Have any of you seen the movie Eighth Grade? I saw it last week. Unlike my exhibits ™ who each used the word "cringe" to express the experience of watching it, I found it sad, funny, and worrying.
How could middle school be even less pleasant than it was in my day? (I once would have thought of that as a rhetorical question.) In your day? Even in my exhibits' day? Add social media to the process and the nightmare quotient goes way up. At least the notes I passed in 8th grade were only found by one or two people (if you include the teacher who intercepted them). Now everything is permanent and embarrassing and public! Yikes!
I respect the authenticity of the movie, the acne of the performers, the cruelty writ large amongst adolescents.... but I was surprised to see that at the end of each video blog, Kayla signed off with "Be Cool" and made a shape with her hand and said, "Gucci!". I know my Five Things That Make Life Better (for me) (Who else) is not the most original concept, but I want to remind you that my "Stay cool" is literally a reference to the temperature. When it gets cold out, please be assured that my sign off will be different. Gucci!*
*According to Urban Dictionary,
person 1: hey whats good with ya?
person 2: nuttin man im gucci
1. At long last! I spent a "makeup" day and night at my friends Diane and Mark's and as soon as I arrived, they whisked me to the beach.
I couldn't have been happier. We talked, we ate. We talked some more. All told, I spent most of my awake time over my 24 hours-long holiday on the beach at Southampton, and I'm still smiling hours later. What is it about the beach and the tide, and the sun and the sand that make me joyful? (I grew up on the beach every summer of my childhood... could that be it?) Thank you, my dear friends. Thank you!
2. Which brings me back to thinking about friendship. I try to be a good friend, I do. But though I'm thoroughly loyal and devoted, sometimes I go quiet. (My intimates know this.) It's never about them; it's always about me. (I think they know that too.) This summer I've had the chance to see lots of old friends who passed through New York: long dinners, catch-up cocktails, A few wonderful long lunches. Seeing an old friend (even if you keep up with them on social media and have absorbed the minutiae of their last trip, their son's graduation, and their mother's convalescence) is also a check-in with one's past -- where you were emotionally, personally, professionally, and so on -- when you last saw one another. I resent Facebook for all sorts of reasons -- who doesn't? -- but it did give me a way to find old friends and remake a relationship into one of two adults, instead of the children we used to be. (Looking at you, Marion.) And ultimately, thinking of all the friends I got to see this summer I am grateful to my parents for the beautiful life they provided for my brothers and me.
3. A Pitcher of Beer.
For some reason (or no reason) I have not shared a pitcher of beer with anyone since college, or perhaps right afterwards. Was it because I began indulging in cocktails? Wine? Was it because I stopped drinking in large groups of friends? Who cares?
Well, I want to tell you that last week at an al fresco dinner in the impossible humidity, three of us had ordered beers when I saw that we could order a pitcher instead. It offered us the comfort of knowing we wouldn't have to wait for our second glasses of the brew. We didn't completely finish the pitcher, but we made a good dent in it. It felt like we were living large. It was good.
4. The Late Night Bath
For years I didn't take them. I showered. Showering is fine and good and better for shampooing ones hair, but it's not as relaxing and you can't indulge yourself standing in a shower the way you can lying down in a tub. I like my tub hot hot hot! I melt in the water barely able to think. My skin turns dark pink. I am clean, warm, and not particularly alert. (All good stuff late at night.)
5. I barely know how to begin on my final pick for the week. As someone said, "what an amazing year this week has been." Whoosh! I did something I almost never do on Tuesday -- I turned on the tv that afternoon, and saw in real time the breaking of the two courtroom stories. It has been a breathless week. And still, with all we know, this is just the beginning. So patience and courage still, Robert Mueller. Contrary to what some writers have posited, I don't have a crush on the special counsel. I have a crush on the truth. I have a crush on steadiness.
Be cool, act natural, and Gucci!