I swear this city is fuelled by bagels. Or at least, in this city I am fuelled by bagels. They are the perfect calorie carrier. The chewy outer crust means that they can sit uncared for and unsealed for hours on a cafe counter without the evils of dryness ever touching the tender insides which become pure magic once the little ring of dough is sliced and chucked in a toaster. And the way they spread the cream cheese here, you’d think it was their job! (I mean it is, but like, you know…) So for an average of $2.50 you can (and I do) fill your belly with toothsome, calorific food that conveniently enough is easily portable for consumption of subways, street corners, occasionally at a desk. So for someone hyperactive and highly busy with a million stairs between her and everything else, the humble bagel is unquestionably the best damn thing to eat. And I’m not just being stereotypical, they really are inexpressibly better here in NYC.
And now after that ode upon carbohydrates and cheese, I am going to attempt to write a blog, one that talks about what I did, not just how integral a single food item is proving to my continued verticality. So back to Sunday night where I left you last. As I recall I was on my way out the door to, what? more dance? Yes. More dance, but not just any dance, no I was on my way to the longest running salsa social in New York: The Jimmy Anton Social.
As someone who hates to leave in the middle of a night of dance, I have to give it to New Yorkers, they get it. It’s just a bad idea to stay out until 4am on a Sunday night so they start the Sunday socials early and most of them end early too so there’s no guilt in heading home at 10 to get some sleep before the work week, and you still get lots of dancing. So there I was back in Midtown at yet another dance school dancing my little feetsies off, but this time I was home by 10:30 and snuggled up under my blankets shortly thereafter. It turned out to be a very good thing.
The Part Where UPS Causes Undue Distress
After a lovely weekend of dance, I was to have a very trying Monday. Now when I initially shipped my pile of goodies from Canada, I had been told that they would arrive here last Friday, so I planned my meetings accordingly, immediately after which UPS informed me that they weren’t sorry at all but my packages would be delivered on Monday, a day which could also have been described as “crammed with important meetings”. So I called and I tried to reschedule but was informed that I had to let them try first and then on the second attempt I could try to talk the driver into coming at a time when I could actually be home. So off I went to work on Monday morning, bouncing back and forth between Manhattan and Brooklyn meeting everyone and their dog on the way, which is how, at around noon I was sitting in a meeting staring down in horror at the stream of UPS notifications piling into my inbox all 7 of which read something to the effect of: “yeah, so we left your packages. Where? Oh, just at the front door.” When you live in an apartment block with no door man on a narrow street with an equally narrow and busy sidewalk, those words are nightmare fuel.
I held it together through the meeting (barely) before sprinting out the door to the train back to my flat to rescue my poor boxes. At this point I was not so serenely ignoring the fact that, of the nine boxes I’d shipped, only seven were as yet accounted for; I was substantially more concerned with whether or not there would be any boxes waiting for me an hour after UPS had unceremoniously dumped them at my door.
I have no idea who to thank, but somehow, when I arrived all seven of my boxes were piled inside, filling the better part of the foyer. With about an hour before I was expected at my next meeting I kicked into gear and hauled all seven ~20kg boxes up to my room. Still panting from the stairs, I then cracked them open to assess the degree of internal damage that went along with the split sides and crushed tops that were obvious from the outside. In the end the casualties were: 1 microwave, 1 wine glass, 1 teapot, 1 plate, and 1 picture frame.
The mystery of where the remaining boxes were camped out would soon be solved as, during my next meeting, I received another cute little message from UPS saying they’d brought by another box for me and when I followed the links, found that the ninth and final box was mysteriously separated from the rest of my shipment and destined to arrive the following day.
The next day came but this time, rather than the “yeah we dumped it” message, this kindly driver decided that he couldn’t release it to anyone but me and so my final box went back on the truck to UPS-land where things tend most often to get broken, lost, or both. So having allowed them to try, I was allowed to rebook my delivery for the first day that I was able to work from home (Friday) for the modest fee of $5. I am trying really very hard to not be salty over that fee.
Now other things did happen between Tuesday and Friday, and we’ll get to them in just a moment but before I do, I want to assure you that, come Friday, after a bit of chaos which can only be described as my silly fault, I was able to receive my final box and, at long last all of my books were together again!
