Shot

Twenty-four hours from now, I pass the invisible deadline after which I can be considered fully vaccinated from the coronavirus. I haven’t chosen my superhero name yet, and I’m wondering if a chambray cape would be too much with jeans.

When I made my appointments for the shots, it was in such high demand that if you didn’t fill out the web forms quickly enough, the appointment slots would disappear before your eyes. Now the shot is pretty easy to come by in New York, and I know it isn’t this way everywhere. We need everyone who can get vaccinated to get vaccinated.

Almost everyone I’ve spoken to about it has that one uncle or sister or co-worker who is being a butthead about getting the vaccine. As the rare American who hasn’t the task of selling the reasonable risks of this new inoculation, I don’t have to internalize the frustration of coexisting with science deniers.

Captain says he gets shots all the time and they’re no big deal.

The day of my second vaccine was very much like the day of the first, with pilates and a horseback riding lesson, back to back.

The second time around I was much less nervous about arriving at the senior center in the Bronx and finding parking but out of habit threw on the navigon. (This is what the Bacon Provider calls it: the navigon. I always thought that “navigon” was the generic term for the category of navigational device or navigation software. I mean, he would know. I just went to look it up and discovered that it was an actual German company that made navigation devices and got bought out by a larger, U.S. competitor, who of course shut it down. He was being funny, and I didn’t know it until now. I like the word “navigon” and think we should use it to mean whatever navigation technology we use, be it software on our phones or the crummy, built-in stuff in the dashboard of a modern car.)

Because I don’t really go anyplace anymore, it is thrilling and nauseating to hit the road for someplace new. I got on the highway headed south. Traffic was moving at a good clip, and I was listening to a book by Muriel Spark and keeping pace with the other traffic. I had a passing thought about the lack of a plan for dinner.

I did not see the object that hit my windshield, but I did see that it was flung from the tires of a dump truck slightly ahead of me and one lane over. I flinched, naturally, and heard it hit with a sharp crunch. I paused the girls of the Brodie set and let my eyes adjust to see the crack. Isn’t it funny that you can’t listen and look at the same time?

I do not know if I had been on any other errand if I would have been annoyed by the ruinous crack on my windshield, but I was not annoyed. Maybe it was knowing that a new windshield was the one thing that car insurance actually covers with no deductible. Or maybe it was knowing that the windshield gave its life so that I didn’t get my face shattered by a rock. And anyway, I was getting a coronavirus vaccine.

The Senior Center in the Bronx was guarded by a new but similar pair of NYPD and National Guard soldiers. All they wanted to see was the little paper card from last time. I was directed to a chair and as soon as I sat, a nurse in navy scrubs leapt to his feet from the chair across from me. There was no time for chatting or a vaccine selfie. The fifteen minute wait after getting the shot was the only thing about it that seemed to take any time at all. The woman with the enormous bottle of sanitizer who could not stop singing was still there, although she had at last stopped singing.

We grilled lamb skewers for dinner, and made greek salad and pita bread.

I felt a little bit achy the next day; most people I know felt pretty crummy after the second shot, with aches and a fever. I never ran a fever, but I did have some surprising intestinal track issues (which I had thought was a coincidence after the first shot). It took about a week for that to seem normal again.

They came and replaced my windshield on my driveway.

Now that my little vaccine dance card is all filled out, I’ve propped it on my desk in the center spot I save for the MVP of very important papers. Today I was asked to upload a copy of it for the first time. The Westminster Kennel Club dog show, which is in about five weeks, is asking exhibitors to either be tested for coronavirus just before the event, or submit proof of vaccination. The show is closed to both spectators and vendors this year. It is being held in June instead of February, and at the Lyndhurst Estate, in Tarrytown, instead of Madison Square Garden. Fellow qualified to enter, with several major wins, including a Best in Specialty Show last November. He has been going to shows with his professional handler during the pandemic, and it will be the first time I’ve seen him in the show ring in well over a year.

Last Friday, the Good

Woman in mask at vaccination center

Last Friday, April 2nd, in the Second Year of Our Pandemic, 2021, was Good Friday, and also a good day.

The night before, of course, I had a stressful dream about how my friend Allison and I narrowly escaped the flood, freed the refugee children from her attic (but abandoned the elderly people), and tried to organize everyone into two large rowboats. I woke up when Allison climbed into the boat I was supposed to row, pushing her half of the crowd of children out into the floodwaters without an adult or a second oar.

