June 4, 2008 Court Appearance: Prepared Statement: Rough Draft
June 4, 2008 Court Appearance: Prepared Statement
9:30 AM, 2nd Floor, 100 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013
- I pledge to not contact Elizabeth.
- I pledge to not show up for DL21C events. DL21C is the political organization she runs. Along with DFNYC, Drinking Liberally, and MYD, it is among the top organizations of its kind in the city, many would say the very top. I know I would.
Based on these two pledges, Your Honor, I want the charges against me dropped off my records.
Before I share with the court my version of the story, I would like to share a few facts.
- I first met Brooke at Drinking Liberaylly at Rudy's near Times Square in December. I did not go to Rudy's for months after that. Then I started going again a few weeks back. I have seen her there. We once went out for coffee. I have a feeling if we see each other a few more times, we are going to end up hooking up. Or not. With these things, unless it has happened, it has not happened. She is an immigration attorney who happens to live on the Upper West Side. She is smart, beautiful, bicultural. She says among Hispanics she feels white, among whites she feels Hispanic. I relate to that. (Looking At White Women: The Search For Vocabulary) I am half Nepali, half Indian, and I want to share that the ethnic politics in a country like Nepal are way more complicated than the racial politics in America. 99% of Nepalis in America are not my ethnicity. 99% of Indians in America are not my ethnicity. I am so glad to know Brooke. She is the only person I have met through Drinking Liberally to whom I have said explicitly, I'd really really like to be good friends with you.
- I have a young tech company. I am the founder, the top guy. The number two on my team is my good friend Adam Carson who I first met online because we were both on the same mailing list. Adam was a Vice President at Morgan Stanley before he quit to join my team. Elizabeth is a Vice President at Morgan Stanley. (IC, Silicon City, A Web 3.0 Manifesto)
- I am a politically accomplished person. I am on my way to winning the Nobel Peace Prize for the work I did for the democracy movement in Nepal, the country where I grew up. Barack Obama, the next President of the United States, knows me. He has taken advice from me a few times. Howard Dean knows me. I have invented a formula for spreading democracy that beats that of George W Bush, and I have not had his money or power: Iraq has 27 million people, Nepal has 27 million people. (Nobel Peace Prize 2008: Making A Case For Nepal (2), Nobel Peace Prize 2008: Making A Case For Nepal)
- The idea of the first black president has been extremely appealing to me. The idea of the first woman president has been extremely appealing to Elizabeth. The Hillary party in town on February 5 was at the Tonic near Times Square. The Barack party was at the Tonic in Little India. (Tonic: What A Party)
Meeting Elizabeth for the first time was nothing sort of magic. If it were not for the magic of day one, I think I would have walked away from her in my mind a long time ago. (Yellow Roses)
It is not often that someone like me gets to meet someone like Elizabeth and someone like Elizabeth gets to meet someone like me. She is about a year older than me. She went to Harvard to Morgan Stanley. I went to the best school in Nepal, and I was on schedule to go to Harvard. The number two guy in class did, to Harvard to Goldman. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard, I never went. She grew up in Indiana. I have spent almost a decade in Kentucky, Indiana. New York City is her adopted hometown: this is the first hometown I ever had. We both love this city. At a student election at Harvard, she beat a guy who is today an up and rising politician in Kentucky. Within six months of landing I became student body president at Berea College, the number one liberal arts college in the South. She is very political and personally knows many top names in American politics and media. All the top politicians in Nepal know me or of me, as well some in America, like Barack Obama and Howard Dean. Terry McAuliffe knows me and I have a feeling the Clintons might be aware of my presence. I moved to NYC three years back not to some day run for public office, but to start my company. She did not go to Law School, she has a MBA from Harvard. Her natural self is giggley, bubbley. I can get hyper social. Indiana is not exactly the most enlightened part of America, racially. The KKK used to be big there. India and Nepal are super sexist countries. She is more open minded on race and diversity than any white New Yorker I have come across, people who were born in the city, grew up here. Most guys avoid having to talk gender. I seek out opportunities to talk gender. She has a track record of working with black politicians. I have long felt that major strides on race will only be made if progress is made on gender at the same time. She is rich, probably the richest among the young progressives in the city. Every Manhattan event I go to, I look around the room and find myself saying, I will make more money than everyone in this room, put together. She could be president. I am going to win the Nobel. I am going to list my company on Nasdaq. Internet access is the voting right for this century. I am in the voting rights business.
It was an event with now Senator Clair McCaskill. Brooke Ellison was also there. Brooke is a Harvard grad, a Long Island politician, she is in a wheelchair. I remember seeing Dave Pollak at the event, and my good friend Leila Noor. It was towards the end. Many people had already left. I happened to be standing next to my good friend Justin Krebs. She approached me. I am surprised I had not seen her before. Why did she approach me? I don't know. I think she saw me strike a conversation with Brooke Ellison, and got impressed. This guy is open minded on gender, she thought. Moths and months later when she was trying to court me, she choreographed a Paterson event: a guy in a wheelchair was in attendance. I was looking at him mesmerized, ignoring now Governor Paterson. I felt this pleasant stare on me. I turned to my right. There she was, looking at me. We looked at each other for about 10 seconds, then I got self-conscious. I thought she was amused I was more interested in the wheelchair guy than in Paterson. So I proceeded to look at Paterson with equal interest, or at least acting like it. She walked over, stood next to me, and waved at the wheelchair guy who she personally knew. I feel that was her attempt to recreate day one, and the starting points for both of us. A young black woman - African? Caribbean? I don't know - who works in some part of the city bureaucracy was there. I felt the Third World bond and we talked. I don't know if she showed up on her own, or Elizabeth choreographed her to be there, but by the time the evening was over, I found myself with her, and we both watched Elizabeth walk away. It felt like she was getting even with me for leaving her with Justin on day one and walking away to the train station.
Day one was magic to me, day one was magic to her. When she tried to connect with me at the December Baby party, there was a white guy standing next to us, just like on day one. The last time I saw her, she said, "I have not liked you before." Next to us standing was a white guy who she had arranged to be at the door. At a subconscious level, both instances felt to me like she were trying to recreate day one.
"Where did you go to school?" she asked. I don't know if she thought I went to Harvard or what. I don't have any reason to believe she had seen me before or had heard of me before.
"I went to a school in Kentucky," I said.
"What's it called?" she asked. That was unusual. Most people did not care for the name of the school even after I had uttered it. She, on the other hand, was honing in.
"It's called Be-re-a Co-lle-ge," I said, very slowly, uttering every syllable. I did not want to have to repeat the name in case she did not get it the first time.
"I have heard of Berea," she said. I was flummoxed.
"You have heard of Berea?"
"Yes, I am from Indiana."
There was a pause. I just looked at her. There was this quality to her that was making me alive. I was feeling more and more comfortable. I have said she gave me the pre-1989 feeling. Then she mentioned something financial aid. I did not miss a beat.
"Berea has the best financial aid program of any school in America, second to none," I said with bravado. "Listen Harvard," I said and gave a side swipe to Justin who was standing next to me, watching it all. All I learned on day one and for weeks, months after that was she was from Indiana, and she had a politician friend in Kentucky who she beat in a student election.
She looked a little amused, but I did not guess why. She mentioned some elected official in Kentucky who I had never heard of, which is curious because the wife to his chief of staff I knew extremely well: Marissa. I must have been out of touch. That politician was a Harvard person, and he happens to be Jewish. (Kentucky Dude, November 29) I learned those two facts, and the fact about Marissa only after he showed up in town a few months later. Question: was I at least part of the reason why you got him to come to town?
