I never feel that I have enough time to see everyone when I take a short trip to a place I have lived before. Yet still I feel pressured to do so for some reason. Am I worried that the people I don’t see will feel slighted or somehow less important? Being the people pleaser I often am, probably. On each of my trips out to California this year (and this is the third), I have felt somewhat rushed, unable to “fit it all in”.  I really need to revisit this logic and calm down about it. We can never see everyone or do everything that we think we should, especially in a place that has so much history for us. I am here for a bit of work. That is my primary reason for coming. I will be back one day, or I won’t. I need to relax about what I can really do here, and how much I should cram in. Because each time I try to shove so much into so little time, I end up feeling exhausted, yet still guilty for not seeing those people I could not see. But life is like this, and I need to be more focused on fewer things, not the other way around. So apologies in advance everyone, and please don’t take it personally. You are not less loved for me not seeing you, nor more loved because circumstances worked out such that we could.

Ah, New York (again)


Today was one of those totally great days that make you fall in love with the magic of New York all over again. One of those days that makes you realize how truly endless are the things to discover here. Today’s love ode to the city is mostly thanks to my wonderful friend Jonathan, who seems to have a deep knowledge of a huge number of quirky and great places in the city. We met down in the Lower East Side where he was doing some work at a coffee shop, and proceeded to have an inexpensive yet super delicious lunch at a Venezuelan restaurant called Caracas. We left to walk for a bit in search of dessert and made a quick detour into the St Mark’s Bookshop, which I remember well from 20 years ago and thought disappeared when their actual shop on St Mark’s street had closed several years back. To my delight, that seductive book smell still permeated the place, and I got an intellectual charge from our brief browse. After that, we headed to Sundaes and Cones for a really yum sesame ice cream, followed by a simple walk in perfect weather heading west on 10th street (which is home to some really beautiful architecture). I said goodbye to Jonathan while crossing 5th avenue, and made my way home.

In a way, there was nothing special about our little lunch and walk. These small adventures happen all the time (if we are open to them). But in another way, this kind of day, filled with minor new discoveries, deepens my optimism about life in New York (and in general) and the endless possibilities presented by so many different kinds of people living in such close proximity to each other. Although there are amazing, cosmopolitan, capitals to be found around the globe, for me, New York is the capital city of the world.

This calls for a drink


My friend Jonathan (and his friend Derek) and I went to see an alternative French film yesterday called “35 Shots of Rum“, directed by Claire Denis. The film tells the story of the modest disintegration of a formerly static community of four people in a housing project on the outskirts of Paris. One of the most wonderful things about this film is its portrayal of minority community in France. None of the main characters are white, although the history of colonialism weighs heavy over the entire picture, even if it is always subtext and in the background. The film manages to be somehow about that history and completely on the side of it at the same time, because it is really about these characters and their emotional attachments to and longings for each other, whatever their particular context. And these are some really wonderful character studies, of a father, daughter and their sometimes too strong relationship with each other, and two neighbors that want to involve themselves with them and be a part of that bond. Ultimately the film is a lovely, slow paced meditation that invites us to melancholy over the knowledge (hardly surprising) that nothing is truly static. We make temporary stability in our lives, but that stability is illusory and elusive, and as people grow and change and move on, life continues.

Status Updates for 2009-09-17

  • How I dearly hope Reich is right: #
  • aged chedder + bosque pears + baby lettuces + tuna + crushed walnuts + olive oil + balsamic vinegar = yum #
  • gay retort in three languages: "Whatever, Mary", "N'importe quoi, Marie-Claire" and "Lo que sea, Maria" #
  • ah, the magic/horror of the internet and our digital world…nothing we do, no way we look, nothing we say, will ever be forgotten #
  • hear, hear! #
  • for the geeks: the new Quicktime screen recording feature is awesome. #
  • ice cream that stays cold. It is the simple things, really. #