Gotham Diary:
18 September 2011

Somebody is tall for his age (20½ months). Somebody needs a haircut, too. Will it be his “first one”? He slept through his first one, and everyone agrees that it doesn’t, therefore, count. But what interests me most about this image is that some parts of Will are in motion while others are very still, and his head is somewhere in between.

At five o’clock, I had just put the blue room in order and was enjoying a cup of tea with Kathleen. I was slightly distraught, however, by the work that lay ahead: the dining table, every square millimeter of it, was still covered with teapots, aperitif glasses, and assorted breakable whatnots. Covered. Where would I put any of it, much less all? I had devoted the entirety of the previous day to finding new places for numerous pieces of furniture, large and small, almost completing the project begun on Monday. It was a two-pronged project, the idea being to bring the secretary desk that had always been intended for Kathleen’s use closer to Kathleen’s bedside, while removing a good deal of the clutter (which I could no longer write off as “cosy”) with a view to making the apartment safer for Will. I had exhausted my reserves of ingenuity.

When I got up to grapple with the final phase, it was 5:20, and at that very moment, the phone rang. It was Megan. Megan apologized for the very late notice, but could she and Will and Ryan come for dinner? If it wasn’t convenient, she assured me, then we could get together tomorrow, but there was an undertone in her voice that it took me a moment to hear clearly. Megan’s talk about “tomorrow” was delivered in a sort of fatalist mode, pleasant but whistly. She was perfectly sincere about wanting to get together “tomorrow” — if it were still possible, once “tomorrow” had dumped its daily ration of surprises on her household, to do so. I remembered Megan’s mentioning in G-chat that she hadn’t had a full night’s sleep all week. She was offering to come uptown now. As I looked at the dining table (where we would all have to eat, as it was too chilly for the balcony), my dismay gave way to resolution. The problem with tomorrow is that it is indeed another day. We’d have dinner tonight.

What followed is a blur. I can say that having Fairway right across the street was the deciding factor in the evening’s success; I was spared the walk to 79th Street for a nice steak. Kathleen, who had been just about to take a nap, was a great help, and between us we had the apartment in presentable shape by seven o’clock. Megan’s being half an hour late didn’t hurt, either. We were well into dinner by eight, and the O’Neills left at about nine.

There is a Bean’s tote bag in Kathleen’s bathtub that is full of silver service. Porcelain and glass items cover the balcony table and (on a tray) one of the easy chairs. I have all day to deal with that. Some parts of the apartment are in disarray, while others are very tidy. Most of the place is, warmly and livably, somewhere in between.