I got up early to make my Today is watercolor.

I am very excited by painting with watercolors right now, and have nearly used up an old block of watercolor paper that I received as a gift when I was in junior high school. I am even using the backs.

Then it was time to do the pet feeding dance. Schwartz and Eggi are easy these days (although Eggi is on a bit of a diet because bitches have hormone cycles and boy, does she). Captain had a sour tummy in the morning so I was pressed to add something delicious. Fellow was away for the weekend at a dog show.

cat sitting on yoga mat
Schwartz has his own mat

Then I had pilates with the cat.

Then we had a riding lesson which was very amazing (I mean, riding horses is very amazing. Prehistoric people probably would have eaten all the horses if they hadn’t figured out how to use them as engines, and together we went on to invade almost the whole earth, and then about a hundred years ago we quit on the horses and switched to gas-powered internal combustion and heyo, I guess, sorry about the greenhouse gasses to the whole earth and all its inhabitants).

Then I came home and changed out of my riding clothes and printed out an appointment ticket I found lurking in my email and headed to The Bronx.

One thing about living in Bedhead Hills is that it is 1977 here, so in order to get to places like North Dreadful, where it is 1957, or New York City, where it is 2021, you must also time travel. I do not know precisely why, but going backwards in time is easier around here, and you can do it in your car, but going forwards in time usually requires taking a train. Otherwise, the length of your journey can vary from an hour, to many hours.

I took the precaution of listening to a fully dramatized Hamlet in the car, so there were ghosts and a mad scene and the clang of swords on the Hutch.

I should probably say that New York’s Governor for Life Andrew Cuomo announced that people over 50 without pre-existing conditions were eligible for the coronavirus vaccine in the state in mid-March, but at first I wasn’t able to find an appointment for a shot within two hundred miles. Eventually, I took an appointment that was about a hundred miles away, and then, checking and refreshing the Am I Eligible page on the website at odd hours of the day and night, was able to improve my arrangement, finding something both sooner and closer. And despite the fact that people I know all over Westchester County have been able to get appointments at local pharmacies or at the mass vaccine event being held in White Plains in the convention center, the best I could do was a senior center in The Bronx.

When I arrived in The Bronx, I found myself in the car dealerships/car repair/window tinting/tires neighborhood, where the streets are wide but crowded with rows of double-parked cars, so a driver must proceed like Alice, at the beginning of her adventures in Wonderland, where she follows the rabbit (who is late) down the hole and begins to fall, very slowly, and for a long time. I passed the best parking spot and had to tootle around the block looking for another.

It was then so easy to find a parking spot I walked away thinking that it might not be a legal space to park, but if my car was getting towed, so were several other even larger cars. And owing to the length of the trip, and the time travel, and the meander past the weaving cars requiring new tires and window tinting, I was on the verge of running late myself. It was easy to see where the entrance was, with Stand Here circles on the sidewalk, two ambulances, and a police officer. As I approached the entrance, a very man came from the other direction, striding and swaggering in such a way that even the molecules of air moved out of his way, and as he got closer, his legs got longer, his stride lengthened, and he got even taller, or maybe I got shorter, or maybe both, and, but, so that when we reached the policeman at the same time, I was practically invisible and the much larger man went first.

As the large man stepped to the doors, I was confronted by a surprised NYPD officer, who hadn’t seen me approach, and demanded my ID and appointment ticket. My Westchester friends have relayed tales of going early to their appointments, but in The Bronx there are large signs out front making clear that you cannot be early; you must be within 30 minutes of your appointment.

I followed the enormous man into the building and startled another screener, who let the man go but gave me a stern but muffled lecture about keeping my ticket handy. A man stopped me and took my temperature, and gestured that I was to proceed onwards. I followed the arrows on the floor. A woman with a clipboard said something I did not understand, so I wandered forward and sat in an empty folding chair. A woman at a desk with a computer asked me for something so I produced the ticket. She didn’t want it. She wanted my ID, and she kept it on the desk in front of her while she furiously typed.

Then a National Guard solider in a desert-camo uniform and cap, crisply creased pants tucked neatly into pristine tan boots appeared with a small plastic tray. A nurse in navy scrubs took two syringes, and two cards from the tray, one for me and one for the next person.

