Friday, June 5, 2020

Four months away.

Rockwell Kent’s “Wreck of the D.T. Sheridan’’ (circa 1949).
It's been almost four months since my wife grabbed me by my right ear, twisted it hard and dragged me kicking and screaming from our Manhattan co-op. This is the longest I've been away from the City since my sojourn south of the border when I toiled so long ago for the Seraperos de Saltillo in the Mexican Baseball League.

I'm beginning to feel like my brain is turning to cottage cheese.

I miss the noise of the city. I miss my friends and people I work with. I miss kibbitzing with cab drivers, the fruit stand woman, the guy I buy bagels from in the morning. 

I miss having the Times delivered to my door. And the Wall Street Journal on Saturdays. I miss talking about sports with my doormen and hearing the neighbors' kids playing in the hallway.

I miss Zabar's. And Sable's. And Katz's. And, in general, people of my faith--a faith built on the belief that god exists in a well-seasoned and well-sliced pastrami sandwich made with two really good, chewy, carroway-heavy slices of just-out-of-the-oven rye bread.

I even miss cursing at cabbies running lights. I miss rich ladies walking dogs that by rights are really cats. I miss walking two miles into a gentrifying Spanish Harlem and eating at Patsy's, an old Italian stronghold on 118th and First, for one of their bubbling pizzas right out of their ancient coal-fired brick oven which is a distant relative of Vesuvius.

I never would have believed I'd be living in a land where Lilly Pulitzer is considered OG, with people wearing Nantucket red shorts without irony. In fact, I haven't seen a tattoo in three weeks and against all odds I'm beginning to miss self-mutilation.

That's right. I'm beginning to miss my cottage cheese mind,

However, there's a sandy beach not 500 feet from our home that allows dogs. And Whiskey swims there three times a day. I toss her duck and we race over algaed rocks in pursuit. 

However, I sleep at night with the French doors open to a long wooden balcony and I hear the small waves of the Sound twenty feet below me. About 1000 feet into the sound is a red nun buoy with a clanging bell that peals each night with each wave. I told my wife this morning that if it were a church bell, it would be four-million o'clock.

However, I enjoy the ever-present crush of business--which seems to find its way inexorably to my keyboard--and I especially enjoy making money for myself, not for some far-away executives who I was making rich, who I would never meet and who had the temerity to kick me to the curb because they failed to recognize the fundamental difference between price and value.

Yeah, four months up here on the Gingham Coast. Four months away from the world that nursed me into manhood. Four months away from coffee with my friends and Shun Lee West and, dare I say it, the chazerei of a life bursting at the seams with fullness and, yes, good fortune.

Four months is a long time and four months is a short time. All is fine up here. My wife and I haven't killed each other. Whiskey is in treatment and doing well. And my kids are, in the best way, special.

I hope, soon, the horrors of Amerika in its Age of Ignoble Ignorance will start to pixelate then disappear like the taste of an existential rice cake in your mouth. I hope, soon, we can have a chat or take a walk or share a cuppa or just exchange a glance.

I've never been a giant fan of normal.

And I'm ok with my present state of abnormality.

But it would be nice to see you all again.

And please, keep the faith.

And above even that, keep laughing.

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