Archive | December, 2012

And Meanwhile, Over the Queensboro Bridge

19 Dec

While I plan my move to L.A., my one and only son is planning a life as student and artist in New York City.  So we met this last weekend–he already staying there with his paternal grandparents on Long Island–me driving the four hours from Ithaca, in order to do some Holiday Hurrahing (we celebrate both of the Judea and Christian narratives, without fully believing in either) and find Noah a place to live.

(Ark, right?  Rent very high on the Arks. ) So, I arrived Thursday, later than planned because I had papers to grade that I’d put off. Noah  and I stayed in an inexpensive place called “The SkyLine” on the far West side. It has great views of New Jersey. A  recently renovated place that could have been, we later decided,  the NYC version of the lodge in The Shining. Some re-modeling choices from Dennis Hopper?The bloody wall panels in the elevator, halls that seemed to lead to nowhere.

SO: Noah was standing outside of the parking lot in a puffy  parka and gray wool cap. He saluted, as he does– like we’ve known each other almost too long, but OK, sly smile.  He gave me that little wave that he did when the nurses brought him in after the 24- hour labor,  the little separation for them to measure and weigh him, me to suck down a milk shake,. Middle of the night, he fluttered his fingers.

“Right. OK,  and now? Mom?” he seemed to say.

“Hello, Little Noah” I said.  I’d been expecting a girl, a Madeleine. This little guy seemed a strange and perfect person. Mine?

So back to the Sky Line : we got a little spooked by the hall of beveled mirrors– 70’s cool, a room by the elevators that had round, white plastic couches.

“There will be blood on them tomorrow,” I said, joking.

The next day we heard about  the shooting of tiny kids in CT.  I did a fair bit of crying.  Noah kept asking,

“What is the real story? Who is this person ? Those are not normal guns. WHY?”

We needed to get up out of the two double beds and check addresses and phones of the places in Astoria, Sunny Side, and Jackson Heights, where we hoped to find a room in an apartment that was fairly clean, fairly normal, fairly sober, and well, fairly something else we couldn’t put our fingers on. I knew we would know it when we saw it. Right?

We saw six rooms  over two days, trekking back and forth, my arthritic hip grinding, my damaged soul whining and acting out, Noah’s twenty- year old anxiety and wit speaking from the (non-arthritic, indeed jaunty) hip.

“Don’t look at it like you would live there, Mom.  It’s me. I need a room. With a view. Period.”

“Ok, that was not a room. It was a closet. And there was no view. And the guy had 1,000 video games. I don’t know…”

At our greatest low, Noah: “SO: What would you do if I were dead?” Me: “Oh YEAH? What would you do if *I* were dead?” An elderly Hispanic couple passed us, and I think, heard.  I thought, “Kirsten. YOU? THE ADULT?”  (Not so much).
Later, we found a room in the Art Deco apartment of a retired Philosophy professor;  he liked Noah immediately, and his place was clean if disorganized.  I had the distinct feeling we were in a Woody Allen film–Irving wanted to talk about art and history and, he seemed lonely, smart. Quite possibly  like someone who would understand who Noah was,  and go to lectures with him.    The room was very large, with two big windows, one with a view of the Empire State Building! Noah liked the room and the books everywhere.

Noah called his dad for final approval, and then,  in the hallway with white and green walls, we smacked hands. Noah has large hands, long fingers that remind me of my dad’s. My son, six foot three, dark handsome–and still that little boy  smile and eye crunch I remember.

On our way to dinner, I got weird; it was pouring and windy, and I saw myself in a window and thought I looked like an old woman. I remembered, suddenly, that it was the  date that, thirteen years ago,  my dad’s body was found in his NYC apartment. He’d had a heart attack, and died many days earlier. The wind was crazy and sucked up the Duane Reade umbrella, and I threw it across the sidewalk like a child. Noah picked it up.

For dinner, we ate in a Village sushi place, and  then saw a modest and amazing show called “The Old Man and The Old Moon.” We took a cab.

Noah: ‘That was amazing”.

Me: “It was.”

Noah: ” You Ok?”

Me: “Yes. Sorry I lost it. I  think we should get a little chocolate before we go back to the Skyline?’

Noah: “Sounds Reasonable.”

And so we  got cups of tea and a bar of Swiss Chocolate before heading to bed at the Skyline. It was pouring and blowing, and Noah held the umbrella as we crossed the street. As if the ark.




New Life furniture

10 Dec

On Sunday, while grading, cleaning the kitchen and talking to  son Noah about his search for an apartment in Queens or Brooklyn, I bought furniture  for my new life in Beverly Hills.  I bought it from the tenant about to leave her life there (Where does one go from Beverly Hills?)  This furniture is cute twenty-something girl stuff worth much much more than I paid for it; this blessing thanks to Natasha, my dear friend from junior high who lives across the hall from my place; needless to say, she helped me to get the apartment too.

Natasha, beautiful, model thin, and long, glistening matching  hair and legs seduces and wins wherever she goes; it’s intimidating, but you want to be under her sun. And I will be her hall-mate, Holy Mole! Best friends at 13, we are still  effective at irritating  family, friends, and elevator passengers for talking and laughing too loudly. My furniture was purchased from a young woman named Desiree. Her coffee table has moons and stars sprayed on it.  I need to change my name. Suggestions welcomed! 

How do you go from Middle-aged  East Coast English Professor to Still Spunky Wheatgrass Juice-selling L.A. Adeventurer?  The names that come to mind are those I might have given to a daughter:  Sidonie, Maeve, Belah. Thank God I didn’t have a girl to saddle with my romantic fantasy names.  Noah is thinking about changing his name for his forthcoming New York adventure  to Rebeun. His dad and I actually considered that name.  .  .grandparents intervened.

Jimmy Gatz became James Gatsby–talk about a romantic fantasy that doesn’t end well. By a certain calculation I should become Fluffy Pennsylvania, but. . . well, it’s really not about the name, it’s about the new life and activities: speaking my mind, finding inapproriate fun. Oh yeah, I do that here. Still, LA will be different! I have the furniture to prove it! Thanks, Desiree.

Now or Never

1 Dec

December first, Ithaca. Cold. Crust of snow on grass. Kettle whistling. Countdown to Beverly Hills. I’m serious.

Hello world!

1 Dec

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