Monday, February 15, 2010
9. Go ice skating at Rockefeller Center
Sometimes the best plan is the one you don't make until it's almost too late. That's the lesson I'm taking from this week's New Thing. It might be silly and a ridiculously touristy cliche, but I've always wanted to go ice skating at Rockefeller Center. So I put it on the list, but it took me forever to decide whether the President's Day long weekend was the right time for it. By the time I did decide, it was too expensive to get a flight, and I wasn't even sure if anyone would do it with me. But it all worked out great--in fact, a million times better than I expected.
First my former student and friend Dan, who has already been an incredibly good sport about participating or agreeing to teach me a number of things on my list, decided to go to New York City as well, and suggested we take the train. Then Alex and Michelle from my global studies senior seminar (where they are incredibly popular because of their endearing habit of making cupcakes for the rest of us to help us get through the 3-hour class period) offered to let us catch a ride to the city with them and their fellow journalism major Emily. (They were going to spend the weekend doing interviews and research for their journalism senior seminar project on the impact of technology on meeting people to date -- can't wait to see the film they're producing). Then my good friend and fellow board member of the AIDS activist group Health GAP, T. Richard, offered to host me at his place in Brooklyn. When Aaron, another friend and fellow board member offered to go skate with me, I was all set. And then, on top of everything else, a friend from high school (that would be Twin Falls High in Southern Idaho), Angela, wrote to say she'd found an amazing air fare and should she fly in from Twin Falls for the weekend as well? That last development was so serendipitous that I'm putting it on the Serendipity list in its own post. But the point here is that sometimes things just fall into place, and when it happens, just be glad.
So that was my more philosophical life lesson. My practical one is this: if you're going to go ice skating at a famous spot in New York City, do it at 8:30 am. Although I'm willing to go out on a limb here and say that I am very sure I'm right about this, my inner scientist compels me to admit my induction is based on only two cases. First, was Dan's and my futile attempt to start off our visit to New York by going ice skating in Central Park on Saturday afternoon. When we got to the rink there, though, we discovered that it was expensive (so is Rockefeller Center, but I already knew that going in) and the line was astoundingly long. Perhaps most disconcerting was the fact that the skaters jammed onto the smallish rink reminded me uncomfortably of human lemmings, with people packed so close together that they seemed grimly preoccupied with not tripping over each other. So, we spent a couple of hours exploring the Park and people watching (kids were out on their sleds in force because of the unusual amount of snow) instead.
The next day, by contrast, Aaron, his fiance Carolyn and I met up at Rockefeller Center for the 8:30 opening, where to our astonishment, we made up about a third of the "crowd". As the morning went on the rink did fill, but for about the first hour, we had the place practically to ourselves, which was a pretty cool thing.
As I mentioned above, I'm going to do a separate post for the Serendipity list about my meet-up with Angela, but I wanted to post some pictures of both ice skating and all the people that thoughtfully participated in some way to make it such a fun and easy thing for the list. There's a picture of Michelle, Alex and Emily, who made space in their car to invite Dan and I along for the ride down. There's one of Dan and I hanging out in Central Park after opting not to skate there. Relaxing on the couch is my gracious friend T. Richard, who has let me stay at his place for years when I visit New York. And finally, there are some shots of Aaron, Carolyn and I waiting for the ice to be resurfaced and then, of course, skating on it.
52 Ways to Say I Love You
..in Italian, with thanks to my friend Cherifa (who knows a whole multitude of languages) from my 6:30 am Crossfire class at the Y.
Ti amo or ti voglio bene (either one is good for I love you, the first is more passionate)
Posso avere due birre per favore? May I have two beers, please?
Arrivederci Good by
Saturday, February 20 and Sunday, February 21 will still be a winter activity double-time. Saturday, Dan S. will be teaching us skate skiing and on Sunday I'll be donning snow shoes with the Wilderness Program to do the winter part of my Camel's Hump-in-four-seasons plan. Last time I looked, there were still spots in both these programs, so I hope some of my student and colleague friends at Saint Mike's will go sign up (and I'm psyched that Ryan signed up for the snow shoe hike already).
Friday, February 26-Sunday, February 28. Bar Harbor sunrise from Mount Cadillac. The last weekend of February will be a road trip to Maine with the co-originators of 52 New Things, Siham and Leah, to see the earliest sunrise on the East Coast. It's on all three of our lists (basically because Leah and I stole it off Siham's list, but she's not holding it against us).