Lame Adventure 328: Hanging Around

Can you believe it?  Michael Phelps has a record nineteen Olympic medals and now that it’s August it’s been over four months since I first tackled the scintillating topic of tree bagging.  For those of you unfamiliar with the illustrious pastime of tree bagging, that’s when you’re out meandering, your mind is elsewhere, possibly veering in the direction of strenuous wanton sex, sinfully decadent foodstuffs, or you’re wondering if that 2-for-1 sale on nasal decongestant is still happening. Then you look up and notice the phenomenon of shopping bags nestled in tree branches.  If you reside on the Upper West Side like me you focus specifically on one multitasking tree on your block that doubles as a trash receptacle with branches.

That’s the tree in March.

Back in late March the bags in that tree looked like this.

Bags in tree.

Go ahead, take a closer look.

Now, more than four months later, I have reason to report on the State of the Tree Bags. I had just finished doing two loads of laundry after work but before dinner.  I was feeling hungry for my salad; the only dinner I have eaten almost every day in summer because I do not intend to use my stove again until fall. There were days in June and July that were so sweltering inside my un-air-conditioned hovel that I could have easily fried an egg on my bathroom floor, not to imply that that was actually on my “to do” list.  I’ll be the first to admit that greasing one’s bathroom floor is not such a genius idea.  Besides, I’m certainly not going to eat that egg.  Ew.

So there I was, deep in shallow thought while walking back to my sanctum sanctorum, carrying my bag of freshly done laundry.  It had been a long and busy day at The Grind. The soles of my feet were aching.  I was thinking:

Me (thinking):  Why are my feet aching?  Now what, do I have gout?  Doesn’t that only afflict old guys?  Or am I the one woman in the entire universe that’s screwed with this curse?  Can I ever get cut a single solitary break or is my entire life a constant disaster?  What is this going to cost me aside from epic humiliation? I can hear my dad right now, “How the hell did you get gout?  I know guys in the mall with it.  Gals aren’t supposed to get that.”  It would probably behoove me to exclude mentioning this in the “objective” category on my resume, or maybe it would show character and pith?  “Got gout.  Hire me.”  Hm, it does have an original ring to it.

I glance up at that tree’s branches.

Same tree more than four months later.

Then, focus my gaze and access my inner zoom lens.

Closing in …

Close-up.

I thought:

Me (thinking):  Wow!  That Fairway bag is still there!  It’s survived so many elements, the heat, the humidity, several rainstorms, even The Hunger Games entire run at my neighborhood multiplex.  Remarkable!  Am I almost out of balsamic?  I wonder when I’ll next get laid?  What happened to the second bag?

“I’m right here!”

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158 responses to “Lame Adventure 328: Hanging Around

  1. V,
    As funny as your post was, and may I say the “Me (thinking)” is rather clever… Can you explain to me the phenomenon of tree bagging? Really, is it a New York thing? I’m not kidding, I want to know… Madame Weebles, any thought?
    Le Clown

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    • You know how in the UK they have Trainspotting? New Yorkers have tree bagging. You know, we get bored with all the fancy restaurants, opera, ballet, theater, and all the other crap NY has to offer. So tree bagging is our thing. There are competitions with other cities, and you’d think cities with more trees would have the edge, but no. New Yorkers can fling bags further, longer, faster.

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    • Le Clown, as you can see our mutual friend and my fellow Jaded New Yorker, Mme. Weebles, has written the definitive definition of tree bagging that Webster’s is now considering. As for the term itself that was coined by my dear wordsmith friend Milton, the king of pith.

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      • V and Madame Weebles,
        I thank you both for introducing me to the fine art of tree bagging. Then again, I’m sourly disappointed that Woody Allen never showed that part of New York. I guess the bags are too old and too worn out for him.
        Le Clown

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        • Maybe the Woodman has yet to feature tree bagging? He’s only pushing 77 and easily has another 15 films in him the way he cranks them out.

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          • V,
            …this year alone. Oh how I miss his Annie Hall days…
            Le Clown

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            • Manhattan is the one that motivated me to move across the country. Although I did notice the second I found my nest over here that there were no fireworks over the Hudson nor was Rhapsody in Blue playing to announce my arrival. I seem to recall hearing sirens and horns honking … But I do live five or six doors down from where Gershwin resided (and may have written many of his masterpieces). That’s cool.

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              • V,
                Perhaps you were looking for the Gordon Willis black and white Manhattan, which I don’t blame you… As for living close to where Gershwin did, now that I like.

                I once visited a New York jazz man (Dave Binney) in his small apartment in Irving Bernstein’s old house. Does it count for something?
                Le Clown

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                • Irving Bernstein? Is that a hybrid of Irving Berlin and Leonard Bernstein? If not, sure, Irving Bernstein works for me. He sounds like a real deal New Yorker. I may have even dated his daughter about 20-odd years ago. She had a great rack and tried to teach me how to swing a golf club.

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  2. Thanks for the bag update. Squirrels are GREAT at tying knots.

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  3. Oh my lord, LA, you nailed this. I never did understand the bags in the trees, or the sneakers over the power lines or lampposts.

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  4. Has it been 4 MONTHS!! Egads… how time flies/swims when we’re all having such a *&^%ing good time. And those bags…we may need to alert the media (or have we already done this?). Seems like I’ve seen some bags here too in faraway Tx….has the secret service, MI5 and the Homeland Security been informed? And Phelps…I guess maybe he’s hoping there will be no more photos of him passing around a Bong but
    give him credit where credit is due. Congrats Phelps!! The Young are so amazing with what they can do, or get away with.

