Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Sweet Summer Afternoon

During the summer, New York becomes a veritable playground of outdoor fun. This season, my favorite warm weather diversions have included swanky rooftop bars, free movies at Pier 46 beside the Hudson River and, of course, Central Park.

Today, I took advantage of the 80-degree low-humidity weather and went for a leisurely stroll across the park. I passed about a dozen John Lennon devotees paying their respects with flowers and candles at Strawberry Fields before catching a glimpse of roller bladers strutting their stuff. I stopped to groove right along with them to Bobby Brown’s 80’s hit “Rock wit'cha.”

As I meandered over to the tree-lined mall, Bobby’s voice faded, replaced by the sounds of a solo sax player. Even though I’ve spent most of my life as a New York resident, I’m continually astounded by the caliber of musical talent here. It’s not uncommon in the Big Apple to enjoy a mariachi band or Motown-esque trio with your morning commute. Sign me for up Subway Idol whenever that makes it onto the crowded reality TV landscape.

Upon exiting the park, I decided to treat myself to Mister Softee ice cream. Thanks to the handy calorie chart pasted on the side of the truck, I was able to absolve myself of any guilt with the reassuring fact that, at 250 calories, a vanilla cone was the least decadent option available.

I was only a few blocks from home when I looked up and spotted Begonia, a fellow Mount Holyoke alum I hadn’t seen in years. She introduced me to her husband and adorable five-month old daughter, and we debriefed each other about our respective jobs and neighborhoods of residence.

After we parted, I couldn’t help thinking about the different trajectories our lives have taken. Though Begonia and I are the same age and graduated the same year, she’s a mother and wife while I’m still single. I found myself wondering, how did she find her happily ever after? Are there choices I might have made that would have led me to find my own domestic bliss by now?

And then, I took a deep breath and smiled, remembering the more important question--am I happy right now, right where I am at this moment?

The answer is a resounding yes.

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