Saturday, January 20, 2007

Joy: On Ice Skating, Dana and Barbecued Ribs

So I had an awesome Shabbos.

My roommate and I were going to be the only two people to stay in, and as I had to go off to the Barnes and Noble on 18th Street to purchase textbooks, and she was willing to buy food, I said, "Sure, buy something and I'll split the cost."

So I walk over to Barnes and Noble and pick out the four Norton Anthology volumes that I need for class, inform my roommate that her art book is going to cost somewhere in the vicinity of $97, at which point she refuses to purchase it, and head over to cashier 8 in order to sell back a book.

Now, I bought this book for about $40. I still have the yellow 'USED' sticker displayed prettily around the binding, still have the orange sticker with the Barnes and Noble price. Thinking, naively, that I'll sell the book back for about $40, or a bit lower than that, I head over for the counter.

The man scans my book and says, "$5."

I reply indignantly, "After you sold it to me for $40?" My tone makes it clear what I think of that.

He takes umbrage at this. "I didn't sell it to you. The store did."

After gaping at him for about five more seconds, I take my book, shove it into my bag, and walk outside and back to the dorm.

My roommate has appeared, carrying various packages with exciting contents. She stopped by a Moroccan restaraunt named Dharna, or something like that. She purchased:

1. Salmon
2. Shnitzel
3. Yellow Rice with Peas
4. Barbecued Ribs
5. Moroccan Cigars
6. Burekas
7. A Proper Kiddush Beverage *wink*

Now, this ought to be some exorbitant price, as she's bought enough of all this for two, but because she conveniently is friends with the owner, it comes to about $50. So I pay $25 and set about setting the table for Shabbos.

The table is actually a fellow roommate's desk. We remove her labtop and strategically place it on her bed, then wipe down the desk. Out come my plates- nice orange-pink dinner plates with small white paper plates for the fish, napkins by the side, a mixture of my cutlery (red handles) and hers (silver plastic). We take out large cups and I find a little container of mints from a relative's party, and I place the mints in small tin containers on both sides of the table, so we have lovely purple and green and white mints displayed prettily.

Then I place a translucent plastic bowl on the table, place our challos inside, cover them with a napkin, and find another small container to fill with salt.

The finishing touch is to plug in the hot water kettle, so that we'll have water for tea.

I run downstairs to light candles, come back upstairs and sing Lecha Dodi very joyfully, then join my roommate for Shalom Alecheim and Ashes Chayil, am interrupted by a freshman who wants to know where Stern dinner is to be held, inform her, have my roommate make kiddush, and join her for our meal, all of which has been cleverly warmed up- we had the containers sit on the heater in our room, and found a toaster oven in which we warmed up the salmon and the barbecued ribs.

How joyful a meal, and how pretty! It is a proper Shabbos meal, quite different from the horrid sameness and regularity that is the Stern meal; every Friday night a grilled orangy piece of chicken of questionable authenticity, yellowish liquid composed wholly of oil, supposedly soup, in which floats white islands of matza-ball mix, knaidels apparently, potato kugel and broccoli kugel that have been doused in oil, and then, the high point, vanilla cupcakes with multicolored sprinkles as topping.

Anyway, I had a lovely Shabbos, and when it was concluded, I had an FTOC activity! (Now, I pronounce that F-T-O-C, but oddly some pronounce F-tock, as though F were a kind of clock that ticks and tocks.) Anyway, it stands for First Time on Campus. So us First Time on Campus-ers got to go ice-skating at Rockefeller Center.

My roommate would not let me leave without pressing this gorgeous shirt with beautiful white and blue rhinestones on me; it looks like a figure-skater's shirt, and my only regret was that no one would be able to see it! I donned my fur Russian hat and my green scarf, then the Abercrombie and Fitch sweater and I figured I was ready to go. (Yes, because only I decide that an Abercrombie and Fitch zip-up hoodie is proper apparel for sub-zero weather. It is cold here.)

Anyway, off we went to Rockefeller Center, where everyone exclaimed over the fact that I had my own ice-skates, and yes, they were far more comfortable than everyone else's, and then we were off! I was skating for a while and becoming increasingly cold, so Dana, who is awesome, lent me her gloves and her black jacket for a while. Then it thinned out and I gave her back her jacket and gloves, after which I was simply skating, and this time, as there were fewer people, I could actually skate...skate and glide quickly ands simply, warming up as I did so.

