SHEA IT AIN'T SO
The drive to Shea Stadium took about an hour due to heavy traffic. After enduring the BQE and the LIE you pass the ruins of the 1964 World’s Fair, which was attended by both Dreyfus and Kai (I was busy being born that year and was unable to make it). After that the approach to Shea Stadium is rather pretty – trees and winding roads that pass the site of the US Open (Tennis).
Shea was built around the same time as the World’s Fair, but it’s not in ruins. In fact it's in perfect working condition. Nonetheless they’re building a new stadium next door that will have 1,000 fewer seats than Shea. It's being built on the current parking lot, which means that parking has been halved. The locals seem more upset about this that than the fact that they're building yet another new stadium and lining more political pockets with public funds.
There are strict rules about what you can and cannot bring in (this is NYC after all. Well, Queens). The bag-check man at the entrance actually called me “Smiley” (as in, “Smiley, you’re next”) as he made the motions of going through my uncharacteristically small bag. When I whispered that I was from Chicago, he said my secret was safe with him and no one would care and I was welcome there. That was before their best pitcher broke his five game winning streak and the Cubs creamed the Mets 10-1. I prefer games that seesaw back and forth and end with a close score; that way no one is humiliated and fears losing their job.
The beer came in beautiful red-orange and blue bottles decorated with the Mets logo, and when Kai jokingly asked the Fire (pretzel) and Ice (beer) Stand man if he had a Cubs beer for me, the vendor offered that he’d been to Fenway and all the other stadiums, but Wrigley Field is by far the most beautiful ballpark in America.
I'm no baseball fan – two games in one season is unprecedented – but I did develop a taste for it when I was six or so, and my mother would take me to the bars with her. I’d drink cokes and eat potato chips while listening to Jack Brickhouse and watching Billy Williams, Ron Santo et al smack them into the ivy between ads for Tru-Link Fence and Empire Carpet. I remember wondering why they counted the balls, and how they knew knew which was which.
Our seats at Shea were near some drunken Cubs fans, which made me feel right at home. Unlke Wrigley, the Shea scoreboard has instant replay video. But I was downstairs casting my ballot for the All Star game and missed the Mets' single homer -- apparently a man in a top hat pops out of the dirty Big Apple in right field, and dancing girls come out. Too late, I realized I should go back downstairs so the Mets could score again. I did however catch Aramis Ramirez's glorious Grand Slam. But I had to ask everyone around me if it had actually happened. No one cheered, and Shea only shows replays when the Mets do something well. Suffice to say there were few replays that night.
The drive home was uneventful; when we got to Park Slope we saw that the telescopes were again focused on Saturn. It was a new moon and the skies were dark and clear; you could see Venus with the naked eye. Kai got rock star parking (of course) and we got out to take a look. Saturn’s ring was still at that jaunty angle and it still looked like a cartoon. While we were there Jupiter rose, but no one seemed ready to focus on it. The opera singing man came up from the subway and had a turn at the 'scope; one group of women was simply not interested. We started talking about Steve Buscemi and Catesey was doing an impersonation of him from “Fargo” when who walks up but his double. Turns out it was his brother – whom of course Kai knows. And his companion had met Catesey at a birthday party a couple of weeks ago (No one knew me though). After chatting we sat on the stoop and snacked on hummus and mozzarella sandwiches (Dharma always says, “A little mozzarella is OK.”). And that retired the side.
-Tea with the Goodmans in SoHo on Monday. Lovely to see them as always, plus PSG gave a bonus blow-by-blow account of the previous night’s “Sopranos.” He and the oldest daughter were leaving for Scotland the next day and the passports had yet to be located.
-Coffee in the sun on Tuesday at Two Red Hens in Park slope, watching the expensive strollers holding drooling zombie-like three-year olds pass by. SportMarty has a theory that when children outgrow the stroller they’ll be unable to walk on their own because their legs will not function. He has a point. We saw exactly one pre-tween walking on her own two feet. Unlike her wheeled brethren, she was actually smiling and alert and interested in the world around her. Anyway we were watching this and enjoying a blueberry-oatmeal scone and talking about Venice-based surfing actor and ex- Blue Man Tahmus Rounds when who calls but…..Tahmus Rounds. Apparently all is well in Cali, the back is almost healed from surgery and he’ll appear on CSI tomorrow.
AND SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM CLASS:
-Dharma on Monday talking me through a partner headstand between the knees of Erin, who was in Bench Pose (like Table Pose). I got busted for the same things Suddha says; put the chest forward, move back the legs. Dharma tried to walk me through Part B. but I’m hopeless at partner yoga and first-time instruction, and wound up with my feet on Erin’s throat. Oops! Then we switched places, and she did it perfectly. The first time around.
-On Friday I did full splits on both sides for the first time. The guy with the awesome nose noticed this and said something and my attention shifted and I responded and suddenly felt something deep in my buttock go “thunk.” But it seems to be a shift rather than a tear.
-On Monday and Tuesday I dropped back and stood up during the final part of the Shiva Namaskar sequence like it was nothing.
-On Tuesday Dharma showed me the proper way to stand up from Parvritta Parsvakonasana; after walking forward you first straighten the bottom leg and lift the chest; only then should you attempt to straighten the top leg. When the body starts to shift, you should stop straightening. That class was super hot and sweaty, and I FINALLY got Padma Pinca Mayurasana (lotus forearm balance) for more than a few seconds.
-Dharma was mic’d on Monday, his birthday. But not on Tuesday.
-On Friday I fell over once in Pinca Mayurasana (finally!) and again when trying to go into headstand from the pose. It did not feel so good on the neck but I didn't hit anyone and in the end it was fine.
-On Tuesday I learned some new tricks from Dharma and Rebecca-from-teacher-training; arm balances with the foot either on the upper arm or shoulder, the other leg straight.
-Throughout class Tuesday I noticed my mind wandering or saw myself slacking off in yet another challenging pose and had to remind myself: “There is only this moment. What are you waiting for? Do it.” And “A yogi has fortitude and does not show fatigue just because s/he is tired. The pose is not for you anyway; it’s an offering. So offer it.” By the end of class I was dripping wet, and experienced that same sense of release and relief that I received during teacher training. Interestingly, my clothes did not smell much at all (and I have a very good sniffer). But the ones I wore on Friday certainly did. More proof that there really is something to Dharma’s purification techniques.