My mid-week colleagues on the boardwalk

 

Would you like to see what some folks are doing while you (we) are slaving under the bright, white florescent lights? These are from my trip to Atlantic City a few Wednesdays ago before my current consulting project started. It’s not healthy for me to revisit these photos—it warps my perspective—but I’ll suffer them for your sake, dear reader.

You can cast from the beach. This guy was young enough to work. I wonder why he’s not at a desk? He didn’t get a bite the whole time I was watching but that’s hardly the point, is it?

ac+3

There’s a colony of feral cats that live under the boardwalk. You can tell they’re related because they all pretty much look the same. The locals provide food and shelter for them. This old salt better be careful with that second-hand smoke.

ac+5

This is how I aspire to live one day. The beauty of nothingness. Sit on the beach, wiggle your toes in the sand and read some nice, trashy literature.

ac+4

They do it down on Camber Sands
They do it at Waikiki
Lazing about the beach all day,
At night the crickets creepy
Squinting faces at the sky
A Harold Robbins paperback

Pulling Mussels
Squeeze

Yup. They surf in New Jersey. You wouldn’t think so. The water is still quite cool, so everyone wore wet suits.

ac+2

The waves are usually pretty tame unless there’s a nor’easter roaring up the coast.

ac+1

This food cart serves meals from the four main food groups: sausages, hot dogs, corn dogs and nachos w/ cheese. What? Don’t pretend you’ve never eaten Boardwalk food before and loved every bite.

ac+6

Gitcher Yogi on Broadway

Last week I mentioned that there’s an early morning T’ai Chi class in Bryant Park. It’s free. All you have to do is show up. But if 7:30 is too early in the morning for you, you can always participate in the afternoon yoga sessions. I like to watch.

yoga+1

Not surprisingly, the yoga sessions draw a much larger crowd than the T’ai Chi lessons. I always thought that yoga had to be performed in a quiet, spiritually-galvanized environment. This takes place just steps away from 6th Avenue and 42nd Street. There’s nothing quiet about that! But the area is quite spiritual. To me.

yoga+2

* * *

I stopped in a deli to grab a bite before a meditation class. Note to self: eating a big pastrami on rye with mustard is NOT the optimal meal just prior to meditation. I was suppose to concentrate on my breath but all I could think about was how tight my belt suddenly felt.

The waitress, a smokey, thunder-thighed beauty, looked down at me through sleepy, bedroom eyes, took my order and said, in a breathy voice that was tinged with a thick Russian accent, “Pleees help yoursef to the peekle bar.”

Oh, mama. The pickle bar. I was in the right place, alright.

After my sandwich, she handed me a complimentary lemon scented moist towelette. How thoughtful! I reeked of pastrami and many peekles so I could have used a toothbrush, as well.

PIC+2

I flipped it over and couldn’t help noticing that there were instructions!

PIC+3

Tear open packet, unfold MOIST TOWELETTE and use. Do people really need to be told how to use this product? Are there people who wipe the packet on their faces without removing the moist towelette?! How strange.

Scarlet’s meme via Leah. [Ha. See what I did there?]

I was tagged by Leah, who was tagged by Scarlet. The mission, which I gladly accepted, was to answer the 10 questions Leah wrote. In turn, I am to write 10 questions of my own and tag six people. We’ll see about the tagging part when I get there.

1. What is your least favorite piece of clothing that you own? (from Hedgehog)
These. My living nightmare.

shoe

They’re from Kenneth Cole. They’re like clamping two steel bear traps to my feet. After walking 10 blocks, I can feel the blood pounding in my ankles.

2. Gravity or magnetism? (Sarge)
Gravity. I feel it pressing down. Don’t you?

3. Would you rather fantasize, or act it out in real life?
If I act it out, I’ll hurt a lot of people who I care about. It wouldn’t be worth it. It’s best to keep it as a fantasy.

4. What is a name, other than your own, that you think suits you?
Call me Ishmael. I have an Ahab or two in my life and few great white whales that could use slaying, as well.

Fun fact #1: I took Mrs. Wife’s name when we got married. I think my new name suites me better than my old name ever did.

5. Tell us about a nice thing a stranger did for you.
Many years ago, I was on the subway platform at 42nd Street waiting for the downtown #1 train. I was reading the passage in Ian Fleming’s CASINO ROYAL where Bond was being tortured. He was tied to a cane chair with the caning cut out of the seat and was repeatedly hit in the testicles.

I wasn’t feeling well that day and the scene hit a raw nerve. I PASSED OUT! Right there in the middle of the subway platform! I hit the cement like a sack of potatoes. When I came to a few moments later, I was surrounded by caring New Yorkers. (Not gawkers!) Someone gave me a peppermint candy thinking I was diabetic. The train came. It was packed, but the crowd bullied a guy out of his seat so I could sit down. Absolutely true story.

Fun fact #2: On the flip side of receiving a stranger’s kindness: Occasionally, I will anonymously pick up the lunch/dinner tab for tourists when I’m in a diner. If I see a couple with backpacks pouring over a street or subway map, on my way out, I’ll pay their bill and instruct the waitress to tell them, “Welcome to New York!” It gives them a New York story to tell when they get home.

6. What was your favorite childhood toy?
Silly putty. To this very day I still keep a large wad to work.

7. Do you hold a grudge, or let things go easily?
Holding a grudge seems to be a natural part of the human condition, but a few years of meditation have taught me what a useless waste of time it is. I know someone who likes to say, “I forgive, but I don’t forget,” which is such a dark, evil thing to do. Forgetting lies at the very core of forgiving. They want to feel good about themselves by believing they have a forgiving nature without doing any of the heavy lifting. For shame.