"I beat him," she said. This really got my attention. I literally moved my face closer to her. She knew she had hit something in me.
"You should run," she said. At that point I took a step back. Running for local office in the city was nowhere in my mind. I had moved to the city to launch a company. But at the time I was doing urgent work for Nepal. But she thought I felt I was not up for the challenge. "You can learn," she added. I should have mentioned my company idea and Nepal, but I did not. Otherwise it is people like me who end up Mayor.
This entire time we had been ignoring Justin. He interjected. He said "Jewish." He will have to explain what he meant. But he made her feel uncomfortable. Her face changed. When in her element, she can look really, really beautiful. And then there are times when she can look stressed. I am the same way. In my element I can look good. On the other hand, I am still searching for a hairstyle for me. What did Justin mean? Did he mean to say you seem to like this guy, but you don't like me, is it because I am Jewish? Or did he mean to suggest you beat that guy at a student election at Harvard because he is Jewish? Or what? I turned my attention to him.
"You are Jewish?" I asked.
"Yes, on my father's side," he said. I met his mother a few weeks back and she said to me she is Jewish. So what did he mean on day one? Maybe he meant to be hitting on her. He acted the Why Not Me Guy. (Looking At White Women: The Search For Vocabulary) Nothing wrong with Justin Krebs thinking Elizabeth Caputo is hot. I know a few guys who feel the same way about Angelina Jolie.
"What happened? Your father converted?" Why did I say that? I don't know. But now he was as flustered as he had turned Elizabeth. At some level it was an innocent question. At another level it might have been, if you really like a woman, and you feel like your faith is getting in the way, why not go ahead and convert?
Otherwise Dave Pollak is about a decade older than her, Dan Berger about a decade younger, both Jewish, she does political work with both of them.
She walked away a few steps, then came back and gave me her card. I got her name. It said she was a Vice President at Morgan Stanley. I was not awfully impressed. Bankers and lawyers are like ants and bees in this town. But I really liked it that now I had her email address. I think she really liked me and she was trying to impress me with her riches. I have had women say things like "I am a lawyer" or "I live on Park Slope" or "My father owns factories in southeast Asia" to try and impress me.
I don't want to be hard on Justin. He is not the reason hot turned cold on day one. Hot turned cold on day one because my KY/IN trigger went off. I am like, she is being so very nice, but she is from Indiana, I am going to be polite, but I am going to keep my distance, there is no way I am going back to Indiana. I experienced some institutional abuses of power in Kentucky. Indiana reminded me of a relationship that did not exactly work out.
We proceeded to walk out of the bar. Elizabeth and some woman were a few steps ahead. Justin and I were behind. He mentioned "Brooklyn." Then he said she was walking me over to the train station. He had a running commentary. After about three blocks, I needed to take a right to go to the train station, so I stopped. Everybody stopped. Elizabeth stopped and turned around. I just looked at her. There was something to her. I did not know exactly what. At the event earlier, I had touched McCaskill on her shoulder with my right hand and said. "Here, I just touched a Senator." That remark was prophetic. But I was feeling something in Elizabeth's presence that I did not feel even in McCaskill's presence. And I was trying to figure out what. Months and months later, I had a similar feeling in the presence of the Washington Governor. It felt to me like there was more to Elizabeth than to the visiting Governor.
She stopped, turned around, saw me look at her, said "We just met," hurried over to me, and gave me an embrace.
"You just met me!" said Justin. Why did he say that? You will have to ask him. You could say he was hitting on her again. Or you could say he was rooting for me. Stop making excuses, take this guy with you right now.
She came back into her element. Her stress was gone, and she started looking really, really beautiful again.
The embrace over I walked over to the train station. Did I drop the ball? Weeks and months passed.
Justin beat himself up a few times after that. Once at Rudy's he said to someone I was from Queens. Then looked at me and asked, "Why did I say that?" As in, if I had not said "Brooklyn" on day one, would something have happened? My bad, oops.
What happened was the KY/IN trigger came into play. But I kept showing up for DL21C events.
After Dave Pollak became state party chair, she took over the organization. But that was months later.
After I went home, I shot her an email. Hey, it was nice to see you. I emailed her the web address to my blog : http://democracyforum.blogspot.com. Looks like she started reading it and circulating it. I did not realize.
- 9/25/06 Take Back the US Senate Claire McCaskill & Brooke Ellison
- 11/8/06 Election Returns Watch Party Rep. Anthony Weiner
- 11/29/06 Political Author Series KY Treasurer Jonathan Miller
- 3/14/07 Eye on 08 Series General Wesley Clark
- 4/10/07 Political Author Series Congressman Charles rangel
- 5/9/07 Political Author Series Terry McAuliffe
- 5/22/07 Political Author Series Dominic Carter
- 6/12/07 Policy Forum - Congestion Pricing in NYC Kathryn Wylde, Councilman John Liu, Former Councilman Walter McCaffrey, Deputy Commissioner Bruce Schaller
- 6/19/07 Political Author Series Marcus Mabry
- 7/31/07 DL21C Summer Bash Dave Pollak and Terry McAuliffe
- 9/17/07 Future of the US Armed Forces Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)
- 9/23/07 New York State and Stem Cell Research Lt. Governor David Paterson
- 9/26/07 New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Debate Watch Party
- 10/1/07 Future of NYC Public Schools Deputy Chancellor Marcia Lyles
- 10/23/07 Women, Politics and Governing Gov. Christine Gregoire (D-WA)
- 10/28/07 Post-Katrina Politics in Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
- 12/6/07 DL21C Holiday Party
- 1/3/08 Iowa Caucus Night Returns Party
- 1/21/08 South Carolina Debate Watch Party
- 2/21/08 Texas Debate Watch Party
- 3/5/08 Super Tuesday II: Lone Star and Buckeye State Edition
I was not really impressed by her business card that she gave me on day one trying to impress me - "I am rich" - that said she was a Vice President at Morgan Stanley. This town is chockful of bankers and lawyers, they swarm like ants and bees at the Manhattan events. And I was not impressed with her DL21C events either. Granted you get famous people to show up, but how hard can this be? You call up some bar and you are done.
More importantly I was in a dilemma. On day one she had come across as someone who can be childishly cheerful, my type of people. And she had been so very nice. And the chemistry and the communication had been amazing. Granted I had spent almost a decade in Kentucky and Indiana which is more than half the time she herself might have spent there, but Kentucky and Indiana did not mean to me what they meant to her. And I did not want to spoil the homeboy thing for her. At the same time, I needed a healthy distance. I had talked of myself as a refugee into New York City from Kentucky, Indiana. I was not kidding. The Kentucky and Indiana landscapes are like fingers to my identity and I will not have it any other way, but I had to go through some major institutional abuses of power in Kentucky, and Indiana reminded me of a relationship that did not exactly work out. So my dilemma was, how do you react to this incredibly nice Indiana person in New York City? In the political circles in this city, we two are the only two Indiana people that I know of.
When I saw her at the 2006 victory party (On November 7: In Harlem: For Obama), she had put her bag near me without me noticing. She came, picked up the bag, and walked away. I said, hey. She did not respond. She was mad at me for taking offense when Liz at MYD had picked up her bag. I had blogged the anger. Now I realize I was not fair to Liz, but at the time it felt to me like Elizabeth just confirmed my worst suspicions about her Indiana background. This homeboy thing was not going to work out too well, I thought. This was before I had written my online autobiography.
She got her Kentucky politician friend to show up for a DL21C event. Was I part of the reason? I don't know. I was super excited to see the guy. Mike Lupinacci, Dave Pollak, and Elizabeth Caputo watched in amusement from behind me. I was surprised myself. I guess Kentucky and Indiana landscapes are like fingers to my identity. A decade is a long time to be some place.
