Weekend Update:
Winter Hours
Saturday, 29 January 2011

Here it is, the end of January, and I got to the Museum for the first time this year only yesterday. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to go. It’s that my priorities have been difficult to establish, beyond rescheduling all of the everyday routines, some of them forty years old. If I’d tried to pull of such a palace coup any earlier in my life, it would have killed me. This time, I waited until I knew where all the bodies were. (That is, I had taken full and honest measure of all my weaknesses and bad habits.) Regime-change at home has made it difficult to conceive of outings abroad, so it was helpful that Ms NOLA wanted to go to the Museum, too. I might not bother to go for myself, but I would go to indulge her.

And a good thing, too, because she quickly spied a notice for the current photography show, Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand. Three rooms packed with beautiful prints of iconic images, including three large variants of Stieglitz’s image of the Flatiron Building. The dozens of largely unfamiliar images in a pendant show, Our Future Is In The Air: Photographs from the 1910s, mounted in the photography gallery proper, made an apt antiphon to the Americans’ show. We found, when we strolled out into the chamber of horrors, that we’d looked so intensely at the photographs that we didn’t want to see anything else. Which was a shame in a way, because the crowd was unusually thin, and we should have had most galleries to ourselves.

We soldiered on, to Crawford Doyle and Williams-Sonoma, and how I’d have got myself and all my purchases home without Ms NOLA’s help I’ve no idea. My arms felt ready to pullfrom their sockets before I had even crossed Lexington Avenue. Four books and my shoulder bag in one hand (the shoulder bag won’t stay on my slopy old-man shoulders), a Staub Cocotte in the other. Cast iron and paper — all I lacked was a backpack full of bricks. Ms NOLA carried the lightweight but bulky box of Riedel wine glasses that were available in a pay-for-six, get-eight stems carton. Later, at dinner, Kathleen and I would wonder if we’d opened a freak bottle of our house wine (a Montes Alpha syrah), or if drinking from proper wine glasses really made the difference.

Now I am on my way downtown. A certain grandson came down with an ear infection this week, and his parents need a break. I don’t think that Will and I will be going for any walks, but I’m taking the carrier just the same, along with a box of delicious boat cakes that J— brought up the other day when he came to configure my new laptop.

Ms NOLA and I were both surprised to see the Museum’s fountains burbling amidst the piles of snow. They’ve been shut off for so long that one hoped that one had seen the last of them. Not having swung by the place in a while (as I say), I couldn’t say when or why the fountains were restored to life. I couldn’t complain.