Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Lost in a forest, all alone

Filed under : Life in general,New York City
On June 20, 2007
At 11:25 pm
Comments : 10

I got lost in the city today but it’s not like it sounds. I got lost in the woods. There were no buildings. There were no people. It was scary.

Allow me to explain. See, I walk home through Central Park a couple of days a week if it’s not hideously hot or raining or sticky-muggy. That’s why I can only do it two days a week. Sometimes there aren’t even two days in a week with walkable weather. I always take the same route, the most direct one, because I’m not really there to enjoy the scenery but rather to get some exercise in the cheapest, most expedient way possible. Actually, the most direct way is up Broadway but that takes me past Grom and Beard Papa and that sort of defeats the purpose of moving my ass in the first place. Plus there are lights I sometimes have to stop for and slow-moving people. In the park, I am the slowest person.

But today there were lots of other slow people, the people of the Chase Corporate Challenge. This is a race for people who are used to trying to get past the other guy with a Blackberry (soon to be an iPhone) and a Dell but now they are given the chance to win at all costs the old-fashioned way, with their feet and elbows. Fun! They were all penned off in their own area but I got distracted when I saw my cousin’s company all gathered on a patch of grass with a big banner and since she’s a runner I went off to see if she was there. Bad move. It pulled me off my usual route and took me into the middle, more parky area. Then I found myself in the penned-off area in the middle of lots of exhausted corporate types heading towards huge pallets of Powerade. Did I mention I never saw my cousin? I weighed asking someone else under the Acme Consultants sign if they knew her but I realized that if she did that to me, I’d punch her in the mouth. “Hey, do you work with Becca? Coolness!” Bleah.

So I meandered off on a path and that was an even bigger mistake. Suddenly I realized that the buildings beyond the trees that I use to guide me were very far beyond the trees and in fact, there was now a lake between us. How the fuck did that happen? One path led to another path and then suddenly there were no buildings. No buildings! Where’s my city? I saw a bridge but I couldn’t get to it. It was really woodsy and then came the part with no people. There was a map but it said I was in The Ramble. Ladies and gents, when you are lost, you just are not thrilled to be in a place called “The Ramble.” But at least I could kind of see where I was going. Alas, the lake is “under construction” (how is that possible?) and so there was a detour around it and the map was useless. I started to worry about someone plucking the expensive iPod out of my hand and running away through the trees. And I had just put four Simpsons episodes on it! I panicked when I saw two guys approach but then realized they were tourists with a camera that looked more expensive than my iPod. I started to think about robbing them. Then I saw another guy, fishing in the lake. I was too repulsed by the thought of fish from this lake to worry about being robbed and/or killed by him.

map of Ramble, Central ParkIronically, this map is from a site about fishing in Central Park. Yum! Notice all the circles? Me too! And see where it simply says “Ramble?” It’s all forest and labyrinthine dirt paths. And that’s before the detour.

And then I saw them: the buildings, they were back. And then there was my route. And then I heard a a car. Hallelujah! I know lots of people are scared of New York, but quite frankly, what scares me is the country or the woods where no one can hear you scream. Just as you probably visualize NY from Law & Order (or whatever your favorite crime drama which is invariably set here may be), I visualize rural areas as “Boys Don’t Cry.” Not that Central Park is rural, but you get me.

In case my workout wasn’t strenuous enough (and ironically, my friend Maureen and I were just discussing 5k races today – hey Maureen, I’m pretty sure I walked a 5k!), about four blocks from my apartment I saw a guy selling books on the sidewalk, as the more ambitious homeless do, and they included a large number of Jewish holy books. Lying on the pavement. Ugh. So I bought them all and carried them home. There was too much for me to carry in one trip and so I had to come back, still all sweaty, for another load. On the second trip, a religiousy guy who had done nothing asked me if he could have one. Fuck you! Man, I felt holy while I was saying those words in my head. Actually, our conversation went like all frum people conversations go, “and where do you go to shul, and where did you learn?” But as you can see, the conversation in my head went more like my non-religious-Jewy interactions go.

sfarimHere is just one of the piles. In the good news column, the vendor was so impressed that he said he’d never put books like that on the ground again. In the bad news column is the fact that I don’t believe him. He’ll probably just track me down and get another $30 out of me.

So in the end, as you can see, I was robbed.

Title comes from:
The Cure – A Forest


10 Comments for this post

  1. Alex says:

    And where are you going to keep all these books in your shoebox of a Manhattan apartment?

  2. Becca says:

    Apropos of nothing, anyone want some books?

    Oh, I kid, my far more studious siblings will get them.

  3. Maureen says:

    I am happy to look up the APs for book-carrying if you’d like. Maybe you get extra because they’re God-y books.

  4. Soxy says:

    I have questions:

    a) How does a homeless person carry around all those books in that heat?

    b) Did you see David Bowie in the Labyrinth*?

    *thank you, Google toolbar, for teaching me how to spell Labyrinth. And, if Google is reading, I know how to spell my own name, thankyouverymuch, although the suggestion of “Sexy” is greatly appreciated.

  5. Becca says:

    Maureen, what I want to know is, if God really loves people, why are His books always in hardcover?

    a. He had a cart. He even offered it to me to haul the books away in but it looked kind of skanky.
    b. No, unless that was him fishing. I didn’t get a good look.

    *haaaa, FireFox spellcheck offered me boxy, Roxy, and foxy. I’m going to go with that last one.

  6. KP says:

    I took a wrong turn after the mention of Beard Papa and almost got lost myself.

    Soxy/Sexy…same thing

  7. sarpon says:

    What kind of Jew are you? You should have told the religiousy guy he could have any book he wanted, for the low low price of $31.00.

  8. Soxy says:

    I appreciate you not going with the first one!

  9. JF says:

    You almost scared me with your central park adventure.

    I should write the French version, something like “Panique au Luxembourg”.

    And in the end, I’d buy some book at a “bouquiniste”, like I did once, called “Les grands initiés, esquisse de l’histoire secrète des religions – Rama, Krishna, Hermès, Moïse, Pythagore, Platon, Jesus” and when I google it I realized it was from an awful obscure right wing historian. Never buy a book from a Bouquiniste.

  10. Becca says:

    KP, precisely why I try not to pass there, although now that it’s warm I’m much more a Grom girl.

    Sarpon, I’m also a New Yorker. The kind that derives great pleasure in owning certain things not because one wants them but rather because it spites other people. If it spites my neighbors that’s the best yet.

    Moxie would have been good, why didn’t they offer moxie? Or pixie, even better.

    JF, you see it’s universal. Because secondhand booksellers get their wares from people who have thrown them out. And then you realize you have bought a book that someone else thought should be in a garbage can.

    But “Panique au Luxembourg” would be a great name for a band in any case.

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