I saw "Tell Hector I Miss Him"

What I saw: “Tell Hector I Miss Him” a play at the Atlantic Theater Company in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan



What I did beforehand: riding lesson where my instructor reminded me about the red failure signals I saw on the equine simulator, dropped the Bacon Provider’s shirts at the cleaners, bought bagels, went home, showered, got dressed, walked my dogs until they pooped and then took them straight home again, changed shoes, told 19 I was leaving. Realized I hadn’t checked the train schedule. Took off my shoes again. Set an alarm so I wouldn’t be late. Sat down and posted a blog post


Drove to train station listening to the random song Apple Music picked for me, which was Simon & Garfunkle’s “The Only Living Boy in New York,” which I tried to sing along to but kind of sucked at. Got a call from one of the organizers of the auction we attended on Sunday about the week in a Miami condo I bid on and won. Rode the train. 


Got out at Grand Central. Took the shuttle to Times Square where I planned to take the 1. In the middle of the crowded station there were two, slim bespectacled guys with guitars and stylish, short-brimmed straw hats setting up. They had an amp. Their expressions were attentive, like they were waiting for something. Then they began to play. I paused; subway musicians are one of the things I actually like about NYC. A white guy in a knitted balaclava said something to me. I couldn’t hear him. I leaned in.

“It’s fake,” he said, shouting over the Spanish-inflected music. “I saw them setting up. They’re not really playing. The amp is connected to an iPod under that magazine, on top.”

I did not want to yell. I simply touched his arm in an effort to express my understanding and left him. As I descended the stairs to the platform I could still hear him, shouting at the musicians.

This is what’s happening now: angry white guys are showing up and shouting that what’s happening is fake.

What I wore: new black James cords, Chinese-made Australian boots, gray Ibex wool top, black North Face parka, scarf a friend brought me from Scotland, dangly silver earrings, high ponytail 

Who went with me: my niece, A., who came in to the city from Connecticut. 

How I got tickets: many months ago, I booked tickets to this show but changes of plans made it necessary to trade them. As a subscriber to this theater, I have the ability to change what are usually non-refundable tickets. 

Why I saw this show: subscribed to the season. 


Where I sat: Row F, seat 107. Afterwards, my niece told me that this woman in the row in front of us plays the mother of one of the actors on “Orange is the New Black.” Which is confusing because she’s not actually her mom, but if she were she’d totally come to the play, and be all proud, because that’s what moms do. This would be a time she could say, “I’m not her mom, but I play her on TV.”

Things that were sad: this play is about some terribly lonely people.

Things that were funny: eager adulterers, an eager teen, an eager young lesbian, eager drug abuse. 

Things that were not funny: I don’t understand enough Spanish to understand more than the most fundamental cuss words. 

Something I ate: a burger and fries at the Tipsy Parson, on 9th Avenue a few blocks other of the theater.

With a delicious Other Half All-Citra IPA

What it is: a fine play on a small stage with a big cast of talented actors.

Who should see it: fans of “Orange is the New Black,” people who know all the Puerto Rican cuss words, people who want to know all the Puerto Rican cuss words.

What I saw on the way home: I got to my train before the doors opened, but once the doors opened I got on board and walked past the seats facing the right way and for whatever reason sat down facing the wrong way. But I didn’t even find this out until the train started moving and most of the seats had someone sitting there so I had to choose between sitting down with someone who’d be getting up before me or might try to talk to me about fake news or something, or staying put in my own row. 

The other error I made was sitting too close to the bathroom. Really, you just don’t even want to sit in the car with the bathroom. I should have moved. 

But I didn’t move. I didn’t move because I would have had to choose between the other tired people, and most of them were men, and you know that one guy? He is out there. That one guy who thinks that because you’ve sat down next to him, you’ve chosen him. He’s won you over. It’s like you’ve accepted a drink from him at the bar, and now he’s going to talk to you. You’re going to get a piece of his mind. Or, worse. No. I did not want to sit accidentally with that one guy. I didn’t move. It was too late at night to move. Without a better alternative, the seat by the bathroom was better than joining that one guy with the wrong ideas.

