Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Volume 7: December 06

Dear all,

How the time has flown. I sit here in my dad's office in my Minnesota house, realizing I've resided in the crazy city of New York for 7 months. Does that mean I should be adjusted? I'll be leaving MN tomorrow which is always tough for me. New York sure isn't home yet. Though I'm working on it. Some days, I feel fine as can be. I have a good job, an amazing boyfriend, believe it or not I have friends in NY now. But Minnesota will always have a large place in my heart. Plus, I've never lived more than 20 minutes away from my parents, and I'm a big baby and I miss them! As some of you know, it has been especially hard for me to be away lately as my dad had colon surgery on December 8th and took much longer to recuperate than expected. In fact, we didn't even know if he'd be home from the hospital in time for Christmas. Luckily he made it home Christmas eve, and though I know it's been tough on him to be up seeing our holiday guests, I think he knows that him being home was the best gift we could have asked for this Christmas. Please keep him and my family in your thoughts and prayers in the next few months, as my dad continues to receive treatments to bring him back to the healthy Dad that we know and love.

Alright...so I know this letter has started off being a bit more of a downer than usual. And don't you worry, I have a few interesting New York stories up my sleeve which I plan to share with you. It has just been a difficult couple of months for Scott and his family, as well as my family, in terms of our loved-ones health; and quite frankly, we can't be cheery and interesting all the time. Good thing we have each other. :) But on to crazy New York happenings:

1) A week or so after Thanksgiving, when the holiday spirit rightly began to rear it's head in NY (as opposed to after Halloween which is just ridiculous), I stood in the subway station, attempting to read before the 1 train came for my morning commute. Across the tracks, on the downtown side, were many people, including parents and their children, probably on their way to day care, school and work. Sitting on the bench sat a man, presumably homeless, reading a newspaper. I was drawn away from my reading when the man announced in a loud voice "Huh, well look at that. I can't believe it. SANTA CLAUS DIED! No Christmas this year!" Oy. Naturally, I rolled my eyes. The ranting of the mentally ill are not unusual in New York, and if you ignore them, they often stop. However, apparently this guy was feeling especially crazy this day as he didn't stop here. "Did you hear that everyone?!?!" He screamed. "Santa Clause died! Ah ha ha ha! No Christmas! He'd dead!" This man continued his ranting and raving about the supposed death of Jolly Old St Nick for a couple of minutes until the downtown sub came. The arrival of the train, however, did not prevent many parents from having to comfort their young children, including the man and his daughter who were sitting on the bench next to the raving man. Even after the dad moved off the bench with his daughter (no older than 4), she continued to stare in frightened disbelief at the claims of this guy. A funny thing about this story, is that down the bench from Mr.I'm-going-to-announce-the-death--of-Santa-Claus-in-front-of-young-children-a-month-before-Christmas, sat an older man, homeless, who I'd seen many times. And while homeless, and quite frankly a bit dirty, there sat a rotund man with long white hair and a white beard, snoozing at the end of the bench. My nick-name for him before this incident was Santa Claus...but apparently not many parents want to point out to their children a possible Santa Claus who lives in the subway station. Typical New York craziness.

2) The other substantially interesting story happened just a few days before I came home for Christmas. I decided that I should buy some of my new friends some slippers from Old Navy for a nice (yet cheap...because I'm poor) little Christmas present. Yes...I'm trying to buy their friendship....JK.... Anyways, as W125th street is on my way home from work, I decided to try the Harlem Old Navy. Word was that there was a Marshall's right next to it, and I could always do a little browsing (yes...BROWSING) for myself after being kind and generous to my friends. After getting off the sub at 125th, I hopped on the M60 in order to go east to Old Navy. As the bus sat at a stop sign, I looked out the window and saw a man in a strange, yet familar military uniform. I also saw a woman carrying a red, green and black flag, and I saw some people making signs, as if it were there for a protest. Man, I thought to myself, that sure looks like the black panther get-ups they used to wear. I wonder if red, green and black are the black panther colors. Naturally, right before the bus began to move again, I glanced to the left of these protesters and realized, this was my stop. Old Navy was right to the left of the group. Great. BUT, I thought I saw some police officers trying to move the protest further down the street so I figured I'd be ok. I got off at the next stop and headed toward the store. Unfortunately, the protest had only moved right IN FRONT of the Old Navy store, and Lauren, being the street smart girl she is, decided to go on in. I didn't even know what they were protesting. Why would I be against Old Navy? They have great quality clothes for absolutely decent prices. As I started to walk in, a guy took my by the arm (not violently or anything), and said, "You can't go in there. Theres a nation wide boycott on Old Navy." Guys...I really needed to get these Christmas presents. Boycott or not, I was determined to get what I came for. So I told the guy sorry and kept walking. He continued to try to convince me not to go in until he finally gave up and just handed me a flier. As I got into the familiar cement floored setting of Old Navy (and didn't see the slippers I came for), I glanced at the sheet and saw the headline, "50 shots/50 days", or something along those lines. This protest was to promote the "New Black Panther Party" boycott against white businesses due to an unarmed? black man being shot 50 times in Queens the night before his wedding. White businesses were supposed to be boycotted for 50 days. This was supposedly to stop "police terrorism". I'm not sure I understand the logic in this. And there was a silent protest in Herald Square the weekend before, which included members of the NAACP. For some reason, the New Black Panther Party was just a little bit more intimidating than the NAACP in this case. I got my tail out of there once I realized that I had just walked right through a black panther protest. I just made sure I saw some cops by the exit before I left. I still have the flier if anyone is interested in seeing it. Crazy. And yes, I am a genius for going in. I know.

Those are the big NY events of late. Some other fun tidbits include the fact that Christmas trees are sold right on the side walk, often outside of little bodegas on the street. This made the city feel quite festive, and man, did it smell good walking to the subway at 103rd as there were 2 stands on my way. What else? Oh, I got yelled at by a man for walking across the street at a walk signal and not "watching the cars" coming at me. I don't know. New Yorkers are not all bad. But if intereact with the wrong one, its bad news. I also think I saw Cynthia Nixon walking near Columbus Circle. Does anyone know if she lives near there? That would be my 2nd celebrity sighting, my first being Ethan Hawke near Lincoln Center about 2 months ago.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, whatever it was (Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, Christmaka, Kwanzakah, Hannukakwanza, Christmkwanzukah). And I hope this email was more entertaining than it was sombering. But no worries. Us Bachnicks perservere. We are confident we will get through this difficult time and my dad's health will return. Much love to all. Have a fabulous New Year. Love to all, Lauren