It's a beautiful pre-Autumn Saturday here in New York city. The sky is deep blue punctuated by billowy cumulus. The temperature is in the low-60s. Though the leaves haven't turned yet, the inevitability of Fall is evident. The tourists who it seems flock to New York in ever-greater numbers are bundled up against the chill that isn't here yet. Even the Muslim hotdog vendors are rushing the season. They're out with hot chestnuts already.
My wife and I ran around the Central Park reservoir this morning then down the Lincoln Center to exchange some opera tickets. We wanted, call it masochism, as much Wagner as we could get, so we swapped some lesser operas out for Die Walkure and Gotterdammerung. While my wife was exchanging the tickets, I traipsed through the excellent Opera gift shop at the Met. Today absolutely everything is merchandised.
There was a small wooden cutting board. The label read "Romeo and Julienne."
I spoke to the lady at the ticket window and told her we were trying to see all of the Rinse Cycle.
You mean the Ring Cycle, sir, she corrected.
No, I mean the Rinse Cycle. Because we have to bring in laundry to afford the tickets.
We walked the three miles home and stopped and watched for a few minutes the Germans in their annual Steuben Day Parade. Their red, black and yellow flag was everywhere, as were oompah bands and lederhosen.
Suddenly they broke into a Neil Diamond song, "Sweet Caroline."
Why are they playing that? my wife asked.
"I don't know," I answered "but it's better than Deutschland uber alles or Horst Wessel lied."
Fifth Avenue was barricaded against crossing. Finally we found an opening manned by two Puerto Rican NYPD cops.
"How come the Germans get to march up to 86th?" I asked, "And the Puerto Ricans have to stop at 79th?"
"I don't know," one of the cops answered, "but I'm issuing a complaint about it."
"I don't blame you," I said, "Now let us across. They killed all my people."
The cop didn't bat an eyelid. "You're the second guy who's said that to me."