There was a parade of men using the bathroom, which was worth keeping an eye on in a furtive way. No eye-contact.  Then some guy went in and was in there for a long time. Things quieted down. I forgot about the bathroom. I got absorbed in the pleasures offered by my iPhone  But then there was the loud retching. Prolonged retching. Repeated retching. People went and got a conductor who was like, oh, yeah, there’s a guy in there barfing. Like that was the most normal thing that happens. A shaved-head guy in a suede jacket near me couldn’t take it anymore and moved to another car. Then suddenly the bathroom door opened and the barfing guy came out, sat down, and passed out. I could see his name and picture on his work ID, still clipped to his belt loop. Things got quiet again. 

As we neared White Plains the barfer’s phone alarm went off. A tall guy in a serious suit and overcoat stepped up to wake him. The barfer lurched to the door and disappeared into the winter night of White Plains. 

As the train pulled away from the station, a trickle of water rolled down the aisle. Soon the trickle became a long puddle. A new guy, with dark, loose curls framing his giant, babyish face came to use the bathroom. He opened the door and loudly announced his joyous complaint to no one and everyone, “Someone’s deliberately clogged the sink!!”


I lifted my feet from the floor of the train car, but I still did not move. I can’t say why.
As we neared my stop, I tip-toed in my manure-proof, Chinese-made Australian paddock boots to the other end of the car. A tired man in an ironic working man’s knit cap and leather dress shoes stood at the edge of the puddle. I encouraged him to step back. Without acknowledging me, he was able to exit in two great long strides. I had to wade through it. 

It was real.


I saw "Beautiful"

What I saw: “Beautiful,” a biographical Broadway musical about the career of singer/songwriter Carole King, at the Stephen Sondheim Theater on the south side of West 43rd Street, between 6th Avenue and Broadway. 

What I wore: Fluevog stacked heel boots, black infantilizing Eileen Fisher pants (no pockets), green floral blouse/dress with a drawstring and long, dangly ties to give it shape, gold and black scarf that I snagged from my mother’s closet before she was even dead, long black Patagonia rain coat that is nicely waterproof but not sophisticated enough in its fit and finish to feel like the right raincoat for New York City, fancy black Coach bag with cross-body strap.


What I did beforehand: riding lesson, shower, train, met a friend under the clock at Grand Central, walked up 5th Avenue in the drizzling rain, took the express elevator to the shoe department on the 8th floor at Saks, talked about my mother’s 41 pairs of size 6 navy blue pumps, sat at the bar and drank a glass of wine at Épicerie Boulud under the Plaza Hotel, had dinner at Sardi’s. 


Who went with me: my old friend A., who I met in a Northern California beach town in 1992. I was introduced to A. by a friend of her sister-in-law with whom I’d struck up a conversation on the beach. “I think you’ll like her,” she said, sizing me up. She was right.

How I got tickets: I attended as A.’s guest. 


Why I saw this show:  when you see about a show a week, and someone wants to join you, you let them choose.



Where I sat: between my friend and a woman who was singing along tunelessly to all the songs toward the end of the show. 

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Things that were sad: Carole King’s first husband was probably even a more self-absorbed man-baby than he is portrayed to be.

Things that were funny: the show relentlessly teases the audience by presenting each of Carole King’s early career hit songs with a crafty joke about its origins. 

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Things that were not funny:  the dangly ties on my shirt dropped into the toilet at Sardi’s, and there was a bathroom attendant, so I couldn’t rinse them in the sink without explaining it to the woman attendant in there turning on the faucets and handing out towels and I couldn’t bear to do it so I left them dangling wetly behind me. I gave her a dollar. She gave me a paper towel.

What it is: an enjoyable and well-constructed show for baby-boomers. Broadway musicals today all have fast-paced musical numbers with churning bodies and amplified singing. Some, like this one, manage to express some genuine human pathos in between the swelling strings and belted ballads. 

