GIRL AT PARK
Hey there, you lucky girl.
You've chosen a wonderful day to be at the park. God. I love that place.
I've got to write and tell someone about it, so I figured, who better than somebody who's there right now. You don't know this, but I used to live right by the library on 10th and A, so the park was always part of the landscape. Eventually sitting there became part of my routine.
I remember one day especially. My friend Aquiles called me - he was on his way to China to teach English and he had a layover in New York. When he asked, "What are your plans for the day?" I felt as if he was asking, "What sort of extravagant wanderings do you frequent daily in this city?" I just said, "I'm going to finish up a little work, go to yoga, and then I'm going to go sit at the park." "What about tomorrow?" he replied. "Hmm," I thought, "honestly, I'll probably do some work, go to yoga, and then go sit at the park." He laughed, and I said, "Yeah. That's all subject to change. We can do anything you want, but I need to do a little sitting at the park every day to stay sane."
So we went to the park.
We watched the skaters and walked by kids wearing remnants of beatnik pasts that they were too young to have witnessed. I'd gotten Mochi and an orange at the Japanese market off of 9th and 3rd. They named it "Sunrise". Have you been there? It's great.
We sat on the patch of grass right in front of the Hare Krishna tree to share it. It used to be two trees, you know, but they chopped up the crooked one. How's that looking these days?
As we talked, an old man with gray hair and a Canadian tuxedo walked into the patch of grass we were sitting on. He parked right in front of a pine tree that seemed to have the same posture as him. Rooted, barefoot, he started to shake his right arm up and down, up and down, folding his elbow, and then straightening it out -- as if releasing energy from his shoulder, to his fingertips, and then down to the ground. After an hour or so he put his sandals back on and walked away.
At the same time, two girls and a lanky looking guy walked in with a cat on a leash. "It's the first time that we've taken her out" the guy said, in mom voice. I could understand why they were proud: she was a definitely a tree climber, a natural, but the leash kept pulling her back. I wondered if they bought it on Amazon and if they could still return it.
"This is why I love it here," I told Aquiles. "Sometimes, near dusk, there's a group of Chinese ladies that comes and practices their dance routine, it's like jazzercise mixed with Tai Chi. I feel like I know them. My friends Alberto and Shinead made a name up for the one who's always late and lagging behind. Her name's Betty."
"There's also another woman, named Hilda. She's not part of the dance routine and she's really named Hilda. She spends her time on that patch of grass over there looking for four leaf clovers. She tapes them onto pieces of paper and gives them to people passing by in the park. One day Alberto and Shinead met her she sent one to me. It looked like this":
"There's different sorts of magic here everyday." I told him.
Don't you think?
I've made all kinds of fake friends and real friends at Tompkins. I wonder - what are you doing there today? Who have you met? I don't know if it's your first time there, or if you go every (other) day, but I sure hope you're enjoying it as much as I have.