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26 August 2012

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Weekend Mornings

Upper West Side - Summer and the Ansonia

We’ve been in the new apartment for a year now and I’ve developed a weekend ritual in my new neighborhood. I enjoy my early mornings and they normally start the same way: a run heading north along Riverside Drive until I feel like I won’t be able to make it back. I push half a mile further and then make my way down to the river and turn south. After I’m home and cleaned up, the serious part of the routine starts – the walk.

The first stop is Starbuck to grab my wife her necessary hot green tea. It must be from Starbucks because of the exact amount of addictive narcotics that they obviously put into their beverages. I then head over to the bakery on 72nd and Broadway for a croissant and a latte for myself. Right outside is a newstand. I quickly skim through the papers and the magazine covers,  the hierarchy of information is easy to grasp: real news is smudge-able black print on off white paper, everything else, inessential, is in bold yellow type. I grab a paper and head to Verdi Square to finish my breakfast and then it’s a short walk north to Fairway or Citarella.

There is no rhyme or reason for which one I choose, it just depends upon my mood and what the display might look like that morning. My intentions are always to get something small for breakfast and a light lunch, but I alway end up buying too much. First its the cheese, then the bread, then the meat. Oh the meat. I probably stand at the butcher’s display for a good 15 minutes dreaming about what’s going to be on the grill that afternoon. I finally just ask the butcher what they recommend for the day. They’ve always been really nice and have yet to give anything but great advice. With arms loaded, I make my way home feeling that I’ve accomplished something with my morning. The rest of the afternoon most likely won’t be so productive.

By the time I make it home, its later than I imagine. Time seems to pass more slowly. With the day’s provisions on the kitchen counter and Chet Baker on the radio,  I’m taking inventory of what I brought home and I try to remember what it was I thought I was going to be making. I have no desire to impress anyone, I’m just happy to be cooking for my wife. Grilled meat, fresh tomato and mozzarella salad, watermelon with mint. The best part of the day, and of this ritual, is the actual act of cooking. There is no real thinking, just a feeling of escape as the week past and the week ahead dissolve into a series of motions as we both busy ourselves with cooking the meal. Nothing but the present, colorful life.

We always intend to eat at a normal lunch time, but 1:00 quickly fades to 2:00 when the food finally makes its way out to the table. The rest of the day is filled with a short walk by the river, gelato for the return trip home, and most likely a TV show or a magazine in late afternoon. If this all happened on Saturday, we smile, thinking we get to do this again tomorrow. If it is Sunday, the week ahead is already trying to pry the remaining evening hours away from us and we are hurried into Monday.


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