fit bodies and tight facelifts
Saturday, November 4 2006
setting: Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York, US&A
For me, the joy of mornings in Manhattan is the ubiquity of bagels. I don't really know why I like bagels or how I came to like them. (The first bagel I ever saw was in college, and at first they seemed like unremarkable members of the bread family.) But at this point in my life they have become greatly anticipated part of my morning routine whenever they are available. This morning Gretchen and I got bagels and coffee from a bagel shop in The Village and then found our way to a pleasantly-forested triangular-shaped park about the size of a large rumpus room. The morning air was cool but the sun was strong enough to make sitting in a sunny spot a comfortable experience. As we sat there soaking up the rays and watching the urban birds (pigeon, English Sparrow, and starling), a couple middle-aged white women with fit bodies and tight facelifts raked leaves behind the park's bushes. Since the park was so tiny, there wasn't a whole lot of work for them to do, so they mostly stood around drinking coffee and talking to a uniformed employee of the New York City Department of Parks. I assumed they were volunteers.
Afterwards we went on a long-ranging walk throughout Little Italy, Chinatown, The Lower East Side, and Soho, eating food and occasionally shopping along the way.
We ducked into an Apple iStore in Soho to get out of the cold and to partake of the ongoing spectacle inside. It was crowded with people and dozens of youthful employeess (the latter wearing nametags made to look like iPods). We wanted to see if the smallest iBook had shrunk any smaller than my iBook, but were disappointed to see that it hadn't. In the United States, at least, screen size on a laptop is seen as a reflection of penis size, and is never allowed to fall below 12 inches. Meanwhile, I'd consider a slightly wealthier version of myself a ready market for a laptop with a six inch screen. I'd also like a car light enough lift.
Next we went into a J. Crew, where Gretchen obtained some much-needed clothes as I stood around people-watching and drinking the remainder of my coffee. I would have been bored, but I was excited to see what Gretchen would ultimately get. If this seems peculiar, you are obviously unaware of the technical details of our shopping outings.
This evening Gretchen and I met our East Side friend Wendy again for dinner prior to another night at the opera. We dined at a vegan place called Blossum and the food was great. I should mention, in passing, that our waiter was warm and attentive but managed to be so without hovering, a rare talent for a waitperson.
Gretchen has a habit of charging down the sidewalk when talking with a friend, paying seemingly no attention to others in her contingent. This had been something of a problem last night when our contingent included people who could be described as slow walkers. Tonight after we came out of Blossum, I realized I'd left my hat behind (I've had to wear a hat to stay warm since shaving my head). But after I'd retrieved it I realized I was completely alone on the street. Gretchen hadn't fucking bothered to wait for me! I was really irate by the time I caught up with Gretchen and Wendy at a stoplight, and they immediately interpreted my anger as evidence of childhood trauma.
The opera was Cosi Fan Tutte by W. A. Mozart at City Opera. Gretchen had paid $93/each for our seats, which put us in the middle of the audience in the second balcony up. I have to admit that I found the opera tedious and dull, though both Gretchen and Wendy concurred. The one thing that saved the experience from being a complete misery was that for the second half Gretchen and I found our way down to a cluster of empty seats at the extreme end of the first balcony, stage right. I sat at the very end of the balcony, where there is only one seat, and Gretchen sat in one of the two empty seats behind me. From this vantage point I had a clear view of the stage and most of the orchestra pit, and since there was no audience in my view at all, it was as if I was getting a private viewing of the performance. There were only two snags: the monotonous repetitiveness of the singing and the fragrance issuing from my socks, which I'd pulled from my shoes in an effort to give them air.
Two comments about Cosi Fan Tutte: first, that double "wedding" performed near the end is completely secular and would be something of a standout anti-religious statement today. But this opera was written in 1789! Was the Enlightenment that far ahead of today's oppressive retro-religiosity? What's more, the end of the libretto is rich with Enlightenment gospel about the value of "reason." To a modern ear it sounds almost like a message addressed to the faith-based boneheads ruining the world's last superpower.
A retreat for Hell's Angels somewhere in the Lower East Side.
Looking north from Chinatown.
Gretchen poses with two victim ribbons. She used to just steal them but now she adds a little red droplet magnet labeled "oil."
Moonrise over the West Village from David's 5th floor walkup.
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