Who should see it: anyone born before 1965. Fans of Carole King should not miss this show. Thoughtful Americans who spend too much time thinking about politics will find plot points and themes reminiscent of the life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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What I saw on the way home: 

A Turtle in the Road

 A few weeks ago, I tested the brakes of my car when I saw a small turtle in the road; my car has excellent brakes. My middle son, Art School, was with me, and I instructedhim to lift the turtle out of the road, keep it facing the same way, and put it down in the grass. He was surprised that the turtle scratched his hands with its desperately waving paddles, but he was more surprised than harmed. We drove to dinner with the excitement of having done a good deed, and though we were late picking up the Bacon Provider at the train station, and Art School had to wash the wild turtle germs off his hands, we were glad we did it.
Gregor, Soup Turtle
Back at the farmhouse we have rented in Dutchess County for the season, we are playing host to a pet turtle named Gregor for the second summer in a row. Gregor is a third year student at Bard College, having been enrolled after being purchased by other Bard students from a Chinatown street purveyor of “soup turtles.” Now he is an overfed beast, a red-eared slider, the kind of cheap pet that finds itself living in the green ponds at Central Parkonce it exceeds the normal dimensions of an apartment-sized aquarium. Somewhere in Gregor’s future there is no doubt a real pond and an old age spent basking in real sunshine instead of a propping him/herself on a small pile of rocks under a light bulb, and eating real insects and pond weeds instead of Rep-to-Sticks and wilted lettuce. But for now, he is our houseguest at the farmhouse.
Last summer Gregor’s aquarium sat on a shelf out of view or reach from our permanent pets, but this year he was placed by his exhausted owner on a little trunk in the mud-room, just inside the door. And there the aquarium has remained.
Just the other day I was feeding Gregor, and Cherry (who is a dog interested in all things small and squeaky, and has recently caught herself two baby rabbits) suddenly noticed the soup turtle for the first time, and now she actively wants to smell, watch and taste the aquarium of said small animal. I don’t want to find out if turtles squeak like baby rabbits.
Yesterday morning, because there was a train to catch, the dogs were roused when we got up. Even though the dogs should be exhausted from oh-so-much running around, wasp-catching, bunny-chasing and sun-bathing, they will leap to attention from a sound sleep if we make a gesture towards the door. So out they were sent, and they galloped about, did their morning business on the grass, and Cherry, being the senior and more obedient dog despite her predilection for hunting, presented herself promptly while Captain went off for an early morning adventure.
There was no time for an early morning adventure yesterday.
Once again I had made an incorrect calculation; I was wrong about what time we needed to leave the house to have the Bacon Provider to the train on time, and so we had lots of yelling anxiety in the car on the way there. The problem had started when I wasn’t ready to go at 7 am, got a bit worse when I was found at 7:08 stripping the sheets off the bed, and got worse still when Captain didn’t come back in. Captain finally took an out-of-the-way route via the open garage, and was shooed into the house. As I fired up the engine of my car at 7:12, the Bacon Provider leapt out again, because in my haste I had put Captain in the closed mud-room with Gregor, the turtle.
The yelling anxiety got more intense at the long stoplight in Rhinebeck, where all directions of traffic go red for a pedestrian, and then it always begins with green for the direction you don’t need. We should have left at 7 a.m. and it was my fault that we didn’t.  Good thing I’m a multi-tasker; I can simultaneously offer an apology, articulate a bland re-assurance that the clock in my car is fast, and drive like a bat out of hell slightly exceed the posted speed limit without crashing into anything. We made the train, just in time.
On the way back from the train station delivery, I met a large snapping turtle in the road, about 1½ miles from the farm. It was bigger than the last one we encountered.
Last year, we were still in North Dreadful, where we had a swimming pool and some scenery but were still surrounded by people who didn’t want to know us, I witnessed a woman in a large white SUV purposely driving over a large snapping turtle. It made a loud popping noise, turtle guts were strewn all over the narrow pavement, and I let out a shriek of horror. What kind of person goes out of her way to run over a snapping turtle? Oh, yeah. North Dreadful.
Angry snapping turtle, still ready to bite me
Yesterday’s snapping turtle was actually on the other side of the road, and almost all the way across already. I stopped my car and put on my hazards. I opened my window and tried to make a frightening noise. The turtle didn’t move. I opened the door and clapped my hands at it. The turtle didn’t move. I touched the back of the turtle’s shell with the toe of my shoe. The turtle spun around, snapped at me with its enormous mouth and scared me. I jumped left, hoping to get around it again. It hunkered in. I tapped it again, thinking that now I had its attention I could herd it off the road. The turtle spun and snapped again. Now it was pointed 180° from its original destination. I tapped the turtle once more, hoping to get a course correction. Now it was pointed towards the road’s shoulder, and looked ready to move.
I got back in my car and sat with my hazards on, waiting to watch the turtle make it to safety. A car came up from the other direction, and the turtle was directly in its path. I waved them down. I told them about the turtle. They thanked me. I told them about the turtle rescued by Art School. They told me they saw a man throw a jacket over “one of the big, aggressive ones” to be able to move it safely. I told them this was one of the big, aggressive ones.

