"There are goldfish in there," said Kristen. "So careful when you dump it in." I nodded, wrestling a full bucket over the edge of a giant plastic tub, trying not to kill the goldfish I was pouring water on or the corn I was stepping through. The barge lurched, and water slopped over my shirtsleeves. To hell with the goldfish, I thought, and dumped the water on their heads. They didn't die.
This is how I spent my Friday night: walking through an unfamiliar Brooklyn neighborhood in order to talk complete strangers into letting me help them haul water in a wheelbarrow through a construction zone in order to support completely decorative (read: not-actually-algae-eating) goldfish in an utopian art project.
IT WAS AWESOME.
By the time the remainder of the crew had reappeared (with beers), I had gotten a tour of the self-contained floating ecosystem, helped with signage for the upcoming barge party, coaxed connectivity on their two (previously unused) XOs into being stable enough to carry out an IRC conversation with John Rose about Fedora Ambassadors, and taught Kristen how to deliver the "Why Open Source Is Totally Cool" spiel to visitors (with the help of an XO/Sugar cheat sheet written between frantic squirts of bug repellent).
After Mary, Alison, and the rest had gone to bed, I stayed up reading by the light of a bare solar-powered bulb, then walked to the edge of the pod and leaned out into the most gorgeous Manhattan skyline I'd ever seen. The barge bobbing gently up and down, the Brooklyn Bridge stretching out towards a twinkling morass of piled urban sprawl, an open stretch of water, and the Statue of Liberty.
I fell asleep in a hammock stretched between two struts of the giant geodesic dome. It got cold; I woke up shivering, shrugged, looked at the skyline until dawn, then snoozed contentedly on a pile of soft, springy rubber coils in a window of sunlight until the chickens got too racuous to ignore. Kicked off the day by climbing the geodesic dome barefoot with a knife in my teeth in order to install a movie screen, then slung my backpack on and went out to meet my brother Jason, who had decided to come out to NYC that weekend with his friend Amy.
As usual, Jason had arrived with a long list of restaurants he wanted to try, so we worked our way through fried fish (A Salt And Battery), chocolate (Max Brenner's), empanadas (the tiny place on 8th av. by 14th st. that I can never remember the name of), pizza (Two Boots), burgers and shakes (Stand, with Nikki coming along - last weekend was apparently the weekend for random NYC trips), and... too many more things to list.
Amy taught me a little about political science. I showed them all-you-can-eat falafel at Maoz. Jason brought us to a tiny pizzeria (Di Fara) an hour from the city where a legendary pizza master has made every pie by hand, every day, for over 40 years. (Very, very slowly. We waited nearly 2 hours in order to get a slice, for which we paid $6 apiece. It was completely worth it. All the rooms in the hotel Amy and Jason had booked a room in were completely full, so I made a thin mat of folded towels on the floor of their room and slept there with a wadded jacket as a pillow.
All of this, unexpectedly, from coming down to NYC on Thursday evening for a Friday morning work meeting. I thought I'd go back Friday night; instead, Jason came, and so the weekend turned into an adventure.
I love my brother.