Monday, June 18, 2012

Fetal Basketball

My friend Linda told me I should tell this story, and because I always do what Linda instructs me to, here it is.

One night in New York, a bunch of years ago (maybe 1998 or 1999?) I bumped into Linda -- Linda Nochlin, a much-loved and very brilliant art historian, and my former dissertation advisor, and my daughter's unofficial granny, and one of my best friends -- at a gallery opening. "Let's go out and get dinner," she said. "But first, I have to stop in on a friend's book party. It's in Soho."

We got out of the subway stop and made our way to the right block; it hadn't occurred to me to ask where, exactly, we were going, because Linda had everything firmly in hand. We got to the building. "Oh. It looks very dark, doesn't it?" I said. We got into the elevator. Suddenly, Linda panicked: "Oh my god, I hope it's the right night. I don't even know the hosts!" "Who are the hosts?" I asked, alarmed look on my face.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Typologies, or Party Planning

This is a very scientific post about some new categories I find useful for making the world make sense. In the interests of science, therefore, it will be presented in the form of a list. Because as everyone knows, lists are very scientific. I would say that no animals were harmed in my research, but in fact at least one salmon lost its life.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Something that Didn't Happen

[This is a very tentative foray into fiction writing. Since this blog seems to be my testing ground and a place for experiments, I'm posting it here.]

First Meeting

She walked into the exhibition, headphones in her ears and steel plates behind her eyes; something about her face -- she didn't know what -- must seem so open to people, given how often she was approached by strangers wanting to talk, but most days -- today -- she wanted to be alone. So she turned to stone, a little. Made herself impenetrable. She wanted to look, that's all.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Roughing It

When I was eighteen, I developed a crush on a much older man (twenty-three!) who was an avid mountain climber. Of course, in the true manner of the eldest sibling, I assumed that if I demonstrated my interest and aptitude in his chosen hobby, I would get his attention and he would fall madly in love with me and we would live happily ever after, climbing mountains with our 2.2 children and dog and picket fence strapped to our backs. This strategy was short-lived, lasting until, hiking with my parents one day, I decided to scale some rocks next to a rushing stream, slipped, and came *that close* to being crushed against some pointy boulders sticking out of the water below me. I mean, the guy was cute, but he wasn't worth a cracked skull.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Other Peoples' Problems

An acquaintance of mine is going through a divorce. I don't know her that well, but we've been talking a lot about what the first days, weeks, and months are like when you suddenly realize that the structure to your life -- your routines, habits, reliable markers of the day or of forever -- are gone. There is comfort for her, I think, in knowing that the very particular complications of one's split lead to very familiar types of dislocations. Half of the trauma of the end of a marriage is not the drama of heartbreak, but the banalaties of loneliness: the accidental setting of an extra placemat when friends come over for dinner because you long ago internalized a math that no longer works, waking up curled into the same corner of the bed you occupied when someone else was on the other side, running the dishwasher and doing laundry less often and in half loads, the shortened message on the voicemail greeting, the extra space in the closet and on the bathroom counter and in everything. All the extra space. Divorce as agoraphobia.