Early in March 2007 the day after an event, I shot her an email, the first after the day one email. Good event yesterday, I said. We are all your fans, she said. I fell off my chair. Here was someone who ran what I had determined on my own was the top political organization in the city, and she was saying she was a fan of mine? Well, I am emailing you because you were looking great yesterday, I said. There was a pause. Then she said, please don't send personal emails to my work address. I asked her if she had another email address. She sent me her AOL email address.
I googled her up for the first time. A snippet from a Harvard event showed up. She was a Harvard '94. She had played a key role in the campaign of the last black guy to have run for Governor. And she had run Wes Clark's entire northeast operation in 2004. I think this is the first time I learned she was a Harvard graduate. But of the three pieces of information what really grabbed me was the black guy part. My KY/IN trigger from day one vanished. I felt this strong urge to pick up on the conversation we started on day one. I also really wanted to know about her two campaign experiences in great detail. Now I was really, really impressed with her politics.
I copied and pasted that small paragraph into the body of an email and shot it to her. I think you owe me a conversation, you are out there in the deep waters, I said. What is your number, she said. I emailed her my number. What is yours, I asked. She did not email back. I thought she might email me her number and say, call around 9 PM, and I would call her up, and ask her a ton about her two campaign experiences.
But she did not email me her number, and I took a step back. I decided granted day one was something, but she is not into me. I need to step back. Many times later when she acted in person like maybe she likes me, I would remember this moment, and refuse to take the hint. It is not possible you like me, you did not email me your number.
She can be cynical. She tried to explain away day one through the Kentucky Dude event. Or did she? Then she thought you got excited by the Wes Clark name, not me. She choreographed a Wes event. Actually Wes is not who got me excited. Wes Clark is like Charlie Rangel to me, he is an important political figure who never got me excited.
No Number, Yes Talk
But I think she took a second look. She is like, I like this guy, but I am not starting over email. If he wants my number, he will have to ask in person. I don't know. I don't know why, but somewhere along the way she started thinking of me as a Republican.
She organized a Republican debate watch party for which I was the only person who signed up, showed up, looks like, and she showed up as the organizer. I did not realize as it happened, but when I look back, I realize that was her saying, okay, talk to me now. I am here, there is no event, there is nobody else, we are on the sidewalk. I show up and she says the event has been canceled.
"Why?" I protested.
"Because we decided," she said.
By now we are on the sidewalk, ready to walk in two different directions.
She looks at me with some mischief and says, "I don't give out my number." When she talks, you don't always know if she is speaking to you, or she is reading your mind. Like, when she said, what is your number, she was not asking for my number - she never called - she was saying, I think you want my number. "I don't give out my number" could have been her way of saying you are acting distant to me because I did not give you my number.
"That's okay," I said. After she had not emailed me her number, I had written her off as someone to take any kind of personal interest in. So when I said okay, I was visiting an old decision. I am glad to come to your events, but I totally get it that there is nothing going on between us. That was my attitude. I was not really struggling with it. It was a simple acceptance of reality. Besides, I liked her as a person, and I liked showing up for DL21C events.
There was this Charlie Rangel event. I ended up writing a piece on Delilah after that event: DL21C Events: High Class Acts. At the Rangel event, Elizabeth tried to get her picture taken with that young Pakistani girl. That was her way of saying she wants to become a major elected official some day. The next time I saw her, she signed me in, and we had our second major conversation after day one. I think she got impressed by my Muscular Gender Agenda talk. Here was the more concrete aspect of the guy who talked to Brooke Ellison on day one. She had some very nice things to say about Obama, although she did so indirectly. She asked who that young Pakistani girl was. She wanted to make sure I absolutely understood she is gunning for major office some day. Then she asked me to become a member of DL21C and come sit on the steering committee. I should have said yes to both. I messed up. I said no. That no to her was what her refusing to email me her number was to me.
She gave me that pre-1989 feeling all over again.
There was this amazing Terry McAuliffe event. She shared the stage with McAuliffe. She took obvious pride in doing that.
The more I got to know her, the more I liked her. But in my mind she had drawn the line in the sand, and I was perfectly comfortable respecting the line. I was happy enough just to show up for her events: no ulterior motives. Really.
Then this black TV personality guy happened: Carter. Before this dude even began, he made a snide remark about Elizabeth's age. He said Elizabeth is making great strides in the city's politics "and she is only 21." She handled the situation with maturity, but I got offended. Carter had just misused his position as the key attraction at the event to make a snide, sexist remark. I took the microphone during Q and A and asked him a question: "Who is the most interesting politician you ever met?" He did not see the trap. "Now, that is what I call a question," he said. He talked about Mandela at length, then he sheepishly said "Bill Clinton." Obviously he did not have problems with white people, because Bill Clinton, we all know, is white. I gave him a wide-eyed look: I thought we did not like white people, what happened? Later he asked me privately if I had experienced racism. I said, yes, I had. He felt betrayed that I did not take his side when he made his sexist comment on Elizabeth.
At the Rangel event she had come to stand behind me for a few seconds. At the Carter event, she came to stand in front of me for a few seconds, like I had snuck up behind her. (Terry McAuliffe: E=mc^2)
At the subsequent NYU event, she made a move, or two, or three. I think what happened was she waited outside, and as soon as she saw me, she started running, as in, I don't want to end up meeting this guy out in the street. My first reaction was, did you say you are from Indiana? But once inside, I was amused. I looked at her and gave her a little amused laugh. "You don't have to sign in!" she said. I think that was her way of saying, why don't you join my organization! I went inside and sat. I did not realize, she had sat one row in front of me, a few chairs to the left. She looked behind, our eyes met, she got up and walked to the back of the room, like I was staring at her. That was two strikes in a row. That was two strikes. By now I was getting a little uncomfortable. She is making it look like I am hitting on her when she does not want to be hit on. Where does this come from? After the event ended, I was out front, she planted herself in the front where I could see her. I am like, before there is strike three, let me walk away.
Dan Berger was in the back. I walked over to him and started making small talk. I think this was our first real conversation although I had known of him as a Rangel staffer. My memory of that first conversation with Berger is what has prevented me from thinking the worst about him when things have gone awry in recent months.
Dan Berger is no closet Jew, that's for sure. He is raw in terms of his Jewish identity. He feels Israel's pain on a daily basis. This guy also has a sharp emotional intelligence. He sees things. In that he is almost like those dogs that can sniff bombs, or machines that detect radiation. Berger sees things.
"So if Hillary becomes president, does Rangel become Senator?" I teased him. His mood changed.
"That will be for the Governor to decide," he said.
I did not realize that in the mean time Elizabeth had walked over to where we were, and she was standing next to me, looking to the ground. But Berger saw that. It was so obvious to this sniff dog that Elizabeth was standing next to me because she liked me, but I was too confused about her running and vacating her seat.
"I am hot," Berger said. What he meant was, you, Paramendra, you dude, you think you are hot, don't you? Elizabeth came over to stand next to you.
I was not aware of Elizabeth's presence. I took him literally. I was wearing just a shirt, he was wearing a shirt and a jacket. I pointed that out and said, "No wonder you are hot."
Actually I was a little unnerved. You did not email me your number, and since I have not taken any interest in you. And now you acted twice today like I was taking unwanted interest in you. I was not a happy camper. Back home I shot her an email. I was also going to act like she was taking unwanted interest in me.
DL21C events are work to me. How would you like it if I were to show up at Morgan Stanley and start hitting on you, I said over email. Of course I did not mean that, I was only retaliating.
