Archive | City Matters

Charmless, I’m Sure

Here in NYC, yesterday was bright and sunny and hot. Some seemed to find it glorious but I found the 85-degree mugginess a bit much, especially because I’ve absolutely had it with my summer wardrobe and am just enough of a slave to social convention to wear clothes even when it’s very hot. I was shvitzing like a crazy lady by the time I met up with B, and I’d already been pretty wild-eyed.

We were at the Williamsburg Cinemas for Crazy Rich Asians, thus far the only halfway-satisfying rom-com of 2018. When I saw it last month, I’d liked it enough to agree to rewatch it with B, who’d just finished all the books. The problem was I was playing for the other team then.* This month I’m on far shakier ground in the love department, and the film grated hard. Venus is still only shadowed by its upcoming retrograde, but I’m already turning into a Cathy comic on lithium. That’s because this retrograde begins at the exact degree of Libra where my moon is located. In laylady’s terms, this witch is getting hit by a Mac truck in all areas of love and aesthetics.

Which is practically my whole life. Continue Reading →

It’s Always Something

Sunday, on the precipice of a new moon and the Jewish New Year, I woke at 4 am, early even for me. Cool air drifted through the window and rain pitter-pattered against the glass as I lounged in bed, draped in an autumn mumu and reading my second Gilda Radner book in two days. I’ve been pretty open about how hard I’ve been finding life, so the peace of that moment was sweet.

I’m not entirely sure why Gilda’s been giving me so much comfort right now. I’ve been reading and watching everything about her and I think partly it’s her guilelessness coupled with that intense mischief. Her intelligence and sense of the absurd were palpable, but so were her huge vulnerability and empathy–it was all wrapped in an enormous, childlike glow. Not a childish one, mind you for by all reports she was eminently kind, and children rarely are. (People who think children are born kind are fooling themselves; kindness is always a learned trait.) But Gilda was surely childlike: playful, present, boundlessly, bountifully enthusiastic. So much so that her voice was extra-raspy and her limbs extra rubbery, as if excitement was constantly stretching her limits. Continue Reading →

Buggin’ Out in Boston and the BK

It began with bug bites. Actually, it began with an infestation of flies, a nearly literal pox upon my house. My kitchen was clean–I mean, as clean as an un-rehabbed 1940s kitchen ever gets. (See: rent control.) Which is to say things were scrubbed and put away but a film of age and general erosion prevailed. Yes, there was a tiny hole in the window screen but, again, it’s a hole that’s been there for forever and a day. And, yes, temperatures were soaring that day–the kind of grueling heat in which only pests seem to flourish–but it had been nasty hot, slap-you-with-a-dirty-boiling-towel hot for weeks.

So really there was no reason for my kitchen to suddenly be infested with hundreds of flies on that particular day, but that’s what happened. I swear, as I type this, a fly just landed on my computer. And now another one, as if to remind me this story doesn’t already have a moral wrapped in a pretty little bow. Continue Reading →

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