When the babysitter complained that the people at Savannah’s church camp “are really into that whole God-thing,” and then scrunched her face in disgust, I had to fight to keep my sarcasm in check.
“Quelle horror!” I wanted to say.
The church camp is in the heart of Manhattan’s Financial District, right off Wall Street and a stone’s throw from the New York Stock Exchange, so I found it ironic this was her concern.
I was finishing up my cheese omelet when I saw a distinguished figure part a cluster of waiters like Moses the Red Sea and make his way toward the back of the restuarant where I was sitting.
It was during the final days of his term, but I was still shocked to see Mayor Bloomberg at my local diner and arriving for a breakfast meeting no less. Isn’t that what Gracie Mansion for?
I was rushing to fill the tank of my rental car at a gas station in Northern Kentucky when interruprted by a voice from behind.
“Ah, you don’t want to use that,” it said in a slow drawl. “It’s diesel.”
Standing at the entrance of the Christopher Street PATH station our bike trip had come to a standstill. I doubted I had the upper body strength to carry my Russian tanker of a mountain bike and Savanna’s snazzy Aqua blue Schwinn down those killer stairs. I had two choices: turn back now and send my daughter the message it’s okay to give up, or break my neck trying.
I was ready to offer Savannah ice cream in exchange for nixing the idea of biking in Hoboken when I heard a voice from behind. “Can I get this for ‘ya?” it said.
One of the few perks of my job is that my company allows me to work from home two days a week. Translated: Come Tuesday and Thursday, it means two less days commuting on a dirty, crowded subway and having to rummage through my closet trying to appropriate work attire. Yet, the real icing on the cake, is that I get more time with my daughter at a point in time when she still wants to be with her mom and before I’m cast aside and pegged as an annoying life intruder.
“Are you working from home today?” she’ll ask at breakfast on those days, and then make a big fuss when she sees me on the playground at school pick up. Nice.
My daughter will be 9 this month. When I take note at the pace the years are clipping by, I thank God I have a job that allows me to have a flex schedule.
Getting into a good public school in New York City is a bit of a crapshoot. One, as in the case of my friend, could live in a high rent ‘hood, but have a zone school that as crowded and poorly managed as a Mexican prison and forced to send their kid to a private one across town.
A blaring example of education gone wild is PS 106, the school in Far Rockaway, Queens that the New York Post dubbed “the school of no” for its lack of books, supplies and an absentee principal. Marcella Sills, the fur-loving principal, should be brought up on charges. Pronto.
If anything, the PS 106 fiasco was a poignant reminder that in this respect I am blessed. Figuratively speaking, I hit the public school lottery. My zone school is one of the best in the city. It’s a bright, cheery place with supportive administration and involved parents. It is also a hop, skip and, if you’re walking my daughter, 3-4 cartwheels, from our apartment.
Today, I thank God for my daughter’s school.
“You really need to see a doctor about that, dear” an Italian older woman sitting next to me on the beach at Riis Park repeated in a tone that said “listen to me, I know kids.”
New Yorkers are many things – loud, brash, know-it-alls – and, as I found in the summer of 2006, medical experts quick to dispense advice. Back then I had strangers stopping me on the streets, in restaurants and in parks to point out the obvious: my 18-month-old had bowed legs.