Bookstore, Condi Rice
Her response was to put together an event around a Condi Rice bio. After the event was over, she asked to talk to me privately. I touched her shoulder with my right hand the way I had touched McCaskill on day one.
"What was that email about?" she demanded to know. I had no idea what email she was referring to. I thought she would get the joke. She was offended.
"Don't touch me!" she said. I took my hand off immediately.
"You can come to the events," she said. There and then I decided I was never going to come to a DL21C event ever again. Soon after I met Barack for the first time in person. I touched him the exact same way I had touched Elizabeth. See? Barack is not offended, why are you offended? Who do you think you are? (I Touched Obama: Babel, Barack)
The KY/IN trigger vanished when I learned her history with black guy McCall. The mandatory coat check trigger vanished at the spy event: Confronting My Own Demons. But the don't-touch-me trigger never really vanished. After February 7, the don't-touch-me trigger has not been a trigger, it has been a concrete manifestation in the form of one angry woman.
But the summer bash is different. I was not going to go to DL21C events, but I decided to show up for the bash. A few different organizations put it together. Dave Pollak was going to be there.
An hour into the event I felt like Elizabeth was following me around: did not bother me. But she never said anything. Then I found myself standing, enjoying the music played by Pollak's band. Elizabeth walked over to Pollak, they nodded to each other, no words. Then she walked towards me. A DL21C guy the same height as her was in front of me. The two looked at each other for about two seconds. Then she faced the stage like I was facing the stage. She was in front of me. She reached for me with her left hand. When she realized she could not touch me, she took a step back. I am not saying she intended to, or maybe she did, but she ended up touching my private part. This was totally unexpected. I was confused and speechless. I did not know what to do, all those people in attendance. What if someone else saw? I took a step back. She sensed that. She walked away.
If I had started talking, I would not have known where to begin. The following day I realized my decision to no longer go to DL21C events had vanished. I looked her up on Facebook, and sent an email and a friend request. I think you were kind of stalking me yesterday, I think we should at least become Facebook friends, I said. She did not accept. She also refused to become a LinkedIn contact.
The don't-touch-me trigger was strong enough that it cost me the next half dozen overtures from Elizabeth. I dropped the ball like a really really bad basketball player about six times in a row.
Street Fair, Paterson, Senator Reed, Irish Rogue, Black Woman Educator, Washington Governor
I went to the street fair with the express intention of talking to her. But I kept walking around until she sensed it, and she left. The street fair was where she was going to tell me about her two campaign experiences.
She choreographed the Paterson event. There was no Brooke Ellison, but there was a guy in a wheelchair. There was no Carl McCall, but there was David Paterson. There was no Justin Krebs, but there was a young black woman who she would leave me with as she walked away home alone. She had managed to recreate day one and more.
It is like I almost expected her to undo the don't-touch-me moment. By now I had been working hard on my online autobiography. It was so obvious to me that my past was preventing me from having a relationship. I was a sick dog, I was going to eat grass and vomit and get well.
The Paterson event might have happened before the street fair. I don't know.
Senator Reed was the first US Senator to look at me and look at Elizabeth and decide the two of us belonged together. Senator Mary was the second.
At the Senator Reed event, I asked him a question he did not exactly like. "The president of Pakistan says Bin Laden is not inside Pakistan. The president of Afghanistan says Bin Laden is not inside Afghanistan. Where do you think he is?"
"Elizabeth is the leader of the organization," the Senator quipped. As in, your hard question implies you wish you were leading this organization that Elizabeth leads.
Maybe the street fair happened, then Reed happened, then Paterson. After the Paterson event, I sent her an email. It has been very confusing knowing you. You have been four different places on the map with me, I said. This is how I counted. One, on day one you gave me the pre-1989 feeling, you are open minded on race, and Carl McCall proved it beyond doubt. Two, you picked up your bag at the 2006 victory party, and that is no good. Three, you said don't touch me. Four, you touched my private part.
But something happened around here. Until now she was like you are cute, and you are open minded on gender, and you have a nice blog, and that's enough. It is okay you don't have any big, fancy career or anything, I like you for you. Instead of making me feel like she liked me for me, this attitude actually offended me. I have big dreams that I want to talk about, I am doing cutting edge work for Nepal that I want to be taken as a serious career move.
At some level she had accepted defeat as a woman. But my Silicon City talk fired up something. For the first time there was a woman guest at a DL21C event, and not just any woman, but a black woman. I dropped the ball again, and for the first time she "disappeared." That was her way of saying to me that physicalism, which is but another face to sexism, pinches her. She acted vulnerable for the first time. She realized I was no defeated person. I had huge dreams. I was excited about the future. And she felt okay to act vulnerable.
At the Washington Governor event, she stood behind me. She got Carolyn to talk to the Governor. Both of you like to ask questions, she said to Carolyn. She was offended I had talked to Carolyn at the Irish Rogue, but not to her. Finally she whisked away Jennifer and this other woman who I am going to call the Bombay Palace woman. That was three strikes on me on one day. I made only one strike on her on February 7.
I got offended by the both-of-you-like-to-ask-questions. I sent her an email. My rise in US politics has been faster than that of Obama himself, would you agree? And I sent her of instances when Barack had taken advice from me.
Starting with the Condi Rice event, there were more than a half dozen events that were Elizabeth's 5.0 version of really, really, really liking Paramendra Bhagat. My 2.0 version of really, really, really liking Elizabeth started after the spy event months and months after. (Web 5.0: Face Time)
At the Irish Rogue, Tracey Denton came to stand behind me, back to back, touching, and said, "I was locked out of my own house." That was her way of saying, there is an Indiana woman in this room that you really, really like, but you will not make the move because you carry some bad memories from Indiana, correct?
Very recently, like only a week or two back, Tracey made another gesture. Looks like Elizabeth and you are in a fight, and Dave Pollak is on her side, so I am going to be on your side. (Tracey Denton, Al Benninghoff) Tracey is the DFNYC dynamo. Al runs MYD, and he had a few unfriendly things to say about Dan Berger. He was going to be my Dan Berger counterbalance.
Louisiana Senator Event
This was an explosive situation. A near future President of the United States, Barack, and a far future President of the United States, Elizabeth, both responded, and on the same day. Barack scheduled a Harlem event, Elizabeth brought along a MTA person to DL21C. That was her way of saying, this guy Paramendra, he is going to be Mayor.
Did Dan Berger come to talk to me on his own? Or did you send him? If you sent him, what did you tell him to tell me? But I don't think you sent him. He came on his own. Why else would you act like the fire alarm went off because you said "You are already a member" at the December Baby party?
The narrative that first you sent Dan Berger to talk to me, and that did not work, and then you sent Dan Berger and Mike Lupinacci, that does not hold water. Because the MTA person event happened after the Louisiana Senator event. And, biggest of all, the Holiday Party happened. The Holiday Party was major choreography on your part. That was your major 5.0 way of saying you really, really, really like Paramendra.
And you can't say because Dan Berger and Mike Lupinacci did not work at the Iowa event, so you had to hire security guards at the March 5 event, because the February 7 Planned Parenthood event was your last major 5.0 choreography of saying you really, really, really like Paramendra. And I am really sorry I acted a major league jerk on February 7, and I ask for forgiveness. I understand that was a major gender trigger to you. Me dropping flowers and the apology card at your place was your gender trigger number two, and now I realize it was a really stupid thing to do, and I am sorry. I should have kept the apology online like everything else.
Once in a while I would visit Dave Pollak's Facebook page, and he knew that, he knew I had left comments a few times. After the Louisiana Senator event, I don't know what narrative of the story he was served, but not long after I blogged saying Good White People Living In The Asian Century. A few days later the Chinese went public with the world's first trillion dollar company.
