Thursday, March 19, 2009

My New York City Day

I spent yesterday in New York City. The beautiful train ride, an orgy of magazine reading, a quiet well-behaved seat mate, all made the start of my day good. I splurged on a taxi to SoHo, visited the Varda Store—a shrine to timeless Italian design (one pair for summer); Kate’s Paperie—a sensual and textural wonder of paper (two packages of envelopes) and then another taxi to The Frick—one of the most elegant and wonderful small museums. The fountain room is so soothing, and I always do this kind of double take looking at some of the pieces on display: “Oh my God, that’s a real El Greco.”
In that small brownstone are works of art that are ubiquitous as images in Art History 101 so I have to remind myself that even though I have “seen” it a million times that this—this one at the Frick—is the Real Thing.

The downsides to this day? The worst is running the perfume gauntlet at Saks. The terror of the aggressive perfume sample ladies and their counterparts at cosmetic counters. It is fearful even to make eye contact with anyone of the first floor at Saks. A mere acknowledgement can result is being dragged to the counter and being re-made—even while you are sputtering, “Oh, no thanks, just shopping.”

The other is the “bourgeois-garde” of the folks who work in museums. In their desperate feeling attempt to declare their avant-garde status they all look the same: same black plastic eye-glasses, same eye brow shaping (male and female), same MOMA watch, same black clothes now—because “Color is Back” (says Barneys)—worn ironically. I want to whisper, “You look the same; you have lost the unique aesthetic you are attempting to convince us that you have.” These days someone who works in a museum and wears a pastel twin set and real pearls will be the iconoclast.

The other challenge of my city day was to remind myself that I can have a life—and an aesthetic—with or without John. It feels important these days to find ways to remember that. To reclaim a self and a separateness. Just in case we stay together and just in case we come apart.

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