But back to nicer things than shipping logistics. This week ended up including the pleasantest sort of surprise: a dose of Dublin (okay Bray & Meath but they’re near enough). Yes, my partners in Management class crime were both in the city at the same time. Obviously the only answer was pizza and beer. So Mark and family, joined Jen, Chelsea (my most excellent host from week one), and myself at a tightly packed pizza joint up near Hell’s Kitchen.
Now I’d had one heck of a day so I polished off a pizza in no time flat but I assure you that even as I shovelled it into my face it was far beyond average deliciousness. Post-pizza we went off to a local Irish bar with an actual Irish bartender where beers (and ridiculous cocktails) were had by all. And then only too soon it was bed time for my exhausted self and I was sent off into the subway system warm with friendly feeling (and a substantial collection of Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut brought all the way from Ireland just for me).
The following day was happy hour at work which meant bonding with coworkers over free wine. One really mustn’t complain when the world is so obliging.
Onwards to the Weekend
And then in a flash that felt like forever, it was Friday night and I was slipping into shiny hot pants for another night of salsa. The dance here just never ceases to amaze. The highlight of Friday night was a performance by the Frankie Martinez Student Team and specifically the part of the tall blonde girl with more muscle control than I’ve ever dreamed of and a black and white suit. She was SO damn slick and probably about the same height as me which one doesn’t see all that often on a salsa stage. Inspired doesn’t really do the feeling justice, but suffice to say I’ve one heck of a dance crush!
The next morning I got all sorts of adult, woke up at a reasonable hour, and for the first time in my life, took clothing to a dry cleaner! Ah the endless perks of a real adult job where one must strive to look presentable in an office. After dropping off the dry cleaner delegated items, I dragged the rest off to the laundromat for the more work intensive but affordable process of diy clothes cleaning. The trickiest bit about laundry in New York is the fact that all the laundromats I’ve been to are miniature, which means that you can’t very bring a book and wait, no, there’s barely enough space to get the clothes in the machine so once you’ve done that you have to find a way to entertain yourself for 20 minutes or so before going back to switch to a dryer and repeating the waiting game.
It would be much less dangerous if my laundromat wasn’t so near to Chinatown which is dangerously full of plant shops, Chinese groceries, and dumpling shops. I’ve resisted thus far, but yesterday I told myself it was time for plants. Just two. Just to clean the air. For my health!
But then I got in the plant shop and they had neither jasmines nor peace lilies, so there I was wandering around trying to decide on a different sort of plant when out of the corner of my eye I saw it. It was not one of the cheap little starter plants. It was not on the NASA list of air cleaning plants. No, it was none of the things I’d intended to get when I walked into that plant shop, it was so much better. Yes, there on the shelf in the corner was a beautiful blast from the past, a goldfish plant. My mom had one when I was growing up and I loved it nearly as much as the lipstick plant, with it’s adorable little orange fishy shaped flowers. I don’t exactly remember when we got rid of it, or why, but I hadn’t seen one in years and then there it was, on a shelf before me, just begging to come home. And that’s how I ended up spending $42 on a tiny orchid for my desk, and a beautiful big goldfish plant (and its delightful white pot painted with goldfish) for my window. What can I say? I fell in love.
Apparently I was in a cultivating mood yesterday as, in addition to my plants, I decided to embark on a fresh sourdough adventure. I was emboldened by my discovery of finely ground “white whole wheat flour” rather the opposite of Ireland’s coarsely ground wholemeal, and so am now nursing to life a burgeoning culture based on wholewheat flour and some of that manna from bagel heaven, New York water. I am terrifically excited to see what grows.
After a day of cleaning and growing, I set out to dance again, but this time it wasn’t salsa, it was swing! Gotham Swing no less. Now I will admit that for the first hour or so I found myself wondering if maybe West Coast Swing really was more of a West Coast thing, but fortunately the tide turned as the night went on, and I was soon to be dancing and laughing my night away with excellent leads to even better music.
And now it’s Sunday afternoon, and I’ve split my day between lounging in bed with a book and being a responsible adult buying groceries. Tonight I’m likely to go dancing, but for now I’m enjoying the laziness and the sun.
Full of bagels and bliss,
The Salsa Girl