Sunday, March 23, 2008

Another Major American Holiday

Much of blogging is driven by the desire to make one's life sound interesting, full and exciting. Well, I'm here to tell you that the vast majority of MY life's moments are not only deadly dull but actually worse: they're spent agonizing over the very dullness that dulls my existence.

So, Happy Easter.

My dad sent me a bunny. I'm thrilled to say I haven't eaten or even unwrapped it. It's a dark chocolate (hmm), hollow (hmph) Russell Stover confection and it's very much appreciated. Other than a few whacked-out hats spotted on dubious characters during my Sunday walk, it didn't feel like Easter that much.

I spent much of the day backing up my iTunes, preparing for my personal musical Armageddon (when some new fabulous invention renders my Tunes obsolete). Then I attempted to return a shirt from that nasty discount-designer-label store at Sixth and 20th than I won't name.

How dumb is this: I found that the shirt (midnight blue cotton button-down) that I purchased last week still had the damn security tag on it. Great. So I walked the twenty blocks up and into the store, setting off the alarm that as usual no one cared about, and while going toward the cash register picked up a few more "must-have" items.

At the register, I paid for my new stuff and then asked that they remove the security tag from my shirt from last week. I was asked for the receipt and presented one that I thought MIGHT be the right one.. but of course it wasn't. "Oh well," I said. "Whatever. Just please remove the tag."

Of course, she couldn't. Oh noooo, not without the receipt. I said, "well, that's dumb. This was your store's mistake, not mine." A "manager" appeared instantly (I have a feeling there are "conflicts" a lot here in this store). He also demanded a receipt and we argued pointlessly for a while. Then he was stuffing my shirt into the bag and saying "Well, it IS your shirt." And I'm like, um yeah, but I can't exactly wear it now, can I? And he said, not without the receipt. And I'm thinking, wow, good for you I'm not a professional shoplifter because you just gave me a shirt without a receipt AND with a security tag intact. Dumbass.

So I walked out, forlorn except for my new DKNY trenchcoat, of course setting off the sad security alarm that no one even noticed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cocktails and Community

Had a great time last night at a well-attended cocktail reception celebrating 50 years of Downtown Lower Manhattan Association and honoring its founder, David Rockefeller.

Mayor Bloomberg was there, as were a host of business and political muckety-mucks, all of whom were very well behaved. The hors d'oevres were delightful, the cocktails flowed freely, and the parting gift was truly lovely -- a crystal possible coaster (picture left). I didn't attend for the freebies, I assure you, however; I believe strongly in the importance of the organization's mission to enhance the quality of life in Lower Manhattan.

The event was held on the 60th floor of One Chase Manhattan Plaza, which, as you would imagine, has amazing views. I was hoping to regale Mr. Rockefeller with tales of working in his grandfather's building, the Standard Oil building, where I and my colleagues sat out the events of 9/11, trapped a few short blocks from the crumbling Towers. It would have been even more apropos, as the view last night included an impossible close-up of the top of the historic building. If you don't know it, please take a look at Tom Fletcher's New York Architecture.

More on the event

I was accompanied by A., who definitely did come for the treats. He also lured me to a highly unnecessary couple of nightcaps at Cendrillon, which I found absolutely charming, with the nicest of waiters and dizzying aroma of jasmine rice.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A moment of panic

I woke up paralyzed this morning.

Last night I watched "The Sea Inside," an amazing Spanish film starring Javier Bardem. (Completely unrelated*, the very night before I had sat, mesmerized, before "No Country for Old Men.") Now, as I've noted, my LAST favorite movie was "The Diving Bell and the Butterly" (possibly my favorite movie ever).

"The Sea Inside," another film based on a true story, is similar in plot affliction brilliance to "Diving Bell." Okay, both films are based, respectively, on true stories and both focus on a single character trapped inexorably in a paralyzed physical state. And both are completely compelling.

As for me, I'm not actually paralyzed. I had just slept too long with my elbow under my head. It's a very scary phenomenon to wake up to. While my arm thawed out and I tried to not panic, I took a moment to think about just how it would feel to live with ... that... for a year. Or fifty.

* I had ordered The Sea Inside for my parents who love the ocean, not knowing it wasn't really about the ocean all.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Love em and leave em

Just some random observations. Don't bother reading if you don't know me, or even if you do. I'm just trying to get these down on paper. Virtual paper. Whatever.

Okay. Let me say for the record: I love old people. Older people. Oldsters, elders, seniors -- whatever they want to be called and I'll be one of them soon enough so I'll be working on that nomenclature. But why, oh, why have I been subjected so often, recently, to the "love 'em and leave 'em" scenario inflicted on me... by... them?

Case in point. Sunday evening. Walking home from MOMA (yes, I know, it's kinda far). Somewhere in the Village I feel a small hand on my arm. Small, light and weak. I look down. A smallish older woman looks up at me and asks if I can help her cross the street. She looked nimble enough but explained that she hated when turning traffic came at her. Hey sister, I hear that, lemme tell ya. I took her arm and we set off, arm and arm, not only across that street but six more (she was heading to take in a flick at the IFC on Sixth and Third).

We managed in that short period of time to discuss film careers (my stupidly short one and her rather longer one -- -- writer, actress and wife of a producer). We had both gone to NYU (she long before Tisch is where it is, obviously, both geographically and otherwise). We both grew up in Maine (what are the chances??!!).

Anyway, we had tons in common. We laughed, she hooted, she clenched my arm, we smiled at each other; we bonded. I had to walk really, really slowly, which is not my favorite thing to do.What a great New York moment, what an interesting new friend.

When we reached the IFC there was a long line. Actually, two long lines. Before I could say "So..." she stopped, let go of my arm, nestled her way into a group of what could have been current NYU film students, young German tourists or Village drug dealers (to me they all look the same) and yelled "Is this the ticket or the ticket-holders line?" I tried for a nano-second to try to help her discern this, but she wasn't looking at me anymore. I waved, awkwardly and said goodbye and... that was it.

This heartbreaking scenario has played out a little too often for me. Hey, I'm not looking for new friends. I can barely keep in touch with the old ones and Facebook isn't helping. But, jesus, you old fogies, if you're going to pour out your heart and history and elicit some of mine, for god's sake say goodbye, nice talking to you. I know... I know... I'm being too harsh but next time one of you wants to cross the street, just do it and be done with it.

And me.

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