Wine, Followed by Bagel

Because sometimes bad decisions lead to good outcomes

So maybe a bottle of wine and Netflix wasn’t the best idea. It wasn’t terrible out. I could have gotten together with some friends, but sometimes the comfort of pajamas, merlot, and nearly infinite movie or TV options in your apartment is all you need. Of course, this doesn’t change the fact that I probably should have gone out for groceries last night. But again, with a full bottle of wine available, it didn’t seem like I needed anything from the store.

Until the hangover, of course.

In hindsight, I could have grabbed some pancake mix or frozen waffles from the bodega on the way home. Something easy but filling. Something to make the pounding of my skull go away. I certainly can’t drink like I used to.

And that’s another thing. Why does it seem like this week is the week where I’m consistently reminded of how old I’m getting? I understand that I’m not some 21-year old anymore, but turning 30 really shouldn’t be this kind of slow march to the grave.

Compliments to my mom for starting off this lovely chain of events. Our talk over the phone about my being single and “the right time to have kids” wasn’t awkward at all, by the way. I know you were married and expecting by my age. I know you had it all figured out. As that kid you were expecting, I really appreciate it. But the next time I go out on a date thanks to OkCupid or eHarmony or whatever other bullshit is out there, my opening line is not going to be “I’m looking to settle with someone so my mom stops comparing me to herself” (though it would definitely be an amusing date after that, to say the least).

Just thinking about this is making my head hurt even more. I can deal with mom and my possible flirtation with becoming a nun later. For right now I need something to eat, and a bagel would be just the thing to turn me around.

Because the weather never reflects my state of mind, its “bright, clear, and sunny skies” across the city. As we all know, sunlight is the bane of three things: vampires, boogiemen, and people who just woke up with a massive hangover. In emergency situations like this, where a bagel is the difference between satisfaction and continued irritation, I turn to my most protective and charming sunglasses. While I don’t make enough to afford one of those fancy Michael Kors sunglasses that look like something out of the 70s, my knock-off shades do the trick, even if I do look more like a two legged bug instead of a stylish fashionista.

It’s springtime in the city and practically noon, so I’d expect the usual crowd of people walking along in the streets between my place and the bagel shop. With my ear buds in (not playing any music of course) and my huge sunglasses on, I’m ready to block out everything that comes between me and my beloved bagel.

As I start making my way down the main street, it sounds like someone is literally screaming through my headphones.

“So I tell him, No Way! You don’t know the guy who owns this place! And he just smiles and calls for a round of shots!”

Who the hell is this? The ear buds aren’t even plugged in to anything. And why do they insist on banging their noise against my hungover brain?

“I look at him and I start thinking, Oh my god, he might actually be able to get us on to the roof!”

This is ridiculous. I stop to look around me and see a gaggle of girls walking down the other side of the street, being lead by a human megaphone. She’s young, bubbly, and so unbelievably loud. She is exactly what I’d like to avoid this morning, if not for the foreseeable future. I keep walking down my side of the street, hoping I can just get to my bagel shop before the noise gets any more obnoxious. After power-walking a few blocks, I notice the herd has slowed its pace and fallen behind. If they do window-shopping, all the better.

It’s the typical situation for a Saturday at noon. The line weaves around the counter as everyone is looking to get their weekend started off right. While I don’t look around to the see all the faces on line, I know most of these people are probably here for the same reason I am: to shake off a hangover with the best bagels in town. It’s clear that a number of us are nursing hangovers because a lot of us are being unusually respectful. No exceptionally loud noises, a lot of people seem to have their heads bowed low, covered by either a hoodie, sunglasses, or both, and a general patience for their turn at the counter. For a second you’d think we were in line for communion, if it weren’t for the guys behind the counter calling out orders to the hungry masses. Of course, on occasion, there are mumbles of “Thank God” when people received their order.

While I have plenty of time to consider what I wanted, I knew from the moment I woke up what would make the day better. An everything bagel, toasted, with plenty of veggie cream cheese. While there are plenty of suggested sandwiches written on the chalkboard (including one called the “Hangover Helper”), I’m not one to put my stock behind mountains of meat, grease, and bacon. Being a vegetarian and all, I’ve never really understood the whole fascination with clogging your arteries after a night of killing your brain cells.

As the procession to the altar of breakfast goodness continues, a shrill voice breaks the peace of the bagel shop.

“Oh My God! I think this is the bagel place everyone was talking about! We have to try it!”

You’ve got to be kidding me. While I’m lucky to not have the street herd of 20-somethings directly behind me, their leader’s nonstop yapping is heard loud and clear all through the line. Even the guys behind the counter had to shout a bit louder to make sure they are being heard. After a good 3 minutes of listening to them debate over what bagel to try, I was pretty sure this would be where I’d die. Hungry, irritated, and hungover.

“Can you do us all a favor and please shut up?”

It’s like music to my ears. I look around to see who shut down the noisy girls. Apparently, others on the line are just as curious, since they’re looking up and turning their heads to see who they should thank. I had never loved before in my life, but I was damn close after hearing what the lady at the front of the line had to say next.

“Seriously, you’re just way too loud for everyone right now and it’d be great if you could just quiet down.”

I’m sure everyone on line had been thinking this in their hungover heads. The problem, of course, is that once you flip out at someone in a crowded place, you’re still stuck with that person in the crowded place. It’s the same reason why people who argue on a crowded subway car look so awkward after they’re done yelling. But here’s this lady, crowded place and all, who lays down the law with no regard for the discomfort. It was so immediate, and so perfect, that the leader of their group could only get out a “Yeah well…” before my new hero just turns her back and goes to order her bagel.

With that out of the way, the line seems to pick up. The few whimpers that come from the once boisterous crew are only resigned suggestions of which bagel to try. Finally at the counter, I order my toasted everything bagel with veggie cream cheese. Today, with my hangover and all, I get a double treat. Not only do I get to enjoy the warmth of a perfectly toasted everything bagel with veggie cream cheese, but I get to look back and see how the now-defeated group of girls reacts to the news of there being no more everything bagels left.

Even with a hangover and all the associated crap from the week, a bagel always knows how to make everything better.

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