Last week a student in his senior year noticed me in the Lang Café. He walked over to my table away from the lunch sounds of hurried eating and loud conversation. He seemed eager to chat.
Tuesday night had become a fixed habit. Promptly at 9 pm in the Barnes & Noble café I was sitting opposite Carlo. He had arrived earlier and reserved a table away from the caffeinated noise.
I had not met Selina for weeks. It was odd since she lived one floor above me. Our synchronized work day meant we often found ourselves in the elevator going down to the lobby. She caught my eye because she had determined to dress stylishly even when shopping at the local deli.
Last evening, a series premiered on HBO called “The Steeple Chase.” It was drawn from memoirs that have surpassed in sales Vegan Cat Cuisine and Lola Bimbo’s Yoga Manual. The first episode demonstrated how TV adopts a religious work and in the process obliterates the original. It also showed the winds of change blowing through rectory and convent alike. The air currents gusted so strongly that in a single hour, decades of piety and practice were swept away.
“Do you believe in the uncanny?” he asked out of the blue. “If you mean an event that baffles because it transcends what’s normal, yes I do. Invariably, it becomes explainable when we apply the power of reason. We look back and realize we had missed something. Suddenly the pattern becomes clear.
“So what’s your specialty?”
“The history of religions. I’ve taught everything from Persian cults to Zen Buddhism.”
“You know I’m agnostic.”
“Then why talk to me? I’m comparative religious with a vengeance.”
Watercress and fennel soup, duck with apricot glaze and serendipitous side dishes paired well with the Chardonnay. The anniversary party celebrating ten years gave Toby and Luke a chance to entertain friends. To the question of how they had marked the occasion, they spoke of an exchange of gifts.
It was typical of Grant Mayo. He had sent an email telling me he would arrive in New York to see his cardiologist and asking if we could meet up. He then recapped the message by leaving it on my land line. There was no excuse for saying I didn’t receive it unless I was on the road.
It started as a meeting of two friends looking to share a common background. It morphed into a competition of words. I’m amazed at what a deli can do. You’ve heard of the apple of discord that sparked the Trojan War. What made us clash was pastrami. They say the devil is in the details. So is the truth.
I stood opposite my locker at the New York Health & Racquet Club and finished dressing. It was after 10 p.m. and the club was closing at 11.
Jonathan had asked me to join him for breakfast while he waited for his parents. He and I sat at a table in the dining room of the Rosa Alpina, a deluxe hotel in the Italian Alps not far from the Swiss border.
I think it’s repugnant to police other people’s language. I am too conscious of First Amendment rights to invade a stranger’s conversation with militant grammar. I do not phone 911 because I hear someone say “I could’ve went.” I cannot deny the error offends, but in New York City I tolerate it like [...]
I was sitting at a café table in The New School’s dining room eating an oatmeal currant scone with a perfectly paired Starbuck’s coffee. I was lucky to find a table for a few hours. The wrap around windows let in the afternoon sun, and my cul-de-sac corner ensured a space free of ambient sound, ideal for focusing on my novel.
“How do I get noticed when there are so many talented people out there screaming for attention? On applications I tend to hype my abilities in the hope they land me a job.”