Cleopatra’s Needle

Jetlagged and feeling like I’ve been hit by a ton of bricks by the abrupt beginning of the new semester, I decided to go for a walk down Broadway to get fresh air and check out Cleopatra’s Needle last night.

With Happy New Year streamers and colorful helium balloons reminiscent of an eight-year-old’s birthday party still hung, the place felt unpretentious and comfortable.  The huge clock on the wall likely makes it a good spot to count down to the New Year.  And if you find the live music uninteresting, you can watch silent television at the bar.

The jam session hosted by pianist Roger Lent was similarly unpretentious yet colorful.  A guy broke out in funny little dances to the side of the stage and an old lady got up to sing with her cassette tape recorder in hand, chatting up the audience.  What guts she has.  I hope that I can be as willing to try something new and potentially embarrassing when I’m at that age.  Or now.

Cleopatra's Needle women'sCleopatra's Needle women's sink

The two bathrooms are located to the left of the stage, immediately past the bar.  The women’s bathroom was stocked with toilet paper in a child’s high chair.  It had a small sink, a small wastebasket, a bigger wastebasket and a toilet that is prone to splashing up water higher from the bowl than you would predict.  It may be a smart safety measure to step back when you flush.

Cleopatra's Needle women's toiletOn this assignment to Cleopatra’s Needle, I realized that the men’s room correspondent is not only needed to document the men’s room, but also to act as a buffer between me and unwelcome suitors.  The man hitting on me clearly did not understand that I don’t care who his uncle’s father is or what venues he books acts for.  If he was romping around Manhattan in the ’80s and he sees me sitting there with my cup of tea, talking about being in school, doesn’t he realize that I may not even have been born in the ’80s?  He left me his phone number, guaranteeing his placement on the Do Not Call list.

Soils from South Africa who played in the session kindly said that he could tell I’m from the West Coast because I have a warmth about me; however, this Cali sunshine doesn’t extend so far to shameless men looking to pick up girls.  Soils tells us how to say, “Where’s the restroom” in Zulu –

Iphi itoileti?