Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Rolling Birthday Outings

Observances started with my last supper... with Jason and Marianthi, the night before the movers came. We caught a small action movie. Well really, it was Jen crossing Fifth Avenue, trying to get the bus without the bus getting her. There was quick glances in either direction, some indecision, and a final sprint.

As the case my five prior birthdays, I got a lot of mail... our proposal deadline. I also got some nice messages from all over. I didn't have formal plans for the evening, so I was going to go to rooftop yoga at the Can Factory. I got some nice treats from Bill and Fredrica, so I was going to bring them to class too... but when I got home, I was locked out. I had left my house keys at office. But when I got let into the building, I went to get my spare hidden set... but I had given them to David and Molly.... and was still locked out. Yoga time came and passed and went back to the office to get my keys. As a small consolation, I picked up the very excellent collection of Yoshihiro Tatsumi comics edited by Adrian Tomine.

Wednesday I got a bahn mi, caught a show, and caught up with Dave's inaugural outing of his rolling week of birthday celebrations. Thursday the heat broke, Josh and I caught Captain Jack and company. Friday Josh & I played tennis and got Indian, then Dena and Melissa & I took in some sights and sounds around the Gowanus Canal.

Saturday was the planned event of inexpensive eats and soccer watching at the Red Hook Ballfields. The food was even better than I had hoped for, including the very excellent and refreshing cantaloupe juice. I got to kick around with Mitchell and Adam, then cooled off with a few cervesas.

Sunday I went to meeting, got a Brooklyn bahn mi, bought some summer clothes. Monday Gretchen introduced me to a taqueria near the office, for which I'm very thankful for. And then last night brought closure to last Tuesday's frustration. I had cool rooftop yoga class and shared my goodies (cheese, quince and rioja) with Joe, Gretchen and Lucy. It was a perfect way to close out a week of birthday happenings.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

No Title [a poem]

I write mysteries on napkins
I build homes with sand.
My world is governed by tides.
Their washing away of monuments,
My soaking them up in blurred sheets
Torn easily by charms and spells disguised
As urgent notes and phone numbers.


Friday, August 04, 2006

My New Favorite Amy Hempel Line

From the novella Tumble Home:

Where is the consolation in this? It is in humiliation, which brings the softness of heart that allows you to listen to God.

How very Quaker of her.

Other sticky lines:

The need for the new love is faithfulness to the old -"The Children's Party"

And when the men kissed the women good night, and their weekend whiskers scratched the women's cheeks, the women did not think shave, they thought: stay. -"Weekend"

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Russians in the Backyard

I've often been lukewarm on Chekhov and many of the Russian bougeois dramas of boredom... and then it snapped. Last night really, seeing Ripe Time's Betrothed. The play draws on three stories of women about to be married. The second section is based in Chekhov's story Betrothed.

But what snapped for me were two lines by Sasha:

"It all seems somehow strange to me here, now I am out of the habit of it," he went on. "There is no making it out. Nobody ever does anything. Your mother spends the whole day walking about like a duchess, Granny does nothing either, nor you either. And your Andrey Andreitch never does anything either."


"And however that may be, my dear girl, you must think, you must realize how unclean, how immoral this idle life of yours is," Sasha went on. "Do understand that if, for instance, you and your mother and your grandmother do nothing, it means that someone else is working for you, you are eating up someone else's life, and is that clean, isn't it filthy?"

And then it hit me. This is what the suburbs are like. This is what retirement homes are like. This is what many of us strive for. A place where one does little, and aspires to do less. Yeah, we work... that's what we call it, but how much do we engage with each other, and how much do we fantasize about it. Besides that, what exposure do suburbs give us? Very little, and and aspiring to less. The idea I suppose is that we fill it up with what we want: mTV, fantesy sports, glossy magazine, directTV.

It detaches us from what most people struggle with: lame jobs, crap to buy, severe medical and environmental conditions. Where can it take us? Desperate Housewives, Colombine, Chekhov.

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