The approach of their car inspired the turtle to rise to its greatest height, stretch out its neck and start booking it, turtle-style, up the road. I said it looked like it had an appointment in Rhinebeck. The other drivers laughed and said they could give it a lift since that was where they were headed. Another car arrived, and I pulled forward to tell the second driver about the delay. He was as good-natured about letting the turtle make its way safely across the road as the people ahead of him were.

Today I am back in New York City. I saw a green leaf on the sidewalk this morning and mistook it for a frog. 

North Dreadful

The next day

Thursday afternoon we went for a dog walk, and while we were out it got even hotter and more humid. When we arrived home, we jumped in the pool. I put my iPhone well away from the water because we all know that iPhones are easily ruined and had to get out of the pool to answer my phone when it rang.
There is a certain style of customer service which is employed for especially valuable customers, either to handle a high profile person or to remedy a past problem. I received the call and immediately heard the urgency in her voice and went inside to take notes.
In her eagerness to help me, “Deb” kept accidentally calling me by my first name, then hurriedly correcting herself and calling me “Mrs….” As it turns out, we are just high profile enough, and had just enough of a problem to fall into both categories, so “Deb” was giving it her all and going to fix everything.
At the same time I started getting texts from my husband, the Medium Cheese (he is why we warrant the special treatment). I had to juggle the phone, continuing with “Deb” and letting the Medium Cheese know that he was making my iPhone buzz in my ear during my phone call. My texts to him say, “Getting smothered right now…like a Persian cat rubbing your legs right after you slathered them in lotion.”
By the time our conversation was finished, I was shivering and took a hot shower. We even had plans to go out to dinner. I got out of the shower to find the house was fully engulfed in a violent storm, with thunder, high winds and driving rain. In the midst of texting the Medium Cheese (who was on his way home on a Metro North Train) about the storm, the power went out.
I next wrote, “The long conversation with the Persian cat means my phone is almost dead.”
The Medium Cheese’s train then stopped. “We will have to sit in Chappaqua ’for a few minutes,’” he wrote. “Which means they don’t know.”
The source of the delay was a tree on the tracks, and I was advised to fetch the Medium Cheese from the train station in Chappaqua.
Turning right out of our driveway we encountered the first downed tree across the road almost immediately, at the top of our next-door neighbor’s driveway. Reversing, we discovered another mess of downed trees tangled in power lines about a quarter mile in the other direction. There was another way out, and we took it, but our way was blocked by another large tree which had pulled down the power lines. We reversed again, and made our way on the last possible route. This final attempt ended when we found the road blocked by a very large tree, about two miles from the red barn where we live. The Medium Cheese had to find his own way back. We were trapped.
The only way back was to re-trace our route, and when we got there we got busy lighting candles and deciding what we would eat, given that the dinner plan had been to eat out so we had nothing on deck. We ate the potstickers from the freezer and as much ice cream as we could. 
The Medium Cheese never made it home. His train was over an hour late, but he couldn’t get past the downed trees from the other direction, either. He went and found a hotel.
I checked the NYSEG web site before bed (having mostly recharged my phone in the car), and saw their estimate that the power on my road would be restored by 3:00 pm the next day. This gave our minor emergency an ending, in the near future, and made the situation seem like a non-event.
We woke to a stuffy, quiet house. I was quite awake before six, and walked a dog, and checked on the status of the fallen trees. Overnight road crews had removed the obstacles and our daily newspaper had been delivered. We cooked up all the bacon and fried some eggs, hard-boiling the rest of the dozen. I checked the NYSEG web site and it had changed the status of our repair to the next day, in the afternoon. The non-event felt like a minor emergency again.
In the afternoon I drove to the airport to pick up our oldest son and he had more friends with him than I had anticipated, so we drove home to our hot, dark house with an over-full car. I gave the houseguests a lesson in flushing toilets with a bucket of water from the swimming pool, and we all had a specific disappointment: there would be no hot showers despite a many-hour plane ride from Europe. Not long after this disappointment, I checked the NYSEG web site and found that the status of our road’s power outage repair had changed from the next day to a blank. I called NYSEG at this point, and spent 25 minutes on hold. I was told that the time was not posted because they no longer knew when power would be restored. We ate out.
That night, I woke at 1:57 am, very hot. I thrashed around for quite a bit, and then my phone rang at 2:25 am. I made motions to answer it, but saw it was a “425” number and decided it was a wrong number. I have had this number for almost two years, but I still get wrong number calls for the old owner of it. I imagine that someday each of us will have one number for our whole lives, but for now, I will still get calls for “Brian.”
I checked the NYSEG site then, and it was still blank.
I managed to get back to sleep.
For breakfast there was coffee (using a French press and bottled water and lighting the gas stove with a match to boil water) and cereal with less-than-ice-cold milk from the cooler. After a few hours of lying around we rallied and went to the grocery store.
On the way we had to detour around the first work crew, addressing the downed trees and power lines closest to our house. A NYSEG crew had commenced work despite the lack of a planned time of completion. We met the second NYSEG crew at work on the other mess of trees and power lines, and we were told by the only guy who didn’t look busy (the grumpily scowling guy standing in the road with no gear, no uniform, no helmet and no sign), “Road closed. You gotta go the other way.” 
I told them to hurry.

