Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I’ve been tired: a partial week in review (final part)

Last Thursday I overslept by a few hours, not so much due to apathy or exhaustion but because I was nervous over my afternoon appointment at my academic department. I wanted to get permission to take at least one semester to finish and polish up my thesis not because I had been apathetic or inattentive. I wanted the extension for two main reasons:

1- I was worried that my efforts were not to the best of my ability and I did not want to give in a report that did not reflect 100% of my energy and talent. Perhaps I could have handed a finished product in before the end of august with high odds that it would be accepted but in my heart of hearts I am currently a perfectionist who strongly believes that it needs to be done to the maximum of my abilities or not at all. Unlike a few years ago when I was in a funk and couldn’t give two shits about any of my actions, I’m not in the mood to do things half-assed.

2- My time as a grad student has been checkered and not one I’m terribly proud of, unlike my triumphs in high school and as an undergrad. I want to end my period as an NYU grad student on a high note; one that be truly rewarding for my family, friends, colleagues, and myself. Hence, I will try me damndest to see if I can publish my thesis by the time I am done with it, preferably by the end of the year. I want my thesis to symbolize my time in grad school in the best way possible and I feel it would be best to do so by publishing it somehow.

(I don't know how I'll break the news to my mom about this since she has been pushing me hard to get the thesis done and approved by the end of the month. I'll figure something out that will hopefully not be so bad for her or me).

At around 2:30 I left home for campus via Access-A-Ride (AAR) and arrived at NYU as the first drops of rain started pouring down. By the time I got on the ramp the rain had fallen like a tropical deluge. My monochromatic outfit was waterlogged and damp after running a half-block at full speed to hide under an awning. I ran twice again for a block each and by the time I reached the lobby of Bobst Library I was drenched, shivering and tasting the hair gel that melted off my head. (Disgusting!) Eventually the rain let up giving me just enough time to quickly walk the remaining two blocks and use the men’s room to dry myself off and hope that I did not catch a cold or worse.

The appointment itself was relatively anticlimactic as the assistant to the department chair did not hesitate to give me the green light to work on my thesis for one more semester. Though we tend to have long chats with each other, she was rushed squaring things away for a trip to Europe the next morning (not that the thwarted terrorist plot helped matters much). It was a brisk five minutes of quick discussion and that was all. Thankfully I got the good news I needed so I won’t complain too much.

Now that the most nerve-wracking part of the day was done, I walked to Astor Place to take the M2 bus uptown to El Museo del Barrio. I was excited to go see Los Amigos Invisibles and listen to them in person. Thankfully the bus was limited stop and I arrived at Park Avenue and 106th Street around 5:00. That gave me some time to roam around the Harlem Meer, located by the northeast corner of Central Park:

So tranquil. So serene.

Geese chasing after a piece of bread.

Perfect for a quick dip, yes?

I then decided to visit the museum’s galleries since they were free for the day and the band wasn’t going to start for another hour. The exhibition that most caught my attention focused on Lorenzo Homar and the Reverend Pedro Pietri. I was awestruck by the variety and creativity of Lorenzo Homar’s posters while I was impressed by the way Pietri combined political activism into his artistic works. It was all very powerful and arresting artwork.
6:30 had finally arrived and with that the start of the concert. As the band played a song off their upcoming album I parked myself behind a column and several tall people that impede my view. No worries, however since I was just too damn happy to be there.

And then the rain started trickling down to earth.

The band ran inside as their assistants put tarp over the stage and sound equipment. In almost no time at all another massive deluge fell upon us and those in the museum’s courtyard ran inside for shelter.

The rain did not cease to fall for approximately 90 minutes.

By 8:15 I ran inside to use the men’s room, cursing my bad luck. After waiting for years I would not get to see Los Amigos… perform and the AAR would take me back home at 8:30, the scheduled end of the concert, practically empty-handed. I was not a happy camper.

As I exited the museum I turned around and noticed what seemed like the band performing a quick sound check on stage. At 8:45 the lead singer said “thank you to those who stuck around in the bad weather.”

And the band played music again. They didn’t have to but they did. For the first time in ages I was hoping the AAR would arrive a little late so I could enjoy at least 2 or 3 songs.

5 minutes late transformed into 15 minutes late, then 30, 45, and onwards. In the meantime I was ecstatically moving to the rhythm and even dancing with an attractive girl or two. Los Amigos… played such favorites as “Cuchi Cuchi” and new tunes that were lively, catchy, and got the crowd moving. It was wonderful to see all the different couples dancing in the crowd of different ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. (Pity the pictures I tried to take came out to damn dark):

There was a stage somewhere behind those ornate gates. Pity it cannot be seen.

This was the final snapshot I took since the camera flash startled the girl in the pink shirt.

It was truly a magical 90 minutes of fun at El Museo until the AAR finally arrived to take me home around 10:15. Even then the luck continued as I was taken home directly and got home in about 45 minutes. (It would take 2.5 hours if I were to use the bus and subway instead). By midnight I was feeling kind of sneezy from wearing damp clothes for approximately 9 hours so I called it a night and crash-landed into bed.

So that was it for the days I went out last week. It may not have been the best or the most exciting but it was definitely very memorable and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

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