Monday, February 2, 2009

An Eventful Day

I was determined to get a lot accomplished today, so as soon as I woke up I got busy. I went to the post office to send and receive some packages (you'll get it in time for your birthday, Kaitlin!) and then I went back home and cleaned my room. It was sunny and warm outside (warm=40s) so I decided to go out church-hunting with my camera. There are so many churches that I see randomly during the week when I don't have my camera with me, so I try to remember to go back and capture them. But it wasn't the greatest day for church photography. Some of the ones I wanted the most were blocked by big trucks, or had the wrong sort of lighting. Also, there were a lot of people out today, because of the nice weather, and I feel self-conscious taking pictures of buildings with people watching me. Oh well--it was still a nice ramble. I like to wander around, no matter where I live. Today in my morning wandering, I actually ran into my friend Tamara, near Morningside Park. I asked her about her current dating project, and she said that it's going really well. Her goal was to meet a lot of people, and open her mind about dating a little bit, and she's accomplishing that, for sure.

After Tamara and I parted ways, I continued my wandering. The thing about being a white girl in Harlem is that you attract a lot of attention from guys. I'm not saying anything bad about Harlem guys, but they have a very vocal way of showing admiration for women, which sometimes shocks me, just because it is so different from the way I was raised. As I wandered around Harlem, in noon-time broad daylight, I had at least ten "Hey Sexy!"s, three guys making hissing sounds after me, five guys tell me I was beautiful, one "Mommie!" (that's what the Latino guys say, for some reason). It was crazy! I hadn't brushed my hair, I was in baggy old clothes, and I wasn't showing any skin except my hands and face, and yet I seemed to be some kind of man magnet. One brazen man even came up to me as I was taking a picture and introduced himself. His name is Bobby, and he asked me to take a picture of him, so I did, and am publishing it here on my own little wall of shame, for all to see. He was nice, but please! Not to be rude, but--he's missing a front tooth! He started telling me about his life, and asked if I was married. I lied and said I had a boyfriend to deter him, but he still asked for my number. I said I wasn't comfortable with that, and he was nice enough, said he respected that, and shook my hand. I hurried up and took my church picture and got away, but wasn't even all the way down the block before I got another catcall. What is with these men????? Now, to make my parents feel better, I must say that I have never felt unsafe in my neighborhood. I don't wander the streets at night, just in broad daylight, and I think I've just come to the conclusion that in order to survive in Harlem, the men have to be assertive, and they are raised in a very vocal, effusive culture. So I just accept it, consider it a compliment of sorts, try to be polite but not overly friendly, and hurry along my way. In this case, I hurried home and hid for a while!

Later I ventured out and went over to the east side to run some errands. On my way back, I hopped on the the C train at 86th Street, sat down, looked at the guy next to me, and it was my friend Marcus! It's so crazy that in such a huge city I randomly ran into two friends in one day. Marcus was on his way to meet the missionaries, so I tagged along. The missionaries have to teach a certain amount of lessons each week, and if they don't find enough investigators they meet with members, so Marcus and I filled in as pseudo-investigators and we had a nice scriptural discussion and chat. The thing I love about Marcus is that his fridge is stocked with all kinds of delicious cheese! During our chat, we started talking about churches, and I mentioned I'd never been to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which is the largest cathedral in New York (maybe even the world? I need to check that fact...) So after the elders left, Marcus and I headed over to see it, because it is just a few blocks from his house. It was AMAZING! I've seen the outside before, but this was the first time I'd been inside. Marcus took a ton of pictures, so I'll share them later in the week... What amazed me was the size (you could fit the Statue of Liberty in the transept), the vivid colors of the stained glass, and the amazing woodcarving on the chancel, choir screen, and some of the altars. But there was also outstanding stone carving, ironwork, and tapestries. It was gorgeous, dark, mysterious, and a little creepy all at once. Such enormous structures with such an abundance of artwork built in always amaze me.

After wandering around in the church for about an hour, Marcus and I walked through Morningside Park and then I headed home. I was invited to a couple of Groundhog Day parties, but I decided instead to just stay in and hibernate a little after such a busy day. So I'm trying to crochet now, but my hand is hurting for some reason. Typing doesn't really help, but I can't just sit around and do nothing. Anyway... that was my day.


Red said...

Cool damn post! My you were BUSY today! Get some rest! And rub some vicks into the sore wrist or finger. It is an old time cheap relief. Like using bengay!

Just Julie said...

I too feel silly taking pictures with people watching me on the street. Somehow I suck up the courage and do it, but many a time I've just put my camera away and missed the shot!

Anonymous said...

Wendy Mae Chambers wrote a piece for 77 trombones called "Mass for a Mass of Trombones" which can only be performed in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. For a proper performance, players harmonize with their own echos from the 600 foot length of the interior of the cathedral. I've heard recordings but hope to hear the real thing some day, but there's only one place where that can happen. A good reason for me to come visit sometime.