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Thursday June 01, 2000, 00:25

This is perhaps the longest single event or weekend that I've ever written about continously. Or rather, the single longest story ever told about a single event. Yeah, that's more accurate. There was that Chicago thing. And SXSW never even got written, I don't think. And this, this little trip to New York. This one gets all of my attention these days. It must actually be a mindset thing. I've been going out lately, I went out to dinner tonight in fact. But I feel like writing. Like telling stories. Making my voice heard.

Oh, and when I say that Joel has seen Rent 474 times I don't mean that in the way that people say "he weighed a million pounds." It actually means that the man has seen the show almost 500 times. That's a lot of performances. Just felt that the clarification had to be made.

After Rent I bid Joel goodbye ("You know where to find me," he said, when I left) and headed uptown. Actually, first I headed outside where I played the technology juggle and fished out my Palm to find Ruby's home number which I had foolishly not program into my cell phone. There is always that moment, when I am balancing the Palm on my bag, which I have swung around to my front and am using as a squishy table, where I fear that someone is going to come along and swipe it from me and I will be helpless to do anything because I will be too preoccupied with dialing my phone to do anything.

Well, that didn't happen this time. I talked to Ruby and decided that I would meet her up on 116th Street by Columbia. It was at that moment that we made the mistake of thinking that the C actually went where we wanted to go and decided to meet on that corner. This was a foolish assumption. Foolish because 8th Avenue turns into Frederick Douglas Boulevard up there, up in the middle of Harlem. And here I am, with my Manhattan Portage bag and overnight bag, standing around on a street corner not knowing where I am or when Ruby is going to show up.

Now it wasn't actually all that creepy being up there, and I think that the most disturbing thing about the whole experience would have been felt anywhere else in the city and that was the look of Not Knowing Where I Was. That is a particular look. One where you scan the streets, trying to figure out where you were to go if you were to start walking, but not actually having anywhere to go because you know that that is exactly where you are supposed to be, it's just not exactly what you expected. You practice, at that point, looking nonchalant while actively thinking of things to do so you're not just hanging out on the corner at which point it'll really look like you don't know where you are.

Ruby showed up and we started walking west, having a little chuckle about it and being more concerned that we were going to have to walk all the way to Columbia than the fact that we were in the middle of Harlem. We reached a park, and some stairs, and we climbed to the top and looked out over the city. So densly packed, so many people and buildings, and even some trees. It was pretty the way a city should be.

[ ruby overlooking harlem ]


I am sitting at home right now, having called in sick for the morning. I am doing work here, for a change of, things. Scenery perhaps. The office was getting too stifling. We shall see if home has too many distractions. If nothing else, it has a slower internet connection, so no surfing for me. There should be a way to turn off the web but not the rest of the internet. Oh yeah. Proxy. I mean I could do that, but then I'd be a big nerd.

Also, they wanted to turn off the internet at work becuase we're all being too unproductive. I would then be giving in to the demands of management, which would be no good at all.

At the Hungarian cafe, our final destination, we broke the rules and had dessert before any sort of dinner. It's okay, though, to break the rules every once in a while. In fact, I think that I have to learn to break the rules more often. Hello? Just out of college. Rules should not exist!

Ruby and I have known each other since the summer after my junior year of high school when we went to Japan on a summer exchange thing. It was her second year going, my first. We were in the same teaching group in San Francisco for our week-long pre-departure orientation program. I can't say that we actually spent that much time together there, nor during the actual trip, but we kept in touch, wrote letters, sent emails back and forth when she finally got email and visited each other in college.

Amazing how these relationships start off. I have been reminded of this a lot lately. Ruby. Catherine, whom I pestered into hanging out with me when I moved to New York. Rachel, whom I met and dragged along with me to the show where I met Catherine. Webs of fun, and all that.

There is something presumably more interesting and in-depth that I could say here, but I will leave it at the fact that the world is a strange, small, and wonderful place.

The rest of the weekend was relatively uneventful, but for two events. The first is that I got to see Hillary Clinton marching down the street in the town's memorial day parade. Yes, what fun. No, I was not there to see her. The thing is that i actually feel a strong sense of patriotism during these parades. I tend to think about what it means to be living in this country, how lucky I am, in many regards, and how, even if I don't understand or know anything about the politics surrounding the wars that this country has been in, there should be some respect paid to the people who died or fought in those wars.

So it was quite apalling to me to walk around the crowd at the Memorial in the middle of town where speeches were being made and not being able to hear over the barking of dogs, the screeching of children and the babble of the parents, none of them listening to what was being said up front. I was tempted at times to walk up to people and ask them whether they actually knew what they were doing at this parade. Are you here because you have a day off? Walking your dog? Your kid is in the band? You understand that this is a national holiday for a reason, right? Gah. People can be so rude sometimes.

Of course mix this with the secret service men wandering around the crowd and my father, a new member of the town volunteer fire department in his uniform, and it makes for quite the surreal experience. Oh yeah, and a high school friend of mine, the one who would have to get the AP exams postponed for him because he has Lyme disease, or had to drop out of the play he was doing because of his Lyme disease, or was just basically a big pain because of his Lyme disease, is not working the advance team for Hillary. Yeah. Surreal.

Oh, and let's mention the photo op that the first lady / senate candidate took after the service, which involved many pictures with the locals (I'll admit, I snapped a couple myself, though none posed with her thank you very much) and a high five with a child, slow motion, of course, to be captured by the press. Remind me never to get into politics, ok?

Home was home, the trip back to Boston went smoothly until we were stopped in Framingham due to "sparks coming from under one of the coach cars." There was no need to panic but "the fire department has been called" and "we dont't know how long we're going to be here." It turned out to be burning leaves underneath one of the cars, but still exciting!

Ok, perhaps not. The end of the weekend pretty much paled compared to the rest of it, and then it was back to work. Work, where I am not currently. Work, which is making me realize that I don't want a desk job. Work, which, I am realizing more and more, does not really need me.

Work, which I will now get back to doing so I do not feel like a total loser today.

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