Thursday, February 12, 2009

Of Mice and Mimi

Saturday gave us a faux Spring day, the kind of impossible warmth that suddenly appears in midst of Winter, that in Paris, would send tens of thousands of Parisians into walking their glorious streets, crossing their wonderful bridges. But I am not in Paris. I am in New York. So I am given to exploring our own particular less-than wonders, checking out the neighborhood, after giving Mimi a footbath to clean off the slush. A few days ago, having joyfully accepted and frolicked in the snow, it was so cold that she stuck to the sidewalk. She looked up at me with a kind of ‘Huh?’ so I gently pried her pad loose. She is not so fond of ice now, but didn’t know that gentler weather meant another bath.
You wouldn’t know from the Barnes and Noble that the book business was in trouble. The store on Broadway was full, with a line of would-be buyers waiting their turn to spend what’s left of their money. There were fifteen magazines in the stand by the line with Obama covers, all the news mags, Vanity Fair and something called PT that said “Yes, he did, but can he?”
Whole Foods, aka Whole Paycheck, was likewise busy, with a line of potted Spring flowers, baby daffodils and primroses by the cash register, brightening the shelves, so I bought two red primroses and one sunshine yellow to replace the frozen, dead peppers that are on my balcony. I asked the clerk if a frost comes and kills them in the next few days, could I bring them back and get a refund.
But the days stay temperate, almost balmy, through to today, Tuesday. Still, iIt was blowy cold on the corner of Madison Avenue yesterday, walking home from the dentist, and a very frail, not very old man was hunched shivering in his wheelchair, holding out a cup, saying “I’m so cold, won’t somebody help me get a hot meal.” Most people can walk by that in this city, but I couldn’t, and gave him what I had. Then I walked up the avenue to Aveda to buy myself some shampoo and conditioner but the store wasn’t there anymore. Just darkness and a sign that offered Retail Space.
I had gone Saturday afternoon to see ‘Coraline’, trying for a transition to childrens’ books, but found it terrifying, not because of the 3D glasses but because of the darkness of the depiction of the other world Coraline goes into, with a seductive better mother who eventually morphs into a bony, sunken-eyed monster, though I was delighted that evil is depicted as too thin. Still, I sent out a warning alert so my son would not take Silas.
Caught as I am in the study and exercise of words and the feelings they give rise to, I must now make a small aside for ‘Scurrying’. I returned to my little atelier which it would be in Paris, here it’s a studio, and opened the door under the sink where the garbage can is and saw a mouse. There were mice in ‘Coraline,’ highly entertaining mice, but they, too, eventually morphed into the horrific and became rats. After the cliche shriek, I closed the mouse into the plastic bag that lines my garbage can and dropped it down the chute, which upset my tender-hearted friend Joie who worried on the phone over its slow death, but there is no incinerator below, only a pile of garbage, so it would have been a soft landing. Still she suffered over its suffering. I called down to the desk to ask for help, and they sent someone, but the family (four it turned out) endured till yesterday when the building closed up the hole. Last night, one little mouse came out looking for its relatives. I was reminded of the time I was working for the Journal, staying in a then moderately priced hotel in Paris, interviewing the genial manager in the bar, when a mouse came out and looked around with the same confusion. The manager turned to it and said “I thought I told you to stay in the kitchen.” I really liked that hotel.
Today the building sent an exterminator who couldn’t set traps because of Mimi, so under my red dragon=painted chest from Chang-Mai, a silver box that has a hole in it that will catch the mouse, as it will be attracted to the shine, be curious, and go inside. So it will not be the cat only that curiosity killed. Oh, dear. I really hate to think about it, but I don’t like thinking I am sharing quarters with something besides Mimi. Scurrying.
As for the demise of the mice family, I handle it by thinking of them as Republicans. I really can’t believe how stubbornly and stupidly and rodently they are behaving. What will it take to make them understand the country literally hangs in the balance? I thought Obama was clear and candid and brilliant last night, promising that he was saving the best answers for Geithner to give today. But the investment banker who lives next door told me Geithner said nothing in his half-hour talk, so the market fell three hundred points.
Oh, craven new world that has such creatures in it. So much to worry about. Did A=Rod use drugs to enhance his performance with Madonna?