Gotham Diary:
Creeping Back
15 September 2011

Never has half a month whooshed by so quickly and quietly. The fifteenth already? I’m feeling like a man in a barrel going over the Niagara of time. “Make it stop!” Except — don’t.

My time at the Infusion Therapy Unit yesterday passed uneventfully. After catching up on the nurses’ experiences of Irene, I had a long talk with the chief nurse, who lives in the neighborhood, about the wonders of the new Fairway. Like many whom I’ve talked to, the thing that she liked best about Fairway is that it has pulled the rug out from under the supermarkets that have been “overcharging us for too long.” A longtime patron of the huge Fairway up on 125th Street — which is patronized almost exclusively by customers who stuff the trunks of their automobiles with bomb-shelter quantities (a frugality that is very difficult to live with in Manhattan’s bomb-shelter-sized apartments), she is, like me, enjoying the convenience of busying no more than what she immediately needs.

Then I settled down and read most of Why Jane Austen? At one point, I took a break and found the Jane Austen Action Figure that appears on Rachel Brownstein’s dust jacket (Catherine Casolino’s design and photograph) at Amazon. Gotta have it.

In the evening, we went to a cocktail party, at a deeply charming penthouse in the East 70s. The hostess and Kathleen met at Sacred Heart in the third grade; the gentleman whose birthday occasioned the party began escorting Kathleen to dances when she was fourteen. I’ve known most of the guests for years, and everyone looked at least a little bit older, except for one woman, always a beauty, who really seemed to have found the fountain of youth. It wasn’t just that she looked young (and very much herself at that; no discernible “work”) but she moved young, too. At the risk of sounding ludicrous, I must insist that she was hot. The hostess’s daughter, truly young, I met for the first time — she grew up in Dublin and London. She is about to move, with friends, into a flat in Stuyvesant Town, just blocks from Will and his parents. When I mentioned my grandson, she declared an interest in babysitting. I rather helplessly asked her if she had a card, but she didn’t. A lovely young woman. Instead of birthday cakes, there were genuine Parisian macaroons, as beautifully-colored as the ones that you can buy anywhere but radically scrumptious.

Afterward, we went round the corner to a favorite bistro, where among the crowded diners we detected bits of Fashion Week flotsam and jetsam that had washed uptown. I had île flottante for dessert. It was the perfect way of turning the corner and coming back to life.