Just when I thought I was booking myself up sufficiently, I seem to have found a way to take it up a notch. Yes, this week every evening was accounted for and even when I finally got around to laundry on Thursday it was only in the brief gap between leaving work and making my way to another engagement. So let’s head back to Monday and start this off right.
Monday was, well, Monday which is to say, perfectly fine but not a weekend. I left work nearly on time, dropped by my apartment for a quick dinner and then set off to a metadata talk: my librarian senses were tingling! Somewhat to my chagrin, there were no snacks or free beer as I’ve come to expect at these meetups but at least I had eaten something. There were a number of attendees who had come straight from work and were audibly suffering for the lack of food. The talk itself was good though and it was nice to poke my nose back into metadata-land if only for the briefest of moments.
Tuesday–Valentine’s Day–turned out to be a day of fairly intense indulgence. At work we had a potluck lunch composed of the most amazing baked mac and cheese and very kind of sweet imaginable. It was by coffee alone that I managed the rest of the afternoon without a food coma or a sugar crash. In fact, I even made it to start-up school and the grocery store before eventually finding my way home to throw together a quick and easy pasta supper for a lovely former Salsa Caliente girl like myself who has recently moved to the city. She’s living it up in dance-land which makes me think I ought to get out to salsa more but life happens and I’ve had other priorities of late so instead I’ll get all the latest excitement in the scene from the lovely, intrepid Tanya.
Wednesday was another packed evening of socializing and fun. I stayed a bit late at work and then headed into the city to meet two friendly librarians from Staten Island for dinner and a show. The dinner ended up being jianbing and the show was Dita Von Teese. I cannot possibly do justice to it.
In the narrow confines of the Gramercy Theatre, we were entertained by a host whose answer to “are you a man or a woman?” was “no.” while watching beautiful, sexual, liberated people of every shape, size, and description cavort and tease in several hundred thousand dollars worth of rhinestones. Dita loves the sparkle and the magpie-like salsa girl in my soul feels very much the same. I was in complete and total awe. I was also nearly hoarse by the end but that didn’t stop me sneaking one more adventure into my evening. Yes, even after all that, I set my feet in motion and trucked laterally across midtown to dance. Totally worth it.
By Thursday, my closet was beginning to rather resemble a wasteland of sorts so I decided that, despite existing plans, I had to find a way to do laundry. My usual laundromat was closed–Thursday is their one day off–but I was able to find another nearly as nearby and only a little bit incredibly sketchy. It sufficed.
Once I had some clean clothes back in my life, I headed down to Chinatown to attend a “Village Party”. I had been invited by a Cantonese friend from dance and I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that somehow it was a banquet for all these people who had immigrated to New York from the same Hakka village and there was an empty seat with my name on it. It was to be a very grand adventure.
When I arrived at the restaurant, I was met by a spluttering hostess who was clearly very shocked to see me, but couldn’t quite compose the English require to express as much–Mando to the rescue. Once I got through the first gatekeeper, I headed up the long escalator to assure a second hostess that I really wasn’t lost before settling my eyes on a massive banquet hall packed to the teeth with people, one of whom–yes, ONE of whom–I knew. Once again, a brief bit of Mandarin bridged the gap between me and my table where I would soon discover that my friend’s older brother is faculty in my institute, but not before making an utter fool of myself by not recognizing him. Apparently my ability to recognize people is very strongly context dependent.
The party would proceed in the most thoroughly China way possible with long dramatic orations interspersed with little old ladies doing dances I recognized from the public parks of Shanghai and then later dignitaries singing mediocre karaoke all over a gustatory orgy of shrimp, lobster, steak, and all manner of other exciting Canto dishes I had never seen before. Somewhere blended into all of that there was also a healthy helping of red wine which rather enhanced than detracted from the entire experience. I expect that I am not painting anything even close to a full picture off the evening, but, for the old-China-hands among you, may I just say (knowing that you will at once understand) that, teh China was strong that night.
The following day at work was trying to say the least but it was the day before the Presidents Day long weekend so the office closed early which meant that I could justify leaving at exactly 4pm (guilt-free) to set off on my weekend adventures.
By 5:30, I was on a train to New jersey for a belated Valentine’s Weekend with a wonderful man who turned up in my life not so long ago. He picked me up from the train station after which we made supper and snickerdoodles, wandered around the mid-sized New Jersey town, and ended the evening over tea and freshly made cookies chatting with roommates.
The rest of the weekend was relaxed and lovely with a visit to a charming Italian restaurant with a live jazz pianist possessed of the very butteriest of voices, a late night trip to stargaze on the beach, some west coast swing in the wilds of South Jersey, and more than a little time pottering about happily int he kitchen. It has been the best kind of weekend.
At the moment I am whiling away the remains of my Monday off in the main reading room of the Rutger’s Library while the delights of global warming serve a sunny 15˚C in the Northeast in mid February. I worry for the fate of the world, but right now, at this very moment, I am content.
The Salsa Girl