Fanelli Cafe

When: Tuesday, 1:21pm

I had to be in Soho on the morning of my 45th birthday, then I ended up playing hooky the rest of the day, ultimately eating steak tartare at Balthazaar and a slice of ice cream cake at Parm, which a stranger paid for. But first  I decided to stop into Fanelli, a neighborhood respite. The main vibe at that moment was European tourists drinking coffee and soda (and not tipping like cliches). I was ready for beer.

A gentleman from Latvia who traveled to Fanelli from Bay Ridge monthly, sat next to me and ordered vegetarian chili with sour cream and a glass of red wine. I determined he was 84 since he said he had been married to his second wife, 48 (and no kids) at the time of the wedding, for 28 years and he is eight years older than her.

The numbers mostly stood out because last year my boyfriend asked, “What’s wrong with being a 48-year-old bride?” Um, everything. I hate the idea irrationally. And now I’m one year closer to 48. 

Otis, my new Latvian friend, bought me a birthday beer. He had a second glass of wine, and then was replaced by a loud advertising industry asshole who made me move down a seat and proceeded to hold court with rapt coworkers, yapping until the quiet man reading a book on my other side said, “You had to deal with that old guy. Now this guy.” I would take one hundred old guys over this 30something monster. 

Age appropriate? Yes. One of those European tourists was a woman in her 60s with blonde dreads. I want to say she was Dutch but I have no idea. That screams Dutch, right? 

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