Thursday, September 26, 2002
a terrible name for a tropical storm and looking for screwed-up 17 year old boy who needs mrs. robinson
part one: the sopping wet part
*first, okay. sorry louisiana, i know you hate your tropical storm, but if you send her up here, i will grab you by the creole scruffs of your sodding red necks and kick you back to that louis XIV from whence you came. harrumph.*
new york [and poor dear flood in north carolina] is clouded and cloaked in the sideshow that is tropical storm Isadore. which, for the record, i think is a terrible name for a tropical storm. why? isadore [or isidor] is a deriviative of Isis, the egyptian goddess who traditionally is pictured with horns on her head and is known for being all around very stubborn indeed. isadores and isidores, like isabellas, tend to be temperamental and unpredictable, possibly inbred royalty, historically known for making tragically stupid errors in judgement. and plotting to kill their husbands. see: isabella of france, 1292-1358. and of course, which geek here could forget the tragedy of isildor, leader of the race of men in middleearth? i mean, but for his profoundly greedy ambitious lunacy, we wouldn't be trying to fight the powers of the evil sauron with a few midget people and some trees*. isadore, clearly, is a disasterous naming choice just waiting to happen.
this whole system of naming the storms is flawed. remember floyd? floyd is the guy at the deli who's got all gold teeth and calls you 'baby'. floyd couldn't rub his two brain cells together if he tried. consequently, floyd was the storm that couldn't even decide where in hell it wanted to land. "florida!" they yelled, and floridiots ran for cover. "new york!" they bellowed, and new yorkers knocked back an extra scotch-on-the-rocks and called their brokers. "north carolina!" they screeched - and by then, of course, north carolinians were like, "duh!" or more like, "glug glug glug." floyd was an idiot.
and now, we have isadore, blowing all her french displaced-royalty fury over the peaked rooftops and old world charm of n'awlins. silly temperamental blue-bloods. never to be trusted.
so, bon courage nouveau orléans. shut the blinds, have a stiff cocktail, and laissez les bon temps ... roulez.
*yes, yes. i know. i'm a huge dork. go to mordor, you non-believers.
part two: the juicy part.
yes, yes. saw that film igby goes down a few weeks ago. and let me say, other than the depressing nature of the film, what i really took away from that experience can be summed up in the following mock personal ad:
Wanted: 17-19 year old boy, tortured-soul type, for romantic yet doomed relationship. must be from weathly, screwed-up family, preferably upper east/west side; needs constant mothering and will adore me for the stability and comfort i provide. in turn, you must worship the ground i walk on, write bad poetry about me, consider me your muse and your hero all in one. upon inevitable breakup, where i tell you it's just not working, you're too young and tortured, you must have sobbing conniption fit at my door. ALSO: it will greatly aid your application if you look distinctly like this fine young man or, if you are in fact kieran culkin himself*.
see? won't that be great?
*c'mon, kieran. i know you live in new york. with your mommy. come over some night, hmm?**
** hey! it's legal! he's nineteen.
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Wednesday, September 25, 2002
i have arrived [and other tales of manhattan].
well, well, well.
last night was one of the reasons i love this city.
at about nine pm on a tuesday night, i dressed chic, yet carefree, yet weather-appropriate, like the upwardly-mobile, smart urban lass that i am*, and traipsed over to the upper east side, to meet melvin at elaine's.
when melvin [my old writing professor at slc and a riot of a human being] and i spoke on the phone last week, i suggested we meet for drinks, as we do on a monthly basis. and casually, oh so casually, melvin says, "well, how about elaine's?"
and now, i can cross that off my things to do before i die** list. elaine's! the mecca to the literati! elaine's! where you simply cannot get one of the first four tables along the side wall unless you have a pulitzer around your neck! elaine's! where today leading elite in journalism spent their impoverished youth getting drunk and running up a tab they couldn't afford! elaine's! where if she recognizes you and gives you a hug, You Have Arrived.
well. and now, little bitty me was having drinks there. i arrived late, fashionably so, to find melvin tucked in a corner nursing a scotch. the arrangement between us is as follows: i provide the cigarettes for chain-smoking, melvin provides the drinks. not a shabby deal. after introducing me to the people he knew at elaine's [i got Introduced Around!] we settled down and started updating each other on our lives. i found out one or two tawdry things about the old alma mater, and a few sad tidbits about people we both know, and got to hear all about his new class. but mostly, i just breathed the air, the same air that so many of my heroes have constant access to. 1960's posters of Paris Review covers hung on the walls, which were red and cheery. The bartender lit my cigarettes for me when he saw me take one out. I was introduced to a producer friend of Melvin's, who laughed off the recent cancellations of his shows, and asked Melvin about a slew of their other mutual friends.
the night proceeded to get funnier. after we'd tired of the noise at elaine's, we hopped in a cab and went to this bar down in the east 50's, because a friend of melvin's [another producer] was thinking of buying it for his wife to run. so we were sent to scope it out. wasn't bad - quite empty, nice lighting, simple decor, enough space. after another rousing round of drinks [well, wine for me] we headed out yet again, jumped in a cab, and landed at the seediest bar in midtown, a place owned by another friend of melvin's***, called siberia. only, it wasn't really called siberia .. in that there was no name on the door, only a little red light. inside was a cavernous space and a disaffected bartender, who nonetheless perked up and rustled me up a grey goose on ice when melvin asked whether tracy owens [the owner] was around. the crowd was sparse - mostly my age and more hip than me. but melvin and i plopped right down at the bar and chatted about life, optimism, creation, art, family, career, and egypt. they were playing modest mouse. i looked around and thought, only in new york can you go from elaine's to this chummy dive in a span of four hours, and still feel perfectly normal.
we finally rounded out the night at 1:30 am, whereupon i leapt in a cab and simply cruised all the way home, ten dollar fare be damned. i arrived home happy - hours of conversation with melvin always makes me feel like my mind has been running a marathon. my ego was satiated - i had drinks at elaine's and got introduced to hollywood television producers as 'a magazine editor here in new york'. and i realized something about elaine's last night - it's not who you know, it's how long you've been around. new york is all about creating communities in a city so structurally hostile to the notion. watching melvin talk about new york and it's most celebrated aspects, while peppering the discussion with stories of friends who've either written or made headlines, i realized it's a matter of time. you can spend years feeling like you're on the outside of something, he told me, only to wake up and realize you're right in the middle. it just takes time.
so here's to all the time in the world - and here's to you, new york. and you, elaine. and to melvin - and here's to me.
* and i am.
** other things on said list: make my own polenta, build a darkroom, be a super-mom, write for atlantic monthly, climb mt. kilimanjaro, learn to sail/oil paint/web design, own a vespa, live in canada, write a book - even if only my kids read it, marry for love, convince erin into having children at the same time i do, and grow five inches.
*** melvin bukiet is not only an accomplished writer, wonderful teacher, and all around wonderful human being - he also knows, literally, everyone in new york city.
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