New Jersey Nia Day Trip from NYC
Instead, I called up the vet that my friend Michael used and made an appointment for the next day. I warned them that he was a nervous pit bull and they will be prepared with a muzzle. And they're also able to provide a private entrance for reactive dogs, so I feel good about it.
Originally, the plan for today was to stop in New Jersey to teach a class on my way from Washington DC to NYC. But my playshop in D.C. was canceled so I came into New York a day early and took a trip back down to New Jersey for the class I had scheduled today.
I consulted Google Maps and determined that it was about thirty something miles and would take an hour to drive from the UWS apartment to the Highland Park studio. So I gave myself 2 1/2 hours, knowing how things go around these parts.
And it's a good thing I did, because by the time I was driving through the Lincoln tunnel, my ETA according to Mini Nav had already been extended by 30 minutes. The neighborhood was chaotic because tonight was the Tony Awards, broadcast from the Beacon Theater, two blocks from here. So most of the streets were lined with orange cones. Several were blocked entirely for stars' trailers and television equipment trucks. Not only that, but there was a street fair that closed Broadway to traffic. So it took me a long time to get out of the city.
Once I got through the tunnel, things flowed pretty well, although I did use up most of my padding time and got to the space, very relaxed, but with only about 20 minutes to spare.
We loaded into the beautiful space at Soma Center and my host Ines introduced me to the owner, Bobbie, and her student who was also a brand new White Belt. It was a small class; just the four of us. But sometimes less is more, and we had a great time. I can enjoy a smaller class for the intimacy and closeness it allows. A bigger class can have more energy (and can bring in more income) but the smaller classes improve my teaching as I feel less able to ride on the mass energy and am required to bring more energy and to hold the space with more clarity and presence. Also, since I get a lot of my inspiration from what the students' experience is, when there are fewer people, I have more opportunity to give each student individual (but anonymous) attention. I had a great time and got great feedback from everyone present.
The wind today is brisk. That, combined with the frenetic activity of the streets of New York give me an extra challenge with River. He wants to engage with it all. I remember having that same reaction when I first got the city. But at some point you just realize that you have to tune most of it out or you'll go nuts. River hasn't made that discovery yet. He still wants to sniff every tree and every post and every piece of trash on the curb. He's overwhelmed but doing his best to keep up. While I, on the other hand am doing my best to guide him to ignore most of it. We're getting there. He's showing more signs of being able to relax, but he's still very jumpy.
I stopped at the Petco to get him some food on the way back in from New Jersey. But he saw two big dogs in there and went into a frenzy, so I walked him back out to the car so he could wait out there while I shopped.
Later that night on another walk in the city, I remembered the exercises that were so helpful to him and realized that I hadn't been doing any of them. And here in the city is when he needs them the most. So, I had him push and bark and collect himself. I put him on a wall and let him sit up there and watch the city go by. This finally put him into his body and when I had him jump off the wall, he was more able to stay by my side and let the city fade into the background.
He still needs constant reminders. This city is a lot to take in.