A True Highland Parker

Few things make me feel more at home than hearing my spin instructor, as she began class on Saturday, announce that she had “… three briskets in the oven and was in the midst of setting her table for Passover.”  Incidentally, she’s hosting 39 people.

It made me think:  what makes me feel like a true Highland Parker? The concept wasn’t new to me.  It first occurred to me about ten days ago, when a group of us were having lunch at the CK – that’s Country Kitchen for the two of you who don’t know—and the conversation turned to holiday preparations. Brisket, of course, garnered another mention, as did gefilte fish, matzah cookies, and the lament of the noodleless kugel.  We began to debate the merits of cooking with schmaltz, and laughed about how dated that seemed and yet how reassuring it was that our beloved Sunset Foods carries the delicacy (if rendered chicken fat can indeed be considered a delicacy).

My husband offered to do the weekly grocery shopping, then called me in a panic from the aisles.  “You owe me big time,” he said, adding, “Why didn’t you warn me?”  I hung up and  smiled.  Silly import of a husband.   You’d think that after 21 years of marriage, 18 of which have been lived within the confines of 60035, he’d know enough to steer clear of all grocery stores in the days leading up to a holiday. Just seeing the police officers, in full uniform, patrolling the parking lots should have been a tip off.

I felt like a true Highland Parker on Sunday as I geared up for a nice spring ride.  At 6:30 a.m., the thermostat read 36 degrees, but weather.com assured me that, factoring in the wind, it’d feel a little more like 28.  Sturdy and stubborn, I put on layers and layers of unattractive bike clothing and headed out.  After all, the sun was shining and it was mid-April.  I grew up here.  I’m used to it.

And then, Monday, the coup-de-grace:  three inches of wet, white snow on April 18th.  There was only one response I could think of:  I was going swimming.  Outside. The health club had deemed mid-April as the kick-off for outdoor spring swimming, so by 7 a.m. I was in the pool, alternately swimming laps and floating on my back, trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue.

None of this made me feel as much a Highland Parker as what I’m about to confess.  After my swim, I headed to the library.  I love the library.  I live two blocks from the library.  But it was snowing.  And wet.  And cold.  And I had my laptop.  So I drove there.  On my first pass through the lot, there were no spaces.  Here’s where my head hangs in shame.  I circled in and out of the lot three times, never once getting lucky enough to grab a spot to park.

I’d been swimming outside in the snow.  I’d biked in the howling wind. I know how to navigate the grocery store before a major holiday.  But when it came down to walking or driving the two blocks from my house to the library, I opted to drive.  You tell me:  is that the sign of a true Highland Parker?

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