Archive | City Matters

Nobody Died in Today’s Paper

It’s the last day of summer, unofficially at least, and only now have I tackled enough of the shadows looming over me to relax. That’s life, I suppose, and as much as I don’t mind work—as much as I love work, even—I’m aware a change of pace would do me well. My patience is worn to the bone; I can scarcely suffer anyone, let alone fools; and I’ve become a Grim Jim, a Prince Charmless, a true Pill-ar of the community. Still, it’s nothing a break wouldn’t cure, and when I pay off all my debts and refill my bank account, I plan to take one—a good one, a long one, a very, very quiet and briny one.

In the meantime I travel within my finely feathered city, orchestrating the sort of adventures that have been the mainstay of my existence here since I was but a lass. Yesterday I wandered through the flea market on 76th and Columbus, a neighborhood that typically gives me nose bleeds. There, among the throng of normcore nudniks and old ladies in purple hats, I excavated an art deco pocket watch, a spangled parrot brooch, and a tiny painting of sea and sky whose beauty was obfuscated by a homely brown frame. This morning I painted it white and cream while watching an old screwball comedy. (And after you shot your husband, how did you feel? I felt hungry!) Grace supervised, her tail twitching in my face. The neighborhood pigeon with a neon stripe yapped outside the window. And the wind blew in, setting aflutter the curtains I hung myself.

Small pleasures, all of them, but no less real for their scale and certainly no less mine. And thus this season comes to a bittersweet end. Here’s to a brilliant Fall for us all.

A Wolf in Lady Critic’s Clothing

Although I am just blind enough to prevent me from legally operating a moving vehicle without corrective lenses, I almost never wear glasses. The reason is simple. I find it relaxing to glide through NYC unfettered by too much visual stimuli. (The better to see you with a third eye, my pretties.) So if you think I’m looking at you funny, chances are good I can’t see you at all. Only once in a blue moon do I actually think you’re shit on my shoe.

The Me Decade

I was having one of those glorious Brooklyn Saturday mornings. I was all gussied up in my Brooklyn Saturday morning finest: a floor-length geometric Meg skirt; an enormous blue-beaded Senegalese necklace; sloppy silver Birkenstock knockoffs (Birkenstockoffs); dirty hair piled high with blue extensions and an orange zinnia; and a bright purple bra visible through my cropped tee. It was a punk-rock homage to the ’70s moms I’d wished were my own–the kind of outfit I really can’t wear to film screenings or Talking Pictures tapings or Ruby Intuition sessions. The kind of outfit in which I feel most myself.

So was I ever feeling grand as I buzzed through my Brooklyn Saturday morning routine. It had been a week of good, hard work in this Summer of Reckoning, and I was relishing a rare day off. I drank Americanos with my Muppet Critics; fetched produce and flowers at the Greenmarket; fed the birds and myself over at Red Hook Fairway; read my book about ’60s directors by the water. I drove the long way home, following the river with my left arm dangling out the window, Biggie and early Mariah pouring into the air. At a red light, I said—Admit it. You love your friends to bits but you are your best friend. You trust yourself. You always want to do the same things as you, you find the same things funny, you have the same values, you like the same music, and you want to be quiet at the same times. You may be impatient and messy and even occasionally imperious but you dig you. It was an odd but not unpleasant revelation. Knee-deep in my early-middle age, I finally appreciated my own company enough that I’d avoid others before I’d ever avoid myself.

To cement the moment, I smiled cheekily in the rearview mirror–hey, good-lookin’!–only to notice I was wearing a crazy-lady, half-lipsticked grin. The universe’s sense of humor being what it is, the world’s most beautiful man picked that moment to bike by, and as he gave me the world’s most beautiful eye-fucking, the light changed. Flustered, I stalled my car, and everyone behind me began honking. I had to laugh. I knew that, as my best friend, it was now my duty to make fun of myself–pride do goeth before a fall! I didn’t mind. I knew I still liked me.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy