The Unbearable Banishment: a.m. New York

Thursday, June 3, 2010

a.m. New York

My current employer is located in midtown Manhattan. This affords me :90 minutes in Bryant Park before I start my day. I arrive around 7:15 a.m. There aren't many people around.

I sit at the same table for the view and to access the outdoor electrical outlets they've installed. I can plug in! I watch the city come out of its sleepy fog.

Today there was a man practicing his bagpipe.

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound.

Oh Danny boy
The pipes, the pipes are calling.

All the hits. It pays to put your earbuds away and listen to the world around you.

There's an early morning T'ai Chi class that's open to the public. People walk up, put their bags and briefcases down and enjoy a low-impact workout. I prefer a muffin and coffee in the morning.

Every summer, they open a patio in the southeast corner of the Park. There are Adirondack chairs and porch swings. It's really lovely. You can grab a cat nap before heading to the office. It's also a nice place to pass away, if it happens to be your time.

I could spend the whole day doing this. I could spend a lifetime doing this.

* * *

It's been four days since my cell phone went for a swim in a pool. It's been sitting in a bag of rice on my car dashboard all that time. I was assured by many sources that the combination of the extreme heat and the rice would draw the moisture out, but it's still dead, dead, dead.

I decided to try and use this as a lesson in Buddhist detachment. I want to be less dependent on material things. After all, technology was suppose to set us free but I look around and it seems that we're all enslaved by gadgets. Well, my plan hasn't worked in the least. I miss my phone and want it back. Right NOW. I miss texting. I'm just a failed Buddha.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe now is an opportune time to move to one of those waterproof phones? You could even call someone during your swim.

When is the morning rush hour in New York? It's a little after 8 where I am, and the 6:45 wake-ups are really starting to get me down.

Have never been a morning person, but it is nice to get a peek through your post at the other side, and see what it is exactly that you early-morning weirdos do.

June 4, 2010 at 12:03 AM  
Blogger Mr London Street said...

Nice post. But there's never a good time to endure bagpipes.

June 4, 2010 at 3:29 AM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

some day I'm going to join you in Bryant Park

June 4, 2010 at 5:09 AM  
Blogger Pueblo girl said...

I liked Madrid best really early in the morning, when sound seemed to echo and the air was still fresh. Your photos capture that feeling for me.

Phones are gadgets? I thought they were body parts for most people...

June 4, 2010 at 6:50 AM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

on the rare occasions when i'm up and about near sunrise (not counting 4:30am drives to the airport), i tell myself "damn, i should do this more often". and then i don't do it because early morning is literally for the birds...

but i enjoy your glimps into NYC life... read in my jammies, barely awake, with a cup of coffee and a snoring dog at my feet.

June 4, 2010 at 6:51 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Rohan: I've always been a morning person. When I was a young buck, I hated to go out clubbing because it kept me up late. Part of the reason I get in so early is to avoid the maddening crush of humanity pouring into the city.

MLS: The pipes were off in the distance a bit and it was nice. Having said that, I don't have any bagpipe music in my iPod.

Nurse: If that ever happens, the coffee and muffins are on me.

PG: I was hoping I wouldn't miss the phone as much as I do.

Daisy: You're either a morning person or you aren't. You can't force the issue. Being a performer, I presume you're more of a vampire.

June 4, 2010 at 7:30 AM  
Blogger mapstew said...

There you go, doing your bit for the tourist industry again. Some people might think you actually like NYC! :¬)

And no pipes on yer iPod?


June 4, 2010 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

i got lost in the idea of early mornings in a city - as in, my mind wandered to all the great early morning experiences i've been fortunate to have. living where i do now, the sun slowly illuminates our bedroom and no matter what, i seem to wake up smiling. of course, that could just be the joy of waking as opposed to the alternative... xoxoxoxo

June 4, 2010 at 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I usually am not a morning person....but there is nothing better than a cup of coffee and my iPhone sitting on the deck before the day starts. Of course that depends on how late or early the night ends as you may well know.

Wonderful pictures I miss your phone also, I often keep the pictures you text me for my wallpaper and am due for a new one.


June 4, 2010 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

I enjoy your city observations. I find that they make me want to visit the US. I enjoy the way you observe the everyday...
...but MLS is right, there's never a good time for bagpipes!

June 4, 2010 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Map: NYC scared me at first but it grew on me. Obviously.

Savannah: No matter how bad things get, waking is always, always preferable to the alternative.

MT: I gave up the fight this morning and ordered a certified pre-owned phone as a replacement. The cost? DON'T ASK.

Scarlet: I still insist that if you had heard the bagpipes off in the distance with the city quietly waking all around, you would have enjoyed the performance. It was the perfect soundtrack.

June 4, 2010 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Lovely post... and I can imagine how nice it is there in the park before the crush of humanity swarms in.

I'd sit and listen to the bagpipes with you, for sure! I quite enjoy them. ;-)

June 4, 2010 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

Bagpipes in NYC? I'm guessing he also threw "Scotland the brave" into the mix.

June 4, 2010 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

I'm a morning person too, especially in the summer when it's not blazing hot. And I hate rushing. So I get up early, have my coffee, read, make lunch.

The rice trick worked for my niece. Wonder if the type of water makes a difference? Salty? Chlorinated?

June 4, 2010 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Ponita: Thanks for your kind words. I love a compliment. I'm not THAT bothered by the crush of humanity or I wouldn't have stayed in NY as long as I did.

Map: Of COURSE we have bagpipes in NYC! It's a melting pot. Have you heard?

HIF: I think it didn't work because my phone was underwater for such a long period of time. It was, literally, about :10 minutes before I realized what had happened. Rice works for a quick dunking. A drop in a puddle.

June 4, 2010 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

You must also be a lark to be so receptive so early in the morning.
Early to bed an you'll be healthy wealthy and wise:)

June 5, 2010 at 3:34 AM  
Blogger Ellie said...

There can only be 1 Buddha.

June 5, 2010 at 3:50 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

It's hard to believe a park in New York could ever be so empty. The bad part of being a night owl is missing the emptiness of morning.

June 5, 2010 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...


Early to bed and early to rise
Makes a man or woman
Miss out on the nightlife

Early to bed so you can wait
For three buses, a trolley and a train
I think it's worth it for you to stay awake
Maybe tomorrow you'll be a little late

Early to Bed


Ellie: On the contrary! Buddha was not a God! He was an ordinary man who attained enlightenment. We ALL have the same potential. We ALL can become a "Buddha."

Cat: That's the beauty of it. The dichotomy of emptiness in the middle of Manhattan.

June 5, 2010 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Ellie said...

I think we're in agreement. Yes, we can all become Buddha like. Still, there can only be 1 Buddha. Just like there will only ever be 1 UB (who is certainly more interesting because of his unique blend of Buddha like characteristics and technologically vigilante behaviour. ;-)

June 6, 2010 at 12:52 AM  

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