I’m sorry, what was the question?

8. Favorite children’s book?
As I pointed out in an earlier post, I was not read to as a child and didn’t read for pleasure until I was 21. To Kill a Mockingbird did it for me and we don’t need to re-hash that story. I remember reading A Wrinkle in Time. The fact that I actually remember reading it is significant. Also, I remember using my mom’s lipstick to color Dr. Seuss’s Put Me In The Zoo. So that was an early influence.

9. Something you’re proud of?
I’m a much [much] better father than my dad ever was. But the bar wasn’t set very high so I don’t want to pat myself on the back too hard. My goal is to never have my daughters look back and say, “My father was a little man and a fool” (as I do). So far, so good, but it’s early. I have plenty of time to blow it.

10. Which of the following four artworks do you relate to most, on first glance, and why?

art

I’m particularly fond of Picasso’s blue period but even more than that, I am such a sucker for R. Crumb. I made a point of seeing the original drawings from his Book of Genesis Illustrated when they went on display and it was a big thrill for me. The other three works, obviously, have more artistic merit, but Mr. Natural always puts a smile on my face.

I hope you don’t mind my saying so, but your choices have a distinct female bent to them.

* * *

Here are my ten questions. As always with these things, feel free to jump on board or take a pass.

1. George Bush. Lindsay Lohan. Dick Cheney. You have to sleep with one, marry one and kill one.

2. Would you prefer a comfortable relationship that was passionless or a torrid affair that’s riddled with angst and uncertainty?

3. What is your drink of choice?

4. Would you rather work an interesting job that was low-paying and be under constant financial duress, or have a comfortable lifestyle with a job that wasn’t very satisfying (but not a nightmare)?

5. You are boarding a plane tomorrow morning. Where are you going?

6. What was the last piece of music you purchased?

7. If a book isn’t working for you, do you hang on hoping for redemption or bail out?

8. Is it easy for you to admit when you’re wrong? Let’s be honest here.

9. Do you think fame is a useful tool or more trouble than it’s worth? If it came knocking on your door, would you open it?

10. Fill in the blank. I wish my parents had not __________.

I’ll tap

Here in Franklin

Daisyfae

Nimpipi

Annie

Savannah

And I would love to hear Jo’s answers, but she is in transit and is not likely to read this post for a few weeks.

Again, feel free to answer all, a few, swap out these for some of Leah’s questions or take a mulligan.

Burn, bury or bequeath? Please advise.

If you walk down into my New Jersey suburban basement and look behind the laundry machines in a dark corner, you’ll find this storage container:

jnl+4

It is chock-filled with my old journals. I don’t call them diaries because that would be a bit girlie, wouldn’t it? Journals sounds much more literary. They cover my early- to mid-20s when I first got to New York City. I think. I haven’t been in them for quite some time and am not entirely sure about the time frame.

There are over a dozen filled notebooks.

jnl+2

Additionally, there are five black binders filled with single-spaced type written pages. There’s just shy of 800 pages in total. (Yes, they’re numbered. That’s how I roll.)

jnl+1

I’m starting to wonder what to do with these. Pretty much the LAST thing I want is for anyone (i.e., The Daughters) to stumble across them. I never considered the problem until just recently. 8-Year Old is gobbling up books at a pretty good clip. So she has skills.

The problem is the content. These were written during a period in my life when I had nobody to talk to. Basically, I vented to pieces of paper and typewriters. The result is that the content is, by and large, unrelentingly dreary. This is where I poured my guts out, and pour I did. To read them, you’d think I had a miserable, wretched existence. We’re talking Dickens. But that’s not the case. I just needed an outlet for my dark thoughts.

I am adamantly opposed to having anyone read these, but I can’t bring myself to set them on fire yet. I tried once. What do I do?

Incidentally, I can assure you that there’s no buried treasure here. There’s no Hollywood ending. It’s very, very, very boring stuff. For real.

a.m. New York

My current employer is located in midtown Manhattan. This affords me :90 minutes in Bryant Park before I start my day. I arrive around 7:15 a.m. There aren’t many people around.

cp+2

I sit at the same table for the view and to access the outdoor electrical outlets they’ve installed. I can plug in! I watch the city come out of its sleepy fog.

cp+3

Today there was a man practicing his bagpipe.

amzing

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound.

Oh Danny boy
The pipes, the pipes are calling.

All the hits. It pays to put your earbuds away and listen to the world around you.

There’s an early morning T’ai Chi class that’s open to the public. People walk up, put their bags and briefcases down and enjoy a low-impact workout. I prefer a muffin and coffee in the morning.

Every summer, they open a patio in the southeast corner of the Park. There are Adirondack chairs and porch swings. It’s really lovely. You can grab a cat nap before heading to the office. It’s also a nice place to pass away, if it happens to be your time.

cp+1

I could spend the whole day doing this. I could spend a lifetime doing this.

* * *

It’s been four days since my cell phone went for a swim in a pool. It’s been sitting in a bag of rice on my car dashboard all that time. I was assured by many sources that the combination of the extreme heat and the rice would draw the moisture out, but it’s still dead, dead, dead.

I decided to try and use this as a lesson in Buddhist detachment. I want to be less dependent on material things. After all, technology was suppose to set us free but I look around and it seems that we’re all enslaved by gadgets. Well, my plan hasn’t worked in the least. I miss my phone and want it back. Right NOW. I miss texting. I’m just a failed Buddha.