Weekend Update:
In Which Will and I Pay a Call

This afternoon, Will and I paid our first social call. Until now, our Sunday walks across the East Village have always had the same destination, St Mark’s Bookshop, on Third Avenue at Stuyvesant Street. I’ve longed to go someplace where we might take off our coats, sit down for a minute, and visit. The “visit” part, of course, would consist of my showing off my grandson to admiring friends. But that’s putting it crudely. Will would show himself off, without any plugging from me. And that’s exactly what happened today.

From the moment that I unzipped his snowsuit and sat him on my knee, he behaved like an angel — and angel who dropped a lot of crumbs on the floor, but an angel all the same. He munched on bits of mini-cupcakes from Le pain quotidian — our hostess bought them specially for our visit — and took a few sips of water. But it was obvious that his attention was held by new people and new surroundings, and not once did he attempt to place himself at the center of ours. After half an hour or so, I felt that we had visited for long enough, and I zipped Will up without any making any announcements. I had to be helped a bit with his arms and legs; this was the first time that I had taken him out of the Becco carrier, much less unzipped his coat, without one of his parents’ being in the vicinity. Getting him back into the carrier was awkward, too, but Will didn’t complain.

When we got back to Will’s house, his mother was a little bit anxious; we’d been gone for almost two times longer than ever before. And Will had fallen asleep as we walked thorugh Tomkins Square Park. Was he okay? Watching Megan peer at him with concern just about sank me, but as I lifted him out of the carrier he showed all the desired signs of life. Waking up, he looked just like hisGreat Grand Uncle Fossil after a nap — faintly surprised to find himself on Planet Earth, still, but deeply pleased to have stolen a few Zs.

But I’d forgotten that I’m an old man. Buoyed up by the mildness in the air — it wasn’t warm by any means, but there was no bite to the temperature — I’d walked across the East Village as if I were worried about being late, which is standard whenever I’m doing something for the first time. When we got to the house of our friend (whose delightful contribution to our Valentine’s Tea next weekend gave me the delightful idea of picking it up at her house today) I was a Niagara of perspiration. I was even damper when we got back to Loisaida Avenue (via St Mark’s Bookshop, natch). I didn’t stay long at the O’Neills’; I wanted to be sure of catching a cab before the witching hour of 4 PM. I asked to be dropped off at Agata & Valentina, where I picked up a few supplies (but not the pancetta that was on the list that I’d — left at home; just as well; the charcuterie counter was mobbed). When I walked back outside, my undershirt went chilly, and I knew that I’d better get home and into dry clothes as quickly as possible. What I didn’t expect was that the moment I sat down, showered and dressed, I’d feel totally bushed. Well, duh. (But that’s why Advil was invented.)

When we crossed Second Avenue the first time, I pointed uptown and told Will that Doodad’s place was eighty-two blocks thataway. “That’d be a long walk! But we’ll do it someday.” After today, the sky’s the limit.