The nurse told me to take off my sweatshirt, which I did, and she reached for my right arm. I asked if we couldn’t use my left arm. She asked me which arm I wanted. I said left. She reached out and grabbed the deltoid on my left shoulder, pinching it hard, and told me to relax the muscle, which I attempted to do and no sooner had I made that attempt there was already a needle in my arm and it was done. It didn’t hurt at all.

She slapped a bandaid on me and was gone in a flash

The woman with my ID completed her furious typing and examination of the object of interest. She placed a sticker on me with the time I was free to leave written on it, and with my license gave me a sticker and the precious white card with the details of my Pfizer shot. A sticker. I got a sticker.

I rose with my winter coat bundled in my arms and went to find my way to the waiting chairs, following more arrows and stickers on the painted concrete floor. There, a woman in a traffic safety vest with a lanyard and ID badge wandered through the grid of chairs, singing volubly. She held a gigantic bottle of spray sanitizer, which she applied to chairs after people left.

“You can sit anywhere,” she said, with the same sing-song cadence to every person who emerged.

An older man circled the chair in front of me, and was encouraged by Safety Vest to have a seat anywhere. He sat. They must have exchanged other words, but I was a little lost in my own head. The ceiling was very high, with frosted glass panels set into a frame, so the enormous room was filled with natural light. I wondered what the enormous room of the senior center was normally used for; table tennis? Safety Vest told the man in from of me, “Jesus is my boss.”

He replied, but I couldn’t hear him, and she said, “I’ve been singing and dancing my way through my whole career in New York.”

When it was my time to leave, Safety Vest came to me, looked at the time on my sticker, and said, “If you feel ok, you can go.”

I looked her directly in the eye and burst into tears. I had to explain that I was fine, just emotional. A year ago, we didn’t know how long the pandemic would be, and vaccines were something people talked about as something hopeful, something possible, but a big if. I’ve felt so much worry about when the vaccine would be available to us, and so frustrated with trying to find an appointment, that here I was, crying tears of relief. “We’ve had a lot of that today,” she said, and went back to singing.

I exited just behind the every tall man I entered behind. His great strides slicing through the air had gotten him his vaccine only a moment before I got mine. On my way back to my car, I saw a big pile of poo in the grass, and I do not think it was from a dog.

On the drive home, Hamlet was captured by pirates.

I saw "Dear Evan Hansen"

What I saw: “Dear Evan Hansen,” a new Broadway musical, at the Music Box Theater on West 45th near like, I dunno, 8th Ave.


What I did beforehand: saw this guy worshipping the clothes in a store, and then met up with my friend Bill from the Internet, and we had drinks. It was hard to feel like we weren’t toasting the life of our dead friend, America. RIP, America. We knew you when.


What I wore: two black shirts with jeans, hiking boots, big parka, the earrings before I broke one.


Who went with me: white people.

How I got tickets: just a couple of days before, online, for about $400.


Why I saw this show: I wonder if the world is divided into the bullies and the bullied, with some overlap. 


Where I sat: Row H seat 106, between this guy whose plane from LAX was three hours late making him miss the opening song so he had to sneak in courtesy of an usher with a flashlight and slide past me with his butt in my face after the show had started and, oh, him, and a group of three empty seats on the other side of me that were sold when I checked online. 

Things that were sad: I cried all the mascara off my eyes in the first act.


Things that were funny: people checking their phones at intermission, during a play (partly) about the power of social media.


Things that were not funny: I took off my glasses at intermission (to look at my phone) and they fell off my head and I didn’t notice until the lights dimmed for the second act, so I had to sit there, not able to see perfectly, waiting for the end so I could turn on my flashlight and crawl around. I started looking as soon as people started clapping, but couldn’t find them, and as poeple left the theater a few of the people around me noticed I was looking and pitched in. The person to find them was a house manager. I thanked him, but it felt like it wasn’t enough. 

Something I ate: homemade chips at Joe Allen.

What it is: a fine, energetic musical about a lonely, anxious teen. With moments of great truth about trying not to suck as a parent and featuring a cast that seems to embody their roles, every one of them. Highly recommended. 

Who should see it: liars, teens, parents, people who cannot imagine that social media has a positive impact on the world. People who can’t imagine what a middle class white kid in America might be anxious about. Fans of American musical theater. 


What I saw on the way home: too many ads, which is to say, nothing. 

I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria

Elevator Selfie Ceiling 
Where I stayed: the venerated art-deco icon Waldorf Astoria. On Park Avenue at 48th Street in Manhattan. 

