February 25, 2004

Sam, Rick, and I went to Barnes and Noble during our brief stay in NYC between the Maryland and Pennsylvania shows. I wanted to learn more about anxiety and nutrition, and spent quite some time in the health and self-help sections, attempting to navigate through the overwhelming variety of books that claim to have all the right answers.

I finally settled on the books that seemed the most comprehensive and user-friendly: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Conquering Fear and Anxiety, Low Carb Dieting for Dummies, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Total Nutrition.

And sure enough, when the three of us went to look out of impish curiosity, there it was: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Enhancing Self-Esteem.

After establishing myself as a Complete Idiot and Dummy, we headed out for Thai food and talked excitedly about camp. As we spoke, the grey New York streets transformed into bright green grass and trees, the sidewalks into curving paths, and the buildings into wooden cabins. This summer I will work at the Publications Shop, as I did last summer, and also in the Clown Shop. I will no longer be Kerry from Pub. Now I’ll be… Kerry from Pub/Clown… Kerry from Clown and Pub… Kerry the Pub Clown… All of this makes me very excited because I will get to do both writing workshops and sketch comedy, both literary magazines and unicycle riding. Plus, I’ll get to work with twice as many people, which is great because everyone at camp is really, really neat.

I left Sam’s company for the first time in two weeks and walked down 7th Avenue on my own, listening to Guster and snuggling down into my scarf. It was nice to feel solo again, reliant only on myself. I got on the train headed to Brooklyn and, as always, was enthralled by the cariety of people who ride the New York City subway. One of these days I will write a book entirely on a subway, starring the people I see. The boy with the art folder. The man who is singing. The girl who won’t make eye contact with anyone. The woman who cries.

After a delightfully happy spinning and yelling Brooklyn hug with Erika and a tour of the cozy and colorful apartment she shares with Jess and Susan, we tromped over to the local diner for dinner, and then to a small Parisan café/bar with stone walls and candles everywhere. Erika, Susan, Jess, Nathaniel, and I all sardined ourselves into a tiny crowded room with a silent Hitchcock film, a few musicians, and many friendly people. The was a hoot, full of intense facial expressions and dramatic pauses.

We wound up leaving the movie early (who is the Avenger?!?) due to an unfortunate event that was followed by several other unfortunate events. In short, over a twelve-hour period, Jess’ grandfather passed away, Susan’s car caught on fire and melted, and Erika got the 24-hour flu.

Wide-eyed and alternately laughing and crying at the absurdity of happenstance, Erika and I brought Jess to the Chinatown bus and then headed off for a very silly four-hour lunch with Erik, Farmer, Zimbler, and Sam. When Erika and I parted company late in the afternoon, snow falling onto the wet sidewalks, we promised each other a more subdued visit sometime in the future.

Other highlights of our brief stay in New York include breakfast with Sam's dad (did you know that it’s quite dangerous to shear a sheep in the rain?), free tickets to Avenue Q, watching home videos of Sam when he was three, lunch with Feezer, and Chinese food with Lila Rose. Overall, the trip proved to be a nice break from tour. I was reminded that, though I don’t think I want to live in New York, it’s a really great place to visit.