I remember hearing a hispanic comic do a stand-up routine about how hispanic people and camping don’t mix, and I sometimes think about the pastiness of the National Parks visitors that I’ve seen. On my recent trip to New York it came up in conversation. On a bus. With a really loud and really friendly 30-something black lady.
So I get on the Bx7 bus toward 231st Street and make my way toward the back of the bus in search of a seat. I squeeze down onto a piece of blue plastic, sandwiching myself between a ill-positioned pole and someone’s huge backpack, and I take out a book on climbing technique. In it is a photo of an improvised harness, and a young black woman sitting in a nearby seat perpendicular to mine asks what the harness would be used for. Cool. Someone’s curious.
I explain to her that it’s a climbing harness and that it is used to secure a person to a rope or to an anchor. We talk for a minute about how much force the harness webbing can withstand, and then she asks where there is any climbing in New York. I tell her that the most popular spot is in the Gunks upstate, and she replies that she used to live around there and that it’s a really pretty area. Then she drops the bomb, which I found hilarious in light of the comedian I had recently heard:
“You know, my white friend likes all that outdoors stuff. She took me camping once and there’s no way I’m going again.”
posted by yair