Notes From The Carlyle – August 2018

Elegy to self:

  It’s vodka and tonic weather in a chilled, crystal glass filled with extra lime.

You can almost hear the ice throughout the city, chime like church bells.

Never fails when it’s this hot for me to crave this summer drink. It seems to go with men in wrinkled blazers while women show cleavage as if it were busting outta’ jail.

I heard a man say, it’s so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.

Another, how women’s breasts remind him of French pastries.

Having little taste lately, my palette in an extended state of ennui, it thrilled me to want to sit and sip something that would ceremoniously slide down my throat…spirits to spirits.

After donning a pink Lilly Pulizer sheath peeking shyly from my closet, gold thongs hooked to my feet, hoops swinging from my ears, I flip-flopped down Park smelling of lemon body cream and aroused anticipation.

Bemelmans was festive, banquettes filled, except for one in the corner I claimed like a box seat at a Mets game.

I could smell the lime before it was cut, and hear that ice clink, ahead of it ever hitting glass.

I was so happy to want something so much, I hadn’t had, in so long.

The barmaid beamed as she set down my tumbler with a mini bottle of Scheppes on the side.

“Chips malady?” she said with a grin, knowing how much I love them, filling all four silver cups on their raised tray.

It’s nice when your wants are given with grace and cheer, feeling my cheeks blush like a kid at a party thrown just for her.

A couple across the way raised their champagne flutes. Another group smiled in kind. It was as if they knew, these awakened feelings of mine were long passed due, mired in loss, sadness and disappointment.

I saw them all, Anthony and Kate, my friends Mimi and Liz, even JFK and Jackie who graced this very room.

“Tres chic,” a lady said to me, approving of my simple dress.

When a French woman compliments you, one can’t help but to preen. She looked pretty swell herself in a black linen pencil skirt with a tight white top, outlining her every curve. Despite the din, I heard her heels click on the vintage parquet, joining a man who couldn’t take his eyes off of her.

Her lips were the color of persimmons while her eyes read pale…it’s either one or the other, Coco Chanel advised…you can’t have both since they compete for attention.

Rarely wearing eye make-up these days, weeping far too much, so though not by choice, I too had prominent red lips picking up the glow of the soft overhead light.

My fellow celebrants offered me drinks I politely declined just wanting the one I had, making it last taking it all in, the life I was finally a part of in full dance, pirouetting, almost from another time, around me.

Susannah

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John McCain…A Hero and Then Some

My temper lies dormant. I’m like a fighter who knows his fists are lethal weapons, so it’s best to keep them hidden.

In my case, my tongue will get me into trouble if I’m not careful.

In AA they warn you…restraint of pen and tongue…pause before you take someone’s head off. Thomas Jefferson said, when angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.

Arizona Senator John McCain passed away as the world knows, and as they said when Alexander Hamilton died in 1804, even his enemies mourned him, as many of the tributes to him prove.

When I was speaking to my neighbor about how sad his passing was, a man I didn’t know, overhearing said, “He was a schmuck, and thank God never president.”

So stunned, I swear you could see my heart pound right through my shirt, like in a Disney cartoon.

My neighbor, also thunderstruck said, “The man is dead. Have you no respect?”

And he without pause, said, “No, not for him.”

I managed to say nothing, comforting my floor mate the best I could, saying, hey, McCain would say, it’s America after all, we are allowed to state our views.

John McCain was the quintessential American who served his country both in war and peacetime, always standing up for what he believed.

He was a Vietnam prisoner of war who, after being tortured and tormented, when told he could go home, refused because he wouldn’t leave his men. As long as I live, this will never cease to touch and impress me.

Like John Quincy Adams who served 17 years in Congress, dying at 80, a year younger than our John, when asked what party he belonged to, said…

“I belong to no party…I serve the people.”

  So did John McCain.

1936-2018

 

 

 

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The Central Park Gym

 Nice to have a gym that’s two and half miles long and a half mile wide. None of this shoulder to shoulder stationary bike business competing for elbow room.

You can join a yoga class on the Great Lawn, do some push-ups on a bridge and sit-ups by Bethesda Fountain, its pretty angel keeping time.

It’s a spare gym without lockers, your hoodie hooked round your waist…an ID slipped inside a sock since less is more as you stretch and bend, trot and sprint while squirrels serve as trainers.

They scoot ahead in their gray active wear lecturing on the benefits of nuts, but when the occasional biker zooms by, run for cover.  

Who needs a TV hooked to the ceiling when there’s so much to see. Just this morning I met a mutt named Otis and a Beagle called Nell, both clearly on the gym’s hospitality committee.

Of course there was that couple bickering on a bench, but then another twosome tooled by holding hands, representing the flip side of a fulfilling fitness partnership.

Snackbars are everywhere with smoothies to hot dogs, ice cream and pretzels as big as your head. If you need a break, you can eat in a row boat while your beloved works his lats, manning those oars as you lovingly feed him.

