The Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

A useless personal guide for visitors to New York City

If you don’t want to get lost, don’t follow me. Otherwise: Get lost.

 

The Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

 

I start out walking towards the park. There are clouds floating in the sky and a light breeze is touching my bare arms and face. Today’s roundabout should be pleasant and I might make it back home without getting all sticky with sweat. On Third Avenue, two blocks from our apartment, I pass a hardcore vegan juice bar where members of the Badass Bikers get a 10% discount. I do not buy a juice now, but I will get one later. As I cross Madison and follow East 85th Street I try to remind myself to stay in the moment, to hear the cicadas and the rustling of the leaves in the trees, to not let my mind wander towards unhelpful thoughts.

(What is unhelpful? I have no idea. It’s going to be a challenge.)

 I climb the steps to the reservoir and the city opens up. There is nothing between me and the apartment buildings on the West Side but water and space to breath, a view not cluttered by people and cars and garbage and more people and bikes and diggers and scaffoldings and more garbage.

 (Stay in the moment. I told you it would be challenging.)

The sound of traffic on Fifth Avenue is filtered by trees. A gravel path follows the banks of this man made lake. At some spots branches reach over the trail, forming a perfect bow, providing some shade.  Shoes crushing gravel, kicking up dust. A soft voice encourages to go on. You are doing it, I hear someone say.  A woman laughs and claps her hands. To call back a dog?

Around the reservoir is a black iron fence. Tall grasses and flowers soften its rigor.  The fence is not very high and people are leaning over to spot turtles and duck. Sometimes I stop and look for turtles too, but not today. In the middle of the water I see a flock of white birds. From where I am I can’t be sure what kind they are, but even if I were closer I probably wouldn’t be able to tell. I know very little about birds. They fly, sometimes they swim, sometimes they fly and swim, though never simultaneously. Some don’t fly at all. They come in many colors and shit on people’s heads. White herons would glide by our window at Lexington Avenue. Those were easy to recognize.

 (Stay in the moment. Or does this thought belong to the moment too? I did not come here to contemplate my lack of knowledge concerning ornithological facts. Life is so confusing sometimes.)

 Most people who pass me are runners. One man taps two pieces of wood together every few steps he takes. He wears a grey T-shirt with a number ten on the back. His tread is light and he is fast. I hear him laughing. He taps the wood and runs and laughs.

At the North East Side of the reservoir I stop to take a picture of the Midtown skyline and wonder if I should take this picture every day. Well, not this picture, obviously, because I can only take this picture once, the next one will be a different picture. A different picture of the same scene.  Doesn’t the scene change too?  I could capture the turn of the seasons in miniature steps, but should I?

(Stay in the moment. Take the bloody picture and move on.)

I take the picture with my back towards the trail. I hear her before I see her. The air she let’s out with every step she takes sounds like paper tearing. I turn around. She is wearing running shorts and a sports bra. Both shoulders lean over her right hip in a stiff twist. She can’t be without pain running like this. It looks like her upper body is pulled in a different direction by an invisible magnet and her legs are struggling to keep her on track. I am in awe of her resolve. She might be 70, or older even,  but here she is; running along while gravity challenges her every step; a half naked Badass without a bike.

I don’t like to run. I need a slower pace to quiet my overstimulated brain. This walk will keep me sane, at least for today. An hour after leaving home I am back on Third Avenue to pick up a Hail the Kale smoothie, paying full price. Of course.

 

 

http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/reservoir.html

 

Product of a typical writer’s workshop in New York

Dear classmates,

I chose the toilet for my ode, because where would we be without one?

I know where we would be;

I have been there, but since I have been there I am aware

how wonderful it is to have one.

 

Ode to toilet

 

On the throne in your House of Honor,

feet planted on the floor,

you toil your coil,

 and daily spoil will swill from under thee,

like all the golden lifeless fish flushed in my past’s privy.

To be or not to be

could never be the question here if you just had to pee.

But since you ate all that I made with love vivaciously,

like Bacchus, Mr. Mangetouts,

the time you’ll spend on this commode commands you to expend

today’s visit to the loo.

Whataloo it is my friend! Tiles sparkle clean and bright!