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  5. While we may be over the “heat hump” I’ve seen August pack some mean stuff before. I don’t know what the nature of your situation is exactly, but they DO make some very good, very energy efficient window ACs that only draw about 450 watts. That’s not enough to do a whole large apartment, but it certainly makes a room or two quite livable even in the worst conditions. I did some research on them about a month ago when I was afraid mine might give up the ghost and this model seemed to be both the best price (159) and the highest EER (11).

    It’s not worth “toughing it out”: you end up losing so much in the way of efficiency that you’re far better off running a small AC.

    – MJM

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    • Michael, you’re a gem, but the problem is not just lacking an A/C. The bigger problem is the claim that if I got one, my garret would need to be rewired for it would blow out the fuse on my floor. The skeptic in me (that consumes 98.9% of my being) doesn’t buy that, but the people that manage my building are not turds; I’ve always felt that they’ve been straight with me. I saw an A/C I wanted to purchase in May. I talked to them about it and they said, “Don’t.” Also … during the Coolidge administration when I signed my lease, the building wasn’t wired for A/C then. I had to sign an agreement promising that I’d never buy one. Technically, if I violated that agreement it could be grounds for eviction, but they also don’t want to rewire it. They tend to rewire only when they gut renovate. Good luck finding another hovel in my tony neighborhood at the rent I pay. Ten months of the year it’s an otherwise very comfy space.

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  6. I got onto your posts due to you writing something about a drain cleaner-now my AC tip is buy a small freezer and put a table fan in it-like rednecks do -PS-leave the door open!!!

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  7. Tree bagging? Ok … this is a new one for this sheltered Ohioan. So I Google it … on Images no less … and bam … Yours is the first image provided and another one close by! Meanwhile, good luck with dealing with the heat … and remember limoncello.

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  8. Okay, sorry I’m late getting here. It’s been a CRAZY week. Who would have ever guessed those bags could still be there?! I think those things will have a longer life than the ancient cockroach! Damn!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

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  9. Okay. Way too much time on my hands this morning on the NJ Transit train from Glen Ridge to Hoboken. My fetid brain in bouncing around my head like the aforementioned 18 wheeler. Fretting about 20 year old son who’s a week away from beginning his junior year at the original USC with apparently no more of a clue what his life holds for him than he did in 2010 when he first headed south. Next I became somewhat depressed about what I fear will be a lightly attended fund raiser tomorrow morning at a Newark drug and alcohol rehab center where I was recently added to its board.

    So what does this mini funk lead me to? Bags hanging in trees. I have not read the article yet but some lame ass (not you dear LA Woman) did something akin to a retrospective in The New Yorker back on January 12, 2004. What had been the highlight of my afternoon yesterday, your place among the Google elite, has been replaced with realization that we’re just plowing anew that earth which has yielded more fruit and at more tangible remuneration.

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  10. Those are hardy plastic bags. Or one of them is. What could have happened to the other?
    A friend managed to get a pair of pants (what do you call them – underwear? briefs?) Into the top of a very tall tree on an exuberant night out. They, too, proved they could stay the course,and for the three-year length of their degree course, every now and then, they would take the double decker bus to salute the tree pants on their own level. Trees don’t like giving up their Stuff.

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    • As an amateur bagologist, I think the Fairway bag is made of tougher plastic and the white one was not. Hence, hanging out in the elements for four-plus months resulted in one bag being more battered than the other. I have had many an exuberant night out myself, but I don’t recall ever pantsing a tree, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that crosses the pond. That’s very true about trees not giving up their Stuff. Approximately 20 years ago, the tree outside my window had a towel hanging off a branch for at least a year. I got to see it morph over time from white to a more latte color. Then, one day it was gone. Since it was impossible to reach it must have fallen off. Maybe it was weighed down with the elements?

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  11. In South Africa you get whole little villages covered in plastic bags…absolutely aweful!!!

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  12. Being from California I hadn’t heard of this tree bagging scenario but I love your whole thought process while explaining it … “strenuous wanton sex, sinfully decadent foodstuffs, or you’re wondering if that 2-for-1 sale on nasal decongestant is still happening.” I’m all about nasal decongestant 🙂

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  13. Pingback: Trust Le Clown – Lame Adventures | A Clown On Fire

  14. Found you through Le Clown. Loved this post. When I need to put on a new roof, I’m going to use plastic bags because that sh*t lasts.

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  15. A gripping life

    Why hasn’t the mayor declared a tree bagging day, a day when New Yorkers have to clean it up? They could celebrate by not having a 48 ounce Big Gulp at 7 Eleven? Unless he thinks those bags are a work of art? Hey, I know how to get ’em down… Put a cash prize in one of them, let everyone know, and watch those bags come down.
    I think I should be Mayor with ideas like this, right?

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  16. Le Clown sent me here. What a crack-up you are!

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    • I’m flattered that you think that Robin. When I wear my swim fins on the subway at rush hour my fellow commuters just think I’m another attention-seeking jerk. Mais oui, viva Le Clown!

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  17. Hi there. First of all, let me say that Le Clown sent me over here so if I cause any trouble, you can blame him. I have actually seen this phenomenon you speak of. Our trees are french speaking though. Uppity french speaking bagging trees.

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  18. Make it easier on yourself. Just throw a shoe at it. Faster.

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