Round Table on The Hudson
I generally hate the end of the holiday season.
In past years, I've had to gear myself up against the impending January slump. Normally, I'll start making plans for the coming year, arranging trips, making reservations, etc. Anything to keep my mind off the long winter stretching out ahead of me.
I'm not sure what's different this year. Maybe it's our unseasonably mild weather. Would it be completely cynical to be thankful for at least some of the effects of global warming? I'm convinced that after typing the last sentence we'll be struck by a freak blizzard this afternoon.
This year, we wound our way out of the holidays very nicely. I spent a quiet Friday evening with Tim, enjoying the last of the Christmas treats. Saturday we got up and disassembled the tree and then cleared up . It took a better part of the day; it was almost as pleasant wrapping all the ornaments and putting them away as it was taking them taking them out five weeks ago. Our tree was still pretty supple and maintained most of its needles through the process. We'd been laughing at the truly frightening state of most of the kindling that passes for retired Christmas trees scattered all over Manhattan. It's really amazing there aren't more fires. Some of those trees have never seen a drop of water since they went up.
We finally got back to my house around 8:00 PM; just in time for cocktails. I fixed us some Manhattans (Old Grandad...no cracks, please) and we relaxed a bit. My hands were killing me from hauling two huge bags of Christmas swag back to my house. I'm unpacking them slowly, enjoying a second Christmas morning.
Some years ago, Tim bought me a Nikko amplifier that dates back to the early 80's. The case is actual walnut and brushed chrome, as opposed to the matte black metal that became prevalent around that time. It's a powerful beast; the lights dim in my apartment when I turn it on. And I've learned to let it warm up a bit if I want it to blast, which I do. The major purpose of this purchase was to supply me with a Mono switch. I have stacks of music like Phil Spector, early Dusty Springfield and mid-period Beach Boys that require Mono. My old amp made all that glorious music sound like mud. This amp is killer...the sound travels across my floor in waves, climbs the wall behind my sofa and smacks me in the back of the head. It's amazing I haven't been evicted.
Saturday seemed like a Mono night to me, so we listened to the Crystals singing "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)" and Dusty wailing "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself". After a couple of drinks, we hit the streets and wandered to a small neighborhood cafe called Jones, which has been there since 1982 or so. It's a tiny room, maybe 10 tables and a bar. A small kitchen turns out New Orleans bas cuisine like po-boys, gumbos and stews that are delicious, filling and cheap. I've always liked the attitude of the joint too, even when it's full of NYU students and couples on first dates. Back in the 80's, they had t-shirts that had their name on the front and "Not Your Kind of Place" on the back. A small portion of that feeling survives today. Tim had chili and I had gumbo, we drank a bunch of Red Stripes, and I played the great (free!!!) jukebox that features both Big Star and Aretha. The cool waitress gave us refrigerator calendars when we were done. After dinner we strolled over to Ty's and left after 12 minutes. It was completely empty. I have no idea why. We hopped a cab to the Phoenix, had a beer and then went home to collapse.
Sunday I hit the gym for the first time in weeks. Yep, I'm fat. I promised myself I wouldn't kill myself on the first day back, but I got into it, and boy, do I hurt today. Last night I couldn't raise my arm to scratch the back of my neck without yelping. I guess I better get back on schedule.
Speaking of schedules, I hit the Dugout at 5:00ish, to be greeted by David, who was making his first foray into our establishment. I'm not sure what phase the moon was in, or in what alignment the planets had arranged themselves, but for some reason, within minutes the bar was thick with bloggers. Joe, Aaron, the Farmboyz, Bryce and Neil, to name-check a few. Enough to give the Algonquin a run for it's money, if we so desired. Mostly, we were in fine fettle, many of us more than a few sheets to the wind. Some of us were even squiffy! I understand that David had a very positive outcome, so to speak, from the evening, and I'm hoping he'll return. Evening highlights included of a discussion about foot worship, a sing along to the Ronettes, random and fairly indiscriminate hugging, and the occasional kiss or two. Or three. Some parties continued on to the Eagle, and some, like Tim and I, headed home.
I was fast asleep by 11:00.
Tim woke me up with a kiss at 6:00, to tell me that my "luxury apartment has no water whatsoever, for a change". Sure enough, he was right. But it came chugging out of the faucet a short while later, and we were able to get our week rolling, none the worse for wear.