It’s gonna be ecstasy, this place was meant for me.
So I was supposed to fly back to New York this morning. Except when, on Friday, I went to reserve my cab, I discovered that I had somehow booked a flight for Monday evening instead. Oops. Lucky my boss is very understanding.
As it happened, it’s probably a good thing, as it gave the weather a chance to blow itself out. It was a blessing to be home on Monday morning. I got to work most of the day at home and then leave and now I’m in my apartment feeling rested and organized – something I rarely do when I’m flying out Sunday afternoon.
The flight was freakishly quick. We arrived at the gate a half an hour early. By the time I got to the curb, my cab was already waiting for me. When the driver got out, I saw that he was Sikh. I’ve been reading a lot about Sikhism lately, because of my interest in kundalini yoga, so I had to fight the urge to ask him a lot of questions, which would probably have seemed rude from a total stranger. But I was entertained by the fact that the wireless network in his cab was called “amrit.”
The Sikh was friendly but quiet and a very fast driver. Every time his phone rang, it made a different sound – crickets, ducks, speedy Flintstone feet. He made up even more time, so that I arrived at the apartment a full hour before I expected to. I dropped off my suitcase and headed right back out to the bodega on the corner. The night manager knows me now and gives me a big smile. He is kind and will tell me the names of things in Spanish if I ask him. Sadly, the bodega cat is nowhere in sight today, out on urgent errands, apparently.
The streets are unusually busy for a Monday night, but then, it’s unusually warm. It was 30 degrees warmer when I got off the plane in New York than it was when I got on the plane in Chicago. When I called my car service to tell them I’d arrived, they asked me what I was wearing so the driver could find me. “I’ve got on a black coat, down to nearly my knees,” I said. “Oh, honey,” said the dispatcher, “You’re not going to have that on by the time you get outside.”
The apartment is warm when I arrive and I coax the winter-stiffened dial of the window air conditioner into action, just for a little while, just until it’s time to go to sleep. I put my groceries away and notice the noodles I made last time I was here in the freezer and am impressed with my own foresight. While they are heating up on the stove, I take note of the changes in the apartment. This has become a ritual, because the changes are usually very small. I try to figure out if the owner has been here. He’s not painting much these days, as his book is due to his editor and he sounds like he’s starting to panic.
This week, though, someone else was staying here – the brother of the apartment’s owner. I see he has left a 6-pack of Mexican beer in the refrigerator, along with an enormous cookie. The toilet seat is up. And one of the towels has been used as a bathmat. There are no new paintings here this week. But there’s a mini bottle of Baker’s bourbon (empty) in the bathroom trashcan. Boys.
Tomorrow will be a long day at the office. Lots to do. Lots of meetings. And then a party for a friend’s book in the lobby, complete with DJ. And Wednesday I will have dinner with a college friend and her husband. I haven’t seen them since their wedding 20 years ago in Roslin Chapel in Scotland, which is where they live. I’ll tell you about that sometime. But now, it’s time for me to unpack and sleep. Morning’s going to come awfully early.