A photo appeared on Pollak's page. He had Elizabeth standing next to this short, black dude, looking not exactly comfortable. You could say Dave Pollak was saying to her, would you like me if I were short and black? Or you could say he was saying to Paramendra Bhagat, if you think he is not going for you because you are Asian, I am saying to you she is not going for me because I am not black. In short, he was not hitting on her, he was rooting for her. Do the math. If Elizabeth is a Harvard '94, she must have moved to the city in 1994, she must have been active with DL21C all along, she must have known Pollak all along. I showed up in the city in 2005.
Elizabeth had Pollak at the door for the Holiday Party, and Cordelia Persen, six years older than her, Jewish, at the reception, the two facing each other. Pollak did not misunderstand. Two hours into the party, he sent a tall, Asian, young, attractive woman to me to ask for "Obama stickers." Would you like Elizabeth if she were tall, Asian and an Obama person? He was rooting for Elizabeth.
Two days later Elizabeth apologized to Pollak for doing the Cordelia thing at his birthday bash by standing in front of him and giving him a romantic look; Cordelia made up for this Elizabeth gesture by walking over to me for two seconds and looking at the floor like women look when they like you but are feeling helpless. Pollak did not miss a beat. He went ahead and danced with a dozen women right away. If you got mad at Elizabeth for dancing with Ben at the Holiday party two days ago, I think I saw you dance with a dozen Obama women at the same party. Where's the perspective?
Elizabeth danced with Ben at the Holiday Party. Ben is 27, but he was the guy I talked to the most at the Louisiana Senator event. I first met him long months back at a MYD event: we clicked, we have been friendly since. Ben suggested at the Louisiana Senator event that he would hook me with his sister if I were to give half of my company to her on paper.
Ben was not expecting to get to dance with Elizabeth. He is like, she is doing this because she thinks I am good friends with Paramendra. Two days later he came to stand next to me at the Drinking Liberally event, and then again a few hours later at the December Baby party. Yes, we are close friends, aren't we, he seemed to be suggesting.
December Baby Party
Berger tried to play matchmaker. I approached the bartender. He approached me. He is like, why are you writing about the DL21C at your blog? Then he got the three of us to step aside from the crowd. I found myself facing Elizabeth. She went ballistic. I was going to patiently listen to all she had to say. I have been mesmerized every time she has talked to me. The day after the Holiday Party I had blogged making her look like she was just another Ms. 99%, not true, but I wanted to have a little play. ("Is This An Obama Party?")
She made a reference to "touching my private part." I am no Ms. 99%. Then she said it affects "my work." At that point I looked at her. Don't tell me my blogging affects your banking. I did not speak, but she read my face. "My DL21C work," she said. That was a reference to my email before the Condi Rice book event where I had said DL21C was work to me.
Finally she threatened to "talk to somebody else." The threat to become Condi Rice had not worked, and so now she was going to threaten to go talk to somebody else.
I had but one thought the entire time. Who is this Dan Berger guy? And why is he standing next to me? I was still mad at him for his bad behavior at the Louisiana Senator event. (Louisiana Senator Event: Crime Scene) He does not get to do that, and now go down in history as the guy who brought Elizabeth and Paramendra together.
When I looked at her, that brought the temperature down a little. After the threat, she walked closer to me. It felt to me like she was practically touching me, body to body. Her face was only inches from mine.
"Will you join DL21C?" she asked. That was her suggesting I set the fire alarm off because she made me a member of the organization on her own, without my input. Not true, but that was the narrative she was now pushing. (Louisiana Senator Event: Crime Scene)
I was in disbelief. First, her narrative was patently false. Second, of all things she could have asked, she asked me if I wanted to join DL21C. She could have asked me, I like you, do you like me? I would have said yes. She could have asked me out, and I would have said yes. It has been my fantasy for a long time that some day I will meet a woman who, if she likes me, tells me she likes me and asks me out.
"I am not interested in DL21C," I said. I was interested in her, not her organization.
She walked away.
I turned on Berger. There was no US Senator in the room. Now I was going to yell back at him. Don't you ever, I mean ever, come in front of my face ever again. You have until February 5, and then you lose your relevance in this city. At one point I called him a mofo. He hung on to that part. At the Iowa event days later, his attitude is, Mike Lupinacci just pissed you off, but you are not calling him a mofo, why, because he is not Jewish?
I have a feeling Elizabeth watched me yell at him and later asked him, what did he say? Berger said, he said I have until February 5. And so Elizabeth choreographed her February 7 event. Okay, stay with Obama until February 5, then come be with me on February 7. But I acted a major league jerk on February 7, and I have regretted that ever since.
After I yelled at Berger, I went to stand where I was standing before I went to purchase beer, where I was standing and watching Pollak dance away the women. Pollak had been watching the drama from a distance, it looked like. He came over to me and thumped on my chest. You cold hearted bastard, have you no heart? Why do you not respond to Elizabeth? Then he kissed the guy in front of me on the cheek. Or are you perhaps gay?
Why did I drop the ball so many times last year? When I like her so much? And I am not shy? Today I will tell you, if Elizabeth and I were to go out, our first date was always going to be a counseling session. Unless we confronted the race and gender triggers in our psyches, I don't see how we could have related to each other. That is what I say today.
Last I saw her she told me "I have not liked you before." After that I went back down my memory lane and tried to explain away day one. She liked me because I was unusually dressed up. She liked me because I was standing next to Justin who is a wildly popular guy. One day inside a train in Brooklyn, I waved to this young, attractive woman. Hey, I have seen you at Rudy's. She asked me if I was a friend of Justin. I said yes. She came to sit next to me and started paying attention. She said she lived on Park Slope.
It is possible she is so mad at me about February 7 and the flower drop that in her own mind she has managed to explain everything away. I can't imagine I ever liked this guy. No, I never liked him. I just got excited that he has spent time in Indiana.
Dan Berger tried to play matchmaker at the Holiday Party. That did not play. A few days later at the Iowa event he told Mike I was a "threat to Elizabeth." Recently a detective told me I was a "threat to Charlie Rangel." Did Berger author both phrases? This is demonization. This is blackmail, you let me invade your privacy, or I will mess things up bad for you.
Towards the end of December, Elizabeth blocked me out of her AOL email account.
Iowa Returns Watch
When I showed up for the Iowa returns watch party at the O'Lunney's Pub, I was practically in mourning. Only a few days back I had gone for a very long walk all across Brooklyn: I was crying for the most part. The Al Qaeda had killed Benazir Bhutto, someone I admired enormously. The assassination hit me hard, harder than I had imagined it would. When I showed up at O'Lunney's, I was in a somber mood, self conscious. I thought I would pick up on the conversation Elizabeth started at the December Baby party, but once I got there, I realized I would be just fine left alone. I was in mourning. The talk could wait.
Mike said three things, Dan said one thing.
"So you don't want to talk?" I have been given information Elizabeth tried to talk to you at the Holiday Party but you refused. Is that it?
That was offensive to me. Berger said "personal space." He had realized he was the reason conversation did not take place at the December Baby party.
Today I realize I have been so open at my blog in the 2.0 environment when talking about Elizabeth. People are to her what cyber real estate is to me. It is entirely possible Dan Berger standing next to us did not feel like invasion of privacy to her at all.
"You have crossed the line," he said. A brown guy like you is not supposed to be looking at a white woman like Elizabeth. People like Dan and Mike don't feel white among white people, they feel Jewish and Italian. But they did the Mitt Romney thing. Mitt Romney decided if he could talk racist about Barack, that would make him white. The weirdest things I have heard about black people have come out of some Nepali mouths in this city. They are trying to be white, as they understand white to be.
