How young we must have been when we wanted to conquer New York. How brave our hearts were, and how blind our eyes. I cannot be sure whether it is the city that has grown harder, or my own skin that has thinned, but the place that gave rise to the circle at the Algonquin has given way to a restaurant owned by Graydon Carter. That is to say, aspiration, wit, and poetry have shrunk and morphed into a celebrity culture, if a culture it can still be called, and if those looked at with... what? awe? shock and awe? can be considered true celebrities, paralleling a president not in the least presidential. What a great country we were. What a great city New York was. Or maybe, in the words of my fellow P.S.9 alum, Hal Dresner, we were strengthened by having the John Jasper Journal, in which both our works appeared on the same page when we were nine or ten, to affirm us at an early enough age to make us think all things were possible when we grew up.
My own sensibilities seem validated by Mimi's. The whole time we were there she appeared reluctant to pee, she is SUCH a lady, and is not sure if the sidewalk outside our apartment building is the continuation of the lobby. The park was either frozen over, black-slushed, or a fetid dark puddle, so we rarely made it into that sometimes sanctuary, instead circling the block so she would eventually relieve herself at the back entrance of the Essex House, where there is a mat she could use unobserved, while I looked around and whistled. Once back in LA, however, her sense of relaxation is visible, and she lets go every few feet on the grass. I am not usually fixed on the toilet habits of little beasties, but the parallel between human confusion/tension and theirs is evident.
Still, we must love New York for a number of things: the friends we still have there, the fantasy that it is the hub of the universe, which I suppose it is if you are a theater junkie and cannot get to London, where Kevin Spacey is in charge of the National, so how good can that be? We must also love it for its restaurants, most treasured of which on the High End is Le Cirque, because we love the Maccionis. That is not the Royal We, but the Me and Mimi We, since Sirio and Egi are beloved friends of mine, and Marco, the middle son, is beloved by Mimi. Marco wanted to be a vet, and has a bull mastiff named Mostro who, on pleasant days, guards the entrance to Circo, the less expensive, more neighborly arm of their restaurant kingdom.
Pleasant days, I understand, have returned to New York now that we have left. I try not to take it personally. I try not to take anything personally, but a lot of the time I lose that battle, including what this admininstration has done to our country, which all of us should take personally and maybe it will finally get us into the streets. One of the great Justices, I think it was Frankfurter, said the 1st amendment should not apply to crying 'Fire!' in a crowded theater. I believe that 'Off with their Heads', as the Red Queen kept crying in Alice in Wonderland could now be the acceptable roar, as the worst of them will not back off from a crowded theater of war.
It really feels like Impeachment should be back on the table. Pelosi's chiding him like a strict disapproving Mama just doesn't seem enough. I'm sure he already had one of those, and look at the result.
Well, Easter is coming, and Passover too, so maybe the Hand of God will make an appearance. I would turn to prayer to ask that, but am afraid my words might get caught in the updraft coming from the evangelicals.
Love and kisses from a Kinder, Gentler Clime.