Sunday, October 31, 2010

I want to talk about something I don't often write about and that something is Matthew. But first I need to tell you that I was in a bad way yesterday. You see, I'd gone off my medication because -- wait for it -- I am neurotically afraid of the pharmacist yelling at me (don't ask -- my brother, when told, described this as "irrational but logical.") And I had run out of both my medications, the one that keeps me happy and the one that keeps me stable. Anyway, I was fine, and then yesterday I crashed spectacularly and locked Matthew out, then realized I didn't have any sleeping pills either so I'd have to go get those anyway, then was intercepted by Matthew who was lurking outside and who forcibly filled the prescription and made me take my pills and held me and rocked me and sat with me until the calmer-downer one had worked and put me to sleep. He also called my brother. (There was also a period of my sitting on the sidewalk sobbing piteously and making a spectacle of myself in front of various neighbors plus the mailman, Derek and, now that I'm not dead, I sort of regret that part.)

Matthew takes wonderful care of me. (I should mention that my old boyfriend was also very adept at managing my black moods.) Matthew, meanwhile, would surely deny that he does anything save love me and he'd say something kind about how it's a small price to pay, which isn't true. When I get low he'll take me to look at puppies in the window of the pet store on 6th Avenue if things are really acute, or present me with a sweet taste. Or wordlessly bring me a cookbook, or a Betsy-Tacy, or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Matthew is the kindest person I know -- the first to approach someone who's shy or retiring, and the last to begrudge anyone success. He's without schadenfruede. His intelligence is penetrating and specific, and he admits that he doesn't know the other things, even when that isn't done. You shouldn't underestimate him, but he won't hold it against you when you do, because he's like that. He makes me feel attractive for the first time. He also makes me feel I can succeed at anything -- but that he'll love me just the same if I don't.

He also bears a striking resemblance to Laurence Harvey.

Friday, October 29, 2010

He would have loved that funeral. It was funny, and it was touching, and it was a full house, which he would definitely have appreciated. Various collaborators of his performed numbers from their shows, and a bunch of us spoke, and there was a lot of laughter.

I held it together until yesterday. They dimmed all lights on Broadway in his honor, and Grandpa Joe would have loved that so much: he lived for his work and truly loved the theatre. Anyway, something about that, in combination with leaving the apartment and saying goodbye to the doorman, just made me lose it, and I cried and cried.

I can't say enough how very kind my friends are. The night we came home from the funeral, after a long and exhausting day, I found a pot of daisies on my doorstep, from LD. In the mailbox was a package from my friend Virginia, containing Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. In the words of that bear of very little brains, "A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference."

And although we have another three days of formal mourning allowed, he always said everything runs too long, so.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some of you know that my grandpa has been very ill for much of the past year, and this past Sunday, after suffering what the obit called "complications from a fall," he died swiftly and peacefully. As if it needs saying, we were lucky to have him around for 98 remarkably healthy years (I wasn't there for all 98 of them but, y'know, the world) and as my friend David put it, "laughing all the way."

People are so kind. Friends have been calling and emailing and it's so appreciated. This morning the doorbell rang -- and Dan had sent a care package from Russ and Daughters!!! I didn't know whether to cry or immediately eat a bagel and lox. (I did both.)

My dad has done all the stuff like dealing with Riverside and identifying the body, closing out accounts and all the real business of dying. I have very little to do myself, and even those few things are proving challenging. 1: I am preparing my "remarks" which is tricky for all the obvious reasons. But on a more mundane level, I can't find anything to wear! I don't know what I expected -- that I could just waltz down Broadway and find some classic LBD. It seems the high street doesn't truck in these. I tried J.Crew, Banana Republic, Gap, Zara, H&M, Bloomingdales, Club Monaco, even Top Shop -- and after wandering in and out of stores like a zombie for 2 hours, listlessly trying on a series of embellished tops and things that didn't fit and that couldn't be ordered or altered in time, I called it a day. I hate having to think about such nonsense, but there you have it. As one person wrote me yesterday, "It's like Tolstoy said - somehow daily life goes on, even in impossible circumstances." The death of someone who's lived a long, happy life, at 98, is never a tragedy -- more a time for reflection and celebration. Not least because Grandpa Joe was, quite literally, the happiest person any of us has ever known.

Now, if only I could somehow communicate that in a few paragraphs...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Something I am excited about: Chock Full 'o Nuts has opened a full-service cafe on 23rd Street! This may not seem like much of a big deal, but I have been into Chock ever since I read about its history. You see, having experienced antisemitism, founder William Black was sensitive to discrimination, and he made a point of hiring integrated staff, whom he paid a living wage and benefits. Later, Jackie Robinson was brand spokesman and after his retirement, Vice President of the company. In addition, the chain was known for high quality and uncompromising hygiene.

But I wouldn't be so excited if the menu wasn't totally retro and awesome: chicken croquettes, cream cheese on date-nut, and the "Chock Special" of "nutted cheese" on raisin bread! How I wish I still worked in the Flatiron! What a fab alternative to Eisenberg's Sandwich!

Sweet dreams!