Friday, April 3, 2009


I called the police tonight. One of those "non-emergency" calls. I was strolling home rather late after a surprise birthday party for a friend in Queens when I glanced up at the usually-abandoned Permanent Mission of the Ivory Coast. The front door was cracked open and the french doors off the second floor balcony were swaying gently in the breeze. The window coverings were still closed and the place was dark as usual, but the whole thing looked a little suspicious to me.

The dispatcher I chatted with had a thick Jersey accent and seemed annoyed that I called, but I felt like it was my duty as a good citizen. But calling the police in a situation like this is kind of like going to the doctor with a sore throat. You're praying you have strep just so you don't feel like an idiot when the doc tells you that you're just fine and should drink plenty of liquids. Some spy better be arrested tonight or I will feel like an idiot.

By the way, why is NO ONE ever at the Permanent Mission of the Ivory Coast? This doesn't seem very permanent to me.

My friends Liza and Debbie left today after visiting for the week. This fabulous mother/daughter pair go back in my history just about as far as most friends can. Liza and I grew up together and spent most snow days together in high school. We went to Mexico together to help build a house just across the border in Oaxaca and I recall curling up under a tiny blanket with her after our other friend Elizabeth threw up all over our bedding (poor thing was sicker than a dog).

Thick and thin people. We've got to hold onto friends like this.

This morning Liza and I got up early to brave the pouring down rain to take a walk in the park. It was worth it. Why you ask?! The daffodils. The brown skeletons of plum and cherry trees are finally blossoming and the forsythia could make me cry if I wasn't trying so hard to keep it together! Delicious. I love spring.

The gals did all kinds of sightseeing during the day and we met up for evening meals.

On Wednesday night we went to a new musical called "Next to Normal" which had me in tears by the end of the first act. Tears you say? Yes. Here is what I wasn't expecting: a musical about depression, experimental treatment for bi-polar, chronic illness, and the fracturing of a family after a suicide attempt. Awesome. What a cheerful, uplifting play. At one point Liza grabbed my hand and asked me if I wanted to go. It was a magnificent little play, but dark as all get out and certainly not what either of us were expecting. During intermission I watched a man contain sobs with his head in his hands and my heart broke with him-- a solidarity thing I think. Mental illness can destroy lives and watching it unfold on stage over several hours can be a painful experience.

On a much lighter note, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was a treat as always. That building is packed with beauty. I wish I could live there-- stretch my sleeping bag out in the new Greek/Roman wing and sleep with all those marble gods and goddesses.

I love hot dogs. I don't care how "low-brow" this makes me. We bought these dogs outside the museum and I did not feel one bit of regret as some advocates for the ethical treatment of animals distributed materials to the crowd around us. I am 100% supportive of the fair treatment of animals, but I dig hot dogs. Is this a paradox? An oxymoron? I have gone to school for a lot of years and I still have no idea how to use these words properly.

Gotta love the Big Apple. It is one tough city. A tough city that could eat your soul if you let it, but is simultaneously packed with sights and sounds and people nothing short of extraordinary!


Peg said...

Way to go -- daffs, forsythia, hot-dogs!!! can't do better than that - oh...and art!
To see more daffs and flowers:

J.C. Austin said...

It's neither: New York street vendor hot dogs, at best, contain only trace amounts of actual animals, so you're fine. Unless you actually eat the hot dogs. Not that that stops me...