What I did beforehand: baked and didn’t burn the bread, riding lesson,  shower, dog walk, drove to town, dragged a wheelie bag along the freshly salted sidewalks, made the train with seconds to spare. 


What I wore: James jeans, black shirt, gray cardigan, Danner hiking boots, big parka, antique earrings that I broke when I took them off.



Who went with me: the Bacon Provider (see photo, top)

How I got there: walked up the Northwest Passage from Grand Central, taking two elevators up, one down, and a huge flight of stairs.



Why I stayed here: the Bacon Provider had an action-packed schedule in the city this week, with meetings starting at 7:45 a.m. and lasting until after dinner. 

Where I slept: here.



Things that were sad: the carpets are tired and stained. The lobby is poorly lit. Once, this was my father’s favorite high-end hotel in New York. I stayed here with him on the college visiting trip he took me on in 1980. We ate dinner in the hotel and there was a woman in a gown playing the harp. It had never occurred to me that anyone other than cartoon angels and Harpo Marx actually played the instrument before. Also, people looked at my dad and I kind of funny, not like we were a dad and his college-bound kid, but like he was a creepy 40 year old, and I his jail-bait girlfriend. 



Things that were funny: paying $25 for a champagne cocktail, and even ordering a second one. 


Things that were not funny: the serious guy carrying his fancy poodle to breakfast in a suitcase; the lack of outlets; finding a charge for a $36 shoe-shine on our bill at checkout. The Bacon Provider is extraordinarily particular about caring for his shoes, takes great pride in doing it himself, had no such shoe shine (which I knew without asking him), and when I disputed the charge the receptionist did not believe me, said that a charge like that could only appear on the bill with a manager’s approval, and did not remove it, despite telling me that she would.


Something I ate: continental breakfast



What it is: a fine, old, fancy hotel that will close in a few weeks for remodeling; most rooms are expected to become condos. The hotel was purchased for almost $2B by a Chinese insurance company

Who should see it: anyone who wants to reminisce about what seemed like classy, old-money luxury in the 1980s. Hurry.

The painting has a hole in it

What I saw on the way home: the bright winter sunlight made me carsick on the train. Or maybe I was just hungover. When’s the next election?


I stayed at the NU Hotel in Brooklyn

Where I stayed: the NU Hotel, in Downtown Brooklyn at 85 Smith Street, amidst the bail bonds places serving the nearby Brooklyn House of Detention. 


What I did beforehand: tried and failed to sleep in, had bad feelings about things, put pajamas and a toothbrush in a bag, did some driving, arrived and shit.



What I wore: a feeling of dread.

Who went with me: the Bacon Provider. 

How I got reservations: online, a few days in advance. 



Why I stayed here: we had tickets to “The Beauty Queen of Leenane,” at BAM.

Where I lounged: the room had a hammock. 



Things that were sad: I have had to learn to drink scotch.

Things that were funny: sleeping in a leather upholstered compartment.



Things that were not funny: how happy I was that there were two sinks.



Something I ate: brunch including Eggs Louie and duck fat potatoes at French Louie, around the corner.


What it is: a more stylish hotel than the nearby Hilton, at a deep discount compared to a similar place in Manhattan.


Who should see it: folks in need of a downtown Brooklyn hotel, easily accessible to many subway lines into Manhattan.


What I saw when I got home: my job as toilet paper replenisher is secure.


I saw Sigur Rós

What I saw: the Icelandic band Sigur Rós at the recently restored and repurposed 1920s movie palace known as Kings Theater, on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. You can take the Q train, the B41 or B49 bus, or drive; there is a large, free parking lot behind the theater, shared with Sears.


What I wore: Chinese-made Australian boots, James jeans, indigo dyed Tanner belt; navy peasant blouse, pale blue jacket for non-persons, with royal blue ruffles that I got at Anthropology many years ago thinking it would be a cool thing to wear to concerts with jeans despite its obvious shortcoming of having no pockets. We saw others in attendance in jeans and t-shirts, some wearing their new, $65 band merch hoodies in the cold auditorium, but also a number of people in shiny silver pants or fancy cocktail dresses.

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What I did beforehand: drove over two hours to get there in Friday rush-hour traffic, with disagreeing navigation programs. Our route took us into Manhattan, down the FDR, and thorough the Battery Park underpass and tunnel. There a number of cheap places to eat on Flatbush beforehand.

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Who went with me: the Bacon Provider, and a 3,674 other excited strangers.


