Monday, September 12, 2016
Friday, August 26, 2016
Saturday, July 02, 2016
I know this because I was in New York’s Penn Station the other night, talking on the phone to my wife. There was an unexpected hangup as Kathy and I were saying goodbye, so I was sending her a text to explain. (This is not the miracle. This is just me setting the scene.) I’ve got my phone in my hand, my earbuds are still in my ears from the conversation, my backpack is around one shoulder. It’s a warm night; warmer inside the station than outside. My thumb is telling Kathy to say hi to our ferret, Charlie.
Behind me, as I text, I hear a buzzing. “Excuse me, sir.” Bzzzzzz. “Excuse me, sir?” Buzzzzzz. I don’t know what this is, but I do know I’m out of the way, tucked into the side of the hallway, leaning against the wall. There are a bunch of late-night commuters walking past, so I assume the voice is talking to someone else. I look behind me anyway, because you never know.
It’s a guy riding one of Penn Station’s floor-polishing zambonis, basically the size of a golf cart, moving slowly toward me.
I startle. I realize he is talking to me, and he needs me to get out of the way. He’s hugging the wall, same as I am. I reach down to pick up the bottle of water and the banana at my feet. There is literally a banana peel at my feet, but it is wrapped around a banana, so I don’t immediately clue in to the type of situation I’m in. I am still holding my phone in my hand, its earbuds connected to my head. My backpack, loaded down with a Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, a bag of dice, a crime novel, a notebook, and a half-dozen comic books, is slung over one shoulder. It is full of the pressed pulp of dead trees; it isn’t light.
I’ve got one hand free to grab the banana and the water bottle. The backpack is keeping me off-balance, but I manage to lean over and pick up both items with my left hand, like some sort of boardwalk claw-machine miracle. This is a feat any schoolkid could do. I feel like an acrobat.
As I start to stand upright. bringing the banana and bottle up from the floor, my glasses slide down my nose and off of my head. Warm night; sweaty bald man.
The polishing zamboni maintains its approach.
I have my phone in my right hand. I have my backpack over my shoulder. There is a banana and a water bottle in my other hand. I am off balance. I am bending over again. I am on one foot. There is a zamboni bearing down on me.
I try to slip my phone into my shirt pocket to free my hand. The pocket is unhelpfully horizontal, rather than at its normal vertical orientation, because I have bent over at the waist. I am balancing on one foot. I don’t remember putting my other foot up, but I am on one foot. I think it’s to counterbalance the backpack, pulling me to the right. Toward the zamboni. The inexorable zamboni. I think about my crime novel. Cause of death: Inexorable zamboni.
The guy driving, dreadlocked and smiling, says, “Take your time, take your time, man.” He’s chill, but he’s not stopping. And my glasses are on the tiles he’s about to polish.
Somehow, bent forward and on one leg like an impossible backpacked flamingo, I manage to slide my phone into my horizontal shirt pocket. With my now-free hand, I bat at my glasses, my fingers suddenly unwilling to grip. The glasses move a few inches, still in the zamboni path. I teeter from the effort, a middle-aged example of Newton’s third law. Swat glasses, wobble: an equal and opposite reaction. The weight of my backpack sends me listing to the right. I flap my arms like a cartoon duck that realizes he can’t fly. I spiral toward the floor, Swan Lake–style.
A second swat sends my glasses out of the path of the zamboni and toward the center of the corridor, where people are rushing to catch their trains. I jettison my cargo: Backpack, banana, bottle all gone. I spring after my glasses among all the high heels and sandals. Did my upraised flamingo foot ever touch the ground, or was it a one-legged spiraling leap? Grainy Penn Station security camera footage will have to tell the tale.
Afterward, it’s all anticlimax. My glasses back on my head, the backpack around my shoulder, the bottle and banana tucked within. Phone miraculously still in my pocket.
“Take it easy, man,” the zamboni guy says. “Don’t hurt yourself.”
