The Wind Beneath My Chicken Wings

seth’s thoughts on chicken, bed desks, airlines, dc, crock pots and more…

Spots September 9, 2007

Filed under: DC,visits — Seth @ 4:38 pm

I have spots in cities. These are more than favorite nightspots or tourist spots or spots in your house or on your porch. They are places I could direct you to if you were going on holiday. These are places you would stand for a bit or sit for a spell and say, “gee. this is a nice spot.” These are spots that have special resonance for me, so I’ve decided to chronicle my spots.

Framingham, MA: High school is where most of us get our first spots. Mine was about two miles from my parent’s house. At the time, it was this short, circular road off one of those windy, wooded and rarely traveled New England roads. It wasn’t near houses and it wasn’t on the way to anyplace, so my cohorts and I could park and spend hours just up to no good, though thinking back it was probably a little bit of good. We sat in cars that were like bubbles and passionately carried on about things that seemed very important at the time. The spot is now surrounded by houses and from the looks of it on google, they’ve built a few new roads, so I’m sure it isn’t as secluded as it once was.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: My spot is on Staalkade just next to the Waterlooplein. In 1997, the day Princess Dianna died, I landed in Amsterdam for what can easily be described as the best semester of my life. I lived on one of those impossibly picturesque canals and I had classes Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Quite a rigorous European existence. Plenty of free time for — as I like to write on guidebook maps of friends who are Holland-bound — “to sit here and watch the city.” This spot is actually on a river, though it just looks like a bigger canal, but from the benches you really get a sense of the city. It was close to my route from one University of Amsterdam campus to the other, and I used to smoke pack after pack of cigarettes there writing nonsensical poetry and witty postcards.

Wang Thong, Thailand: Anyone who visited me in the Peace Corps knows my spot was on the porch in front of my house, but house spots don’t count for this list. My village had two sweet spots. The first was on a mountain just outside the village where you had a panoramic view of the entire valley and the mountains that begin and lead to Laos are clearly visible. This was the first, dare I say only, stop on the Wang Thong tourist circuit. My other spot was sitting on the sidewalk in front of 7-11 right in the middle of the town. I wrote this at the time:

Found the best hang out spot in Wang Thong. It is called The Sidewalk in Front of 7-11, where Lalo, Jessica (two fellow PC Volunteers) and I parked ourselves between the hours of 11pm and 3 in the morning last Thursday. We drank beer and talked to the various people coming and going at that late hour (about 10 people in 4 hours). I may have made some actual friends who do not teach with me or sell me chicken. Of course, one of my 9th grade students came by and says “Ajan (Mr.) Seth, why you sit in front of 7-11 and drink beer?” This kid never says a word in class, looks at me like I am from Mars when I say “How are you?”, but all of a sudden he is Mr. English!! I told him this was a custom in America to sit in front of convenient stores and as a Peace Corps Volunteer I felt it was my duty to share American culture.

Brooklyn, NY: If there is a better spot in New York City than one of the 3 or 4 sets of benches between the spans on the pedestrian crossing of the Brooklyn Bridge, I’ve not found it in over 15 years of living in New York. Sure, there’s the promenade. Battery Park can be lovely. Someone once told me I should go to the top of the Empire State Building. But the Brooklyn Bridge is the most stunning structure in the city, and the view from it trumps all others.

Washington DC: I have to admit, in a year of living here, I’ve not found my spot. The kickball field where my fellow Chicken Kickers triumphed repeatedly was at the base of the monument and had great views of the Jefferson, the White House and the Lincoln (not to mention planes landing on runway 19 at DCA), but for goodness sakes, I can’t live in Washington DC and tell people my favorite spot is right in the middle of the mall. It reeks of a cop-out and I can do better. Finding my DC spot is my top priority my friends, and I will surely keep you posted.

I have more but this is getting long. There’s the hill in San Francisco’s Dolores Park (the 20th Street side). Bangkok’s ta pra atit in the Bunglumpoo section is the Asian Washington Sq. Park and a welcome part from the circus that is Bangkok(with a great view of that cool Rama bridge).

Feel free to comment, and show me your spots.


Airport Poem September 7, 2007

Filed under: blah blah blah,poems,visits — Seth @ 2:38 am

delta @ dca

National Airport is yellow and bright

Chicago O’Hare is impressive at night

Atlanta’s concourses resemble a maze

Kennedy Airport is full of delays

To use any outlet in Dallas you pay

Logan in Boston juts out in a bay

When changing in Denver I don’t leave the plane

The lines out in Vegas could drive you insane

A cab ride to Dulles will cost you an arm

LaGuardia’s runways are cause for alarm

In lounges I ponder the comings and goings

While waiting for boarding airbuses and boeings


Florida September 5, 2007

Filed under: visits — Seth @ 12:45 am

images of south florida

Overheard in a south Florida condo pool:

So I called her, twice– mind you, and I invited her over for the second night of Rosh Hashana–we’re having a big spread–and she never even told me if she’s coming or not. I mean, all she had to do was call. It’s not that hard.

I wish I could remember the rest of this twenty minute rant, but my mind wandered. Luke and I were in south Florida, where the main activities were laying around by the beach, laying around by the pool, eating lunch, and listening to old Jewish ladies kvetch on the lanai.

The flight was super easy, shockingly. Now I can safely say that all the while I’ve been flying back and forth over this country all summer, reading articles in Business Week and others about the sad state of affairs with air travel, I’ve actually fared well and I’ve no horror stories to share. Sometimes I get upset when I’m on the wrong side of the plane when we take off down the Potomac, but I take a cleansing breath and move on.

South Florida, what can I say. Like an early bird special that starts at 3:30pm, you entice me while scaring me just a little. There was that moment of sheer terror when I had to decide between two pools: one with screaming children and one with a bunch of judgmental, kvetching Esthers, Judys, Estelles and so forth. I chose the old ladies because as least they keep it real. And I got to hear about Esther’s big spread.

We spent a day in South Beach where everyone is chiseled and less aged than up in Hollywood. Luke liked it because the beach had a “party atmosphere,” but I kept wishing my bathing suit was more expensive.

Now Luke is back to school and I’m back to work and the summer is over. I’m trying to think of the highlights, but I can’t remember when spring ended and summer began. I know it’s been hot, but I seem to think everything is hot. I know that DC is exceptionally hot. I’m ready for autumn.


Hollywood Beach, Fl September 4, 2007

Filed under: things luke said — Seth @ 1:15 am

Luke walking in florida

“I wish people wouldn’t cover up their naughty bits with the American flag… Or any flag for that matter.”