How I got tickets: online, in April. Tickets to their shows often sell out in minutes. 

Why I saw this show: I have been a fan of this band since I first heard them on KEXP in Seattle in 2002 or 2003. Other bands still on my need-to-see list include Wilco, Beck, and Air.


Where I sat: Row H, seat 3, behind Elmo’s sister, and between the Bacon Provider and a man with tiny, blue-tinted glasses, a blond mohawk and an arching scorpion tattooed on his head. This fellow told me that the Kings Theater was “like 100 years old, you know, from the 40s or 50s,” and that the renovation of the Kings Theater cost, “like a billion dollars. Or maybe a million.”  



Things that were sad: many people do not realize that a billion is a thousand million. A person with a billion dollars could give away 90% of what they had and still be left with one hundred million dollars, with which they could buy a castle, a jet, a yacht, some fine horses and staff to take care of them.

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Things that were funny: during the last few songs I focused mostly on whether the drummer had taken his shirt off.

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Things that were not funny: Hell is other people.

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What it is: more post-modern than a rock band, louder than what I would consider most indie music, more glam than many alternative artists, more musical than most heavy metal, more incomprehensible than most American music, more appealing than almost all more mainstream bands. This was a fucking great show.

Who should see it: those who have transcended the need to understand song lyrics, diners at the Korean taco place, people with noise-reducing hearing protection, folks who like really cool lights shows, anyone who can tolerate strobe lighting effects, hipsters, Icelanders, KEXP-listeners, and me.

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What I saw on the way home: a mini-van with all its doors open on the shoulder of where the Van Wyck Expressway becomes the Whitestone Expressway, which I said would be on fire in the movie version of our evening.  For the first half an hour I shouted at Google maps, “Why are we going east?” There was a dead baby possum in the road just a quarter mile from home.

I saw "Incognito"

What I saw:” Incognito” at the Manhattan Theater Club New York City Center Stage 1, on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in midtown, New York City.



What I wore: my favorite black eShakti dress with big groovy buttons and pockets, orange Puma sneakers, orange short socks.

Yes, I am that pale #luminous
What I did beforehand: went to a 9 am appointment, visited a stationery store that was hard to find in the bowels of Rockefeller Plaza, and had lunch with the Bacon Provider where we talked about what we really want to do with the rest of our lives. Then, I went back to the apartment, changed out of cute shoes and into sneakers, and decided that instead of cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming, I should buy tickets to a Wednesday matinee.

Who went with me: 314 strangers. 

How I got tickets: online at 1 p.m. 

Why I saw this show: anything to avoid housework.


Where I sat: in B 108, on one side next to two women who both held the ticket to seat B 109 and, on the other side, a woman who was reading “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen on her iPhone. The reader said the author won the Pulitzer, though she did not attempt to pronounce his name. 

Things that were sad: I made her lose her place in her book because I asked her if it was any good. And when the lights went back on, at the end of the play, I hadn’t finished crying.

Things that were funny: I think anecdotes about Einstein are boring, and had I known what this play was about (how someone stole his brain from his dead body), I would not have seen it.


Things that were not funny: I got blisters on my feet walking back from lunch.

What it is: a play, 90 minutes long, with no intermission.
Who should see it: ethicists, celebrity-stalkers, neuro-scientists, philosophers, physicists, physicians, and people like one of the women with a ticket for B 209, who was seeing the show a second time because she had a “thing for Charlie Cox.”

What I saw on the way home: a dog on a walk and a pigeon that just wanted to walk, too.



I saw "Toast"

What I saw: “Toast,” a play, from the British playwright Richard Bean, at 59 East 59th Street, in New York, part of the Brits Off Broadway series.

What I wore: James jeans, gray Puma sneakers, black Eileen Fisher tank top, gray trees-and-rabbits print Steven Alan blouse that I enjoy wearing even though the fabric is scratchy,  gray cardigan with snaps, rag & bone scarf, no coat because it was just that nice out.

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What I did beforehand: my plan was to take the E, uptown, and meet the Bacon Provider for a little dinner beforehand. There were more confused people crowded around the ticket kiosks than I care to describe, so I employed a flanking maneuver; this resulted in my standing behind a woman who couldn’t add $50 to her subway ticket despite four tries. She gave up, warning me that the machine wasn’t working.  It worked for me. But I got off the subway at the wrong spot, and we were 30 minutes late to our reservation, and somehow, the staff at Aquavit still got us through a superlative three course meal with drinks and amuse bouche in 45 minutes without acting a bit rushed.

