January 8, 2007, Cornwall On Hudson, New York

January 8, 2007, Cornwall On Hudson, New York

Yeah, I’m still here, as in still here in New York, and still here blogging. The Steelers ended up losing in the final minute 31-29. I am glad I did not have to see it firsthand and only had to listen to it on ’DVE. Tough loss …

Sunday I knew I had to get a real Starbucks, and since there is one at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, a shopping Mecca about 12 miles south, I planned my morning around that. I thought that, being a Sunday, it would be complete and utter chaos. Turned out it was not that bad.

I made a few mistakes in navigating to Central Valley, even with the GPS (a wrong turn put me on 9W South instead of North) and I found a new and actually more scenic way to get there. I pulled into the lot at the outlets and parked near the Applebee’s there. You know when you go someplace and find a particular route there, into a complex and parking place, good or bad, you just know you will always go the same route and park in the same place from there in. That’s what I figure at least with the outlets. Always to the Applebee’s no matter how far it might be from the actual stores I’d want to shop at.

It was easy enough to find the Starbucks based on the map I found online. I had my refillable mug and had to wait for some woman to order several sandwiches and drinks (at Starbucks?) for about $20, and was out the door looking for anyone who spoke English. Now, I am not saying that the majority of the people I have encountered here do not speak English, but let me define English as I use it here.

English, in my experience, is some form of the standard words found in a regular dictionary. These words have nuances, accents, syllables that are accented in certain ways, all commonly accepted in most geographic regions around our great country. So, while I hear almost a dozen varieties of foreign languages from Spanish to Russian to Chinese (or variations of Latin, Eastern European or Far Eastern languages), I was desperate to hear English from people whose native tongue is English. What I found was New Yorker after New Yorker annunciating words in ways I have never even heard in a Martin Scorsese movie.

Now, I know not everyone at the outlets was a New Yorker. I looked at the license plates in the parking lot. There were representatives of nearly 7different states there, at least parked in the Red Parking Lot near the Applebee’s, but I heard nothing but the drawl of the Big Apple inhabitants everywhere. I would even have welcomed a “yinz” thrown in here and there or a New Englander dropping a “wooter” (water) reference here or there.

Another way I am showing my allegiance to Pittsburgh I suppose, in vowing not to adopt a new accent, especially this one. Please, if any New Yorkers read this, don’t be offended. It makes perfect sense and sounds great here, but it stands out more than the lazy Pittsburghese my ears are so longing to hear.

Anyway … after I caffeinated myself (or began to), I stopped in the Rebok store but found nothing. Then I was off again to the Wal-Mart. I can’t remember everything I bought that day, but it was all necessities. I think I bought a new shower head (the one here was a hand held one with little power), a new drain stopper for the kitchen, some Palmolive, a sink sponge, another candle (Warm Apple Pie scent – picked up a vanilla one Saturday) among other things. I shopped for some groceries and was doing OK there until I strolled into the toy section.

Now, I was purposely avoiding the toy section. Not that I thought I would be tempted to spend precious cash on needless toys, but I knew it would make me miss the boys too much. That was the only place I ever went for the past 3 years with them in every store we ever entered. As I neared the Hot Wheels, I had an anxiety attack.

What was I thinking? What was I doing here? Where are my sons! Breathing was shallow. Head was spinning. Tears were imminent …

I found my way out and went back to the grocery side of the store and finished buying what I needed to before heading out. I wanted to stop at Target but I think that would have put me over the edge.

When I got back to the apartment I dug into building the printer stand for my office. Did I really need it that night? No, but building it served its purpose, I was distracted, and by the end of the night, tired. I had to start my new job the next day and needed to be rested. I am saving the bookshelf for another evening when I will again need the distraction from thoughts of home.

What did I learn that day? Stay out of the toy section at Wal Mart and stop looking down my nose at New Yinzers. I mean Yinzers. Well, anyone without “the rain in Spain” diction I aspire to have but know I do not.

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