Also the next day


How cold and bright and startling is the American supermarket after a few days of no electricity! We replenished the drinking water supply and planned to barbecue. It had come time to buy plastic forks and paper plates as well, since we had run through the dish supply.
I think it was at this point, after the grocery store run but before the power came back that I dropped my iPhone in the toilet. Back when I was teaching at my last teaching job, I used to hear the sounds that high school girls make when they drop their mobile phones in the toilet. My classroom was across the hall from a bathroom, and while they were never supposed to take out their phones except during lunch, they often took advantage of the privacy of a closed bathroom stall. As for me, I did not scream.
As we re-stocked the food shelves and re-organized the coolers, a scheme was devised whereby the overflowing sink full of dishes would be washed by hand using pool water. All of the big pots were filled and set on the stove to boil. The sink was about half full of hot water when the light in the kitchen changed. The hood above the range had come on, for power had finally been restored.
My husband, the Medium Cheese, is also a Relentless Troubleshooter, and by the time we got down to making that dinner, my calls had been forwarded to another phone, and my profile fully installed. It feels almost like magic when technology works, and your pictures and contacts and apps are all there in the new handset. It reminds me that the iPhone is, for me, a nearly perfect device, with exactly three flaws: the battery life is too short, it is not waterproof, and it is made by workers who work under conditions so dire they must be prevented by nets from throwing themselves from their dormitory windows.

Storm victim found in road


 

Barcelona #1

My traveling companion and I arrived in Barcelona yesterday. We took the train from the airport (aeroporto), the up-side of which is that it is the most inexpensive option. The down-side is having the shacks and graffiti-covered hulls of buildings you see from the train as your introduction to the countryside of Spain.  And of course, this being Spain the lovely colorful subway map that comes in all the travel books and is posted on walls seems to have essentially no relation to the lines as the trains actually travel them.  We simply scratched our heads, argued a bit, and got on the train everyone else got on. What a relief to see that our stop was only number four (of course, when I say “our stop” what I mean was the connection we were going to attempt, which was in Spanish on the train and is in Catalan in all of the guidebooks).
At some point on the train a man with an accordion appeared in our car. When this happens in New York, people make eye-contact with you and roll their eyes theatrically. Here in Spain, local folks went into extreme no-eye-contact-mode, and the tourists smiled at their traveling companions with a half-wink, “Say, this never happens in Tokyo!” In New York, we have yet to have a man with an accordion get on our subway car, though we have had the rapper and fellows with guitars. I love music on the train, even when the musicians are not talented. It’s obviously people like me who keep these folks in business.  I usually let my Traveling Companion keep the Euro change in his pockets, but I had to intercept the 2 Euro coin from him; he is a true believer in tipping street musicians of all kinds.
Triumphantly we got off our train into a packed underground station with flights of stairs and tons of people, some wearing party masks, and one of them carrying an unhappy, meowing cat in a crate. We made our way to the huge paper posters of train schedules to discover that they were written in some sort of cuneiform script. Here, our triumph ended, and we ascended to the street.