Who went with me: a lot of old people, and one young guy with Starbursts.

How I got tickets: online, a few days in advance.


Why I saw this show: email spam described it as robust and funny (and offered 10% off).

Where I sat: Row A, seat 6, between the youngest member of the audience, who was eating only red Starbursts, and a man who looked somewhat like Henry Kissinger, though sleepy and in jeans.

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Things that were sad: Henry Kissinger fell asleep in the front row. At intermission, he complained, “It’s six months until the election! Six months!”

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Things that were funny: this play is set in Hull, which is in the northern part of England and east of Manchester. The performer’s accents were particularly difficult to understand in the beginning, what with the funny vernacular of the workplace, and the odd turns of phrase of Yorkshire. Some characters are easier to understand than others, and certainly the best character in the show uttered mostly monosyllabic grunts. Careful, patient listeners will get into the groove of it quickly, as careful staging ensures some physical comedy as well. 

Things that were not funny: Some of the audience was quietly griping at intermission that they couldn’t understand the dialog. I think they could; I think they were worried they were missing something, or their companions were missing something. No one said, “Hey, I don’t understand what’s happening.” I 

What it is: a play, set in the break room of a bread-baking factory, performed in two acts, with one intermission. I felt some pride in recognizing the accent, and having heard of Hull (the Housemartin’s 1986 album, “London 0, Hull 4,” was one of my favorite cassettes, back in the mid-80s). The acting (and casting) was flawless. The script is well-structured and correctly paced. The second act is the strongest I’ve seen on Broadway this year. With nearly perfect lighting and sound design, the set itself is grim and disgusting and contributes in its humble, passive way to the hilarity. 
Who should not see it: gluten intolerant people, or anyone who requires at least one Trump joke. 

What I saw on the way home: lawyers and other human-shaped objects.


I saw "The Place We Built"

What I saw: “The Place We Built,” a play in two acts, with a fifteen minute intermission, at the Flea Theater, 41 White St., in TriBeCa 

What I wore: the black jeans that are really too long, the short boots with noisy heels, brown jersey top, long black Eileen Fisher cardigan which I’m ready to send to the cleaners and set aside in a moth-proof zippered bag until November but I’m still wearing to go out at night, darn it, because I don’t know what else to wear; red linen scarf that I bought a few years ago intending to give it to a friend for her birthday but I ended up keeping for myself.

What I did beforehand: rode the downtown A train

Who went with me: the Bacon Provider, in tan pants and shoes


How I got tickets: online, with a slight discount, thanks to the Flea Theater’s general admission pricing, where I guess tickets are cheaper the further in advance that you buy them.

Why I saw this show: I like the Flea Theater; we used to live next to their rehearsal space. 

Wine Threat

Where I sat: in the front, on the end, in a chair with very short legs, in front of some people who thought the chairs were uncomfortable, and near a young guy who responded audibly to a number of things in the play that he found too intense to allow to go without comment. On my other side was my husband, and next time him, a guy who brought a tiny flimsy plastic cup of wine into the theater and threatened repeatedly to spill it. Expecting him to finish the cup of wine in the fifteen minutes before the lights went down, we were disappointed to see that he intended to balance it in one hand, aiming for my husband’s tan pants, for the duration of the first act. 




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Things that were sad: democracy’s kind of a bitch when the ultra-nationalist right wing has a two-thirds majority and your prime minister rewrites the constitution every couple of years 

Things that were funny: afterwards, at dinner, there was a woman at a table next to us who I did not see eat anything. I mean, she didn’t even have stains on the paper where her crumbs would have been. She sipped from her glass of ice water and ignored her full glass of red wine. When it came time for dessert, she ordered a cup of hot water.

Things that were not funny: when the woman with the cup of hot water spilled the whole glass of red wine that she had not been drinking and it splashed on my husband’s tan pants and shoes.

What it is: a play about Hungary, and freedom of assembly and expression, and, also, about the indelibility of Hungarian anti-semitism. There are several songs performed, and these are the very best parts of the play. I think the show needs many more songs, especially the already strong final scene. 



