Weekend Update (Late Edition): Spent


My candle, burning at both ends, has consumed itself at last. If I’m running on fumes at the moment, I wasn’t running at all about five hours ago. If I weren’t so tired, I might try to spin an engaging account of how I spent the day — and how I spent last night. Narrative aside, last night was a great wallowing in the thing that is right and truly better than sex: talk. I talked all night long. I listened a bit, and I remember most of what I heard. But I had a magnificent time of it talking. Angels of loquacity, if not of eloquence, perched on my shoulders, pouring words into my brain that I had no idea of until I heard myself saying them. This morning, I felt utterly used up.

Waking up spent would have been delicious, if only I hadn’t had to shepherd our old dining table up to Hamilton Heights. Quatorze surprassed all expectations of helpfulness. Quite aside from the heavy lifting (not really so heavy this time), he ran conversational interference for me at several key intersections; I wish that discretion allowed me to be more specific.

When our adventure became a success, and we returned to the apartment for a cup of tea, I had one of the happiest hours that I have ever known. Kathleen woke up from a nap and joined us while I showed Quatorze the catalogue of the American Stories show, and pulled down the Americans in Paris catalogue to appraise the overlap. So many pictures appeared in both exhibitions! Having begun the day in a used-up state, I was now approaching the absolute zero of personal depletion, but because everything was so handsome in the noon light, I was happy rather than cranky. I would become cranky when it got dark, at least for an hour or two.

Before that, however, I realized that life must go on: lunch. Stumbling around the kitchen, half-conscious, I threw together what turned out to be the most baldly scrumptious chicken salad that I have ever eaten, and it was simplicity itself. (Yes, of course: it was delicious to the extent that I was exhausted.) A simple dressing of mayonnaise, curry powder, and lemon juice; cubes of leftover chicken from Friday night’s roast, a cut-up avocado at its very peak, and thin slices of seeded tomato. A tablespoon of minced celery. Tossed in a silver bowl that I fished out of box for which I no longer have a place, the salad was accompanied by cranberries, a camembert, and crackers.

Plus a bottle of Schramsberg. It was heaven to drink champagne — even though I suspected that it would make me cranky later. Later, it would be dark. While it was light — while it was afternoon — life was transcendent. Over the past couple of weeks, several heavy objects have been taken out of the apartment, but only two have been brought in. I will never lead a truly simple life; I would find it parching. But I’m beginning to believe that I may be able to keep track of its contradictions.