LOL (Locks of Love) Weekend

24 May

This past weekend was bustling with activity, but thankfully grounded with teachings from the Dalai Lama at Radio City. Teachings in the morning and graduation at night kicked things off on Thursday. Friday was a calm day of Teachings, while Saturday completely rocked any and all expectations of awesome.. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my last weekend in NYC before Bike & Build.

Thursday was a first for me, on a few levels. I graduated. I went to the graduation ceremony. I walked. I received an outrageously large envelope containing a Xeroxed sheet of paper saying my diploma, if earned, would arrive in the mail. What a show to partake in, absolutely unnecessary, but I suppose after 2 years and countless sleepless nights, the envelope was worth it…

The divisional graduate ceremony took place at the First Presbyterian Church on 12th Street. Even with its close proximity to the New School campus, this was the first time I’d ever been inside of the church. It boasts Gothic Revival features (I marveled at the arched ceiling) and is apparently modeled after St. Saviour’s Church in Bath, England.

My roommates, Stephanie and Hans, came to my graduation and afterward we celebrated at The Outback Steakhouse. I ordered the “Victoria Filet” my favorite (regardless of the name) while Hans had the special and Stephanie chose the Ribeye. We played nicely, for the most part, and minded our manners, periodically, throughout the meal. I admit being slightly stir crazy after sitting for so long, and I’m sure Stephanie and Hans were too.

Friday was slightly more laid back. I skipped the main convocation and graduate ceremony to go to the Teachings at Radio City. I figured I didn’t miss much. Any time I can have some down time sounds like a good time to me.

Saturday was simply super. I started the day with morning Teachings and then met up with Stephanie to get my hair chopped off at Crops for Girls. During lunch we watched the Dance Parade and then counted up the Bike & Build change jar before making an epic journey through the South Bronx to find FedEx. By the end of the day, I felt like a year had gone by considering all the things accomplished.

I met up with Stephanie, walking down Orchard Street. I had walked from Radio City and planned to meet her at E Houston and Bowery, but when she didn’t show I figured I’d make my way to Crops for Girls on my own. What I didn’t realize is that she was running late and had taken a different train so she ended up ahead of me. I saw a woman walking with an MS shirt on and hoping it was Stephanie, I gave a friendly punch as I passed. Luckily, it was Stephanie (though I would’ve liked to have seen what would have transpired had it been someone else). We walked the rest of the way to Crops for Girls together as we chatted about our already eventful day.

Crops for Girls is an interesting place. It’s been over a decade since I’ve last had a professional haircut, so I really didn’t know what to expect- and it seemed like my hairdresser didn’t either. Thankfully, steadfast Stephanie provided moral support. All awkwardness aside, it was a great experience-my hair was long enough to donate to Locks of Love! LOL! By midafternoon I was sporting a faux-hawk.

After the cut, we stopped by a nearby TD Bank to count up the Bike & Build change jar. I’d been carrying it around all day… so I was especially eager to get to the nearest bank and lighten my pack. The TD Bank’s have a machine called the Penny Arcade that counts change for free and it even has a built-in guessing game: if you guess within a certain amount of the total change, you win a prize! So, super Stephanie guessed $54 (typed in $54.89) and what do you know- the total amount was $54.11. Pretty awesome.

While we waited in line to receive the bills we guessed at what prize we had won. A savings account that required a deposit of all $54.11? A bank loan? An all-inclusive trip to the Bahamas? More money? We were way off. The teller greeted us with a smile and congratulated us on winning, handing over the $54.11 and a pack of TD Bank playing cards as our prize. Guessing what the prize would be was far more fulfilling than actuality, but at least we can say for certain that we are winners!

Winning can take a lot out of you, so we decided to stop and have a bite to eat. Meandering up Broadway we ran into the Dance Parade, so we chose a place to sit down and eat that had a view of the event. I’ve never been so awed and inspired by rollerblading dancers or U-haul trucks and loudspeakers than I was on Saturday. For better or worse, the parade altered my concept of “dance”, taking it to a whole new level.

After the Pacha float danced by, Stephanie and I made our way to FedEx to pickup a package. FedEx is located in the middle of nowhere. The journey there was not the most pedestrian friendly, but we were intent on discovering what the package was and who it was for- we just hoped that it wasn’t for Hans, since neither Stephanie or I had an ID with our current address. Luckily the package was for Stephanie so the trek was not in vain.

Ecstatic that we made it and perhaps a bit tired from the day’s activity, we decided to have a little photo shoot outside of FedEx. It’s a great location. It has character… Unfortunately, one of our location shoots was interrupted by a guard, so we were unable to capture the true essence of the South Bronx FedEx and self-titled “World Shipping Center”- but don’t worry, one day, we will get that shot. (Yes, that’s a barbed wire fence and a construction yard in the background.)

Stephanie and I capped the day off by walking the stunning Bronx “Walk of Fame” home and stopped by the Home Depot for Spring flowers and assorted gardening goodness. It was a fitting end to an awesome day.

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