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Who should see it: red wine drinkers, fans of creepy puppet shows about politicians, anti-anti-semites

What I saw on the way home: Afterwards, we had a reservation at the Odeon, on West Broadway. When we lived in this neighborhood, this was our favorite don’t-know-where-to-eat restaurant, and we hadn’t been back in a couple of years now. I spent a little time in the afternoon before the show thinking about what I wanted to order. When we got to the restaurant, we were 25 minutes past our reserved spot, and though I’d been told this wouldn’t be a problem when I made the reservation, they had given away our table and only had something quite small to squeeze us into. The Bacon Provider, still traumatized by the red wine threat, worsened by the panic of perhaps losing our reservation, sat down and announced that he wasn’t hungry. Somehow, though, the arrival of oysters and french bread with butter got him in the mood, and by the end of the meal I managed to convince him to have some dessert even. And, readers, they have tiny hot freshly made spoon-shaped doughnuts, served with raspberry puree and maple dipping sauce. Yes, the wine spilling was regrettable.

1978 Jackie Chan


But anyway on the A train back uptown there was 1978 Jackie Chan and the very fly, time-traveling detective pursuing him in the hopes of joining modern day Jackie Chan in restoring the rift in the time-space continuum before it’s too late.

White satin pants wearing time traveler

I saw "White Rabbit Red Rabbit"

What I saw: “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” at the Westside Theater Downstairs, 407 W 43rd, NYC


What I wore: mascara, earrings, two silver bracelets and watch; tall Fluevog boots (to cover the apricot-sized hole in my tights); navy eShakti dress with 3/4 sleeves, draped neck, and a bird embroidered on the skirt; tan cashmere Boden cardigan that reminds me of my Aunt Mary (the one who lived with my grandparents); grabbed my black Northface raincoat at the last minute because it was raining.

What I did beforehand: ate spicy ramen and tried (and failed) to drink a Japanese beer that tasted like soap

Who went with me: the Graduate, because the Bacon Provider left at noon for a business trip #neverstopsworking

How I got tickets: online, a month ago, when tickets were still available



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Why I saw this show: A show you’re not supposed to learn about in advance?! A show with a different starring actor each week?! A show I’m not going to be able to give my readers any details about?! Yes, all around.

What it is: I have been asked not to say what it is.  I can say that every time this show is performed, a different actor does it, receiving the script in an envelope onstage at the beginning. Last week I saw Mike Birbiglia’s show, and this week, he was the actor in this play. This was a coincidence. 

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Where I sat: third row, left

I got a papercut on my pinky but you can’t see it



Things that were sad: Sometimes, when I see someone I want to point out to the person I am with, I’ll point the person out and say, “Oh, look, Elvis Presley,” even though, you know, Elvis is dead and has been totally dead for like a pretty long time. It’s not a very funny joke, I guess, but it’s something I’ve done for so long I don’t know if I’d be able to stop if I wanted to. The other, even more annoying thing I used to do, but did stop doing was saying, “Oh, look, your date is here.”

Things that were funny: Ira Glass was in our audience, but when Mike Birbiglia said something about it, I thought somehow he was making the same, dumb joke that I do, saying, because someone looks like Ira Glass, “Oh, hey, look, Ira Glass.” 

Things that were not funny: Mike Birbiglia is much funnier than me.



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Who should see it: There are things about New York that make it much too hard for ordinary people to live there. For one thing, it’s unreasonably expensive. For another thing, ordinary everyday things you have to do to live, like buying food or going outside, can be intensely crowded and smelly and generally terrible. If you ask anyone who says they love New York why they love New York, they will give you a list of things that is exactly the same as the list I might give you of things I hate about New York. But, if, somehow, you have to live in New York, or near New York, or you’ve been magicked into thinking you should visit New York, you should actually attend as much in the way of live theater (and/or music and dance) as you can. Because only in a city as fantastically harsh as New York could you, in the darkness of a slightly shabby theater in a moderately uncomfortably and definitely overpriced seat, experience a few moments of utterly transformative performance. Or, then again, it might suck. But at least you’ll get a blog post out of it.

Only assholes take pictures while they drive


What I saw on the way home: The Saw Mill Parkway is closed for construction at night somewhere north of Harrison, so every time I come back late from now until July, I’m going to have to go through the detour, or go around the detour. Last night I attempted to go around the detour. The navigator in my car tried to send me back through the roads that are clearly closed, even showing the closed sections with a giant red circle with an X in the middle. Maybe next time I’ll try the detour the construction crews have set out for me. Or, I won’t. I imagine that I will do it differently every time.