At this point, you see, we were utterly unable to see how you switched to the subway train line, so we walked. Emerging on Passeig de G
ràcia (which also has a Spanish name, Paseo de Gracia), we immediately encountered an enormous Sunday political rally, complete with flags, party stickers, neck-kerchiefs, loudspeakers, a lingering helicopter hovering above, soldiers, police, and thousands of strolling, well-dressed people. My Traveling Companion wanted to know what they wanted and why they were assembled. I had no clue. Many of them waved a red banner with “CCOP,” which is probably Catalonian Communists. I have a history of encountering communist party rallies, and happened upon one the last time I came to Europe, near the open air market by our hotel in Venice.  This time, my Traveling Companion would never have tolerated me taking a picture, so I didn’t.
The hotel was not too hard to find. As in Italy, the street signs are attached to buildings at the corners of intersections so it took us a few blocks to verify that we were headed in the correct direction. I brought along an orphaned AT&T iPhone in case of emergency (Verizon phones are based on shorter string technology and do not stretch across the Atlantic Ocean), and turned on this phone to use the compass.  I was right about north (a skill I cannot always count on, but did inherit from my father). The iPhone is being covered by “Orange” wireless. Tempting to make some calls, send a bunch of texts, etc., but once I saw a $3000 mobile phone bill. 

Besides, I felt like a hero when I found the hotel (for about five minutes). We had to wait for our room until 3:30 pm, about 4 hours. We went and got delicious croissants and cafe au lait around the corner (being too simple-minded to be able to order anything more substantive). The wait for the room was actually excruciating! Stupid details of the timing of check-in and check-out are always so dicey. My Traveling Companion did not sleep on the plane but fell asleep waiting in the lobby and still sleeps now.

Our room is as strange and wonderful as I expected. Modern in the extreme, with three levels, two rooms and two baths. They have the bizarro key-in-the-light-switch deal here, which makes sense but also adds to the initial confusion of figuring out a room. The other hotel guests include a squalling baby and several commandeering adult men, who seem like they are in our room when they talk in the hall; this is never more startling than when you are sleeping off a headache and an overnight flight in coach. Housekeeping persistently knocked around 6 pm and I had to shout genuine nonsense at them to make them go away.

I logged on with the “free wireless,” which is 60 minutes worth of wireless, free every 24 hours.

We will rise soon and go eat tapas around 9:30 pm, enjoying sitting outside under a heater, listening to our fellow diners chatting in French on one side and Korean on the other.  We will enjoy the communal aspect of the Euro-zone, where our waiter will bestow the most marginal service imaginable, and expects no tip, and we will bask and eat in a plume of second-hand cigarette smoke. There will be fried white anchovies and a decent glass of red wine even though I will ask for white, and it will be a privilege.