"I got the emails," he said. I used to have Delilah's emails, now I have this woman's emails. This woman, she is with me now. He was claiming white territory. White woman was territory. A dog raises one leg to claim territory.
By now I had had it.
"The simplest thing for everyone involved will be if I don't come to these DL21C events ever again," I said.
"Leave right now," said Dan Berger. He was so happy to hear what I said. When he said "threat to Elizabeth," he meant to suggest physical threat. If that narrative was not going to hold, he was going to say he meant political threat. This guy could take over DL21C. But what he really meant was that if I were to get active with DL21C, Dan Berger would no longer be the second most visible DL21C face. It did not surprise me that he coveted his political space next to Elizabeth, but it surprised me to what extent he was willing to go to preserve it. He was willing to say I was someone prone to violence. If he thought for long months that the only reason Elizabeth had anything to do with him was because now there was a Jewish Governor in the state, is it not possible that he looked at me and saw a Palestinian? When I was a little kid, Arafat came to India. He got treated like a head of state.
(Nobody Quite Like Benazir, Benazir, One Whose Looks Have No Parallel, Benazir, Last Month, Benazir, Benazir, Benazir Bhutto: No American Stooge, Benazir Should Address Many Mass Rallies, Hold No Street Events, Keep Tight Security Around Her House, Office, Benazir And Islamofascism, Iowa: One And A Half Victory Parties)
Women's Issues Committee Meeting
After the Louisiana Senator event, Dan Berger had sent out an invite over Facebook to the next DL21C event. He had talked of a "swanky venue." He had been patronizing. You don't need DL21C or any organization like that to go to swanky venues in Manhattan. I live in Brooklyn, but I don't feel self-conscious in Manhattan. When I am in Manhattan, I don't feel like, oh no, I am in Dan Berger territory.
Someone decided to host this all woman event at a coffee place on a Sunday at 11 AM in the middle of January. I went.
The weekend before February 5, I was at a Women For Obama rally near Columbus Circle. A Planned Parenthood young woman approached me with a postcard for their February 7 event. Many women politicians in the city were going to be there. At the end of December I had blogged saying Elizabeth could run for Mayor and President. This could have been her way of saying, if you like women politicians, I can arrange for you to meet them, but I am not one. And so makes me think, all my talk of Elizabeth as president might have been yet another major gender trigger to her. This guy does not know me. This sexist guy is making plans for me without ever having talked to me.
South Carolina Debate Watch Party
I showed up precisely at seven. The sign was not up yet, so I went to the restroom. When I got back, I saw Elizabeth walk up the stairs. She had her overcoat on. That was significant to me. My complaint of the mandatory coat check at the Holiday Party had become louder and louder at my blog. It was to become louder still. Berger was downstairs, but he also soon walked upstairs. I walked over to the receptionist downstairs and waited there. That is when Berger walked down the stairs. Half way down he saw me. He made a no gesture with his finger. As in, you are not allowed upstairs. He was on the phone, possibly with Elizabeth upstairs. A few days back I had blogged saying I have understood everything except one, so when do I get to talk? I guess that was still a reference to when she refused to email me her number. This was her saying, well, if you had joined my organization like I wanted you to, and become active, you would have had my number a long time ago.
I waited until he was done talking. The receptionist young woman kept urging me to go upstairs. "There are already 15 people up there," she said. That was a future politician. Elizabeth was the only one upstairs. Berger got done talking on the phone. He walked over to me. I was nice and gentle.
"It was already made clear last time," he said.
"That's okay," I said, and walked away. I did not go to this event to make Berger feel like you don't need an Italian to tell me to leave, you can do it on your own and I will leave, but his body language was appreciative of me making the gesture. It was an unintended gesture. I had not gone for Dan, I had gone for Elizabeth.
Iowa and South Carolina had been good for my guy, Barack. Me getting turned away at the Iowa and the South Carolina events at some subconscious level felt like it was something to do with Hillary, although Elizabeth has never disliked Barack. I sent her a message that I don't exactly dislike your woman: A Vote For Barack Is Not A Vote Against Hillary.
February 7: Planned Parenthood Event
I have something called lag time. There is this thing called safe mode. Granted I have been thought of as some kind of a hot guy at different phases in my life, but the predominant experience ends up being meeting countless Ms. 99%s. And so the fallback mode is safe mode. You tune out. Instead of going through the humiliation of a woman or two or three helping you understand she is a Ms. 99%, it is most often best not to bother taking interest. I mean, it is not exactly the idea that you want to date everyone you come across. Ultimately most people are looking for that one person.
There have been times when I have been in safe mode. You don't send overtures, you are not receptive to overtures. But the mind records everything in video. A few hours later, a few days later, you replay the video, and you are like, maybe I do want to respond to that particular overture. You reach out in 2.0. But to the woman that is too static. The dynamic thing would have been to respond in real time. But you were in safe mode.
What happened on February 7? Because that was the departure point. In my world there was Elizabeth Caputo before February 7 and after February 7.
In Elizabeth's mind, that was the day when we were going to talk and hook up. She showed up alone, a little late even. But I think she had arranged for an Asian guy friend and a Hispanic guy friend to be there. She never really needed to prove to me that she was open minded after the McCall moment, but she was going to nevertheless, what after my Iowa event outburts: Iowa: One And A Half Victory Parties.
In real time, this is what happened. She came, she walked right past me, and she went somewhere behind. I saw she was not uncomfortable that I was there. At one point much later I realized she was sitting right behind me a few feet away. I became aware. After the event was over, people were talking in small circles. I was in my circle, she was in hers. We were there for two and a half hours after the event. I had also gone to the event hoping she would come and we would talk. Then she came and I am trying to figure out, what does it mean that you kicked me out of your last two events? I liked her a lot, but I could not act like this was the first time I was seeing her, I could not act like we had not liked each other before. And I never understood why she wanted the starting point to be some big, fancy event, 500 white people in attendance, a roomful of Mr. and Ms. 99%s. If you went through the hell of putting together a Holiday Party for me - venue: Taj - if you went through the hell of putting together a Planned Parenthood event for me - venue: zipper factory - why could you not have shot me an email on any day before and got me to meet you one on one some place? We could meet one on one, talk, hook up, then you could take me to some event with 5,000 white people, a hall full of Mr. and Ms. 99%s and that would not bother me.
At one point she approached the bartender. She said she wanted two drinks - she was by herself - but she did not have the money. The bartender was confused but not offended: he simply froze. That was my moment to step in and be the man. I got the money, honey, if you got the time. But I was still nursing my confusion from having kicked out of her last two events.
Her two guy friends felt something was going on at the very outset, the way they looked at me. Something was up. But after the two drinks, no money part, I think she kind of gave up. This guy is not taking the hint. She walked over to the Hispanic dude and gave him the look. The guy touched her shoulder with his left hand. He was going to step into the vacuum. I am like, the already complicated situation just got even more complicated. Not only did you kick me out of your two events, now there is this guy who feels like you are with him. The Asian guy left right then. He felt like he needed to leave the two alone.
I stuck around. I talked to others in the room. At one point I found myself talking to this guy. Elizabeth and I both turned our heads at the same time towards each other, she was sitting next to the young woman who had hosted the event. That young woman was excited for Elizabeth that now it looked like she had a new boyfriend. "I got a new boyfriend," she said like Elizabeth speaks when she is not speaking to you but is rather reading your mind. Elizabeth did not like the suggestion. She put her hand on that young woman's shoulder. See, it means nothing, really. But that young woman went ahead and ordered food nevertheless. Elizabeth took a bite: one small French fry.
