In Which the Weather Turns

At long last, the confusion of the weather seems to be turning into a reasonably steadfast spring. But lest I jinx it by saying so, let it be known that I don’t trust it in the least and fully expect snowstorms at any minute. At present however, I am in search of a spring coat and already dreaming sweet dreams of sun cream.

But what about the actual activities? you say. Surely you did more than check the forecast all week! And the answer is: of course! You all know me well enough to know that my options are busy or panicked, so let’s roll back to Tuesday and take a look at how I kept busy.

Tuesday was the usual rigamarole of work topped off with a trip to start up school and garnished with a deliciously stimulating hour and a half with a critical data studies thinking group. We were discussing on-body sensors and other aspects of the quantified self from an ethical and social perspective and it was divine. I haven’t done so much comfortable and productive opining in a very long time. It almost distracted me from my miserable hips, which brings me to another thing entirely. Yes, somehow, over the course of the weekend, I managed to mangle myself. I don’t know when and I don’t know how but I was in searing agony any time I tried to stand up from a chair or walk a few steps. It was delightful and also deeply distracting.

So as I wandered my wounded way through the world, it was only natural that I should have the clever idea to visit the acupuncturist, which is how I found myself with a left buttock full of pins come Wednesday after work. It was a very muscular experience with all the best twitches, tweaks, and startled gasps as my gluteus considered the maximus available to it for complaint. And somehow, after that, I thought it would be a fabulous idea to return to the dog that bit me. Yup, I went to westie. It may not have been my wisest decision but it was fun and I’ve not the highest standards of self-care.

On Thursday my still squalling iliac and I spent our lunch listening to inspiring women deliver mini TED-talk style speeches as the NYU TorchTalks. There were some excellent nuggets, most focal for me being the notion that you make your way in the world not necessarily by being particularly skilled or expert but by being interesting and interested. I sure hope she was right because sometimes I think that “interesting” is all I’ve got going for me. After my dose of inspiration, I settled into a busy little cafe with a latte, a damn fine pistachio macaron, and an afternoon of work. I conquered the most of my to do list and then popped off to another talk, this time about natural language processing. It was an interesting talk, but I was in a combination of too much pain and too little sleep and so I hardly processed a thing. Well you can’t win them all.

The following morning, I found myself with rather less time than expected. I suppose that’s what happens when you host a visiting speaker. By the time I hit the end of the day I was staring down a giant to do list that I’d hardly made a dent in and wondering if I should bring my laptop home for the weekend. You’ll be pleased to know that I chose work-life balance and left the laptop when I set off for Penn to catch a train out to New Brunswick.

Once well out of the city, I soon found myself scarfing down a delicious dinner of saag paneer, lamb korma, samosas, and all manner of other tasty Indian things. After dinner we curled up to watch Arrival. Someday I will successfully watch a movie cuddled under a duvet without falling asleep, but in this case, alas, we only made it halfway through before we decided that perhaps the z’s were calling more seductively than the storyline and so sleep won.

We spent Saturday morning in Jersey doing some spring cleaning and downsizing and then made our way into the city for an evening of dance. Clever creature that I am, I had not brought all of my dance things with me to Jersey so I had to head back to my flat to pick up shoes before returning to Midtown to take some very highly anticipated workshops with Melissa Rutz. The trains had other ideas.

As I sat in tunnel after tunnel waiting for the train to haul its lumbering length down to the LES, I was reminded as to why there is no certainty on scheduling here: you might always have to take a train. Sometime later, I finally got back to Midtown only fifteen minutes after the class was set to begin. Luckily, I was not the only one late so I only missed about five minutes of three hours of class. Following our meander into education, a hoard of dancers stumbled out into the world in search of food. Fortunately, K-Town was only a few blocks away so we tucked into some tasty Korean eats and scarfed them down just as quick as we could so that we could get back to the ballroom to dance.

It was a very well attended event full of great people, but I have to admit that the venue leaves a lot to be desired. Down in the end of the room with the DJ booth, the music is a muddy acoustic mess and if the door is opened, even for a second, the already sub-par sonic situation is worsened by the bassy thrum of the bachata next door. I may not be the biggest audiophile, but I do like my music to reach my tympanic membrane making some semblance of sense. I suppose you can’t win them all.

After the music ended, another little posse of people returned to K-Town seeking sweets. We found tofu and dumplings instead. The dumplings were mediocre but the company was good so we sat and chatted until rather later than I’m used to remaining awake these days.

In a related phenomena we slept until noon the next day.

When we finally rolled out of bed on Sunday, it was time for crepes and coffee before catching the A train up to the Upper West Side. One of our dance friends is off to Shanghai for a few months leaving her apartment open at exactly the right moment for Chuck to transition into the city. Looking at the spacious expanse of that apartment, a one bedroom for only $400 a month more than mine, made me seriously consider moving farther out in order to have a bit more space, but then I thought about my commute and suddenly there was no debate. No amount of floor space could compete with a ten minute commute every morning.

By the time we made it back to the LES, it was nearly time for dinner. We started with dumplings and chive pancakes at my beloved North Dumplings to pad our stomachs before finally testing the quality of the $1 oyster happy hours that ring my apartment. I’ve never really eaten oysters so I started gently with only a few of the tasty little morsels, focussing my energy on a $5 glass of wine and a delicious honey, fig, and strawberry wreathed burrata on bread. Just as happy hour slipped away, another dance friend joined us and we spent the following hour finishing our drinks and talking computer science, linguistics, and philosophy. It felt very intellectual indeed (even if I didn’t entirely understand the bulk of the computer science topics). As we swallowed the last sips of wine, it was time to take off and somehow we took flight in the approximate direction of North Dumplings. Yup, more dumplings with a side of sesame pancake stuffed with carrot and bok choy. The prices, the speed, and the flavour just cannot be beat.

And then it was home to bed. We woke up this morning to a beautiful sunny day which, alas, I spent almost entirely indoors. When I left the office, I set off directly to do laundry, finally got an NYPL library card, scarfed down some Williamsburg pizza (it’s the best) and now I’m here, tapping away on my keyboard and hoping the weather holds until the weekend when I can actually get outside.

With tummy and to-do list equally full,
The Salsa Girl


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