pay your dentist.
Just in case I could find not too much to love about New York-- the theatre has been disappointing, and most of the friends I had who lived here have quit the city or the planet-- I stopped in to say Goodbye to my dentist, a fine fellow who has made pleasant keeping my chops in order. He said I needed a cleaning, so I got one. And when I left, the bill said Happy Birthday, and cancelled the not inconsiderable cost.
So there is greatness of spirit and generosity here, and happily I tapped into it just before leaving. This sort of makes up for venal politicians, disappointing children, and a country that seems to be headed for the wastebasket. It was Clayton Williams of Texas who said "when rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it," which helped him lose the election for Governor to Ann Richards, with whom I had the strange good fortune to celebrate the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake.
That day in 1989, a little after five in the afternoon, holding Happy, still in his doggy prime, with one hand, the other clutching a car that wasn't sliding, I watched the quake roll slowly up the hill like a serpent arching its spine. When it stopped I carried him up to the square atop Nob Hill to sit out the aftershocks, and Ann Richards, then running for governor of Texas, was there, having come straight from a fundraiser for her at the Mark Hopkins. Lia Belli, separated wife of the famous divorce attorney Melvin Belli, came tooling up in her car to pick up survivors, preferably noted, and took us back to her house. There was no electricity, but her living room had a big picture window, and as we sat out the evening in her living room, it was lit by the blaze from the marina, which was exploding. All through the night, as in Chaucer, we told our tales.
Ann's was, not surprisingly, probably the most interesting, told in her very relaxed drawl, with a mastery of comic timing, crossed with unabashed truth. She told one of the other women, a trainer from a health club, how it was she had gotten into politics. "They asked my husband to run for commissioner, and he said 'Why don't you run my wife?'" They were no longer married, and I asked her why. "Well, ho-nee," she said, "I'm an alcoholic and he's still drinking." She was the kind of woman you would describe as 'handsome,' commanding. Comfortable in her own skin, wrinkles failing to diminish her attractiveness.
It was a colorful night, lasting till the morning, when we could all get transportation back to where we belonged. But it was my conviction after that night that she belonged in the White House. If only she had won the next gubernatorial election, the one after that, she could have saved this country a whole lot of trouble with W. Oh, well.
I'm sorry I didn't see the play about her, though I probably didn't go because I wished I had written it. I did write one about that night, though. A comedy. I have to try and find it.
I have to try and find a lot of things, most of them inside my own head. It is so disruptive to move, even when the move is bi-coastal. With all the traveling I have done, and the different countries I have lived in, for some reason this particular change is very hard for me. Can it be I am getting older?