And while the rest of the world is collapsing, I am having the time of my life.
1- we saw Woody Allen’s Manhattan on a rooftop (actually, the terrace of the Yotel). Champagne, earphones, recliners. That feeling of flying transatlantic with PanAm in the sixties, except everybody was posting selfies on Facebook. After the film my husband told me sweetly “never had a better time with you darling”. I purred. Then I realised that had both been wearing earphones and none of us had said a word. Not that sure he likes it when I talk after all.
2- we saw Goran Bregovic at the Lincoln Center. Didn’t expect such a good concert when I walked in. Quite a bunch of self-righteous-pearl-necklaced-50ers. My neighbour had apparently eaten rotten onions. And the security was out of control. No camera, no dancing, no standing, no walking in the aisles. However, after thirty minutes and rightfully so, Goran had turned the Lincoln Center into a stadium. Everybody was dancing and sweating, the whole audience was screaming in serbian, including the self-righteous-pearl-necklaced-50ers. As for my neighbour, he turned out to be a Goran exegete. Unfortunately, there was nothing Goran could do about the onion smell.
Two months ago, I had to read a book I hated and most of my book club enjoyed (apparently the New York Times enjoyed it too so maybe it’s me (or new-yorkers)). It contained paragraphs like this one.
“I read a study once about sleep deprivation. The researchers made cat-sized islands of sand in the middle of a pool of water, then placed very tired cats on top of them. At first, the cats curled up perfectly on the sand and slept, but eventually they’d sprawl out and wake up in water. I can’t remember what they were trying to prove exactly. All I took away was that the cats went crazy.”
(Department of speculation, Jenny Offill)
Then I read another book, which I found pretty awesome (the New York Times too, but also the rest of the world). I thought the following excerpt applied pretty well to the first book…
“You can’t even read American fiction to get a sense of how actual life is lived these days. You read American fiction to learn about dysfunctional white folks doing things that are weird to normal white folks”
(Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
I have finally read Wednesday Martin’s famous memoir “Primates of Park Avenue”. Her article in the New York Times went viral last year and her book made the columns for months. I didn’t like the book, but I did find some excerpts striking and amusing. Here is a particularly funny one, about auditions of young children at daycare:
Before we got our son in anywhere at all, there were applications and parent interviews and child “playdates” at the schools. The applications were easily procured (…) I scampered across the Upper East Side picking up manila enveloppes for days, then got down to work writing essays about what made my toddler special, what his strengths and weaknesses were, what kind of learner he was. Sorely tempted to write “I really don’t know yet, since he’s two“, I instead banged my head against the wall until I came up with what I hoped were some good-sport responses. Next came the playdates, which I grumblingly referred to as “auditions” because it felt more honest. They were generally scheduled during nap time, unfathomable until you consider that the schools were basically trying to exclude as many “nonsibling” kids as they could. Overtired kid had a meltdown in the play kitchen? Or smacked someone at the craft table? Or just wasn’t paying attention during story time? Better luck at another audition at another school. I will never forget the “playdate” where there was a single desirable toy – a brightly coloured play oven with knobs and lights and buttons – surrounded by a fess other, lesser toys. It was the center of a age of musical chairs rigged by admissions people who wanted to see how a bunch of tired toddlers would respond to the stress of confronting exactly what they were incapable of handling at that point in their development – the need to take turns and delay gratification and manage their own frustration under unusual circumstances. With no reward. (more…)