Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Walk to Remember

I’ve been struggling with the idea of buying a phonograph and starting to collect records again. If it were just a matter of money, it’s not a problem of course, at least not in the short run. Especially since my company launched a spin-off IPO a couple weeks ago and I bought 250 shares at the initial price of $22 per share and now they’re worth almost $28 per share. So that’s like a $1,250 bonus when I cash out (unless the stock goes down).

No, the problem is space. I simply don’t have room on my dresser for another piece of equipment, especially a turntable that you have to access from the top. That, plus I don’t have a place suitable to store records, mostly on account of how many books and digital discs I own. It’s rare that I really, really want an affordable material possession that I simply can’t have. The wants that I can’t have are usually on the magnitude of Lamborghinis and penthouse apartments. But the massive changes I’d have to make in my space (or moving to a new space) to accommodate a turntable are too overwhelming to contemplate.

I suppose the right thing to do is to get rid of more old stuff so I can free up room for new things. I have tubs of junk that I need to sort through and get rid of, both in the apartment, in the office and stored in Yoshi. It’s kinda ridiculous.

Speaking of Yoshi, he’s been showing his 14-year age lately and I worry that I might have to put him out to pasture soon. I’ve been putting off things like new tires and brakes, but I won’t be able to much longer. So that’s another reason not to spend money too freely.

One thing about turntables is that it opens the door to a lot of extra purchases – performance upgrades, record cleaners, stylus cleaners, setup tools, etc. Not to mention that new vinyl costs more, sometimes twice as much as the CD or mp3 album. So buying a turntable is kind of like a starter baby for people who don’t have babies.


It’s been pretty quiet since my blowout birthday weekend, although last weekend was quite eventful. I found out my yoga teacher Emily is moving to California next month so I won’t be able to continue my practice with her, which is really sad. I’m trying to organize a going-away party for her at TSMC before she leaves.

The heat wave that’s been sapping my energy lately has finally started to break this week. The worst was the Poly Women’s Group at Kat’s non-air conditioned apartment in Queens on one of the hottest days of the year. But it was nice seeing Katie, Sylwia, Tamara and meeting some of our new members. The stories we tell at our meetings really should be dramatized someday.

Speaking of drama, a lot of my time lately has been taken up running the Unchained Love Playwright Competition. We average about one entry per day, more than 30 in the first month, and they are still coming in. I’m compiling bios and synopses and trying to find judges to read them.

Last weekend was time to catch up with everybody. Friday night Piper and I went to Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain for dinner and then continued our Stanley Kubrick series with Full Metal Jacket. Saturday afternoon I met my friend Stephanie at the 59 Theater so I could give her my old ergonomic computer keyboard and we watched Kacey’s play “Safe” together.

After the play Stephanie went to meet some friends and Kacey and I had some extended alone time to talk about the competition and catch up on each other’s lives. We had supper at a nearby Korean restaurant and then took a two-hour stroll through Central Park, entering at the zoo and strolling up the writer’s Mall, through the Ramble, up to Belvedere Castle, down through Shakespeare’s Garden and Bethesda Fountain. We went over famous Bow Bridge (which I always thought was spelled “Beaux Bridge,” as in “beautiful”) and came out at Columbus Circle. Along the way we saw Argentine tango dancers, acrobatic skaters, drum circles, giant soap bubble artists, a luxurious Italian gondola, a guitar and ukulele duet, an electric acoustic guitarist playing Richard Marx’ “Right Here Waiting” while watching a small bunch of balloons float off into the sunset.

Kacey is leaving today for Edinburgh, Scotland for a few weeks as “Safe” is moving overseas to continue performances, so the imagery wasn’t lost on me. Becker is taking it a little hard, as would I if I had the privilege of seeing Kacey as often as he does.

As we walked we talked about many things, even politics, my least favorite topic. We saw many things in the same way. We laughed at the same things. Spending time with Kacey is a rare and wonderful treat for me, as I know it is for many people. More than anyone I know, she embodies the combination of joy, sincerity, sophistication and positive energy that is nourishing to the human soul.

After exiting the park we walked down Broadway and had coffee and macaroons at Cafe Bene before parting for the evening. Then, about 15 hours later, Kacey texted me to tell me that Becker made a proposal of marriage and that she has accepted!

Sunday afternoon I went down to Union Square to do some post-birthday shopping, using my gift offers before they expire at the end of the month. I bought some Kenneth Cole black leather sandals and daily moisturizer. It was very humid and on the brink of rain all day, so I was pretty tired by the time I met up with Natalie at Balducci's at 4 pm. We had tea and macaroons (again!) and got caught up with the important things going on in our lives. Then we went across the street to TJ Maxx and did some shopping before Matt came to meet us and they went off to their gaming night, right as it started to pour down rain.

I had just seen an episode of Great Performances ("Dancing at Jacob's Pillow: Never Stand Still") earlier in the day and was feeling like I wanted to see the evening performance at The Next Stage Project, my favorite modern dance troupe. I got a salad and walked over to the City Center, but found out the performance started at 7:30, not 7, and by this time I was really tired and dripping with rain and sweat, so I decided to call it a day.

Monday was cooking day so I put out an open invitation to visit and Chelsea accepted, so I was happy to get to catch up with her as well. I made a black bean and garlic chicken with onions and green bell peppers over rice, and eggplant with a miso dijon mustard sauce. Neither turned out quite as good as I'd hoped, but everything was edible at least.

Kacey came by and we got to congratulate her in person and hear the proposal story. I gave her a couple plays and the summary document, plus some competition flyers, to take with her to Scotland. Then she left and we watched "The Brothers Grimm," which was lots of fun. 

And with that, my four eventful days were over. Time to recharge for a while.