This is the kind of time when I wish I had the balls of Wallace Shawn. In case you don't know who he is, he's an excellent playwright of such plays as Aunt Dan and Lemon and The Fever. He was also the fall-guy in the movie My Dinner with Andre. Anyhow, when he started out, he asked people to give him money as an investment in his future and that he would pay out dividends as his writing started selling. It worked. People gave him money, he succeeded and they got their dividends. Any takers?
Which reminds me of seeing My Dinner with Andre...no, it reminds me of seeing Andre Gregory (the movie being eponymous) talk at some anti-nuclear talk at St. John the Divine, it was in the early 80s and I was with my friend Sherrel. We had gotten off on the wrong subway platform and were walking along East Harlem rather than West Harlem. If you don't live in NYC, here's the deal: West Harlem, even then, near Columbia, was walkable for hippie looking white girls in long purple skirts smoking clove cigarettes. East Harlem not so much. Sherrel was getting a little nervous, and I was like usual oblivious. A police car came up next to us and asked us to get inside. Me, politicized, but pea-brained me, started yelling at the police and asking them to stop harassing us and where did they get off telling us what to do (I probably had pot in my bag at the time, which may have added to the paranoia). Sherrel kept telling me to shut up and get in the car, which I eventually did, glaring at the police and Sherrel. The cops said, didn't you see what was just about to happen to you? No, I said, because I hadn't. Sherrel had and was grateful. They kindly drove us to St. John the Divine and we got out to hear Gregory and a bunch of other left-wing folk talk about peace in the nuclear era. One of those low-key gatherings where everyone agrees with each other but knows they/we represent about 1% of the whole population but we pretend someday-it-will-be-different-and-they-will-all-see-the-light...etc...
I don't know if it was before or after that I had an inane run-in with a cop on a platform in a subway at 2am. I had just stubbed out a cigarette and gotten into a subway car - this was 1981, so the outside of the cars were covered in graffiti, they were hot inside because air conditioning had not yet been installed and where there are now billboards, there were instead blank black areas where Keith Haring was beginning to draw his chalk babies with their glowing halos and other mysterious things. Except we didn't know who he was yet. So anyway the cop decided to haul me out of the subway car back onto the platform, I'm pretty sure it was Astor Place and give me a citation for smoking. At the time, believe it or not, there were no 'no smoking' signs, which I pointed out, most likely drunkenly and arrogantly, to the policeman, who said ignorance of the law was no excuse and handed me the citation and let me stand on a subway platform alone for about 20 minutes until another car came. I was 19.
By the way, I proceeded to ignore that citation, until about a year later when I finally paid it, and by that time it had trebled with fines on top of fines. I was living in Connecticut then, back at Wesleyan, and why I decided then to pay it is beyond me - maybe the notice was particularly scary and mentioned jail. But this is was a typical way of dealing with things when drinking, ignore until fear takes hold, then pay with interest. Fun.
I took a walk this evening along the broad Main Street, which runs in front of Bowdoin College up here in Brunswick, so perhaps this is why the Wesleyan memories are beginning, or college in general. While walking in my mauve colored rain coat and dangerous-to-wear-in-New England NY Yankees cap (New Englanders are big Red Sox fans, FYI to others outside the US who could probably care less about US baseball teams), I passed a young woman who seemed like a Bowdoin student, because she was reading a thick book while walking. We both smiled and greeted each other with what seemed like recognition. I don't mean as in we knew each other, but that we knew each other. I could see me in her from years ago and she could probably see in me either herself in the future or perhaps a professor-to-be. It was a pleasant moment, and it brought me back somehow, but in a nice, gentle way.
However, I kept walking determined to stay bereft and kind of blue. I saw glimpses of flowers and smelled the pine needles and some wood chips, admired the huge houses, with high ceilings and big doors that are probably a couple hundred years old. My brain was rolling and rolling with money concerns and practicalities, wishing I had more profound thoughts than 'what will I do with my books and can I afford storage?' Fun stuff like that. (And if you are on a hiring committee for either job I just applied for and are reading this, yes, it is that bad, please interview me, I'm an amazing teacher and have a great sense of humor plus I'll be insanely grateful - a great combo! OK, is this pathetic, I'm sorry...I'll stop now.)
Jani's papers are sitting in front of me waiting for me to read them, drumming their papery fingers impatiently. They do have a presence and have been ignored now for over a day and a half. It's time, past time, to go back into the maelstrom. Having written this post, I feel somehow able to face it. It's time to get into the poetry and the chuckpark letters (long story I need to sort through but includes according to my mother an entirely invented persona by Jani to somehow impress this guy...doesn't surprise me, but still...will be interesting to see how long she keeps it up in the letters).
I will end with some photos of yesterday in Maine...today was too grey and rainy...but I did hear lovely chimes on my way back home and saw the drops of rain on the pond earlier - far enough apart to make individual impressions and seem somehow beautiful and melancholy...reminding me of that silly song 'Raindrops keep falling on my head..." That kind of rain.
But from our trip to the lobster restaurant yesterday...some silly family snaps, why not? Plus the required gorgeous view shot.
|this is what over 30 years of being together happily looks like|
|restaurant with a view - Dolphin Marina, Harpswell, Maine|
|how uncool can a person be? hopefully this will make you feel better|