I wake up in the morning and wonder why I’m sore.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Saturday, August 01, 2015
Saturday, May 16, 2015
I hit a later cult meeting than my usual (insane for me) 8:30 morning meeting, and I have to admit I was nervous. My food tracking was spotty this week, but I was aware of all the liberties I'd taken last week (spelled out as P-I-Z-Z-A), and resolved not to do that again. I kept a good eye on portions, and didn't drink very much, either (which makes this whole thing untenable in the long run, but there ya go).
Anyway, I was rewarded with a 2.8-pound drop, my largest since my first meeting this stint in the cult. Very,very happy about this -- it brings me to 11.4 pounds lost altogether ... apparently, the same weight as the frame of this bicycle. Now to go for the tires.
After my meeting, I stopped off at the produce store and bought pears, grapes, little peppers, dried hot peppers, carrots, radishes, asparagus, cucumbers, and bean dip, so I'm off to a pretty good start. The cukes, radishes, and dried hot peppers are going to get pickled this afternoon. Which reminds me, I meant to pick up vodka, too. I've got some sorrel/hibiscus tea that I think would make a good infusion, and I'm guessing will mix well with lemon/lime soda at Crawfish Fest in a couple of weeks.
Saturday, May 09, 2015
I've been going to Weight Watchers for a few months now, steadily if unspectacularly losing weight. It changed today, with a gain of 1.2 pounds, bringing my total loss back down to 8.6 pounds from 9.8.
On the other hand, I rode 40 miles in the 5-Boro Tour this week, and actually enjoyed it. So that ain't nothin'.
I'll have to keep a tighter lock on what I eat this week -- I really want next week to be when I break the 10-pound barrier. Here's a photo of an 8.6-pound guitar, that presumably the Man from Mars art when he stopped eating cars.
Saturday, May 02, 2015
Friday, April 03, 2015
Went to my meeting today, and when I weighed in, I was down another 1.2 pounds. That's 6.4 pounds altogether, or the weight of this Excalibur Apex crossbow. (For a moment, at the scale, I thought I was down another three pounds, because last week's weight was never entered into the computer. But still, it's a loss, so I'll take it.)
This drop also means I have one less point to gobble up each day during the week... which will make nights like last Tuesday's soft-taco and wine guzzle a little bit tougher to pull off. But so far, so good. Three weeks in, and I've lost a deadly weapon.
Thursday, April 02, 2015
To keep myself honest, I ought not to skip a week of reporting from my cult. Last week at my weigh-in, I dropped another 1.8 pounds… a pretty good figure, I think. That’s 5.2 pounds altogether, which is the same weight as this majestic elephant statuette holding a wishing bell. Or, you know, a sack of potatoes, but you’ve seen that before.
Next weigh-in is tomorrow morning -- a day earlier than these last two weeks. That is, unless I forget and have to go on Saturday again.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
I had a pretty good week, cult-wise. I stayed on plan, despite all the goodies that show up to eat where I'm freelancing (this week, a major cooking magazine, super-tempting), and made some smart choices in their cafeteria for lunch -- smart enough that I even had a few beers this week, as I passed some time, for one reason or another, at bars near train stations.
And when I showed up to my meeting this morning, I had lost 3.4 pounds, the weight of this smallmouth bass caught by fisheries biologist Shawn Crouse at Round Valley Reservoir in NJ. I hope he's okay with me using his photo.
It feels great to have lost that weight, though it's a little odd, too. Somewhere during the week, I'd gotten the idea that I was only 4 pounds heavier than the last time I joined Weight Watchers; turns out the difference was 8 pounds. So while I know I lost 3.4 pounds, my weight is actually .6 pounds more than what I thought it was all week. BUT SHUT UP, BRAIN! YOU ARE TRICKSY, BUT YOU WILL NOT TAKE THIS VICTORY FROM ME!
Plus, on the way back from the meeting, I stopped at this produce shop and picked up beets and sweet potatoes and wonton skins. I have an idea for some vegetarian dumplings for dinner. If it's genius, I'll tell you how I made them. If it's a disaster, we will never speak of such things again.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Sunday, November 23, 2014