Out & About:
Pillar to Post

On the right, the Azure, the luxury condominium whose crane fell, last summer, into the building on the left, scraping and denting a few evidently unrepaired balconies. I can see both buildings from my desk, but I have not drifted this far north on First Avenue since long before the accident.

Here we are in the middle of November: the year-end holidays will be upon us very shortly. More than ever, I wish that I lived in a shack in the Laurentian Mountains, far from everyone; once again autumn has fooled me. I expected to enjoy getting back into the social swim, going to concerts and plays and having dinner with friends at dusky but no longer smoky cabarets. And I’m doing my best. But my mind is elsewhere, because, once again, a summer’s reflections have resulted in what I’m afraid I’m going to have to call a paradigm shift.

Given everything that’s happening in the greater world — the glorious election, the terrifying market — I can’t expect anyone to take an interest in the jumble of ideas that, at some point in August, fell into a bold and clear intellectual pattern before my very eyes. Suddenly the world — my world, my little me-centered world, but nonetheless a world in which I think of myself only when I’m in some sort of physical pain — made sense in new terms. In retrospect, the terms weren’t so new, and the paradigm shift was preceded by plenty of warning. But the newness of things is still as sharp as that good old new-car smell, or the shot of green growth that intoxicates a woodland path on a dewy late-May morning.

I suppose I ought to be grateful that I didn’t have to schedule a fourth-anniversary re-think of The Daily Blague. It happened all by itself. So far at least, the brainstorm has nothing to do with design, format, or “features.” But enough of this repassage, which I’ve mentioned only because the world around me is changing, too.

The election, the market — &c &c! Reason to wonder how economic developments will affect everything from Kathleen’s law practice to our continued tenancy in the heart of Yorkville. The health of a few near and dear relatives. And of course the wedding party.

The wedding party! That’s what brought me to First Avenue and 92nd Street, and this view of the new, safer-looking crane at the Azure (which spent most the summer without so much as a new cinderblock). We’ve booked rooms for my cousin, Bill, and his family at the Marriott Courtyard hotel that neither of us knew existed until a very early morning in June. The driver taking us to the airport for our flight to Santa Monica chose 92nd Street to get to the FDR Drive. Not exactly crazy, but unusual. We can see the hotel out of the window, too, but we didn’t know that it wasn’t just another apartment building. Although, the moment we did know, we thought how obvious it was.

My cousin and his family don’t get to New York very often, so they’ll be striking out on their own when they arrive on Friday. Me they can see when I visit my aunt in New Hampshire. Not to mention on Saturday, at the wedding party. Kathleen, it appears, will be working late; she’s moving heaven and earth to clear her desk before we leave for St Croix next Wednesday. That leaves me fancy-free and unattached on the eve. A dangerous combination, especially as I have two invitations in my pocket, both to gatherings at bars on the west side of Midtown.

One is the crowd that Megan and Ryan are assembling in lieu of a rehearsal dinner. The other is the birthday party of a fellow blogger. That sounds like fun — or would have done until this summer, when being a little bit drunk became, for the first time in my life, genuinely disagreeable. Vis-à-vis alcohol, I’m very much in a limbo between habit and abstinence. Who knows how that’s going to turn out.

Church of the Holy Trinity, East 88th Street.

Between the new Weltanschauung and the seasonal bustle of family and friends, I’m pretty confused. Last night, I came home from a stirring recital at Zankel Hall, as eager to chat about the evening as a teen home from the prom. But the Internet had nothing to offer. I was all fired up to talk about Ives and the Alcotts, but no one was home.

Tonight, however, is a different story. An old friend has just signed up at Facebook, and is going through the same tumult that I found myself in a few weeks ago. We’re being very naughty. I just asked her if her niece (a new Facebook friend) is hot.

I can still do naughty.

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