i woke up at 9am to get ready to go to walden pond with renata. i had a bunch of things i had to do beforehand, one of which was to go across the street to buy some drinks (gatorade strawberry and watermelon) and ice for the cooler. renata called me right when i was in the beverage aisle. i got down on my knees and talked softly into the cellphone, so as to not make a scene. i was supposed to call her to make sure she woke up, but she ended up calling me to remind me to call her. she told me there'd be some delay before she could arrive, i said no problem. this gave me the opportunity to go down to porter square and cash in some checks as well as take out some money from the atm. when i got back home, i threw a bunch of recently washed towels into the dryer, just in case renata had to use the shower again. when renata arrived, i watched from the window as she walked by my house, forgetting where it was (it's a common mistake, the houses on my side of the street all look the same). i was just finishing up two pieces of raisin toast (with jam). that, along with some e-mail checks, show & tell (e.g. the metal "cicada" lantern i bought in provincetown last summer), and all purpose chatting, meant we didn't actually leave until nearly 12pm. we drove to some sandwich shop in watertown where we both got salads on this very hot day, before driving up to walden pond. the air conditioning in the car felt so good i suggested to renata that we skip the pond and drive around all day. "tony!" she replied.
when we got to walden pond, the parking lot was closed for some reason, wouldn't be opened until 1pm. after seeing the long line of cars waiting for walden pond parking, we decided to park the car at a nearby high school and walk to the pond instead. we entered the reserve through the back way, following a woman who seemed to know where she was going. the wooded path went by the original location of thoreau's house, a plaque now standing in its place (the house was relocated to the parking lot for greater visibility). we found a great spot to eat, in a shady clearing beneath a canopy of trees, on top of a hill overlooking the pond from above. from this height we saw strange orange slivers swimming in the water down below. through my monocular we could plainly see that they were giant kois, at least 3 feet in length each if not more. they were congregating near the middle of the pond.
after lunch, before the hungry forest ants could mount a serious attack upon us, we walked half way around the pond. from our vantage point, we could see a large calico carp swimming in the water. the footpath was busy with chipmunk activities, neither one of us have ever seen so many of them before. we also discovered that chipmunks make these little squeaking noises that sound like birds. the flip flops i was wearing dug into my feet, leaving painful blisters, and letting me know never to wear them again. we came to a stop near the part of the beach where boats enter and leave the pond, and parked ourselves there. after stripping out of our civilian wear, we walked together towards the pond, i putting on my flippers before back peddling my way out to deeper waters. renata stood along the shoreline, barely in the water, slowly inching her way into the pond. swimming is perhaps the most dangerous thing i can be doing, simply because i can't swim. sure, with flippers it may appear i'm swimming, but without them, or if i suddenly stopped treading water, i'd sink. i have no natural floating instincts, and whenever i'm in the water, i'm actually suppressing a lot of anxieties. renata tried to show me how to properly keep afloat. i think i have the hand motions down, but i'm still kicking wrong, i kick in a "walking" motion, instead of an "egg-beater" motion. we floated about the water, noticing the warm spots and the cold spots of the pond, squirting each other with hand cannons, and talking gossip about the people back on shore ("who's the whitest?" "she looks like she doesn't have her top on," "i think those people are drinking beer").
after the swim, we packed up and headed back out to the car. we raced back into town, renata running late for another appointment. after dropping me off (with the box of envelopes she got me yesterday from staples), after using my bathroom, renata left.
my cellphone had been going crazy all day, and i hadn't been taking any calls or checking any messages because i didn't want to be disturbed. there was a message from julie about going to walden pond. originally i was supposed to go with her today, but she found out yesterday that her schedule would be crazy, so i ended up going with renata. turns out julie's schedule wasn't as crazy as she thought, and she ended up going to walden pond on her own. we were there at the same time, but just missed each other, and because i didn't bother to check my voicemail, i didn't find out about it until it was too late. moral of this story: always check voicemail.
bruce came by immediately when i said i needed help putting up the old conditioner from the basement. it looks ghetto, but it works, and the blast of cold air coming from that behemoth of a window-mounted machine was like being in heaven.
later in the evening, after my ramen dinner, my father came by to drive me to somerville to go pick up that used G4 400Mhz plus 17" apple monitor for $500. the place was difficult to find, and the neighborhood looked kind of suspect, with groups of kids hanging outside their doorsteps on a hot thursday night. i saw the machine, gave rachel the money, and then she helped me carry it downstairs into the car. i spent the rest of the evening working on it, wiping the drive and installing OS 10.2 along with a host of other software. the matching monitor is a nice touch, and i was surprised to see that the machine does in fact use an AGP port for the video card and is also airport compatible (geek talk).