There is something quite literally uplifting about having a bird that would normally be winging past you at sea, sail by your front terrace. As I have learned, the Dutch, being mainly a seafaring lot, not intimidated by this vast expanse of water, drove down pylons or whatever they're called, stuck them in the sand and built Amsterdam.
Having spent a delightful day this past weekend looking at windmills in the place where they have become both a commemoration of the land this once was, and a tourist attraction, especially for Asians, the prettiest of them, or certainly the would-be chicest, not that I mean to be judgmental, in long dresses with sparkles. All of this is a learning experience for me, which everything is supposed to be, really. But it is especially exciting since I am learning to take joy from what isn't. That is to say, the mantel of calm I always hoped would descend on me seems to have. So except for the occasional panic attack, I feel really content to be here.
This assumed serenity is gently exacerbated, one of my favorite aggressive words, by the clipping I received from my brilliant friend Joanna Rose, the obituary of Eileen Ford, the head of the famous modeling agency, in which I am mentioned, having tangled with her on the Dick Cavett show. It is the second time I have been in an obituary in The New York Times without having to die, and I think there is some kind of distinction in that. The first time was with the death of a gently heartbroken, as I remember, psychoanalyst or at least psychologist, though I am not sure, who was one of the teachers or mentors of Jeffrey Masson, the psychologist who sued Janet Malcolm for libel, which trial I covered for The Nation-- thank you, Victor-- and they quoted what I wrote about him in his obituary. I would like to say, very much off the record, that though I am glad she won, as her lawyer, Gary Bostwick, is one of the radiantly smart and funny people I have met in my life, and went on to become my friend, or, rather, I chased him down until he did, I found her afterwards to be as cold a piece of humanity, and I am being generous, as I have ever encountered, Chilling, actually. Never have I rooted so strongly, in principle, for someone, although I believe I was quite evenhanded in the article, and then been so disappointed in who they actually were. But that's enough of that, lest she sue me.
So here I am in my loft, having been twice in a NY Times obituary, with still some life ahead of me, five stories or maybe four depending how they count it, above my canal. Tied to the dock below are several small boats, and tethered to the building next door a big one, on which parties are held with some regularity, as they seem to be across the canal as well. There are three picnic tables on three separate terraces and there were three separate parties where people didn't seem to interact, so it would be hard to crash, especially as I don't know how to get to the front of the buildings. But it all seems quite friendly.
Now all I have to do is learn to speak Dutch. It is not the prettiest language in the world, to put it mildly, as if you were clearing your throat and getting ready to spit. But they are really lovely people. Lekker. That will give you some idea. That's how you say good, or tasty, or delicious. Talk about a turn-off. But not everything can be Mooi. I think that's how you spell it. And that means beautiful. Pronounced Muu-eee. Can you believe it?