* frapped out my knee (again) the day before the trip. that, a poorly adjusted backpack and nearly a mile of walking made for a fair amount of pain by the time i got to manhattan. and the fair amount of pain and less than 3 hours of sleep made for me missing the connecting train that ~would~ have taken me right to the doorstep of my hotel, leaving me 1/2 mile away from my destination. when i realized my mistake, i went back down the stairs (ow ow ow…) and asked the dear woman in the booth what station i needed to get off at to pick up the correct line.
she just looked at me soberly and said, “it’s only three blocks. you can walk.”
i feebly tried to explain about the knee and the backpack and how i just needed to confirm the station, and she repeated: “it’s just three blocks – just go back up the stairs (me in my head – ‘ow, ow, OW!!!’) and head that way.”
i wanted to say they were 3 BIG blocks. she wasn’t gonna tell me. so i walked. new york, y’always make me stronger.
* fantastic hanging out with the Little One in ~her~ city. biggest complaint: her walking idiom & my walking idiom are completely opposite. maybe next time i’ll take her offer of getting a cab so we can avoid that nonsense altogether.
* great dinner 1st night at Gina LaFornarina. kept thinking tho (cuz i know these things) that the square-footage-per-table would not meet the World Health Organization’s minimum requirements for food service in a refugee camp.
* headed down to the flower district wednesday morning to try to find the store owner who caught – and held – my attention last time i was in the city. he grows orchids. total crush. found him – had a lovely and brief chat. now i have to decide if i go back and say, “you know, we talked 4 months ago, and i came all the way down here just to chat again….”
* charmed and amused by the devotion of the store owners to the little spots of sidewalk outside their doors. early morning is a fluster of hoses and brooms and activity. one fellow, i saw, tucks a feather duster behind the post of a payphone for constant fine attention to the smallest debris that blows onto his curbside merchandise table. they reminded me of the little deep sea crabs who create their nesting holes, and constantly pop out to move away any small pebble that’s deposited by the tide.
* discovered a local chain called Pret A Manger that advertises “organic steel cut oats.” after having all of one meal of solid food in 4 days, that sounded like the best thing on earth.
* despite my best efforts, i could not get them to serve me steel cut oats for lunch.
* you know the saying, “something that tries to do everything won’t do anything well”? that’s my new travel camera. it can detect winks (!!!) and has a “pets” mode. not a fan.
* there is a distinct nyc subway culture, and now i am curious if it is different from nyc bus culture. for one thing, there are no fat people on the subway. i wonder if it has to do with the interminable flights of stairs.
* if i go back to talk to flower-shop-guy, i might need hair product.
* when i was very young, “bird” was a singular and huge category. over the years, the difference between Robin and Blue Jay and Crow and Cardinal became immediate and unquestionable. it was lovely to discover that i’ve lived enough to see that immediate distinction with people — even before they spoke, i was recognizing Russian and Ukrainian and Irish and French and Japanese and Korean. part of it was in dress and haircut, but even more so was in deportment, and how they carried their face.the language we speak – the way we must move lips and tongue and cheeks and eyebrows – quickly writes itself into the flesh.