This diurnal urinal is a Necessarium of Might.

Cloacal veins run deep from you to soil and shiny sea.

Reach to your right, you’ll find Two Ply to keep you hemorrhoid free.

No wood, no corn, no lace, no hemp, no stone, sponge on a stick,

thanks to Andrew’s Paper Mill papyrus does the trick.

So just unroll the cardboard scroll,

soft sheets flow to the floor.

Take two, take three, fold, wrap, crumble,

make Crapper proud: Take more!

No need to run the tab to drown out laborious sounds.

These walls won’t tell, but they’ll

protect you protracting mounds.

In here ordure is no ordeal;

this is your House of Ease,

your House of Morning,

your Jakes, your John,

your Whataloo latrine.

Please take your time, heat up the seat while you read the daily news,

you do your doo, your number two and

be my stinking muse.

 

New Shit at the Apple Store on Fifth

Why would I stand in line to buy stuff that he doesn’t need?  I would like you to know that this line is fucking long, actually. Plus I am surrounded by Cyberpunks who clearly believe that without adding the latest addition to their arsenal of electronic devices, they will miss the coming of the second savior. So yeah: Let’s all stay connected and stand in line for two hours while trying very hard to ignore each other, ‘cause God forbid we would find out that we don’t need what we all have been waiting for. Waiting. For two hours! In this bloody rain!

And I’m still not closer to the entrance of their supposed Walhalla where I will have to tackle an overly eager geek who just outgrew his pimples and knows all about everything I don’t want to know about but still have to ask.  ‘Cause I promised him I would, that’s why. I will probably say: Is this shit compatible with different shit and do we need an extra cable to connect it to other shit, because, you know, my man always wants to connect everything. Mr. Connector. Why did I tell him I wouldn’t mind doing this? AT ALL. Not. AT ALL. Of all the things I could have done today to piss away my valuable life, I volunteered for this. Of course the lesser gods of TV Meteorology did not predict Zeus’ wrath and so I am getting soaked. Yeah well, umbrellas are for sissies anyway.

It used to be different. All over me he was. Didn’t need an online audience to feel alive and kicking. Didn’t need to post his wanderings of my wonderland on Facebook either. He would pull me away from my books and do things to me that would make Eros proud. Eros my ass: This line slithers slower than a dead snake in the dessert. At least it doesn’t rain in the dessert.  Around me I hear messages pinging to the vital beat of the connected hearts of the waiting crowd with whom I suffer the pleasure of procrastinating.

Ping: Where R U?

Pong: Im in line frnw phne.

Ping: Wow! tht ss great!

Pong: Yeah. Ping. Ping. Ping

If I could move my feet to the rhythm of the incoming texts I would be back home within thirty minutes, studying Bulfinch’s Mighty Mythology while lounging on my sofa.  Mission accomplished: Mr. Connector happy with his new toy and I just happy to retreat to the world of the sane, where words are actually spelled with real vowels. Real Vowels!  But at this rate I could knit a sweater before it will be my turn with the geeks in the store.  But I wouldn’t. Knit a sweater, I mean. ‘Cause it’s raining and wet wool makes my skin crawl even more than standing in this line. That’s why.

My mom used to knit me sweaters though.  She put so much love in every cast of every stitch that the whole thing would be heavy and shapeless, but I always tried to feel her embrace while wearing it. An embrace is an embrace even if it makes you look like Elmer the Elephant. Love is still love even if it is shared in the public domain where every body drapes their lives in front of the camera to showcase eternal bliss. Ping. But he didn’t have to post that picture of us that makes me look like I really enjoyed it. Pong. ‘Cause I didn’t. It got 450 likes, only because my breasts looked real perky and young. Where was the colorful alpaca cover of my mother’s embrace when I needed it most?

I hear the thunder rolling in the distance. I could of course just leave. All it takes is a small step aside to the right and I will disappear in the stream of other city slackers who are walking the wet pavement in a steady flow on their way to different lines where they will wait for other shitty things. If only Zeus would strike this store, I would be happy to rub his stinky old feet until the end of times. Who needs a new dumb phone anyway? Beam me bloody up Scotty. Right now would be good.