Monday, November 28, 2005

Is That All There Is?

Man, I needed it bad.

After all the sturm und drang of the past couple of months, a few days of peace and quiet were definitely in order.

I headed out to Tim's on Wednesday night, completely exhausted from a 5 day week compressed into a truncated 3 day version. I was happy to just get to his house and collapse into a cocktail or two. Tim has amassed an extensive collection of holiday music, which we both enjoy listening to. The collection is boundless, and ranges from stark Mexican chorales to sultry 40's sirens to Wall of Sound madness. I tend to like the fact that the best Christmas songs were written by Jews, who seem to be able to capture the poignant longing and underlying sadness this time of year brings. I've also learned exactly where Brian Wilson got the idea for that railroad train that crosses your speakers at the end of Pet Sounds. Imagine discovering that same freight train effect on Fred Waring's Caroling, Caroling, released almost many years prior. Mr. Wilson apparently enjoyed his Christmas music along with the Four Freshmen and George Gershwin. But I digress...

After dinner Tim, ever the tradtionalist, served me cider and doughnuts as I slowly passed out on the sofa.

We slept in the next morning, waking at our leisure and watching the parade as we had our coffee. Yep, Broadway looks pretty DOA this season, judging by some of the numbers staged. Tim spoke with his brother and one of his sisters. His oldest sister had managed to get a serious case of food poisoning at a local Friendly's and had been hospitalized. What's with Friendly's, anyway? I remember eating at the one in Great Barrington, MA regularly in the 70's and it was fine, but the two times Tim and I have stopped at one on our way to or from Provincetown have been dreadful.

Because of the events of the past month, we'd chosen to spend Thursday with my family. Normally, Tim and I have dinner with a group of friends at Keen's. I told you I was a creature of deep and abiding habit. However, this year we decided to accept my sister's invitation to have us all over: Tim and I, my sister and her husband, my Mom and the late Alice's husband, Sy. It was a very mellow day. My sister really went all out, and we ate like kings. Tim made an apple pie, one of many desserts. I was stuffed. My sister and I managed to polish off 2/3's of a bottle of vodka between us while cooking and had some good laughs.

After dinner, we walked from her apartment on 35th Street up to 58th Street and had a couple of drinks at the Townhouse. Again, very low key. We were home and in bed by 11:30.

Friday we ran around Chelsea taking care of various errands. We're invited to a tree-trimming party next week and needed to pick up some ornaments. I needed some new stemware, and both of us decided it was time for reading glasses. I can no longer read the liner notes on CD's. We bounced around Chelsea, hitting the big vendors like Bed, Bath & Beyond, The Package Store and Barnes & Noble. We said hi to Santa at ABC. I think we know him from the bars. In spite of all the clamor about Black Friday and retail madness, I found most of these stores pretty much empty. Surprising, to say the least. I guess it's just the suburban outlets that get swamped like that. We hit Mr. Pink's and Authentiques, finding cool ornaments and some ancient stemware to replace the glasses I broke in the sink last week.

We headed out on Friday night and found the city strangely empty. Traditionally, this is a big tourist weekend, and usually the city is packed. Not so. We were able to get into a restaurant in the far West Village that is usually packed and we were seated between two tables that stayed empty the entire time we were there. We hit Ty's for a couple of drinks and then went over to the Phoenix for a night cap. Once again, everything was completely low-key.

Saturday we just lounged around, then went back to Tim's house in the afternoon, for a change of scenery. We headed down to Newark Avenue in the evening for a really great Indian meal. We walked home through Journal Square in time to see all the hipsters hanging out in front of the Loew's Jersey, waiting to see Bright Eyes. What a great concert venue! The bar next door was packed with hip children drinking and smoking. I'd forgotten you can still do that in New Jersey. We were home and in bed before 11:00! On a Saturday night! It was great! I woke up without dark circles under my eyes for the first time in weeks.

I spent the afternoon at the gym yesterday, trying in vain to exercise all that food off. I did my best, and then headed out for the Dugout. I know. Big surprise. I was joined by these bloggers, and was mightily entertained, as always. The usual people who show up for their yearly NYC holidays were there, and I met a few new guys, including a rather attractive 38 year old EMT, who thought I was his age. Bless those rose and amber spotlights! I even spotted a member of blogdom's (ahem) most elite cadre, slumming with his posse.

The immediate Dugout freakshow seems to have abated since last week, and I was not asked if I was the hosting the Bear Brunch, or if I into spanking, or was I posing for the cover of Bear's Life. The answer is still no to all of these inquiries. The bar has been contacted for additional articles about the so-called bear phenomenon, so I don't think we'll hear the end of this yet. At least no one put their arms out and lurched at me like a zombie. This week. No. Really.

So I'm back at work, and I'm thinking about all the holiday stuff I have to do, and all the shopping and gifts and parties and.......I'll think about it tomorrow. I'm too relaxed.


Blogger David said...

Friendley's got bought by Hershey's and that was the end of it.

I'm kind of sorry I was out of the city for last weekend, I would have enjoyed the peace of having the city to myself.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

I'd like to make the suggestion that you be given sole responsiblity and control over that new-fangled digital jukebox at the Dugout.

I mean, Night Ranger.

That's just uncalled for.

2:20 PM  

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