Sunday, August 15, 2004

These are just my impressions of a very strange weekend. So far.

Friday I hung out with F&W in Tribeca, and caught up, had some lunch, talked about geek stuff (and managed to leave my USB key in their apartment, which is a shame, because I brought it so that if I wanted to write something, I would have it with me - didn't bring my laptop - and now I can't. I do however, have two USB keys, and a 512MB is calling to me...)

Met up with the others in C's apartment, midtown, and then got a cab out to Long Island. Our cab driver seemed very angry that we didn't know where we were going, and we thought "he's a cab driver, surely he knows the way. And we've printed off a map". We got to Hofstra about 5ish, and just had time to shower and change before shabbat.

I'm in a dorm with four other people who haven't - yet - showed up. My friends are all sharing with each other. This reminds me of going to a friend's wedding a couple of years back, and I was seated with six couples in their fifties and sixties who kept saying "why aren't you with you friends?"which was what I thought, too. Perhaps this is a message from the universe, although if it is, I don't know what it means.

Shabbat was fun, if a little American, and I have a red ribbon that communicates my first-timer status to other delegates. I have had over-warm hugs from at least three people I don't know.

There are also a lot of women here wearing kaftans.

But that's OK, as people say here.

Friday night, I went to the Reconstructionist service, and we sat in a circle and had musical accompaniament. We said the shema out loud in a meditative way. This is not how things happen in Cheadle. Two people said "gee, your accent."

Shabbat morning I walked past both the Orthodox and Conservatives services and they looked a little...staid, so I went to Storatelling, which was pretty wild. Engaging, real, wild... but not particularly service-like. Perhaps I should think outside the box more.

The weather is steaming.

Last night, the guys from Storatelling did a cabaret-style show, which was fab, although a little Kiki & Herb. Today, there was no programme, so we went to the mall - apparently the largest in Long Island - and had lunch and looked around. It was kinda like being in Brent Cross - lots of frummers, too many shops, and collective purchase inertia (although I did buy a poncho).

When in Rome. As they say.

It's consumerist heaven, here. Everything is about "getting" stuff, and portions are huge, and service is exclusively about selling and tips.

OK, I exaggerate. But the shops are the same, just cheaper. And the people are the same, just a little more obese. And the language is the same, but different (I just had a very strange conversation with a woman about if the water she sold was sparking or still and she looked at me like I don't know what.)

I think I may be talking crap. I can tell this because no-one's commented in ages.

I'm back on Thursday.

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