After that head turn, I went downstairs to the restroom. When I got back, she was sitting no longer next to the woman, but next to the Hispanic dude. I am like, if my presence is in the way, let me leave. I picked up my coat, and walked downstairs. But I did not want to leave. Downstairs I ordered a drink. By the time I finished drinking, I decided, I got to talk to her. This was the day we were going to talk, I can't walk away. I have been feeling for weeks, days, this was the day we talked. Let me go back upstairs and talk to her.
The Hispanic dude was still there, but she was not there. A French woman I had met a few times before at Rudy's, I spotted her. I asked her if Elizabeth left. No, she has not left, she said. But I could not see her anywhere in the room. She had done the same thing at the black woman educator event. She had done something similar at the Washington Governor event. And now she had done it again. She had acted her most vulnerable. Physicalism pinches me, and I want you to know.
I walked downstairs. By now I felt it might even be inappropriate to look for her. I left. On the sidewalk I noticed I was not walking straight.
A thought kept ringing in my head. Elizabeth, there is no skipping the conversation, there is no skipping the conversation. After the Arianna event, the thought was, give me five hours of conversation, or go away forever. Today the thought is, do you think we could go through about five hours of counseling?
(An Ode To White Women: I Think I Am Going Hispanic, Building Social Muscles, Planned Parenthood: A Different Kind Of Event, Message To Elizabeth Caputo: SOS Call, Planned Parenthood: First Impressions, Looking For 10 Ninja Women, Three Very Different Worlds: Nepal, Obama, Startup)
Texas Debate Watch
I got to meet her. I was escorted upstairs by a woman receptionist. I think she arranged that. I did not realize at the time.
"Let's have a conversation." That is what you said at your blog you wanted.
"I don't like you. I never liked you. Nothing happened on day one. You are delusional. I am going to take precautions." She was mad that I had blogged on February 7 as soon as I got back home like she went home with the Hispanic dude. Not only had I spoilt for her an event she had put so much choreography into, I had done a really sexist thing. This is not exactly the guy I saw talk to Brooke Ellison, I don't know this guy any more. I had also talked angry about Justin, and she did not appreciate that. That was the reference to day one. When she said delusional, her reference was to my reaction to the coat check, but I understood at the time to mean the White House and Nobel and Nasdaq talk. I did not like it. My dreams are all I got. How could you disrespect my dreams so?
"Dan is not here. I am saying this to myself." You did the South Carolina event thing for Dan, and now you are doing this for me?
By now I think she felt I did not understand why she was so mad. She gave a hint. "You have been blogging about me for a year and a half now." I did not get the hint. I did not think she went home with that Hispanic dude, and even she had, it would not have been my business, we were not together. What I did feel was, how could you choreograph the event for me and then go have your four second intimate moment with this other guy who you had arranged to be there?
Around this time she started calming down.
She said something "political acumen." So you like me for my political acumen? Only a few days back I had blogged saying I was Al Pacino, she was Meryl Streep in terms of political talent. I had said she was the top political story in town.
This was an opening. This was my moment to talk. She had vented her anger, and now she wanted me to talk. But I had lost my mood. You just told me you don't like me, never did. And you disrespected my dreams. What is there left to say?
"I hear you," I said and left.
At the March 4 event when she sent the message that "the event has not started yet," that was her saying you should have talked back at the Texas event. So when I got the message at the Bombay Palace event and lingered around, she shifted the goal post, she had the guard called up on me. I had shifted the goal post so many times during 2007.
March 4 Returns Watch
I showed up. There was a black guy security guard on the sidewalk. He asked me which event I was going to. I pointed the flyer. He said the event had not started yet. I said, that's okay, I will be back in 10 minutes. He said hold on. He said, hold on, there is this woman. He got on the radio. I saw Elizabeth briefly in the distance. Out comes the white guy security guard from the Holiday party.
The soldiers of social segregation in your poem (Yellow Roses), if those are not Justin Krebs, Dan Berger, and Mike Lupinacci (Rabbits Birthing Rabbits), then who are you referring to, to this white guy security gaurd?
I emailed Berger earlier. If I am not welcome, please shoot an email. If you don't, I am coming. He did not shoot an email. So I went. Two young women receptionists asked me what my name was, then said, "You are not allowed in."
This was a click moment. Elizabeth had signed me in to events many times. You have to look at women receptionists and black security guards. That right there is raw material for a potential race, gender coalition.
After this event, I decided I was going to give up, both on Elizabeth (CCC) and on DL21C. I went clubbing a few times. But it did not feel right. I did not feel closure. Also, I was thinking, you don't have to like me, but your not letting me into DL21C events, that had political overtones for me. I was getting that my people feeling. I wanted to be allowed in, and then I wanted to stop going.
The Spy Event
I was in line. Elizabeth had arranged for a woman to tell me "there is a mandatory coat check." That was a huge positive trigger: opened up the poetry floodgates. I might have written some bad poetry after that, but I wrote. When I had told her you read my mind, I had meant you read my mind when you are looking at my face. But now she was reading my entire mental landscape, and she did not seem to need the presence of my face to do so. I fell hard for her.
(Declaring Satyagraha On The DL21C White Establishment, Barack In Town With South Asians For Obama: March 27, Satyagraha, Day 1, Confronting My Own Demons, Yellow Rose To Reclaim, Yellow Rose, Tera Saath Hai To Mujhe Kya Kami Hai, Blueprint For DL21C: Party Inside A Party, New York City's Progressive Galaxy, Love Is The Reason, I Dedicate This City To You, I Am Different)
Bombay Palace Event
To me it feels like she got even for my spoiling the February 7 event for her. She made it sound like she did it for me, but on the day the clear message was, not so. And it is nothing to do with your being Indian, stop the Mahatma drama. And there was a hint. In case you have not figured out on your own, let me help you understand why I am mad at you.
The woman who said "the event has not started yet" was one of the women she whisked away at the Washington Governor event.
So if it is not about me being Indian, it is about your being a free spirit, I concluded: How to Tame a Free Spirit. I was going to give her space and time. How much time? I did not know.
After that DL21C had hyperactivity. It was like two events per week. The free spirit went berserk.
Once in a while I would visit the DL21C Facebook page. At a debate watch party, she was with two WASP guys, and she had a sweater wrapped around her.
My message had been you don't need to have Jewish, Italian, Asian and Hispanic guy friends to impress me. Just be yourself.
Maybe the sweater had nothing to do with me, but it struck me. This woman started with my face, then she shifted to my mind, the larger mental landscape, and now she was after my very soul. I cried. The sweater reminded me of 1989. That sweater stylishly placed on my shoulder they took away at the buspark: there is Paramendra before and after. If it had not been for that, it is very possible I might have met Elizabeth Caputo for the first time in Fall 1993 at Harvard, and if not then, then surely summer of 1997 in New York City, likely at some DL21C event. They took away my sweater, it was like they took away a decade of my life. I cried when I looked at that photo. Maybe the mandatory coat check was no accident, she meant to put it there. She wanted to move from coat to sweater, gradually. After that it became hard for me to say Chapter Caputo was closed. Just when it was opening, how can it be closed? That was not fair.
Although I had known all along why she got so pissed off, I had not apologized, I had not given her the impression I knew. She planted Jennifer on the street. That was another woman she had whisked away at the Washington Governor event. That was hint number two.
"I have not liked you before." That was supposed to be an opening to a conversation, like "political acumen" at the Texas event, like "Will you join DL21C?" at the December Baby party. There was a white guy present, the guy she had planted outside the door, the guy I was supposed to charm if I wanted a door opener. That was her recreating day one. On day one there had been Justin. At the December Baby party, there had been Dan. On this day, there was this white guy. Day one was magic to her as well. Or else why try to recreate?
