I was doing so well! Blogs like clockwork every Monday! But I slipped. I always slip. And here we are on a Tuesday at 10:20pm just starting to scribble. I’d apologize, but honestly, I’m just too darn tired.
Last Tuesday, after an afternoon that reminded us all just how awful human beings can be, I found my way up to the Red Cross in Midtown West. It was a rather fitting day to have an appointment, not only because of the afternoon’s tragic events but also because it was Halloween. Who needs a mythical vampire when you’ve got an all too human one draining a pint out of your elbow. I had waited this long to donate in the US because, honestly, I was a little freaked out by the privatization. Where both Ireland and Canada each have only one national blood donation organization, here there are tons of different organizations all collecting blood. I feel like they cannot possibly be as well regulated. But as the proud owner of O+ filled veins, I decided that I’d take the chance and go anyway, which is how I found myself in a large, dark, cavernous building, winding down hallways until I found the very ghetto little cluster of rooms that housed the blood drive. It was a very vampiric opening scene but was soon replaced by some equally sketchy but far more brightly lit scenes. In a booth formed of those lovely carpeted cubicle dividers that we all love so well, I was questioned, had my iron tested, and had my blood pressure taken with a stethoscope and arm band. A novel experience to be sure.
Once I’d passed the preliminary questioning, I was laid out on a gurney and speared. I wasn’t allowed to sit up, there was no fancy pants blood rocker to keep everything running smoothly, and they cleaned my skin with iodine. I was a bit baffled but nonetheless bled quickly enough and was soon on my way.
I then drifted back down to the Lower East Side where I met Mandy at a Pho shop for hot, hearty soup. As we sat there slurping noodles, and watching the costumes fly by. Yes, in this big bad city, the little children trick or treat the neighbourhood restaurants. Streams of the little beggars came rushing in some running excitedly, others walking shyly, all of them leaving with candy and smiles. Heading home from dinner, I treated myself to some dairy free ice-cream before climbing the five flights up to my freezing… But no, the heat was finally on! We’ve finally made the transition from frigid nights to the exciting game of dancing around the exposed steam pipe in the bathroom every time you have to use the toilet and praying that your depth perception and coordination carry you safely past the possibility of seared skin and subsequent scars unharmed. It’s an exciting little life I live.
The following day, I left work and walked through a veritable windstorm to get my hair cut. The haircut was good and the stylist was lovely but I was devastated to find that the salon only accepted tips in cash and I literally had a dollar. Yup. One lonely little dollar. The shame of leaving without tipping was palpable and worst of all, the stylist was already busy on another customer’s hair so I couldn’t even try to apologize or explain. I felt like the very worst. I will get over it.
With a fancy pants new haircut, I then set off for Carnegie Hall to catch a concert by Marc-Andre Hamelin. While waiting for the show to start, I had the delightful experience of eavesdropping on two very animated young ladies. One was a serial monogamist. The other wryly proclaimed that her longest relationship was with her IUD. I’d never thought of expressing my romantic failure thus, but perhaps next time someone asks.
The show itself was spectacular with a delicious bit of Debussy. There is something so singularly divine about Debussy. Next to Tchaikovsky, he’s probably my favourite and so completely different. And as if the program itself was not sufficiently impressive, we got TWO encores—the second of which was a Hamelin original composition. As I stood in the exit listening to the second encore, I found myself next to an usher who was also a percussionist and who was absolutely enamoured of the original composition. I wish I could have stayed briefly to chat with him about it but as soon as the piece ended the theatre began to empty and I was swept out towards dance.
Sometime entirely too late, I made my way home from dance and dumped myself into bed. Thursday found me packing my evening with extracurricular education. I started my evening with a research-in-progress series featuring some very interesting sociological work followed by a Model UN event with the Afghan Ambassador to the UN. It was an interesting experience. Firstly, there was a VERY loud party next door which made it quite a struggle to heard the soft spoken ambassador. Secondly, that which we could hear sounded rather orthogonal to the usual rhetoric. I understand that diplomats always seek to present their countries in the best possible light, but I wondered about the bias inherent there, especially when it came to the question of Pakistan. I do have to give the man credit however as he taught us a new word which wryly admitted to the ambiguity of all these good guy bad guy discussions. “Proxymoron: your terrorist is bad, my terrorist is good and vice versa.” I wish he’d woven a little more of that kind of realism and honesty into the rest of his presentation.
