Saturday, November 19, 2005

Shabbos in the Village

No, no, this post is not going to be some post about how I met some transgendered naked he/she on my way home from shul, although it could be about that (and maybe should). It's going to be about my first Shabbos in my apartment.

Wow, it's too bad blogging on Shabbos is not allowed. This post would have been a lot more fun and a lot more bitter if it was written last night.

My roommate and I decided to stay in our apartment, located in the fine East Village, for Shabbos. He had done it before, so I figured everything would work out fine.

It didn't, although in the long run everything turned out OK.

My roommates uncle is a caterer and he sent us some ready made meals, like brisket, stuffed cabbage, meatballs, etc. So we were good for Friday night. We decided not to make chulent for Shabbos day, going with cold cuts and salad (which was a good choice). I wasn't so happy, but I'm not exactly culinarily- inclined and my roommate wasn't going to do it, so I decided to make the best of it.

Candle lighting in NY was 4:17, which put sundown at 4:35. We were going to have meatballs and brisket, and the meatballs were in the fridge so we knew we could warm it up quicker. At about 3:45 I realized no one took the brisket out of freezer yet. OK, so we had 45 minutes to defrost and warm up ice cold brisket. We quickly took the brisket and meatballs out and dumped it into our nonkosher oven (double wrapped of course, which makes warming it up take even longer).

Here was our problem. Our oven is about 800 years old, with one of those gas lines that never shuts off. We figured leaving on the oven for the entire day might not be such a good move. So we only had 45 minutes to warm up our food or we were only eating challah.

My roommate then realized we have a crock-pot. So why not put the food into the crockpot as a warmer? Great idea! So at 4:20 (brisket still ice cold) we plugged in the crockpot and put our food in. Then we noticed that the pot smelled like burning rubber. Which is a problem when we're living in a rent controlled apartment and not really supposed to be here (well, that's not totally true, but I'll explain another time). So setting off the fire alarm could be a really bad idea. So we had a dilemma: eat cold food or take a chance with the burning crock-pot? Screw it, we said (maybe I said), we want warm food! So we left it in.

At that point we had to daven mincha because sundown was right around the corner. Of course since neither of us davens here, we weren't sure which way to face. We spent the next 5 minutes trying to figure that out, but we both have a horrible sense of direction so we gave up and just faced whatever direction made the most sense.

We started davening and about 1 minute in my roommate let out a moan. What happened? I realized it too. We never made a Shabbos belt. There's no eruv in the village and no eruv hatziros in the building (or so we thought). So we couldn't carry out keys outside the building or even outside our apartment. So we couldn't lock our door.

We decided we'd leave the door open and go to daven. So we had three problems. We couldn't lock our door. We might have no food for the night. And our crockpot might catch on fire. Ah, good times. Oh, and we had no way back into the building. When we got to shul, there were only three people. So we left the building, taking those risks, to not even daven with a minyan.

Basically the rest of Shabbos went well, except I turned off the bathroom light (making going to the bathroom so much more fun!) and my roommate left his fan off so the lunatics yelling outside made sleeping more difficult (for him, I sleep like a rock).

Well that's it.

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