Flowers, Apology Card
I don't have her number. I don't have much of a mutual friend. I can't go to her events. And I have not yet apologized to her for February 7. What to do? Weeks earlier I had googled her up and her address had showed up on Arianna's Huffington Post.
I bought some yellow roses and an apology card in my neighborhood. One Sunday afternoon I took the train up and dropped them with the receptionist and left immediately, never went back. Made no attempt to meet.
According to the police, this was the straw that broke the camel's back. Like everything else before, I should have kept the apology online. My bad. Thanks but no thanks, Arianna.
Police At My Door
10 days after the flower drop, two police officers knocked on my door. One showed me his badge.
"What is this about?" I asked with total calm. "Is this something to do with Elizabeth Caputo?"
"Do you know her?"
"Yes, I do."
He said they wanted to take me with them. I said, sure. I sought permission to wash my face - I had been semi asleep when they knocked - take a leak, drink a glass of water in the kitchen.
"How much do you pay for rent?" he asked. I knew where he was going: Brooklyn guy after Upper West Side woman.
They did not handcuff me. They put me in the backseat. I gave them directions to the freeway.
I was in the interrogation room for 15 minutes. I later realized they must do that to watch you from behind that glass. I was calm. After 10 minutes, I closed my eyes and started doing breathing exercises.
One officer took me downstairs for fingerprinting. He said to put my hands behind like I was handcuffed. We were getting along just fine.
He put me in a single cell for about five minutes. Later I realized that was his way of saying, if we have to come for you again, you are looking at jail time, and this is what it is going to feel like.
He mentioned John McCain. I said, he is one of the few Republicans who I can imagine liking.
He took me back upstairs and said, write your statement. I wrote about five pages, a much shorter version of what I am writing here.
Looks like my statement was faxed "downtown." A detective showed up in the interrogation room.
"You know who I am?" he asked. Obviously they were not pleased with my Howard Dean reference.
"No, I don't."
He mentioned "downtown." He mentioned "Murray." Who is Murray?
"I don't know who that is," I said.
He said I had been considered a "threat to Charlie Rangel." I was utterly surprised and I acted like it.
"Charlie Rangel? What is Charlie Rangel got to do with this?"
He mentioned Kennedy. I said he is a "liberal lion." I guess they were recording me on camera at the same time.
A few more questions later I protested. "You are putting me through a really weird line of questioning, aren't you?" At that point the detective stopped.
"Okay, shut the camera off," he said.
After that he was respectful. "Please sit here, Sir."
The detective and the officer put me and this black guy in for robbery into the back seat of a car, handcuffed. First they went to some facility nearby. They got told they had room for only "one" after they said where they were from. Was that choreographed?
They took me downtown. I walked through the same door Frank Lucas walked out of. I was put in a large cell where it looked like everyone else was in on a felony charge, a young Hispanic man took the survey on my behalf without being asked: I was the only one with a misdemeanor charge. Who is Murray?
I went in around midnight. The following day I got to see the judge around 6 PM, and before that a wonderful state provided attorney.
Seeking Closure, Resolution
Maybe I will never see Elizabeth ever again. Or maybe she will agree to seek counseling. I don't know. I don't really have the option to explore. I do think the flower drop was a stupid thing to do.
But I am excited about my future. Even my corporate ambitions are about the public good. The internet is what will bridge the wide gap between the so-called first and third worlds, the west and the rest, the west and the Global South. I intend to play my part. And I love this city: my sense of belonging comes from my family, this city, and my company.
Nothing changes the fact that Elizabeth is a great person, a great political talent, an amazing heart and mind. Not even having a simple friendship with her will be my loss. And I will just have to live with it. And I will have to move on with the rest of my life. I wish it were not so, but it is so.
White Male Matter
Justin Krebs should apologize for his bad behavior on day one. Dan Berger should apologize for his bad behavior at the Louisiana Senator event. Mike Lupinacci should apologize for his bad behavior at the Iowa event.
But if you think about it, I am very good friends with Justin, and Elizabeth is very good friends with Dan and Mike. So what is going on? Was Justin scared he might lose me to Elizabeth? Were Dan and Mike scared they might lose Elizabeth to me? Especially so in the case of Elizabeth, she is a power center. To deny access to Elizabeth is to keep access to yourself.
It is easier for me to say these three white guys messed up.
Working on this piece of writing just might be the hardest thing I have done since I moved to this city three years ago. It has been emotionally wrenching. I have gasped for air. I have gone for long walks in the middle of sentences. I have not burst into tears, but my eyes have gone wet and numb several times. I have had to face myself in ways I have not had to when I have done my political and business writings, in ways I have not had to even while working on my online autobiography.
There have been times when Elizabeth must have felt, you talk of weak social muscles from intense 2.0 work, but I have seen you talk to other people like you have not talked to me. Why? It has been because when I have been in her presence, when she has looked me in the eye, I have had to face myself in a way I have not had to when talking to other people. By simply looking, she has opened up the lids on pains and memories, and I have not been opposed to the idea, it is just that each such time the setting has been too public. Larry Ellison once described himself as a Repressions R Us kind of guy. I might also be a Repressions R Us kind of guy.
It was hard to be Madhesi in Nepal. Maybe I needed the Madhesi Movement victory of February 2008 before I could really get to offline NYC. I don't know. But I am who I am. I was 23 when I came to America. (Madhesi Movement Victory In Nepal)
Charlie Rangel is Elizabeth's black guy in Harlem. Bill Perkins is my black guy in Harlem. I am going to meet him. I am going to request him to talk to Charlie Rangel. Charlie, this guy is a MLK to the 13 million Madhesis on the planet. (The Jewish Angst, Madhesi Movement Victory In Nepal) That is how many black folks our own MLK had when he was doing what he was doing. He is not a political threat to you. You are not in his league. You will never win the Nobel Peace Prize. And for anyone to suggest he might be a physical threat to you or anyone else is absolutely ridiculous: someone on your staff is seriously misleading you. I personally know this guy, I vouch for him. Think of your place in history and take a step back right away. NYC is the first hometown he ever had, and he was past 30 when he got here. He loves this city, he adores this city, he will transform this city. This city needs more people like him. He might not be black, but he is brown alright. Bill Clinton is already busy trying to get Hillary on Barack's ticket. That is the spirit. Going after Barack's lieutenants among his army of volunteers is not how you get Hillary on the ticket. Cease and desist. This guy is an ally to the black people, in this country, but especially those in Africa. Let him be. He will take race relations in this city and this country to levels you and I never imagined. (My Third World People Don't Get To Vote In This City, Brooklyn Is Africa, Queens Asia, Bronx Latin America, Manhattan Is Europe)
Web 2.0, Web 5.0: Limitations, Possibilities
Face time will not get replaced by technology ever, but 2.0 will dissolve and break open many traditional social barriers.
Don't Get To Pin Me Down
I refuse to be portrayed as a guy who made a one sided pursuit of Elizabeth primarily over email. Her overtures to me in what I call 5.0 (Web 5.0: Face Time) have been as elaborate as my overtures to her in 2.0 might have been. It is too bad the two worlds did not meet.
Message To Elizabeth Through The Judge
Elizabeth, if I was ever worth being friends with, if I was ever worth politically collaborating with - the black politicians you have played second fiddle to over the years in hopes of making gender progress, collaborating with me beats all those early efforts - and, god forbid, if I ever was relationship material, please go with me through about three to five hours of counseling, at the end of which you will still have the option to ask me out of your face. Or if you feel you want me out of your face as is, I repeat my pledge.
- I will not contact you.
- I will not show up for your DL21C events.