Whether pigs have wings
This morning, on my way to work, it was warm and muggy and threatening to rain and I thought, maybe the magic is wearing off. Everywhere I turned, people were frowning. And I was tired, bone tired. I thought about how when I was in my 20s, I felt nothing but invigorated by New York. But now I was watching in the faces of the people walking by me, middle-aged people like me, and I could see that it was wearing them down. When I was younger, I could never understand why a person would choose to live in the suburbs when they could be right here, in the middle of the city. Now, though, it seems like the suburbs are a way to avoid having to face that you are older and tireder, that it’s harder to keep up than it used to be. It’s much easier to rationalize your desire for a green rectangle of lawn than it is to imagine that you’re still young.
I stalked a woman on my way to work. She was probably 10 year older than I and she had spiked hair, bleached a yellowish white. And she wore the most amazing trench coat, salmon with an iridescent sheen. She walked very fast, even faster than I walk and that, even in New York, is saying something. I adjusted my pace to keep her in my sights, lagging just far enough behind her to see what she was doing. I followed her all the way from 12th St. to 34th before she turned, her salmon coat fluttering behind her. I wondered where she was going, what kind of job she did. I wondered how I could be more like her.
At the office, I had one of my most fun days yet. The pressures of last week that had me working past midnight more than once have eased and I got the chance to get caught up on things. I also found what I hope is a really good project for my fantastic assistant who needs something more to occupy her excellent brain than what she does on a daily basis. And I got some unexpected praise from my boss. I was enjoying myself so much that I was almost late for dinner with my friend upstairs. We walked to a French restaurant a few blocks from the office in the pouring rain and talked shop with wine and made a vow to have dinner every week I’m in NY until we move here and then we’ll switch to lunch. It’s nice to have plans.
After dinner, it was still pouring and the ridiculously small umbrella that I paid far too much for out of desperation last time I was in town was not really up to the task. I tried to find a cab to hail, but in Midtown on a rainy night during Fashion Week is not a good time to find a cab. So I walked the two miles home, dodging raindrops and puddles. A block or two south of my office, the intersection was so full of steam that I couldn’t see the people standing next to me. The reasons for the steam were mysterious. I watched my feet disappear into it as I crossed the street and decided I’d wandered into Brigadoon, because on the other side, I found the New York I love again. I admired the inside out umbrellas abandoned by the roadside, smiled at the doorman who touched his cap to me, and coveted the knee-high rainboots on a girl going the other way. By the time I got to my door, I was soaked to the skin and in a much better humor than I’d been in the morning. Go figure.
I spent the evening working on my conference paper, and reading the draft aloud. It clocked in within time, with just 30 seconds to spare, but it still needs a proper conclusion. It’s definitely in the ballpark, though and I’m feeling pretty good about what I’ve got so far. Then I’ve got to figure out how to make my powerpoint examples less boring. This will be my first ever powerpoint presentation at a conference. Terrified doesn’t begin to describe it. I’m general an avoider of technology over which I have limited control. But it cannot be helped. Time marches on, and all that.
And now I am tucked in bed watching the weird shadows the easel casts on the walls and wondering what it is the deal with that apartment on the other side of the air shaft where the lights never go out. I will probably wonder about them until their brightness dims and I suddenly find myself asleep.