Friday the 13th

I thought I wrote a blog post about Friday the 13th. It was a number of months ago, and there wasn’t a Friday the 13thcoming soon so I stored it away somewhere on the desktop computer that is today deep in storage.  Now I have that forgetting feeling. 
Did I really write it? 
Did I already post it? 
I hate that forgetting feeling.   
Worse, I can’t remember what the point of the blog post was.
I had to wake up early today to catch a train to the city for a dentist appointment. Yes, I imagine that there are dentists in Westchester with perfectly decent credentials, but when we moved here there was urgent need of a dentist for someone, and we were in the city, and we found a good one right in midtown. So it is worth the train trip in to the city just to see the dentist.  I had the same nice dentist in Seattle from about 1993 onwards.  Someday, if you ask nicely and I am in the mood, I will tell you the story of the terrifying dentist that I saw as a child.
It is a sad reflection of the current state of enslavement that I have to my iPhone, but just as soon as I silence the alarm on my phone I check my email.  I was immediately suspicious, because twelve are too many emails for an ordinary night, and there were twelve unread messages. There were one or two actual emails, and then several automatic replies for folks out of town, and then many automatically generated failed delivery messages from the “postmaster” of Hotmail. I did hear from one actual contact, who sent an empty email with the subject line “have you been hacked?”  Yes, readers, my email had been hacked in the night.
The first step, of course, is to change the password on email (and everything else), and to run a dreaded security diagnostic to see if I had malware (I didn’t). My second step was to send a text to My Technology Department (otherwise known as the Relentless Troubleshooter, or the Bacon Provider). He responded right away, which was something of a surprise: he has been on a West Coast business trip this week. My 5:50 am text was answered from the West Coast.  That Technology Department is sure prompt! I was advised to change my password. Wasn’t I satisfied that I did the right thing?  So satisfied was I that I forgot about being upset about sending spam to people, forgot to hurry off to the train station, and forgot to apologize to the Technology Department for waking him up for nothing.   I drank some tea at a leisurely pace and drove unexcitedly to the train station and made my train by only a matter of second: it pulled up just as I descended the last step onto the platform.
Making this train was something I would call lucky.  I do not believe in luck as a magical power one can wield, or store up, or lose, or be due.  I believe in luck as a word to describe a near disaster that did not occur (like remembering your purse under your train seat at the last minute as you get off), or unexpectedly surviving something dreadful (like walking away from a train wreck), or having something fortuitous happen by chance (like meeting s person on a train who offers to interview you for a job).  Of course, Friday the 13th is thought to be an unlucky day. 
I was very superstitious as a child, believing somewhat insincerely in the magical power of sidewalk cracks, chanting on the first day of the month, crossed fingers, unspoken wishes which could come true and spoken dreams which could not.  I do not recall having special feelings about Friday the 13th, but I might have. Maybe that’s what I wrote about.
More likely, I wrote about my mother, who was the more rational of my parents and who actually died on a Friday the 13thafter a long illness. 

Suburban or Rural?

On the discussion sites of licensed real-estate appraisers, they have a witty saying about how to tell the difference between urban, suburban and rural homes.  This witty saying involves standing on the porch (maybe naked) and peeing off the porch (or not) and whether anyone can see you and whether the police come if they are called.  Even though these postings come from licensed real-estate appraisers, I do not believe that this is how you determine if a community is rural or suburban.  
I have not yet decided whether I believe that North Salem, New York is suburban or rural. I struggle to describe it to people.  Efforts are clearly made by those in power in this community to emphasize the rural flavor of the place.  The North Salem Open Land Foundation, founded in 1974, protects over 900 acres of land here, through purchases, donations and the maintenance of conservation easements.  The Foundation is practically invisible in the community, but their efforts are not.
There are no sidewalks in North Salem, but I often see snakes sunning themselves on the pavement.  Many roads have no lines painted on them and no shoulders.  Some roads not wide enough for two cars to pass, and there are still plenty of unpaved roads.  I see hunters in our yard and in the post office.  The mailboxes are on posts here, and some bear the scars of people driving by and attempting to smash them.

Yet for all these rural features, there is no smell of cows.  Our next-door neighbor had  swimming pool water delivered, by water truck.  The other neighbor keeps a car in the driveway under a car cover.  Many homes have Invisible Fence installed to keep the dogs close to the house.  Even more have elaborate deer fencing and decorative fencing, two things I would not expect to see outside of the suburbs.  The community is served by hourly MetroNorth trains to New York City, even in the middle of the night.  The North Salem Architectural Review Boardminutes include lengthy discussion of color and roof shape of a proposed installation of pre-fab pump house not visible from the road. 

There is decorative informational signage marking historic sites throughout North Salem. And there are BMWs.  But the one thing that convinces me that I live in a suburb is the regular presence of the North Salem Parking Patrol cruiser.