Sunday, July 16, 2006

Funny! New York is also beautiful and fun in the summer. How about that. In fact, I guess most places are like that in the summer. I say "most places," but of course I mean most places that you and I are likely to visit, which excludes Dubai, just for instance.

On my last day in New York I visited a friend who, after years of living in squalor, rented an apartment way down by Battery Park with a magnificent view of the harbor and the Statue of Liberty. I was gobsmacked. She's financing this from the future sale of her novel. That's not quite as nutty as it sounds, as it will be her second (published) novel.

I have another friend who's been living in the same rented apartment in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn for the past ten years. But he recently got a job teaching sociology in Berkley, so he's vacating it within the month. Times change. I don't know where I'm going to stay in New York anymore.

I went to a couple of unexpected parties with NYC writers and journalists and sociologists and the like, and it was all very beautiful and unexpected. And I finally had drinks with my editor at Slate, a woman I've never met in person and with whom I've only spoken to voice-wise for a few fleeting moments in 2003. She gave me a complimentary copy of the magazine's new book, The Best of Slate, plus a pair of Slate flip-flops, two things no proper household should be without.

Speaking of proper households, I had a strange experience yesterday upon waking up. It's been awhile since I slept in my own bed. In fact, I'm not sure what the phrase "my own bed" refers to at the moment. Yesterday was the first time in as long as I can remember that I woke up and genuinely didn't know where I was.

It was a stronger, more disconcerting and far more remarkable feeling than that momentary confusion when you start to wake up and think, "Where am I?" For what seemed several minutes, I was fully conscious, looking around the bedroom, thinking something along the lines of the following (though somewhat less fleshed out):

"OK, let's see here... This looks like a house, not an apartment. Probably suburban. I imagine myself in a bedroom on the second floor. [That may have led my mind astray: In fact I was on the ground floor.] This does not appear to be a particularly European bedroom. Am I in Britain or Ireland? Is this a B&B? I'm alone in bed, so unfortunately it doesn't look like I hooked up with a woman and went home with her. The lamp on the dresser across from me has a shade that is still covered in plastic, and there's some framed embrodiery on the wall showing two rustically dressed rabbits, he and she, one handing the other some flowers with the tagline sewn in, 'You're nobunny til somebunny loves you.' If there were a bookcase filled with Nancy Drew books, I'd swear I was on the set of The Virgin Suicides."

I'm not sure what tipped me off to the fact that I was actually in my parents house in Massachusetts, but as I look around the room now, I can only guess it was the duck decoy made into a bedside lamp, which has been in the household since before my time, through four moves.

Yesterday there were two big items dominating the news here in Massachusetts: First, some poor woman was killed was some ceiling panels fell from the I-90 tunnel in Boston. The entire city ground to a halt, the governor is personally overseeing the investigation and nobody talks about anything else.

Meanwhile, some woman in some faraway state got a visit from the cops due to a loud music complaint. She thought one of the cops was cute so she called 911 and asked if he could come back. The cop came back and arrested her for misuse of emergency services. The incident made news nationwide.

Meanwhile, I got a message from my boss saying he's stuck in Lebanon and so are the production designers. I should be exploring Plan B options to put out the next issue of our magazine without -- ! -- a production designer. When Lebanon comes up on the news, people's attention generally seems to drift elsewhere.

My nephew keeps bringing me oatmeal cookies! Mmmmmmmm.