Friday, I took it easy, attending a talk on Asian urbanisms before heading home to rest. I thought about going out to salsa event but then the inertia of the apartment won and I just went to bed.
The rest proved to be a good choice however as it allowed me to peel myself out of bed in time for another free NYU yoga class and this one was hardcore. The teacher was a buff yoga bro of the personal trainer type. He worked us halfway to death but it was SO good. Someday I will conquer dolphin poses and arm balances. Saturday was not that day.
After yoga I moseyed over to Mandy’s for a little goodbye party featuring heavenly truffles, amazing shrimp salsa and a healthy helping of beer. It was a good time and come supper time, we were off to my beloved Souvlaki GR for food. We got a selection of delicious dips to share and I decided to try the Souvlaki Pita. It had fries on the inside! And it was surprisingly delicious, especially soaked in lamb juice. Once fed, we headed off to Gotham Soul for another night of swing.
Despite staying out quite late and not getting all that much sleep, my charming body decided that 8am was THE time to wake up. I’ve given up on fighting it so I just got up and started on my laundry. My afternoon featured a good bit of laziness and a productive practice with Patrick. We’re set to compete again in a few weeks so we’re very much committed to the idea of not making asses of ourselves. Wish us luck.
Post-practice, I had about an hour to kill so I dropped into a cafe and fell victim to my horrible awful curiosity. I knew matcha cider was a bad idea, I even asked the barista for details and got some solid New York sass, but even with that deterrent, I just had to try it. It wasn’t undrinkable, but I certainly won’t be ordering it again.
With a belly full of the fruits of my insatiable curiosity, I set off to meet some dance friends+ for dinner and a movie. Five of us met in a local Irish pub for burgers and beer before having to race out the door in an impressive hurry to meet our sixth and find our seats before the film got started. It was Thor: Ragnarok, and I have to admit that for the first about half, I was not impressed. It was trying far too hard to be funny. I do have to give them credit for parodying #followme but the characters were out of character and everything was just a bit to punchy and glossy and camp. Right about the time the villain showed up, however, things got an awful lot better and I began to get onboard. By the end I was sold so my advice is: bear with it at the beginning, it gets better.
Monday, of course, is that day in which you did not get a blog so I feel I must explain myself. It was an absolutely mad day at work, and as soon as I left I set off to help out a fellow volunteer tutor by meeting to hear her presentation required for an online class. She’d asked us all to help her out and said that it would be on 4:30 on Monday. I got there at 4:32 and no one was there. The cafe knew nothing about any presentation. I began to fear I’d gotten the wrong day or the wrong place. Cue frantic emails. Cue me still not understanding what on earth was going on as I received an email saying “yes, we’ll be at cafe X” 5 minutes after I would have expected them to already be there. Five minutes of waiting in confusion for clarification on a bench later, the volunteer in question rolled up as if I was the one somehow having been in the wrong. I tried to be patient.
Nonetheless, as I sat in a cafe on a very busy day having had the presenter be 10 minutes late for a 15-20 minute long presentation that ended up being 30-40 minutes, I have to say that my patience grew thin. I had budgeted 4:30-5:00 for this whole goodwill endeavour, so when I finally escaped at 5:30—there were only three of us there, I couldn’t leave in the middle—I was thoroughly enraged by the disrespect of my time. That the other listener was a laid back retiree who did everything painfully slowly did not help my mental state.
I raced home, edited a document, changed, and bounded back out towards yoga. Charmingly, the trains decided to join the party and I barely slipped into class just in time to stretch myself back into some semblance of shape. I left yoga starved out of my mind—something something not enough time for supper—and was delighted to find a text from Mandy offering leftovers from the Saturday party. I never say no to cake. I also do not dismiss chips and salsa so it was a lovely little interlude of much needed food and conversation and you all didn’t get a blog. I’m sure you’ll survive.
Today, I worked at home, in cafes, and at seminars before heading back to Brooklyn to tutor. Immediately after wrapping that up, I hurried through the pouring rain to Alvin Ailey for a beginner class. It was humbling to say the least and I’ve now been informed that we committed a fantastic faux pas, not only those that we made quite literally in class, but by daring to take a beginner class without having attended months of absolute beginner class. In our defence, there was no requirement to that effect listed, and 2/3 of us had at least 9 months of ballet under our belts. It’s days like this that I wish for cultural capital.
And now I am here, feeling very well stretched, very well humbled, and utterly exhausted.
Catch you on the flipped,
The Salsa Girl