Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday Routine

I wake up, start the coffee, feed the dogs, get some cereal.

I get the paper, plant myself down with food, coffee, and take in the recent happenings around the world. The dogs come over and need to be praised for finishing their breakfast.

After some random putzing around, walking the dogs (brief), and showering, Sara and I drive up to a public garden and cultural center in the Bronx where we take a tai chi class.

We are improving.

Following the class we get some tea there and sit out on the terrace taking in the blooming gardens overlooking the Hudson.

Last week we actually ran into someone who we went to graduate school with and had not seen for a couple of years. He joined us for tea.

After tea we get some lunch somewhere in the area. Japanese tends to be the usual bet. Occasionally we deviate from the type of cuisine or where we get out food. Today was such a day. We drove across the Hudson to Fort Lee, NJ to get some Korean food. Northeastern New Jersey has a high concentration of Koreans - I am not sure why. That is good for us because we really like Korean food.

Lunch is good and even academically interesting. I find it interesting to see Latin Americans working in "ethnic" restaurants as cooks, busboys, and dishwashers. Our busboy is from Guatemala. There is probably a research project waiting for me.

Following lunch we stop by the neighboring large nationwide bookstore chain. I buy some music to help with the grading. While in there we decide to partake of some coffee. Our beverages come with an unscheduled and improvised show.

The employees are training a new addition. At a certain point, one of the employees, Svetlana, goes around the counter and plays the role of a customer while the other, Maria, takes the order so the newbie, Greg, can see the process. The following exchange ensues:
Maria: Hello, how may I help you?
Svetlana: Let's see, what do I want?.......Hmmmm.......
[Long pause]
[Maria eagerly sways front to back flashing a pseudo-perma-grin]
Svetlana: Do you have coffee?
Maria: Yes, we have all different kinds of coffee...
Svetlana: Is it brewed fresh? Do you make it yourself?
Maria: Yes. We make it fresh from organic fair-trade beans.
Svetlana: Do you have venti?
Maria: I am sorry. We don't serve venti here. You can get a small, medium, or large.
Svetlana: A large? What is that? Is that smaller than a small? How much is that?
[Greg looks terribly confused, doubting whether he really wants to work there]
Svetlana [interrupting Maria's response]: Never you have Italian sodas?
Maria [eagerly]: Yes we do! What flavor would you like?
Svetlana: Barbecue!!!!
Maria [cracking a cynical smile and giggle]: I am sorry, we don't have that flavor, can I suggest raspberry.
This goes on for several more minutes. It is quite entertaining seeing the employees vent their frustrations built up from dealing with a plethora of inane and pushy customers. I highly doubt that Greg will be back tomorrow.

After the bookstore we return to our abode for a quiet afternoon where I avoid grading, the dogs chase the pair of flies that have entered our apartment (illegally of course), and generally I get very little done.

Tomorrow should be a more interesting day, for we may head out to Coney Island. Neither of us has ever been, but we want to go before they tear it all down and build an uber-commercial space there. Perhaps I will have stories and maybe even photographs.

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