Monday, August 16, 2010

Week. End.

I feel like I am living for weekends these days. I find myself looking more and more forward to Fridays, making this a particularly painful topic for a Monday. Fortunately, that's mostly a reflection on the great weekends we've been enjoying lately and not necessarily the daily grind of the weekdays.

We made a daytrip to Fire Island with the Smiths and Cromars. And while the summer cold made for an achy bod and a confusing exchange with a waitress, it was not enough to put a damper on beach time with a few of our favorites. In moving out here, I never really thought of the city in terms of nearby beaches. But yes, as a matter of fact, we are near the water. How's that for weekend recreation and also an explanation of early colonization of the area?
The next weekend, Wheelers indulged us by joining in on our free/last-minute (typical.) plans - a Friday night showing of BIG at the Hudson River Park. I have two very salient memories from watching that movie as a kid - the trampoline in the loft and the scene where he cries himself to sleep at the seedy hotel in the theater district. In fact, if you're one of the people I've spoken with lately about NYC's dramatic transformation in the last few decades, this is usually the scene I'm picturing when I discuss the NYC in the '80s. What evidently did NOT stick from my childhood viewing of BIG was the love scene and story - i.e. a major point of the plot. A majorly awkward point of the plot.

We also took a trip up to the Bronx for an afternoon at the zoo with Hydes and Arnetts. We appreciated Arnetts' little guy for lending a little credibility to our cause by bringing down the mean age of the group.
And this weekend, we were delighted with a surprise visit from the Morrises. Ashlee and I were roommates during the DC chapter, and she and her husband Nate are still there tearin' up that town. We enjoyed lots of great conversation, statistically-improbable stories about Nate's lineage, no-strings-attached free bowling and the best Indian cuisine we've had in the city.
Back up. Free bowling? Why, yes. We were perusing a street fair in the Village when a giant bowling pin approached bearing free bowling tickets. No strings attached. I know what you're thinking... "but Allison, where they really get you is the shoes." No. Also free. Nearly the perfect diversion for four wanders, except that -- hitch -- all of us were in sandaled feet. No socks and bowling shoes? Pass. But leave it to the street fair to solve all our problems with the socks and underwear booth.

$2 and three pairs of ankle socks later (that's all I had in cash, and that socks salesman drives a hard bargain. Noah just ended up bowling in his street shoes.), we were bowlers. We bowled.
We didn't realize we had a ringer in our midst until Nate divulged his deepest, darkest secret: South Carolina state CHAMPION in doubles bowling. With his grandfather. That is the swagger of a man who knows his way 'round the alley.
Which is why Noah earned some serious bragging rights when he came out victorious. That is the stance of a man who beats the South Carolina state champion in doubles bowling.
It did get me thinking... Nate, was grandpa the weaker link? If so, no disrespect to grandpa, but you and Noah could pair up and really show SC a thing or two. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

City Perks

Living here has its perks.

The fact that nearly every new product is marketed here means sometimes we are handed free granola bars as we walk down the street.

The fact that it's a major, major metropolitan area means sometimes Noah gets to check things off his bucket list.
Still waiting for that really awesome day when he gets both.

Many thanks to the organizing minds behind the outing for making all of Noah's dreams come true.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Do I Know You?

I've always creeped myself out a little bit with my superhuman memory. Like the time when I was 10 and I was at Classic Skating with some friends (what's the trashy equivalent for "did I just date myself?" ... "did I just white trash myself?") and I saw a guy and I knew his name was Chris* and the only reason I knew that was from looking at my sister's junior high yearbooks? Not even like Chris was a hunky guy or anything. I just saw his name, saw his face, and somehow committed it all to memory.

Not sure why I used to pass the time looking at my siblings' year books. But I did that. A lot.

Moving on...

We hop on the subway to head home last night and I'm standing next to this girl I know. Like I know I know. And I don't know her name or really anything else about her. But I know for almost-certain she and I were camp counselors at the same summer camp six years ago with 200+ other counselors and true - we didn't actually know each other all that well even at the time - but I'm pretty sure that's why I know this face.

The guy talking to her has a Russian accent, and I think to myself, "well - if she's Russian, we have our answer." Pretty sure girl from camp = not Russian.

But then I hear her talk and accentless. So now I'm even more convinced. And I do it. I play the creeper stranger card. "This is probably really strange to ask, but..." Because you know it's going to drive me crazy if I don't.


Sure enough. Counselors at the same girls camp in Maine six summers ago. And now we're standing next to each other on a subway car in Manhattan reintroducing ourselves.

It makes me think the universe sometimes does things just to see if we'll notice.

As we walked home, Noah told me about this NY public radio interview he listened to about face blindness. Or, more accurately, prosopagnosia. It sparked the most fascinating conversation about what it would be like if that was your reality. Meeting people and promptly forgetting them. One example shared in the interview (we went straight home and unloaded the dishwasher as we listened to this interview. it's always a party at the Riley pad.) was even to the extent that the man didn't recognize the woman he lived with for two years upon seeing her again. This is unreal to me - I can't even imagine. And it has my mind going about 200 mph just thinking of what that must be like.

By the way, this also happened to me a few weeks ago when we were headed uptown to meet some friends. The familiar face and I kept exchanging glances, so I was sure he recognized me, too. Totally thinking I've probably met this person at some church function. Maybe I should be nice and go out on a limb first. Toss a "remind me where we've met" out there. But before I could make a total fool of myself I realize it's this guy. Kidding, I just wanted a reason to say that again :). It was this guy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The tastiest corner of this city just so happens to lie 10 floors below our very feet.

48th and 6th.

That's where the fruit guy and gal set up shop each afternoon. Bearers of berries. Purveyors of peaches. Pickers of plums. Champions of cherries. Merchants of mangoes. The colossus of clout. {*The colossus of clout.*}

We're not on a first-name basis. But he calls me sweetheart. And I ask about her daughter.

I peeked out Noah's office window this afternoon to be sure they were there, then ran down for my daily ration of goods.

I was greeted with a smile, an explanation to other fruit seekers that I get to pick out my own fruit (being a daily customer comes with its perks) and an inquiry, "where have you been? haven't seen you in a while!"

I didn't have the heart to tell them I made a Costco run last week. And we didn't need their services for a few days while we polished off seven pounds of grapes, four pounds of strawberries, three pounds of cherries, three pounds of blueberries, three mangoes, two muskmelons, two pineapples and a bunch of bananas.

I felt like I'd cheated on them.

They sure showed me what I'd been missing.
Those peaches are the size of softballs and those apricots are 10/$1.00. Better believe we're making jam.