Monday, July 13, 2009

The Gimp Chronicles
Episode 9: Brighton Beach Boot Memoir

Brighton Beach #1
Street corner scene on Brighton Beach Ave.

My employer (for reasons best understood by them, and not at all by me) decided to decree a few forced vacation days for our firm this summer. That is, they picked several days around Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day and told us that we had to take these days off. Not that we get them off - these aren't freebie vacay days. We have to take them off; they're deducted from our (already small) pool of personal time.

Well. Well? Well. Whaddya going to do?

What I did, when this latest forced day o' fun rolled around, was take Tootsie to the beach.

Tootsie's Day in the Sun

We gimped down together to Brighton Beach, an easy train ride away. Board the subway in Manhattan, and disembark about an hour later in Russia. Or at least it feels like Russia.

Many of the store signs are printed in Russian, and much of the business being conducted around you plays out in Russian. There is no shortage of stores and stalls selling Russian vodka and caviar. There is a fur coat store. A Russian-language book store. There are sweet-looking Russian ladies camped out on stoops in folding chairs, chatting up their neighbors.

And then there are the Russian pastries. Oh, the pastries. Tootsie and I headed straight for my favorite Russian bakery and picked up some supplies. A quick stop for an iced coffee, and then we continued on to the beach.

We set up camp near some teenagers who were blasting Russian house music from a boom box, just to the left of an older couple who didn't seem to feel that their advanced years should preclude them from wearing bikinis/speedos. A gang of middle-schoolers loitered nearby, making idle threats to one another. Some Brooklyn hipsters showed up with a French bulldog, and set about trying to look bored and cool. A guy with a cart walked up and down the beach shouting & selling, "Water! Pepsi's! Ice-cold Corona's!"

Brooklyn's "Little Odessa" may not be the classiest of joints, but like I said - it's just an easy train ride away.

And did I mention the pastries?? Yeah, Brighton Beach has its benefits.

Tootsie, for her part, seemed to enjoy the outing. I briefly considered hurling her into the sea, but in the end I let her come home with me. I know she's here for my own good; Dr. Z insisted upon that fact. Still, I can't help but hope that by the time my next forced vacation day rolls around in September, Tootsie will be but a distant, dim memory...

[Read the rest of the Gimp Chronicles here.]

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