Monday, September 26, 2011

What stupid thing did I do this weekend

When I was in high school, I took a tech theater class to fulfill an art requirement that was taught by a very funny first-year teacher named Mr. Ballew. One of Mr. Ballew's greatest sources of humor was his clumsiness, and every Monday morning's class was begun with a segment called "What Stupid Thing Did Mr. Ballew Do This Weekend." These ranged from burning his mouth with a fork that was resting on a hot plate of fajitas at a Mexican restaurant to cutting his finger open on a shaving razor laying face up on a bathroom counter. One of my favorites was one I was witness to when Mr. Ballew was one of the chaperones on a school sponsored trip to an academic competition in Austin. Not a half hour after we arrived at our hotel, I ran into Mr. Ballew wandering around looking for a hotel employee because in those 30 minutes he had managed to not only run a bath, but somehow lock himself out while the water was running.

At any rate, I thought of this high school vignette because this weekend I did something kind of stupid. I will blame this particular idiocy on dehydration (which is in and of itself a stupid thing to do). A few weeks ago, I signed up for a monthly pass to a bikram yoga studio in Astoria. Ever since I've been trying to fit in as many yoga classes as possible because once this expires yoga studio membership is yet again out of my budget. Anyway, bikram yoga is a form of hot yoga meaning you sweat profusely during the hour and a half class. They recommend very conscious hydration before and after. I'm excellent at pre-class hydration and generally spend the day before a class assiduously drinking liters of water. However, the class was from 10-11:30 and I'd promised to meet friends in Brooklyn for the Dumbo Arts Festival at 2:00, so I had just enough time to run home and shower before heading out and post-class rehydration was completely neglected.

Thanks to the joys of weekend subway transit, I arrived in Dumbo at exactly 2:00 at a train stop that should have been about a five minute walk to my ultimate destination. My sense of direction is pretty bad at the best of times, but add to it a slight loopiness from lack of water, and I took off in the complete wrong direction. This wouldn't in itself be that bad except that my final destination was a park directly below the Brooklyn Bridge which is a pretty hard to miss landmark. Every so often I would figure out my path of choice was not getting me closer to my destination, so I would turn and go in a different direction that felt correct. Eventually, after I was about a half hour late meeting my friends, they started trying to guide me by phone. That inevitably failed when I couldn't really distinguish between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges (for those not familiar with New York: these bridges look very different, and are unlikely to be confused with each other under normal circumstances). At this point, I got some water from a hot dog cart and sat and consumed all of it before continuing on my quest. All told, I walked about a mile out of my way.

I made it to the arts festival an hour late and sadly missed the friend of friend's dance troop I'd originally been going to see. That said, the festival was fun with a number of performances, exhibitions, and open galleries. More importantly, a kind-hearted friend with a car gave me a ride home, so I didn't even have to attempt to find my way back to the subway station. The moral of this post then is to never underrate the importance of hydration, write down directions if you fail at this basic human skill, and to always remember if you're warned that a sizzling plate of fajitas is hot, the fork resting on it probably is too.


  1. You know... I'm not that inept. I used a lot of those stories to grab attention and bond with you guys. Here is hoping that you learned something from those stories even if that something is, "don't do that".


    B. Ballew

  2. Hi Mr. Ballew! I figured they weren't all true, but they were great stories! Your class was awesome, and no offense meant! Anyway, I don't know if you'll read this, but if you do, I've always wondered: the story about getting stabbed in the leg on Halloween--fact or fiction?