I have no idea where this is going to go today. In reality, it’s not like I ever do. I did two things today (well, there were more than two, but two main things): I went to church, and I went for a bike ride. A side note – I don’t like laptop keyboards. They are very uncomfortable, and I’m quite sure that it takes me twice as long to write this as it would with a good keyboard. Okay, problem solved, at least for tomorrow. Staples really does make it easy, gotta say. I actually almost solved the problem today, except the store closed 42 minutes ago. Tomorrow, on my way home, (“OK Google, at 5pm tomorrow remind me to pick up keyboard”) I will be picking up my Logitech K350 Curved Full-Size Wireless Keyboard, Black. My rational: (1) I’ll be writing for the next six weeks, (2) our keyboard at home is flaky, (3) I don’t have to carry it home on the train, because I just cleverly rented a vehicle large enough to carry Ellie to get home. Boom. Done.
Working out of town has its own set of obstacles. Some are obvious, like how do you get around? Bike and public transportation. Taxi and Uber as back ups. Where do you live? AirBnb. What do you eat? A mix of eating out and keeping some food on hand. Kitchen hours here are limited (6-8pm), and I often get home rather late – after 7, at which point I have other things I need to do before I sleep, like writing this blog. How do you entertain yourself? So far, not a problem. I haven’t even turned on the big screen TV in the room. No Netflix or Hulu either. I just don’t have time.
I have to say, when you are working out of town, Staples is great to have nearby. In my regular life, I go to to Staples once a month, maybe. I’ve already gone to my local Staples here in the Bronx several times, and they’ve always solved my problem. Printing (color or regular) is easy and you can do it without help (unless the copier incorrectly senses that it is out of paper). Walgreen’s has been handy too – I got some batteries at clearance prices and postage stamps. It helps that both of them are located between my main two train stops, and are only about a 10 minute walk away (see, I don’t even complain about the stairs anymore).
Another technical problem I had was getting WiFi access at all the sites I go to. Security is pretty tight at most of the places, and holy crow tight at the rest. I had hoped to use my phone as a hotspot, but for technical reasons, that doesn’t work well. On the other hand, I didn’t want to get locked into a two year contract for dedicated equipment that I only planned to use for two months. The solution was a prepaid hotspot. It expires in September, and I bought the equipment, so I can use it again next year. Boom. Done.
I’m not going to say much about the church I went to today. The congregation was small (about 10), likely because it is both summertime and the regular priest was away. Their hearts are in the right place. I can say that. Also, they are very friendly. I will likely go back. There aren’t enough churches close by to do a different one each week as I did last year, at least by walking. I may have throw transit into the mix. I hear there are some nice churches downtown.
One other thing about the church from today. The stations of the cross did not look original to the building, which, judging from historical Google satellite images looks like it was built around 1855. This is what happens when you go to move your laundry from the washer to the dryer mid-thought. The stations were, I think, on a plywood base, and had simple copper wire sculptures representing each station.
My bike ride was not notable, except for its length, about 13.5 miles, and the break I took about half way. I rode south today, along the Hudson River Greenway, which is the most heavily used bike path in the nation. I concur with that assessment. Along the way, at about 155th street, I passed a small food cart with what looked like fried chicken in a tray in the window. I continued south, but it wasn’t long before the siren call of that chicken pulled me back. I had to wait a long time to be waited on, though I was only third in line.
While I waited, some sort of melee broke out in the parking lot behind me. It seemed to have to do with two vehicles attempting to occupy the same space. One was a shiny black fancy Mercedes crossover, and the other was an older white cargo van. I don’t know if they actually hit each other. The whole thing was going on in very fast Spanish, but it was definitely a thing, because cell phones were out everywhere recording it. Eventually, three police cars slowly rolled up.
At last, it was my turn. Ordering was a bit confusing because there were no prices or menus – just four trays of meat (ham, chicken, pork chops and pork loin, all already cooked), a two basket fryer, some ladies out back chopping plantains and one lady inside with a giant cleaver she referred to as a machete. I ordered chicken with plantains. She took a leg quarter, hacked it to bits with the machete and threw it into the fry basket. The plantains went in the other basket. In a few minutes, I got an aluminum tin with fried plantains and refried chicken, half a lemon and half a lime. I plopped down on the grass nearby and had a delicious dinner.
As I ate, the situation in the parking lot sorted itself out. The black car left, and the cargo van pulled into a space. Before it was all over, though, a cheer went up for the police and their help.