Monday, July 18, 2005

Hello. How are you? I am fine. I had a busy weekend. I don't know what the weather was like where you are, but here in the city it was like moving through hot soup. And still is, actually. Man.

I did a fun thing on Saturday: I partook of an organized amazing-race-style hunt through Central Park. It was organized by a social club that I don't want to name (and make it easy to google), but it's an affinity group for the meal between breakfast and dinner. The whole point of this group is to make new friends; it's not a singles club, though it sort of seemed like some were hoping that it was. I went into it with no expectations. I got put into a group of 7 people; two other women and four men. My team was very bent on winning, and I like to win, so it was actually pretty damn fun. As soon as we got the map and the packet of questions and puzzles, we sat at a table and figured out our route through the park. An Indian woman saw us with our maps and said, "Excuse me, can you help us find something?" and one of the women in the group said "I'm sorry, we can't help anyone - we're in a race." Whoa! Later, at the finish line (a bar on 55th), she made fun of herself about this. It was interesting to talk to her, because I try to avoid competition, and she admits she's overly competitive and it often makes her crazed.

I know little to nothing about where stuff is in the park so I mostly let them take the lead. There are some gorgeous parts of the park that I've never explored, or haven't seen in years, like the Ramble and the whole Shakespeare's Garden area with the castle. I'll have to go back when it isn't 85 degrees and 110% humidity.

We got to the finish line a half hour before the deadline and we discovered we were first! We all sat down and had beers and chatted until the other teams arrived. One of the guys on my team works on The Daily Show and knows my friend-quaintence Eric very well. They've spent the last week getting a video ready for the Montreal comedy festival, about "behind the scenes at The Daily Show." It appears to be mainly Eric's project. This guy had also seen The Chipperton Family Vocal-tainers' Shooby Dooby Dooby Hour, and so I told him about my sister's involvement (building a fetus puppet that sings "Memories" in the show ... don't ask). So that was a cool bit of small-world-ness.

After everyone had shown up, the organizers checked everyone's answers, and declared us the winners. Yay! High-fives. Our prize? Five dollar gift certificates to Starbucks (insert defeated 'whah-whaw' horn sound here). But it didn't matter. I had to be somewhere at 7 so I left even though my teammates were all, "Stay and get drunk with us!" which was nice.

Later that night I ended up in Tompkins Square Park, sitting and watching the fireflies. I'd never been inside the park before (besides walking through it the previous night) because when I was in high school/college it was filled with squatters who had pretty much taken over the park completely, and sane people didn't really head anywhere near it. Now it's very nice and genteel. Plus, fireflies! Seeing fireflies in Manhattan made me feel a lot better about potentially living here.

Other city things I did/learned recently: I walked past the building depicted on Led Zep's Physical Graffiti album cover. I went to CB's (the attached gallery club next to CBGB's) where the Jack and Cokes are tiny and $7.50. (In Manhattan, Jack and Cokes are all made in these tiny juice glasses. What's up with that?) I walked through the West Village at night, which was beautiful and quiet. While I was there, some rich preppy people who looked straight out of an 80's teen movie asked me where Christopher Street was. I went to 15th Street meetinghouse, which Quakers have been meeting in since it was built in 1860. I and two other subway patrons argued with an MTA worker about being locked out of the 16th street exit five minutes early (the guy was in the middle of locking up the turnstiles, but it wasn't midnight yet, so we had walked out of one that was still unlocked) and forced him to unlock the exit gates so we could get out (pay another two bucks just to walk through to another exit? No way, man). I also tasted Tasty D-Lite for the first time; it's a very-low-cal soft serve chain that's everywhere in the city.

So that's what I've been doing, mostly.


Katie said...

Hey! I can't remember how I found your site, but your writing makes me so nostalgic for Manhattan. I spent some time there last spring and sigh sigh sigh do I miss it. Thanks for bringing me back! Katie

av said...

That sounds fun! What were the preppy people wearing?

debl said...

Thanks, Katie!

Av, I mainly remember the guy who spoke to me - it was two male-female couples - who was blone and overly tan, and was wearing a sportcoat and light-colored pants and something like boat shoes. I didn't look too closely, it's really just that his face had that half-lidded look just like that guy who played the main rich asshole in Some Kind of Wonderful - you know the one? Not James Spader (from Pretty in Pink), the other one who never acted again.

av said...

Ha! YUP, totally remember the dude with the constant sneer. And he's all like, "No, I want you to BEG." Then the punks and misfits take over his party, woo hoo! And he's like "Now, I don't want any trouble." TOTAL LOSER GOT WHAT WAS COMING TO HIM. I'm joking about how passionately I feel about this. But I do feel like Chris Farley going, "And remember when... remember?"

av said...

God, he looks like an out of work actor.,%20Craig&seq=5

geekfarm said...

I was in one of those wacky hunts once. I got involved through a local magazine. I was paired with four bald guys who really seemed to enjoy Wagner. When I told them about my sisters new girlfriend and how I was volunteering for the Kerry Campaign, we played this weird game where they threw me in the trunk and then left me in a field bleeding.
Scavenger hunts are cool!