Friday, September 12, 2008

Do the Puyallup

I know the fair is going on back home; you know, that little taste of Americana that comes around once a year to help us say goodbye to summer? I didn’t think I’d miss it as much as I am…I could really go for a fair scone right now. There is nothing quite so bad-for-you-it’s-good as a fair scone oozing raspberry jam and butter. When the sun goes down and the rides light up the night, it’s pure youthful magic. Walking through the barns, it’s wonderful to see that, even as farmland continues to disappear in the Puget Sound area, a new generation of ranchers and farmers are continuing the great agricultural traditions that were the impetus for the first fair back in October of 1900. Plus, they sell the wackiest stuff at the fair and it's fun to see what new, useless items will be up for sale by a British guy with a headset (there must be some market research showing that the Brit accent sells in the US, because it seems like every other booth has an Englishman hocking their wares).

What I wouldn’t do just to have some trademark fair smells in my neighborhood….

Morning found us calmly unaware

I have mixed feelings about the impending close of summer and onset of fall. On the one hand, there are few things better than bidding farewell to another sticky New York City summer. On the other, summer has so many associations that connote happiness--long days, beaches, outdoor dining, ice cream, free concerts. And yet the autumn is perhaps the best time of the year in the city, what with the leaves beginning to turn into their brilliant palate of colors, mild temperatures that make for amazing days outdoors, and that long-awaited discovery that soup has become palatable again.

Now for someone with whom to share these simple delights….

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where do you get that walk oh so lean?

The average New Yorker walks more than a mile, and often 2-4 miles, per day. All this pedestrian movement provides ample opportunity for observing and, yes, judging, the way that people in this city walk. There are fast walkers, weaving in and out of people on the sidewalk, visibly and sometimes vocally frustrated when stuck behind a gaggle of slow walkers who take up the entire 12-foot sidewalks. The aforementioned slow walkers more often than not travel in packs and spread out, making passing impossible or requiring a perilous jaunt into traffic to get around them; tourists are their own sub-category of slow walkers, stopping every ten feet to look up or consult a map. There are lopers, who have a large stride and move their arms in long, exaggerated arcs. Shufflers barely pick up their feet, and a rhythmic scratching of shoe on pavement follows them wherever they go. Heavyset people often lumber down the sidewalk, seeming to shift their entire weight from one leg to the other with each step. Women in high heels click their way up the block while flip-floppers smack their way down avenues. Young people take subway stairs two or three at a time, while the elderly cling to the rail and drag themselves up one step at a time.

It’s rather like the freeway without vehicles.