Late yesterday afternoon I was emailing a friend when Rafe called. He was in front of my building which has phony “do not park” signs in front of it. Fortunately nobody pays attention. Told my friend that I had to go downstairs to sit with Rafe because who knew when he would be able to get parking? Explained that the balloons were being blown up. Didn’t explain why; thought that the whole world knew. My friend had no idea what I meant and thought that it was a double entredee or pun or something dirty as all three seem to come naturally to me.
As I live on The Upper West Side, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving signifies the true beginning of the holiday season. Many people come in to watch the balloons being blown up, for The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade/. It was fun the first five times but Little Luce was a kid, and somehow you need a kid and her friends to make it come really alive.
Anyway I have had entire visits with Rafe in his Lexus. Sometimes we double park in front of Riverside Park and watch the sunset. I have never thought that an abnormal way to visit with a friend during holiday season. Sometimes I would visit with my dad, in his Electra, when I lived on East 63rd Street and it was too early to park. Parking begins there at seven PM; and people stake their places out an hour or so early especially during holiday season.
Come to think of it I have visited with many people, all male, in their cars. Women somehow find parking or pay for it.
Last night Rafe was able to get parking on my block because the parking gods love him; and he has infinite patience. He’s kind of a Zen type person; I’m not. I’m the “I’ll give you the damn 20 bucks for an hour parking at a garage,” type.
Yesterday was the first time since late last November that Rafe had trouble parking. It signifies the beginning of five weeks of hell on earth where the city doesn’t belong to the city who live in it.
Yes I know that the store windows are very nice; I used to live off Fifth Avenue on 63rd where I would have to strategically plot out all my shopping time, and figure out the quickest way to get from here to there. No way is quick.
Last year I walked from here, Riverside Drive, to the dentists on Fifth and 61st. Just walking on Broadway was hard; walking down Central Park South was even harder and then I came to the part where the park meets Fifth meets Central Park South. Took me ten minutes to cross the damn street.
Today once again I will be the oldest child on the Long Island RailRoad as my entire family lives on Long Island. I couldn’t find my “oldest child in the Long Island Railroad” post from last year. Maybe it was for Passover.
This year I don’t feel that angst which is sort of a shame for story telling purposes. Thanks in large part to you who read Courting and by association me, I have worked out the anger that enveloped me for the past decade. First because my mom was old and needy; and for a zillion other reasons I have written here, then because Katrina happened and it was so much worse than anything I have ever gone through.
I have worked out the anger; but I will never forget 9/11 or my mom’s sudden death. I will never forget how I gained so much weight I became unrecognizable to me, fortunately I’m me again. I will never forget how I felt like a stranger in my own city, not to forget my body, because the empathy that people had felt for 9/11 victims and their families didn’t extend to people who lost relatives not in the attacks but afterwards, or how incredibly hard my life felt.
I would like to thank Rafe and Lucia for sticking with me. I would also like to thank all of you for your wonderous support. I would name you all but would be scared that I would leave people out
The first year, 2001, after my mom’s death we had dinner at a Buddhist restaurant. It was perfect because it was so not Thanksgiving and my sister and I associate Thanksgiving with our parents.
This year is Alice’s Restaurant’s 40th anniversary. Thank you Arlo Guthrie for making a timeless Thanksgiving song that’s more relevant now than ever.