Day at a Glance
One thing I cannot do: take flashless photographs in the dark. I lack the steady hand. Especially at the end of a party. I offer the above as a tribute to Francis Bacon. And to two great hams.
Let’s see: what happened today? I never made the bed. That never happens unless Kathleen is sick. She wasn’t today, but she didn’t get up until I’d gone to the doctor. I had two appointments — TMI stuff. One of them, really, is so richly TMI that I am sorely tempted to share. Which reminds me, did I ever tell you about the time that Kathleen and I walked into a hotel room, and Kathleen cooed approvingly over the little bronze plaque on her bedside table? “Thank You For Not Sharing,” she said. That’s not what the sign said, but it’s a nice thought. The only way to explain Kathleen’s misreading of “smoking” is wishful thinking.
Then lunch at the Hi Life, followed by an expedition to Agata & Valentina so expensive that I walked out with two tote bags. I wasn’t, strictly, entitled to the second one; the caviar for tomorrow night didn’t quite add up to the threshold. But the other stuff, which I’d put on American Express, more than made up the deficit. I had intended to buy just enough filet mignon to make Beef Stroganoff for the two of us tomorrow night. But Arthur had to make up an entire tenderloin, so, in the holiday spirit, I bought the entire tenderloin.
Back at the building, only one elevator was really working. You don’t want to hear about that, even though my ejaculations elicited some very choice gossip. Risking false imprisonment, I went out again, this time to Gristedes (for the boring stuff, which nonetheless added up impressively) and to Duane Reade (for TMI ointment — c’mon, you’re dying to know. We could play Hangman.) It wasn’t even two o’clock when I came home the second time. License to fritter!
Actually, I did a lot of putting away. Plus, I made madeleines. I wanted to send something to the troops at Kathleen’s office for New Year’s Eve. I understand that pirañas cannot consume a man’s big toe in the time that it takes associates, paralegals, and the odd partner to devour a plate of my madeleines. It’s not the pretty picture that Proust had in mind when he reminisced so famously, but that’s the literary life for you. The cool thing about madeleines now is that I still have the tins that my mother brought back from a trip to France in the Early Seventies, when Making Madeleines was one of those utterly unheard of things that I thought it would be cool to do. I was so far ahead of the crowd that, by the time the lovely little cookie-cakes caught on here (to the extent that they did), I wouldn’t have been caught dead baking a dozen. But I still have the tins, and they turn out very elegant madeleines. Not those big rubbery monstrosities that, par exemple, you can buy in cellophane wrappers from Entenman’s.
Needless to say, I have experimented with a wide range of inauthentic madeleine flavorings. There are many interesting almond variations, but in my dotage I have settled on microplaned lemon zest. Ah, the literary life!
Speaking of which, I wrote up the last two “stories” to appear in The New Yorker. I’m particularly pleased with this, I like to think uncharacteristically dismissive, penultimate line:
Only at the end, when the story collapses into silly misunderstanding faster than a soufflé on a trampoline, does a sense of the second-rate impinge.
The “soufflé on a trampoline” is one of those indulgences that I rarely permit myself. The parallelism is very deficient. But I adore the image. I almost want to rent a trampoline and try it out.
Then Kathleen came home, and we shared a dinner of tomato soup (time to make some more!), lamb chops, sautéed corn, rice, and chocolate chip cookies. I did the washing-up, and here I am, just minutes ahead of this entry’s scheduled entry’s publication.
Almost forgot! I did not run over to Crawford Doyle to pick up a copy (if they had one) of Lauren Grodstein’s A Friend of the Family. I wanted to, though.
Vacation really agrees with me! Hey! How was your day?