Saturday, March 09, 2013

You Can Always Make a Friend in NYC

as long as they are from someplace else.  These have been days so bleak even Charles Dickens would not have named a house after them.  Cold and gray, with little pieces of snow like frozen spit, coming down from contemptuous angels.
    On my way home from the dentist, a visit that was almost uplifting in comparison to the lack of human interaction in my building, where the only people who look at you are those who work here, all of whom are sweetly present, the rest of whom avert their eyes, as if afraid you might want something from them, except for my best friend, Ava, 3, who lives at the end of the hall, and a few sad-eyed dogs who make me long for Mimi, I finally made actual contact with another soul.  It has been a truly frigid winter, in every sense of the word, and I have made my way through it supported by the conviction that I am really supposed to be here to try and make my musical happen, which it finally looks like it might, though I am not holding my breath, except maybe a little.  But as I stopped into a coffee bar, Fate, or, in this case, Destino, connected me with Brigitta, from Rome.
    Absolutely darling young woman, 21, here for a brief holiday-- she must love gray skies-- before she returns to school, the door to which is the one next to the Vatican.  Probably an interesting place to be right now.  Anyway Brigitta, as it turns out, is one of four daughters of a man who owns a few radio stations in Italy, on which I am now invited to be interviewed, which would be a great joy and very challenging, as being limited in Italian I would have to choose my words very carefully, something I certainly don't do here.
    But I am most grateful for having had an open heart, as every once in a while there seems to be a point in that.  I made friends in Paris with people who lived in my building, something that doesn't happen in Paris, having apprehended Gaspard, 2, on his way upstairs, with the promise I would teach him English, along with his sister Pauline.  It took almost a year as he wasn't speaking at all, though I gave him a piece of candy every time he stopped in, he was so silently adorable.  When at last a word came out of him-- I showed him a little carved lapin  and said "Rabbit,"and  Gaspard said "Bon Bon."  Another time I went to a DeNiro movie and when I came out asked a man in the lobby with his son how he enjoyed it.  He expressed some reservations, paused, looked baffled and said "But we are talking...'another pause "We don't do that." Another pause, a thoughtful look.  "I like it."  We have been friends since.
     Still, I do believe that you have to wait for the Universe to throw you into some kind of camaraderie here. Or maybe other places, too.  I was in the Earthquake in San Francisco, when Lia Belli, wife of the esteemed overheated and overpublicized attorney Melvin, picked up six of us sitting in the square atop the crumbled city, and took us all back to her house, and among them was Ann Richards, then the Governor of Texas, about to run against W, which if she had won might have saved this country.  A truly darling woman, funny and beyond frank, as well as beautiful in the true sense.  She had become Governor when someone asked her husband to run, and he said "Why don't you run my wife?" I asked her why she was no longer married to him, and she said "Well, honey, I'm an alcoholic, and he was still drinking." I think I fell in love with her, but then it was very intense, the room lit by explosions from down below by the bay.  I went home when it was safe to return, and wrote a play about all of us being trapped, which was really funny, as I remember, I think objectively, but made the mistake of giving to the wrong producer, so nothing ever came of it, which you have to be careful about in New York, even if you're not insecure as I was.
   At any rate, Ann is now on Broadway, portrayed by Holland Taylor, who is probably very good, but not possibly as smart, compelling and funny as Ann Richards.  I have the feeling that had she won she wouldn't have died as early as she did.  But I always have that feeling about people who should have been victorious and left the scene too soon.
   Ah, well,  The sun is out at long long long long last.  So I shall walk in the park and be glad the trees, now barren, a vista so stark you can't believe it, will soon start to bud, and then in no time at all, we will be so hot we wonder why we don't live someplace else.  Oh, Life.  What would you be called if you weren't so full of challenges?