another. Joe had always been so torn, and I guess he didn't have to be torn anymore. And I guess too that his outrageously grand dreams for Dimestore Scenario began to appear to be what they always were, outrageously grand, so even though we finally put out our EP in January, we played our last show together at the Delancey in March.  When we said goodbye at the Williamsburg Bridge Joe's suit was hanging down from the window in his car; he was headed upstate for a wedding the following day, friends of his new girlfriend. It was clear which way he was going. I had thought that things could maybe gradually come to a close with lots of red wine stained evenings and sad renditions of "Ozone Fantasy" and teary walks in the park together with Sky but as it happened I did not see Joe, Joe from Bayonne who at that time I saw just about every waking hour, again until I was 8 months pregnant the following winter. He had been one of the only everyday friends I had in New York. The ones that you hang out with until 3 in the morning and then still email first thing  as soon as you get to work. The ones who accompany you to do laundry, who know what your nieces are wearing for Halloween, who come to family dinners, who are equally close to your boyfriend as to you.

In the middle of October 2007, just one year almost exactly from that night when there was no question at all that of course Joe would come by and pick us up after he had dinner with M., I was walking with my dad up the hill of an apple orchard near where I grew up. Actually I think it was the day of the picture of me near Bursaw's with the leaves all in full color that I stuck in at the end of the Move to Texas post. I wasn't pregnant from the back yet but from the front I clearly was. So I was huffing and puffing up that apple orchard hill and my dad and I were both sad about the dissolution of the band and the friendship with Joe from Bayonne. "It was his dream," I kept saying. "His, I mean mine too, but he was the one that pushed, that believed in it so much, that seemed to think that the sun rose and set with Dimestore."

There were apples scattered over the ground and they crushed easily under our feet. The light was hitting straight through up there, but it was a weak October sun and on its way down. "Where is that other Joe?" I asked. "The band was so who he was. It was such a dream of his--why couldn't he do both?" My dad didn't answer for a while. I walked a little bit ahead of him further up the hill. "It was a great dream to have," I heard him say a few minutes later from somewhere behind me, in front of me, really, since I'd have to turn around soon. Playing in a rock band was a dream of mine too, for as long as I could remember. I was four months away from having a baby. I agreed with my dad, it was a great dream to have, to have had. But I wasn't ready to stop walking long enough to answer, to take in the changing view, to turn around and begin the descent.


  1. Love it. Could be great as a much longer piece! Write it and then come to my old people writing class and read it :)

    (Yes, I just used an emoticon)

  2. Wait. so are joe and M still together? sorry for the practical question and I appreciate that there are more important things being said here

  3. No, no, no you're right -- there are a few crucial details I left out and that's one of them. Yes - as far as I know they got married this summer. Evie -- would love to do that! There is quite a bit more to say.

  4. "Pregnant from the back"--brilliant.

    Anyway this whole thing is wonderful, I am going to read it again and again.


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