First off, I don't have a boyfriend anymore. And I'm losing a friend at the same time. But that's not what I want to write about in response to my dad's most recent entry.
What I do want to write about is how I spent my day after work was over that day, about a week ago. I can't remember why, but they decided to have a party at work with catered frou-frou sandwiches, beer, and wine. Yes, beer and wine. At 1pm. Was this a good idea? Two large paper cups of white zinfandel said it was, and then I actually went back to work for a little bit.
I left the office around 3 pm ('cause they let us leave early) and decided that today was going to be my day to celebrate the solstice. I got $60 dollars out of the bank ('cause we also got paid today) and took a bus up 8th Avenue along Central Park. Now, I have to tell you that even though I've lived in one of the five boroughs for three years, I've never really hung out in Central Park. I walked through it once, but along the bottom edge, and I didn't get to really explore it before I rushed off to meet... the new ex downtown. Today I was going to explore. But I was going to drink first. And I was going to do it in the most gaudy way possible.
One of my favorite books as a kid was Remember Me to Harold Square by Paula Danziger. The protagonist is a girl who loves to eat at the Tavern on the Green because it's so shiny and sparkly and glitzy inside. The cynical New Yorkers that I patrol as a moderator for a high-traffic list every day say that it's schmaltzy, overpriced, and a tourist trap. Nonetheless, drinking at the Tavern on the Green's outdoor patio was just what I needed, along with a cigarette. I didn't buy them at the gift shop because they were charging $9.75 for a pack. Instead I walked over to Columbus Ave. where they were only charging $8 a pack. I walked back, and right through to the bar, where you actually couldn't smoke at the bar, but at the tables waaaaay in a corner where the waiters wouldn't even come over to serve you. Whatever...
The merlot cost $10 plus tax and tip, and it was pretty good. What wasn't good was having to watch out for tree debris as the wind ruffled through the branches. I like a strong bodied merlot, but I don't like the tree debris additives. I sat and chain-smoked, and fielded phone calls and text messages from concerned friends, letting out a torrent of curse words within hearing distance of some ladies who were having an early dinner with a kid in tow. Boy did I feel embarrassed. When I was done with my second glass, I even went over to their table to apologize and the ladies were nice enough to say that they didn't even notice me cursing. I also applauded when this bride came in to celebrate the wedding she just had. She looked lovely.
From the Tavern on the Green, I walked past the Sheep Meadow to an area where there was a wide street and guys skateboarding. That would have been fun to watch for a while, but on the other side of the street were some guys playing street hockey. That threw me back into the wayback machine and back to when my very first boyfriend and I were dating and he got me into roller hockey a little. I asked the guys if I could sit down and watch for a while, and it felt really good to be able to follow the puck and cheer the guys on. When I'd had my fill, I walked up from there towards the Bandshell, and watched this inspirational speaker guy film a video for the teaching guide he's selling with his book that's coming out in the fall. From there, I walked towards the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace and had my second Thoth sighting, and tossed a dollar to this two banjo/one soprano saxophone band that was noodling away in a corner. The Lake beckoned, and I followed the path around to the Loeb Boathouse where alack! they were no longer renting bikes for the day. Must go back to the Park to rent a bike for a while. I lost myself in the Ramble for a bit (and firmed up my plans to hang with my friend Hilary later on), eventually coming out on the other side of the Lake near the Bow Bridge. I crossed it, taking the time to appreciate the views on either side and wondering exactly how many movies had been filmed with that bridge in them. Too many, I think.
From there, it was back to Cherry Hill and back towards the Sheep Meadow area, even though I didn't know at the time I was heading back that way. My hips had started to hurt after all the Ramble-ing, and I just wanted to get back on the bus to go to Penn Station. I did know, however, that I didn't want to leave by the same route, so instead of going towards the Tavern again, I walked a bit north of there, through a grassy lawn area where a lady's German Shepherd didn't want to be petted by me. No big deal, I thought, and had to walk a bit south again towards a break in the fence. I'm glad I went south again, because I ended up stumbling upon an open-air performance of All's Well That Ends Well, at a part where a kilted ruffian was trying to get a woman to promise to either stay away from the king or be his mistress. I couldn't tell because he was projecting so much better than she was. And then some Lord came around the corner, in a Napoleonic era type uniform. From a distance, he looked like Patrick Stewart, and kinda declaimed like him as well. I swooned, but not for too long because I had to meet with Hilary in Flushing, and it was past 7:30 pm. So I eventually made my way out of the park and wound up around 79th St., I think.
That ramble through the Park was very, very fun. I'm so very glad I did it. It reminded me of how beautiful life is, how mysterious, how serene, how painful. It reminded me of why I love New York City, and why I'm not going to let anyone push me around anymore.