Free-Floating Hostility

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hostylefax: Manhattan, Westchester, Brooklyn, oh my.

My time in the city has been busy, busy, busy, and lo, half of it has flown by.

I spent Sunday with the family. Dad and I took the dogs for a walk, though we abandoned it early because it was sweltering and because the cicadas were making Rhoda tense--Rhoda's response to tension is to plant her feet, which rather interferes with ones itinerary. We had breakfast, then went off to Fairway to shop. Mom hadn't given us a list, just told us to get bell peppers and lentils and otherwise be sensible. I forgot the lentils, although I remembered to get pear chocolate gelato. Mom disapproved so strongly of our selection of groceries that when we returned she accused us of developmental delay.

I had requested supper with Gervas, and about an hour before he was due to arrive, the foul weather broke into a fantastic thunderstorm. Now, it had been months since I'd seen rain, so I grabbed one of the titanic umbrellas my parents keep around and invited David out with me to experience the storm. It was amazing, so loud we couldn't hear each other, and coming down so hard it was like the angels had super soakers. Mom thought that was cute, so she came out to experience the rain with us. "Hi kids," she greeted us. Ten seconds passed. "Alright, that's about enough for me," she said, and went inside.

Supper with Gervas was delightful. He cares for dogs as little as Fritz; Mom claims she once surprised him in he act of pointing a vegetable knife at the throat of her ex-husband's schnauzer. He pointed out that the dogs were both black, saying "They look the same. What's the point?" Mom had made us a variety of cold salads, which she instructed us should be placed on a bed of lettuce provided for that purpose. Gervas complied, allowing his bean salad and his egg salad to mingle on his one lettuce bed, but this would not stand. Mom strenuously objected, until I told her to be a little postmodern and accept the Death of the Author so that we could all eat dinner. David took a dim view of that level of discussion; he at one point broke into a conversation that was boring him to claim that V.S. Naipaul was the Reggie Miller of literature.

Monday I made my way to Westchester, only after boarding the wrong train, necessitating my being fetched from Pleasantville. I had a delicious lunch with Peggy, Ellen and Carol, during which I lifted not a finger. Peggy tells me that her Andy only passed his driving test on the fourth try, which comforts me a good deal, because Andy is both a lovable and a high-functioning person. After lunch I requested a game of Scrabble; Peggy is a renowned player and I was looking forward to being trounced by her. However, the letters didn't go her way. I got the J, the X and the Q, and had a run of freakishly good luck. Ellen played me next, and on the first word I put down was WARRENS, following which I promptly drew the J and placed it on a triple, prompting Ellen to shout out, "Hey everybody, Anna broke 100 on her second turn." I couldn't bring myself to not put down the words I'd seen, but I felt quite rude, as though I'd asked for a game with intent to show off, when really my intentions had been most humble. Even though I never have games like that and it was just some fluke thing everybody said everyone should know better than to play with me.

After lunch Peggy drove me back to the city where we met my mom and Queenie for dinner. A movie was being filmed on Claremont Avenue, allowing no parking for ten blocks. Peggy tried valiantly to park in between two Jeep-ish cars, but in the end it couldn't be done with both wheels on the pavement. Although Peggy drives much the same as Scott, without regard for life, limb or lane markings, the notion of getting a ticket while her car was standing still was off-putting. For supper we went to an Italian restaurant on 123rd and Amsterdam, where the food and the company were wonderful.

Tuesday morning Mom and I had breakfast with Gary, who had stopped by on his way home from England, were he spent the summer filling in for the pastor of Judi Dench's congregation (Don't get too excited, only her husband is Catholic). By the end of the meal he had very nearly convinced me that what Mike and I really need is to move to St. Louis. He says you can get a 2-bedroom with a park view for $400 a month, as long as you don't mind the systemic racism. I had had to bump Dave A the day before, so I made it up to him with lunch. We reviewed some of his recent poems, and when I wrote on one of them, "If I ever catch you using this level of abstraction in a title again I will pound your face," he sighed rather testily saying, "This is the kind of criticism I could have used before I submitted this for publication." It turns out Dave works across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral, so I nipped into the gift shop after lunch for a St. Christopher visor clip--not as nice as the one the Religious Jewelry Store stiffed me on, but it did have the virgin too for good measure. I also picked up a rosary for the plane ride home.

Supper was at Jeff's place in Cobble Hill with Eugene, and Jeff's roommate Adam. If we had had our act together a little more on Saturday night, we could have accompanied Eugene to an art show at which ice cream tubs full of paint were being shot at a concrete wall with a paint by numbers scheme drawn on it. We heard it second hand instead. Eugene is learning welding in his spare time, and told us all about this organization that dispenses grants only to people whose art has been censored or who have been investigated for terrorism. Jeff made pesto, though he was distressed by the results of his gnocchi, which liquefied. After much wheedling he allowed us to observe the use of his immersion blender, which was pretty cool. We ate on the balcony outside, which was even cooler, and tried to take pictures of the girl across the way who was eating dinner in a towel. I discovered that a crucial piece of gossip had been witheld from me: our old floormate Dan has become a father with the help of his girl Irina. Those of you who knew them understand why I slapped Eugene for keeping this from me for however many months.

Now you are up to date. More as opportunity permits.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at August 18, 2005 6:18 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • 123rd and Amsterdam? Was that also Max Soha? Why would anyone go there to eat at a different Italian restaurant?

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at August 18, 2005 6:23 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Nope, it was Sezz Medi. They also have delicious food and my mom enjoys flirting with the owner, who looks like a hot Peter Lorre.

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