And what I enjoy most is Nature’s playlist looping birdsong like a Beethoven Sonata, showering you in peace as you head home to start your day.

Yes, the Central Park Gym has everything, and just think, membership is free.

Can’t beat that, now can ya?  

SB

 

 

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Asia Argento, We Have a Problem

I’m still in mourning for Anthony Bourdain, so this new flare-up with his lady friend, Asia Agento, really has my interest.

She allegedly, in 2013 sexually assaulted fellow actor, Jimmy Bennett, when he was 17 and she, 37.

She denies the claim.

Ms. Argento was also one of the first to confront producer, Harvey Weinstein, for sexually assaulting her, becoming a chief voice in the #metoo movement, a cause Mr. Bourdain publicly championed.

It’s been reported she paid Mr. Bennett, a financial settlement of 380.000 dollars.

But here’s the part that took me by surprise. It was Anthony who paid the sum.

Ms. Argento said in a statement that Mr. Bennett was in trouble financially and she knew Mr. Bourdain feared the publicity that the claim might bring, and suggested the matter be handled privately.

“We decided to deal compassionately with Bennett’s demand for help and give it to him,” Ms. Argento wrote. “Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life.”

Really Asia? That’s quite an amount for just helping out a poor, impoverished peer you never want to hear from again.

The whole sordid tale has thrown me, but have since thought it through, why Anthony didn’t just walk away from the Italian Anne Boleyn.

He was an addict, something he was very candid about, and the thing about addiction is, it never goes away, but lies dormant like cancer cells that could be reactivated at any moment. Asia was his new drug of choice–beautiful, sexual–therefore when he discovered this tawdry allegation, he put up the hush money, like posting bail for your dealer.

But he knows, because addicts are smart, the truth will somehow come out, like it has, and then what? What will this do their relationship, not to mention his young daughter and his award winning show he’s worked so hard to make thrive.

A day or so before Anthony took his life, there were pictures of Asia holding hands with a young man, that he may or may not have seen.

All I know is, at 61, 19 years her senior, probably feeling too old to keep this lusty lady happy, and unable to give her up, he only saw one way out, and that was by way of the hereafter.

It’s only a theory, but alas, a sad, sound one.

Addiction is menacing, doesn’t matter what you’ve managed to kick–heroin, booze, opiates, or a woman you can’t trust, there’s always another lurking in the wings.

Oh Anthony, if only you had made another choice.   

SB

 

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Outfielder, for the Yanks

I witnessed the funniest scene in the park with a Golden Labradoodle and his middle-aged master who were casually playing catch, until….

the ball went flying downhill at the speed of light, the Doodle in hot pursuit going faster and faster till the dog just disappeared.

The owner started whistling for him, calling his name.

Everyone who saw this, stopped to help. “Lucky, Lucky,”  but Lucky seemed gone, headed for the next town.

After the longest five minutes, ever, who comes trottin’ back on the same path proudly with his ball, as though he caught a pitch that didn’t quite make it over the stadium wall.

A young guy said to Lucky’s owner, “Boy, he’s an athlete your dog, like an outfielder, for the Yanks.”

The guy gave him what I can only call,  a Yogi Berra grin, and the dog, well, he would have doffed his cap, if he had one.  

SB

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A Word for the Woebegone

 Now there’s a word, but not the one I’m about to dissect in all its dismal glory, though a sister word meaning…sad.

My friend David will always zero in on one that tends to give me pause. This time it was melancholia. I had used it in an email describing the state I’ve been in. It’s what I can only describe as a low grade sadness that hovers, like a persistent rain cloud.

It’s a word you don’t hear much but come upon in books, making me linger, giving it its due whenever appearing on the page.

Melancholia…noun, a deep heaviness or gloom. A feeling of mournfulness as a result of despair you can’t quite pin down.

An emotion nebulous and vague, fuzzy and formless…murky.

Imagine a face without visible features.

Truman Capote in Breakfast at Tiffany’s called it the mean reds, Winston Churchill, the black dog. It’s hazy and spectral, like a ghost who visits, tipping over all the furniture.

Melancholy is the adjective: crestfallen, doleful, desolate and glum. Depressed, despondent, dejected and just plain, down in the dumps.

An inexplicable strain of hopelessness.

Years ago it was treated like a flu where you’d stay in bed sipping teas and broth. Now of course you take antidepressants and if you’re smart, go talk to somebody.

It’s good to know you don’t have to combat those demons alone anymore, waiting for melancholia to suddenly break, like a fervent fever.

Reminds me of a story:

A man fell into a deep hole calling out for help. A rabbi goes by, looks down and the man cries out, “Rabbi, help me.” So he throws down the Torah, smiles and moves on.

Then a priest appears. “Father, please help me!” the man pleads, who tosses down his Bible before going on his way.  

But then a friend shows up jumping in the hole with him. The guy says, “Dammit Jack, what the hell…now we’re both down here,” and Jack says…

‘Yeah, but I know the way out.”  

I guess my point is…friends, like David, can help lift and shift those melancholy clouds.

