Sunday, February 15, 2004

NY Journal # 8

NY Journal # 8
Ok. So as to avoid my usual 2-to-3-month-interval between Journals, I'm going to start tackling different topics and then revisiting them as need be to cover aspects I forgot to mention or updates to situations, characters, events, etc...

My life, these days consists of waking to alarm-clock-like kittens walking on my head or sprinting around the apartment until I get up, then coffee and cereal while scouring the internet job search boards, listings, online newspaper job boards and the like, sending resumes & cover letters and phone calls when numbers are available. Since I am still moderately comfortable taking a break between jobs, the relative lack of employer response is not too troubling. Having spent 6 1/2 years at MCI (with 3 1/2yrs at MediaTel leading into MCI) I am trying to fully appreciate the mental health aspects of joblessness while suppressing the inherent guilt whose force I had underestimated.
Being as how I have probably logged a full month in this park, time tolled since the layoff, it seems most appropriate to lead off with thoughts on the park.
Granted, nothing helps you fully get a feel for a place like spending most of your afternoons in it, but even aside from that, Washington Square Park (WSPk going forward) has grown on me, or I on it to a point where I'm comfortable with thinking of it as 'my park'. Not mine alone of course, that would kind of cut down on the fun of people watching.
The majority of park time is spent reading and people watching with football-tossing, bocci and eating coming a close second. or 3rd, 4th & 5th if you prefer.
READING: Five novels in two months is not a lot for some people I know, but for me, having read maybe five novels in the five YEARS prior to this, it's significant. Since resuming enthusiasm for reading is a cumulative process, sci-fi has been the easiest avenue of interest to reach that place where when you ask yourself what you want to do now, "reading" comes to mind first.
::::What I've Been Reading: Altered Carbon by Richard K Morgan... best book I've read in 7 years or more.. since the William Gibson trilogies- good lord it's amazing. Seriously, I cant recommend Altered Carbon enough. Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin... I've had this multi-award-winning novel among my books for probably 16 years- if it was wine I'd say it was worth the wait. Sadly (or not) I could have enjoyed it's goodness years ago. Excellent, captivating. Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins... Ok, not sci-fi but it IS Tom Robbins so I figured it would be as spellbinding as his other novels- not so unfortunately. After The Quake by Haruki Murakami... again, not sci-fi and sadly again, not his best by any means- check out Wind Up Bird Chronicles for excellent Murakami goodness. Lies, Inc by Philip K Dick... one of the best first 100 pages of any book I've read, the middle portion is not always coherent, the ending closes nicely enough - well worth it for the beginning of the book alone.
PEOPLE WATCHING: Needless to say, parks in New York provide quite the opportunity for people watching of the good looking, the, umm.. not-so good, the hip, the square, young, old, sane, crazy-out-of-their-f#@%-gourds, tourist, local. It's a fairly even blend of all of the above and with the amount of time Matt and I spend in the park, we've seen a lot of each. The ones that stand out of course are the crazier of the bunch, the
RECURRING CHARACTERS: Crazy Headphones Boy... is a mid-20's somewhat-mentally-imbalanced homeless lad who, to his walkman accompaniment, has performed the hand & arm gestures of a rap artist on stage to the WSPk fountain-circle-sitters. As with most of the park characters, everyone ignores his antics... everyone except for those who get a kick out of his performances. When not 'on stage', he stares at girls with a crazy-man's crazy-smile and if they smoke, he bums a cigarette and then crazy-talks them into leaving the circle. Pants Cutter... is your average shirtless talk-to-selfer with the occasional erratic hand and head movements of borderline turrets syndrome and.. as you might guess, likes to 'tailor' his pants in the fountain circle with a dull knife, turning them into ragged shorts. Singing Scotty... is the spitting image of James Doohan who played Scotty on the original Star Trek. He... guess... guess..? Yep. sings. Loudly. The same half dozen songs. Over and Over. did I mention loudly? You don't like his singing? I'd advise against telling him so unless you like being yelled at for up to half an hour or more as he informs you how you are in a park that loves singing. His songs include the same four lines he knows from The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow from Annie, a few Neil Diamond songs and the National Anthem. Ricky/Noah(?)... is a 9 year old Latino boy who has a million questions to ask of anyone he feels like approaching. I happened to be next to one of his targets one day and got drawn in to the conversation that included questions to the girl like "what's your dogs name - how old is he - do you live here - do you have a boyfriend - do you have a husband - why not - are you a lesbian - why don't you date people - can I pet your dog - do you want a sour gummy bear - I'll go get some - I'll bet you don't know my name - it's Ricky!". Priceless. I was crying with laughter. A few days later he was back, talking to two guys next to me. He was obviously cracking them up to so I told them about Ricky and the girl from the day before. "Ricky? he told us his name was Noah" they said. They then got him to take a jokingly-junior-high-style note that said "if you like me check the YES box" over to some girls on the opposite side of the circle, which Ricky/Noah did without any qualms of embarrassment at all.
FOOTBALL-TOSSING: there's 5 excellent fields to chose from, though a few are better for people watching in between tosses. Mainly, throwing around the football IS just a device for people watching but it's of course also good for exercise, it's good for getting outside and enjoying the park and it's ..well... fun. Throwing a perfect spiral or making a one handed catch is a satisfying reward beyond description.
BOCCI: yep. A bocci court.. two actually, sit on the southern side of WSPk and are only used by true Bocci fans on the weekends, leaving it wide open for our use during the week.
EATING: Ahhh, the plethora of different types of food available in New York, especially around the park. A Sri Lankan/Indian food cart operator serves up Sri Lankan and Indian vegetarian food that is cheap and good beyond belief. There's pizza of course and $2 falafels and shwarmas, there's $3.50 jerk chicken sandwiches and other Caribbean goodies, there's chicken parmesan sandwiches, paninis, pierogies and piroshkis - you name it, it's within 2 or 3 blocks of the park and all gets taken to go, to be eaten in the park.
OK, that's enough for now. More later.
If anyone has any topic requests, let me know.