Are we all hanging in there? (Where is there, by the way?) So much comes at us every day, that it’s hard to know how to prepare for it. Summer or winter clothes? Kneepads? A bullet proof backpack? Blindfolds? Earplugs? Pearls? I’ve honestly been overwhelmed. Or at least very whelmed.
But still in pockets of quiet, there have been lovely moments. The past week has offered me more than five people and experiences that made my life better. And so here we go.
I celebrated my birthday last weekend, and compared to almost any other birthday I recall, this was the best. My exhibits™ were with me or near me, my significant other gave me a lovely present (and flowers!), and the social media good wishes were heartening and touching (and a few very weird) to an old girl like me. Thank you all. I usually take a kind of quiet inventory of my year on my birthday and find reasons to be mad at myself, (because I’m always looking for reasons to chastise myself). This year I didn’t react that way. I felt grateful. #Winning
2. My boyfriend bought tickets for us to see Paul Simon in his final appearance at Madison Square Garden that night. Of course it was poignant; of his 102 nights headlining there (his count), I’ve certainly been to at least five or six shows over the years, if not more. Though his voice doesn’t quite have the same range or verve as it used to, Simon’s endurance, wit, and presence were moving indeed. His songs are something of a soundtrack for me. (I found the tour’s setlist online. Here it is.)
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
The Boy in the Bubble
That Was Your Mother Rewrite
Mother and Child Reunion
Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard (with Edie Brickell)
Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War
Can’t Run But
Bridge Over Troubled Water
The Obvious Child
Questions for the Angels
The Cool, Cool River
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
You Can Call Me Al
Late in the Evening
Still Crazy After All These Years
The Sound of Silence
3. Why Live Here If You Don’t Do This?
Over the course of the week, I have had the chance to see and hear programs that one can only see in New York. I went to see Sir Tom Stoppard speak (in an interview setting) at the 92nd Street Y on Monday evening. To think I almost skipped it! There, in the beautiful auditorium I’ve been going to since I was 3 or 4 (Marcel Marceau anyone?) the perhaps greatest living playwright spoke about kindness as the greatest of man or God’s creations. It didn’t hurt to run into a bunch of old friends scattered within the audience, including fellow English majors from college. Stoppard’s eloquence is especially dazzling when you realize that he is writing in his second language. (He was born in Czechoslovakia.) His dizzying interests and fluency in science, journalism, metaphysics, Latin poetry, politics, among other subjects, are dazzling.
There are many weeks when I ignore cultural New York in favor of hanging with friends and family at home, or out at restaurants, and come home to watch the news — a life that could be lived in Iowa City or Colorado Springs, or West Hartford, CT — but I feel fortunate to have the chance to see cool and interesting people and their work. We also went to a new play called The Lifespan of a Fact,” starring Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale. It really is about truth vs. truthiness, but it has NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH POLITICS. The audience laughed and gave the performers an instant standing ovation.
4. On Wednesday, my (relatively newish) friend Jessica invited me to something called …. no, wait, first I’ll post a picture.
It was called the Rosé Mansion, and it’s on Fifth Avenue across the street from the New York Public Library. It was not a mansion, but available space in an office building and it was billed as an immersive tour through the science and geography of the summery pink wine.
I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. Jessica is way more adept at the whole AV thing, and she knows about Instagram influencers and their IG-approved poses. My respect for her grew as she became competitive with some of the other dignified women who were celebrating something or nothing by day drinking tiny samples of 8 wines.
I cannot in good faith recommend this particular activity to all of you. The snacks that are mentioned in the ad are 1 single grapefruit flavored gummy bear. And I just don’t think there are many of you who like to swing (you get 30 seconds apiece) on a specially lowered and engineered glass chandelier. I could be so wrong. (When I sent a photo of me to my three exhibits, who are in three different places, they each texted back “huh?” instantaneously. They were not impressed.)
5. What a terrible segue from something silly to something serious. On this birthday I am grateful to Robert Mueller.
Stay dry and act natural.