You know you’re a writer at heart when you’re relieved it’s raining. I’d have complained to the high heavens had it snowed but a sunshiney Saturday would have made me feel just as bad, if also foolish. All I want to do is curl up with another Helena Rubenstein biography and write a section of the larger project gathering dust on my desk. If my city were still the Audrey Hepburn movie it’s been all week long (radiant smiles, radiant sun), I’d have felt too much pressure to carpe diem to actually carpe diem as I wished. Now if I venture out at all, it’ll be to catch that Helena exhibit one more time before it leaves the Jewish Museum March 22. Purples and reds; Polish rubies and art deco ivories; a rainbow of self-portraits and silks. What better weapons to stow in the imagination’s arsenal? Anyway, I am the scion of another enterprising Polish Ruby (my great-grandmother Masha Rubenfire ruled boudoirs rather than vanity tables), and I like to think she and Helena live in the same tree, impatiently shaking fruit at we grown children stumbling through this world without them. Tucking that bounty into my skirts is the only properly grateful thing to do.
Despite everything, I am a huge fan of the Academy Awards. They’re all pomp, circumstances, pathology, and glitter. This year’s award season has been especially dramatic, and I confess I have horses in this race, spiritually at least. This is always unwise when it comes to such institutionalized shenanigans. Hopes are bound to be dashed (if faith hardly wavered). Anyway, here are my Talking Pictures 2015 Oscar predictions (yep, it’s video footage), my #OscarSoWhite tirade, and where I can be found ranting tonight. Join me if you please, dear Sirenaders, and remember: I like you, I really like you. (That old chestnut never gets tired in my book.)
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.