06 Nov. 2006
SETI League
PriUPS Project


It took an hour and a half to get into Serendipity on Sunday.  On the one hand, that's the longest I ever had to wait.  On the other, it made my New York City adventure even more interesting.

If you don't know Serendipity, you probably won't recall its brief mention in an earlier blog, and most likely also won't recall one of my reasons for going there, which is the following:

Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate

Any questions?

My other reason for going there was to meet an old friend who lives in California and whom I see every few years at the most.  We had arranged this meeting some days ago when she arrived in the City.  What we didn't know just then was that Sunday was the day of the New York City Marathon.  Without resorting to excessive language, let's just accept that traffic was bad.  Given that background, let me tell you about my day.

  • To my astonishment, I somehow avoided all the traffic until I actually got off the highway and on to the city streets.

  • I managed to find a legal parking space.

  • I got out of the car just as a pretty woman wearing a big, big smile and an even bigger medal around her neck was walking past.  Not quite Carly Simon grade, but such a nice smile that it cheered me up.  Not that someone with a legal parking space needs cheering up.

  • We kept turning around and smiling at each other until we were almost a block apart.  I think she must have had canary for lunch in addition to winning some major prize in the Marathon.

  • I proceeded to walk from the far West Side where I parked to the far East Side where Serendipity resides.  The crowds were unbelievable.  Everyone who wasn't smiling or obviously content was busy cheering for someone or something Marathon related.

  • The COPS were happy and cheerful and smiling and everywhere.*

  • The weather was beautiful.  I had just the nicest time people watching.  It was a target-rich environment.

When I finally got to Serendipity, almost an hour after the person I was meeting left her name, they said we still had another half hour to wait.  Did we sulk?  Did we whine?  No!  At my suggestion, we headed off to do some research.  This is not the kind of research that is anathematic to this blog, rather it was the kind of research that required a brisk walk.  (See above for walking conditions.)  We went to the Apple Store!  From my early blogdom, you may remember an item in which I had a theory about this very store.

The Apple Store is a remarkable place.  Its architecture is the first thing one notices, including the attractive spiral staircase, and the second thing is the crowds.  But the most remarkable by far were the sales people.  There were so many of these Pod people that I wondered how the store could possibly be profitable.  They were roving the floor, they were behind every counter, they were gregarious and helpful, and just as ubiquitous, it seemed, as the customers. 

But enough babble:  I had a theory to confirm or deny, and accosted a salestron "I wrote an article just as this store opened, and I hypothesized that you would have a large number of people come in to buy large, expensive systems in the middle of the night.  Was I correct?"

His answer was succinct:  "I don't know, I only work during the day." 

Clearly I needed to refine my accosting.  "Well, then, does anyone know?"  He pointed me to a manager, who, like everyone else, seemed eager to talk to customers, and even to me.  After telling him that one of his cohorts had exposed him as a manager, I put the question to him.  His reply "Well, people come in to buy expensive systems all the time."  Sensing that I was not in the presence of the Keeper of the Statistics, I refined my phrasing:  "So it would be correct, then, to say that people do come in to buy expensive systems in the middle of the night."  He concurred, and so I felt with perhaps less than full justification that my theory had been verified.

The additional half hour having been consumed among the Pods, we returned to Serendipity.  Not long after, the Frozen Hot Chocolate had been consumed as well, and I began the trek back to my car on the other side of town.  It was where I left it, accessories intact.  Despite the traffic report on the radio, there was no congestion leaving town, and I got back to New Jersey in good time.

Is this OK?  Can I just write once in a while about having a good day?  I think that's just what I did. 

*If I don't do a zeugma alert once in a while you'll think I'm losing it.

Richard Factor

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