Friday, July 23, 2010

Broke AND BORED sometimes maybe.

So, sometimes that whole, "Hey, let's take advantage of all the awesome free stuff to do in NYC," thing doesn't work out. Like, epic catastrophe doesn't work out.  I know, because it's happened to me.  Last Friday, after a crappy weather forecast forced me to cancel outdoorsy plans with a friend, the skies miraculously cleared at the last moment and E convinced me it was a good idea to go to the free New York Philharmonic concert in Prospect Park.  I begrudgingly agreed, even though:

  1. We decided to split a PB&J that had been bouncing around in E's work bag all day to avoid having to buy dinner
  3. Our work schedules didn't line up and my office building has a strict GET-THE-FUCK-OUT policy on Friday afternoons, so I had to go sit on a bench on a traffic island outside of E's office for 40 minutes. It was hot.
  4. Neither of us had ever set foot in Prospect Park!  I know, this is crazy, but honestly, we're rarely in Brooklyn.
  5. Because of our work schedules, we were destined to make it to the park around 7:15, a mere 45 minutes before this free concert in the city's most populous borough was set to start.

In the end, he convinced me to go by talking up the fireworks display set for the end of the evening.  However, beginning when I sat outside of his office building for 40 minutes, sweat literally dripping down my legs, hungry and tired, I was cranky.  And it didn't stop when he got out of work, or when we were on an air conditioned subway train, or when I finally had a bottle of cool, delicious water in hand.  While we wandered aimlessly through the massive massiveness of Prospect Park in search of the Long Meadow, I whined.  I whined about the heat, I whined about the fact that we saw about 500 fireworks displays earlier this month, I whined about being tired, and hungry, and about my feet hurting. I refused to take off my cardigan on principle, so I could have something else to whine about, because I was being passive aggressive.  I whined about the crowds and the heat (IT WAS HOT, GOSH) and the impending long ass commute back to Queens.  I was a real terror, and it was not my proudest moment.

But then we found the Long Meadow (after E sent like 6 people off in the wrong direction as if he had a CLUE where we were), and we got seats, and we ate the PB&J and hung out.  And it was still hot, and we didn't have a blanket so the grass was scratchy, and I wasn't able to flag down one of those guys who sells glow-toys at fireworks displays, but it was kind of nice.  The Philharmonic started out with a couple of fun pieces, including some West Side Story stuff, and we started to relax and have fun.  There were cute kids everywhere, and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves, so why not?  Then it was intermission, and more kids bought more glow toys (but I still didn't), and the sun went down so the temperature dropped, like, 3 degrees.

But then. THEN. The Philharmonic came back and played an utterly interminable, very, very slow-and-quiet piece. It was SO. LONG. And we could BARELY. HEAR. IT.  I get it.  The people in front are the people who are donors and ~serious music-y people~ and whatnot. BUT YOU'RE IN A PARK. There are a few thousand people sitting on the grass to hear you play. Melting in the heat. Listening to other people's conversations. Tolerating other people's children and their glow toys. They are obviously dedicated.  PLAY SOMETHING THEY CAN HEAR.  Every time the music stopped (which we mostly marked by the polite applause of people closer to the stage, but not close enough to know you're not supposed to clap between movements or w/e), we watched hopefully for the conductor to turn around. He never did. It was excruciating. At some point it devolved into a giant glow-toy swordfight.

And then it finally ended, and the fireworks started, and... they were kind of crappy. And over in like 3 minutes.  So that was that. And E had to use the restroom for about an hour, and I was getting there myself, so as soon as the "grand finale" (I use the term loosely) had ended, we hightailed it out of there (the perks of not having blankets or luggage or children) to beat the crowds to a restroom. We walked past the port-a-potties in the park and to the nearest food-selling facility, a bakery about a block away.  We bought a god-awful red velvet cupcake so E could use the bathroom, only to find out that the bathroom was out of service. After wandering a bit, we realized that there was nothing else around, and found ourselves heading back to the park. For the port-a-potties.

I hate port-a-potties. HATE. There are few things as revolting to me as a portable pisser. So, on a night when it was still in the 80s hours after the sun went down, when thousands of people had probably relieved their full-to-bursting bladders there, I knew these things were going to be rank. AND OH MY GOD THEY WERE. To think about it now causes one to nearly vomit in one's mouth. Utterly miserable.

Having survived that experience, we dashed to the subway and began the long journey back to Queens. You would never think that Queens and Brooklyn abutt each other on the lovely Long Island based on the ease of public transit between them. It's sort of astounding. But so it goes. We made it home, immediately showered to try to rinse the port-a-potty grime off of us, and I mentally swore never to get suckered into something like that again.

...Until I was. But that's for another time.


  1. -you kind of had fun. admit it. it was a bonding experience.
    -you were suckered into something again, but you REALLY had fun at that.
    -you didn't have to use a port-a-pottie at that next event, but i did - and they were quite nice. like luxury port-a-potties.

  2. Thanks for the laugh! That type of scenario makes for good stories and lasting memories. If it were a perfectly lovely night, you would have forgotten all about it already. Love always, E's mom

  3. Haven't red your blog in awhile, great to catch up. Still chuckling! Love, Big sis #1