SB

 

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Best Story of the Week…8/16/2018

  It’s early and rainy, forgoing my run, instead, heading to Starbucks a few blocks away.

Though the door is open, no one is in the front, so I patiently wait trying not to steal any cookies that are all winking at me like women of the night.

Is that a baby I hear?

A little barista with nails that could service the entire cocaine industry, comes running out to say, she’ll be right back.

It’s only 5 a.m. but amazed I’m still the only one here.

Finally she emerges, clutching a cradle with the cutest baby girl wrapped inside cooing like a little dove.

“Is she yours?” I ask, getting all loopy at the gummy grin the wee thing’s giving me.

“Yes, ma baba sitta’ didn’t come, and I had ta open. I’m so upset. I’m scared they’s gonna fira’ me.”

“No they won’t,” I say, suddenly the Norma Rae of protective mothers, before having the wild idea of offering to babysit.

NO NO NO SUSANNAH, YOU’VE NEVER CHANGED A DIAPER IN YOUR LIFE…GET HOLD OF YOURSELF.

But that cooing was playing me like a cheap banjo.

Before I could shoot myself in the sneaker, another woman comes in with more or less the same response.

“What I’m gonna go?” said Mom, really panicking since, now she has a line that her co-worker, who finally shows up, is trying to man himself.

Imagine Lucy at the candy factory after she hears….SPEED IT UP OUT THERE!

The woman alongside me, who I happen to casually know, offers to take Accolade. Maybe it was Adelaide, and I didn’t hear right, though an accolade is a prize after all and Mom is maybe 17. (how old do you have to be to have a key to a Starbucks?)

My copilot then asks, “Doesn’t she have a dad?”

“Yes ma’am, but he’s doin’ ta-m’, but should be out in no ta-m’. He didn’t do nothin,” she says, like a good urban attorney, “but would jus’ not rat on his freends’.”

I like him immediately, as I watch this wonderful woman take the little bundle and cuddle her like a doll.

I get my Tall Viennese Blend in a Grande Cup and leave, deciding, it’s high time I learn how to change a diaper, since you never know when this could happen again.

  It’s New York remember.  🙂

SB

 

 

 

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War Wounds

Forgive your enemies, but always remember their names.  

John F. Kennedy

I saw my X on the street who startled me to say the least, seeing instantly how his alcoholism has escalated.

His clothes were rumpled, he needed a haircut. I could smell last night’s booze oozing from his pores.

He was all over me, kissing me on both checks, saying how great I looked.

Yeah, I’m still standing alright, despite the way you treated me.

The belittling, the cheating. How you said, my niceness made you sick.

Now I hear he’s with a lady who beats him up regularly, like a favorite hobby.

I was still polite, but detaching quickly since he was moaning about how unhappy he is.

Nope, don’t rescue drunks anymore, sorry, and I have you to thank, you whose abuse drove me into a 12 Step program that taught me how to save myself from the perils of alcohol.

That’s not to say my heart didn’t open, knowing now it’s a disease more than just a pastime in a glass, but I’m glad to say, memory, who never leaves my side, kept her vigilant foot in the door…

forgiving my enemies, but always remembering their names.  

SB

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A Quirky Writer

Someone I really respect said this of me, causing me to troll the net for every possible meaning. A quirky act in itself.

Turns out it’s a pretty huge compliment I should have known since, David, who said it, is such a great pal.

A person considered quirky is unconventional, unusual in an attractive, interesting way.

Weird, but appealing, having a strange mix of traits that end up being charming and entertaining.

They often have a way with words, spending much time articulating with a sense of silliness to their odd sense of humor.

Offbeat, far-out and kooky.

And my personal favorite…a bit of a screwball.

The opposite of quirky is average, commonplace, mundane and run-of-the-mill.

A garden variety without any surprises (OOH, how sad).

I realized, all of my favorite writers are quirky: David Sedaris, Anne Lamott, Patti Smith, Paul Rudnik, Sarah Vowell, Lisa George and the Big Daddy of quirk…Mr. John Waters.

I at once began to bask in my quirkiness, happy to be in such esteemed, off-the-wall, zany, what you’d never expect company…

so thanks David…:)

A Screwball we all know, and hopefully…love.     

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Tags, Tacos and a Thingirl

 It’s 6 A.M. and I’m en route to the train, my neighborhood slowly waking up. Starbucks has just opened, Jose is at his cart busy arranging his donuts, and there’s a short, chubby Latino fellow standing beside a taco truck that’s being replenished with supplies.

It’s hot. Sweat is pouring off his face he mops with what looks like a dish towel.

I notice the tag to his polo shirt is sticking out, a little peccadillo of mine, so unable to stop myself, shimmy over to tell him.

Turns out his shirt is inside out. He laughs, before peeling it off like a banana skin, brandishing a buddha belly in all its bouncy glory.

Imagine a dolphin, in pants.

“Gracias Meez,” he says, still smiling.

And Meez thinks, boy, does she need a life.

sigh

SB

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