I never feel as beautiful as when I'm ice-skating...perhaps it's the wind stinging my cheeks as I rush past, the euphoria, the grandeur of the white slippery surface and its purity as it turns chalky and snowy when our blades bite into's wonderful.

Anyway, as I was skating this guy, probably my age, maybe a bit younger, in high school, clad in a white jacket and a nice white and red hat asked me if I wanted to be in his video- he was skating with his video camera. I said "Sure!" and smiled and he said that all I had to do was fall, at which point I refused. "Aw, come on, just fall, please?" he asked, but I said "No, thanks" because one thing I don't like to do is fall.

So I skated onward and he came back later and asked how I was, at which point I said very well, and I smiled at his video screen, and he said that I should skate fast, so I did, and it all worked out quite well. It will be quite amusing to think that somewhere this person is probably putting together a video for a highschool project, or maybe it's a Blooper reel, and there I will be, smiling and saying that yes, I'm quite well, my face rimmed with fur.

It was ridiculous how few people decided to come out for this; I think there were only seven to nine of us who actually went skating- silly, as they were paying for us, and even if it was sub-zero weather, how can you resist ice-skating?

We went till 9:45, then the head of the activity requested that we get off the ice and said she'd take us for pizza afterwards, so we all acquiesced, and as my hands were too numb to untie my laces, someone else had to do it for me, and I just admired them- red and cold from the ice but I was so happy, happy.

The bus came for us and dropped us off on 7th Avenue, at which point I froze on the brief walk to J2, where we all ordered pizza and inevitably people bumped into other people they knew. I had hot chocolate and pizza and was happy to warm up, and some woman I didn't know stopped me and told me my hat looked quite warm, at which point I smiled.

Later I mention to Dana that I was definitely a Russian princess in another life, pointing to my hat, and she laughs and says, "More like a Russian beggar," and I think she's referencing the fact that I borrowed her coat and gloves so I smile, but really she just means that Russian beggars also wear this type of hat, so it works out well.

So then we had to get back to the dorm, and how to accomplish this? First the head of the activity called Security, and requested a Shuttle, but inevitably security misunderstood her request and took offense. I only heard half of the conversation but it was pretty funny, "No, ma'am, I am not suggesting it was your fault; I'm only asking that you please send a shuttle for us" and "Yes, ma'am, I know there are shuttles available; there are the ones that go to Penn Station." Anyway, the lady wouldn't listen to reason so we decided to take cabs- went outside and danced up and down in the cold blowing on our fingers, at which point I went back in side and was about to get a cupcake when the cabs came.

So we squash into the cab, and Dana, doing something I would absolutely do, threw herself over the three of us in the back and just lay on top of us, which caused me gales of laughter because she was so funny and so cold and just wanted to get back to the dorm already. So I'm laughing and laughing at how we've fit six people into this one tiny cab, and Dana is talking to my friend's knees, or actually to the silver handle inside the door, and all I can do is tell her how much I love her and how this is exactly what I would do and laugh over her antics.

We get back to the dorm and dash across the street, where we ride the elevator back up and everyone smiles at everyone else and tells them how they had such a good night, and all I can think is that ice-skating and pizza make the perfect combination, and I couldn't be happier if I tried.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you really enjoyed yourself!
I'm impressed you had fun despite the cold weather. It would be a great attainment for me if I could do that. *chuckles*

Anonymous said...

You and your roomate should really check for your textbooks. Frequently, they have good-quality used copies for much less than the bookstore. (If you can wait a week or so for them to arrive.) Also, you can probably get more than $5 for your used textbook if you sell it through Amazon Marketplace. (And no, I don't work for Amazon, but I do spend my entire salary there.)

Chana said...

Oh, of course I checked Amazon first, but the Norton Anthologies take 4-6 weeks to arrive! Weeks!


If you had worked at Amazon, that would have been dandy. Then I could have asked for discounts. ;)

Anonymous said...

Go to You enter all the books you need and it does a search of all the bookselling websites (Amazon, Half, etc) to find the best price--including shipping-- on each.

Charlie Hall said...

"A Proper Kiddush Beverage *wink*"

Careful -- you never know when a YU professor will read your blog ;-).

"a grilled orangy piece of chicken of questionable authenticity"

I thought the guy in Monsey was out of business.

"I never feel as beautiful as when I'm ice-skating"

I have weak ankles. I envy you.