Next weekend’s forecast in the tri-state area is looking dreary, lows in the 40s and highs in only the 50s. It might even rain both Saturday and Sunday. The past two weekends the weather has been lovely. When the weather is warm and sunny, I like to go outside and enjoy it. Even if I’m just running my usual weekend errands, foraging for food and skin searing cleaning supplies, it’s much nicer doing so under warm sunny skies than when it’s 27 degrees and icy snow is piled everywhere. One of the downsides of spring is that the tree is blooming outside my window so I’ve been sneezing thunderously. A few times I think I’ve come close to tearing some upper body cartilage I’ve been sneezing with such ferocity. Just as I typed that sentence I sneezed.
At work, Elsbeth’s been dry coughing frequently, Ling’s been phenomenally congested, Elaine, Greg, and I sneeze often, and even the Quiet Man in the back of the room made a sound today that prompted the following exchange while we were sitting at our desks feigning consciousness:
Ling: God bless you, Quiet Man.
QM: Thanks Ling.
Me: Did he sneeze back there? It sounded to me like he dropped something.
Ling: No, that was a sneeze.
Me: Really? It sounded to me like a falling glass or anvil.
When I sneeze, it’s definitive. Windows rattle, animals howl and children cry. But I digress, back to basking in warm weekend sun. When I stalk the streets of New York, I usually carry a camera. Two weekends ago, people were photographing the dogwood trees blooming all over the Upper West Side, and I thought, “Yawn.” Here are my shots of springtime.
Last weekend, my errands included trying to exchange a bottle of Kiehl’s Tea Tree Oil shampoo for my preferred variety, Protein Concentrate Herbal, but unfortunately, the scent I like still had not arrived and the Tea Tree Oil is okay. It only smells slightly like embalming fluid. Upon leaving the Kiehl’s store, I was walking up Columbus Avenue and then at the corner of 67th and Columbus I thought of my friend, Roz.
Twenty years ago, Roz and I were walking on this same street when we saw Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, pushing two strollers with their kids, Satchel and Dylan. They were standing at the corner waiting for the walk signal. Roz starts whacking me repeatedly on the arm with the back of her hand murmuring urgently through gritted teeth, “Do you see! Do you see! Do you see!”
Roz is also twice my height and bears a striking resemblance to French actress, Fanny Ardant.
I have always looked more like a dung beetle, albeit with glasses.
Of course, I was completely aware of their presence, but Rule 17 in The Cool New Yorker Handbook dictates: under no circumstances will you betray a glimmer of recognition when in the presence of celebrity, and this includes while in the company of spastic close friends. Back on Columbus Avenue in 1990, Roz is so frustrated with my apparent indifference to this A-list sighting, she is almost pummeling me, indirectly creating a scene.
Woody Allen notices us. He giggles. We walk past him.
Roz (exploding): What the hell is wrong with you? Do you know who we just walked past? Are you blind? I don’t believe you!
Me (uncharacteristically calm): Thanks to you, we just had the honor of amusing Woody Allen. How many people can say that?
Now, twenty years later as I cross that corner, I recall that Roz’s birthday is approaching and I have to get her a card. And, this year, try harder to remember to mail it. As I continue to walk up Columbus Avenue, I notice a middle age woman in cuffed skinny jeans, a shabby looking double-breasted brown corduroy coat and wraparound tortoise frame sunglasses. She is trying hard to look inconspicuous and that’s when it dawns on me that this is actress Joan Allen, or the winner of the Joan Allen look-alike contest. I half want to channel my inner paparazzo and photograph her, but I remember Rule 17, keep walking and respect her privacy. This was probably for the best since I then sneezed vociferously prompting a car alarm to activate.