Discover more from It'll Be Nice To Meet You Tomorrow
Volume One: Escaping the amber trap
tl;dr: Staggering Englishmen, The Name of this Neuesletter and Four Other Things
Let’s set the scene with a tongue twister.
I once went to a Western watering hole weekly to weakly write with well whiskey and irregular regulars in reach.
This act takes place at a saloon-themed bar, as opposed to a saloon, in Brooklyn. I like to write in places that I can eavesdrop, which everyone knows that saloons and saloon derivatives are good for. It was 2019, and I was painfully, exhilaratingly new to the bar and the borough that surrounds it.
A bartender, Trevor*, took a shine to my quiet side of the counter, and we quickly established a routine. I would sit, journal dangerously close to my drink’s condensation. If a regular he liked walked in, he’d introduce us. If someone notable but unknown walked in, we’d riff, faces dangerously close to condescension. Then, he’d slip me a shot of cheap whiskey when he didn’t want to drink alone. One of the regulars, a blonde bulldog named Toast, usually sat on the barstool to my right.
One night, in staggered Grant. He was in his 60s or 70s, English and riotously sloshed. He passed the test—Trevor introduced us. Grant, impeccably mannered despite his askew collar, shook my hand.
As a people pleaser above most else, my default is to parrot word choice, tone, body language, being. Whether party trick or pathology, I tend to tape rough drafts of myself onto the foreheads of people around me. With Grant, I didn’t even need to take the tape out of my pocket. We spoke about nothing, though we spoke for a while.
Then, “Goodbye—” he grasped my hand, as he grasped for my name.
“Nicole. It was nice to meet you.”
He nodded as if it were the first time. For him, it probably was. His feet swept him off the barstool.
“It’ll be nice to meet you tomorrow.”
As Grant’s brown loafers walked him toward the door, I thought that he really had it right.
Grant’s words have been stuck in my head for years.
Yes, it was a drunken, kind way of admitting I wouldn’t be remembered. But Grant’s sentence, the one I’ve both stolen and fallen in love with, also gives its recipient the rare allowance to change in the space between meeting and meeting again.
We’re so often seduced by the relationship stasis between now and next, when a person is reduced to a concept that we can control. We get so angry when we’re confronted by someone who has changed beyond what we had accounted for.
It’ll Be Nice To Meet You Tomorrow, this neuesletter, is a celebration of curated context among strangers and suspended disbelief among friends. An ode to the surprising, static moments we share. The hope of escaping the amber trap. (Here, let’s all take a moment to imagine the abject horror of being a fly trapped for eternity in a necklace sold on Etsy.)
Today was nice, but tomorrow might also be—even if we’re both entirely new by the time we get there.
The other day, I was talking to my dog on speakerphone, and then stepped back to ask, “What is this for?”
At best, this will be a collection of everything and everyone I’ve ever liked enough to want to know and know again and know again. I hope you’ll like them too. Mostly, we’ll be guided by memorable sentences, like when a comedian claimed, seriously, “I’m the heir to the Yo-Yo family fortune,” after a set that was… much less interesting than the subsequent toy mogul soap opera he explained to me.
(That’s called, “a teaser to future emails if you stay subscribed.”)
At worst, it’ll bore you because I’ve already texted or trilled the same words at you before.
Time for some onboarding, baby! Emails will be a little longer than this one, but circulation will be monthly at most. Asterisk’d names are fake. Barenaked names are the names of real people so anonymous that I don’t think you can find them. Then, after slogging through it all, you’ll find four things that you might like, might like to know or might like to revisit. So, here goes:
Something new to me: The fact that this Muppet exists.
Something borrowed: The first time Beach Boy Brian Wilson heard Be My Baby from The Ronettes, he pulled his car over to the side of the road in awe. Then, he listened to the song another 1,000 times to try to replicate its brilliance for his response track. BMB’s Wikipedia page even has an “Effect on Brian Wilson” section. So… Wouldn’t It Be Nice if you paid Ronnie Spector her due this week? (Note: Not the late, awful multi-hyphenate-that-includes-murderer music producer Phil Spector. We love Ronnie, and so does Brian.)
Something blues-adjacent: Jazz! Samara Joy is… talented and just released her 2021 album. Listen to her. Jive a little.
Thanks for bearing with a beginning. And, of course, it’ll be nice to see you tomorrow.
-- N. Graney I
P.S. Lucky penny for your thoughts? I’ve been thinking about clown theory lately. Email me what you’ve been musing about (or a recording of you saying the intro tongue twister—Say it out loud? Say it to me?), and I’ll give you a cent for your two cents.