Last Saturday after dinner, Alistair poured himself a glass of sake and for me a glass of wine (his house red, Moulin de Gassac). We on to his stoop. The sun had just set and there were lots of things to see: people in groups walking to the nearest C train, cars parking and then, upon consideration of the street signs, leaving. A rat found shelter under a car. Everyone was walking English Bulldogs.
"You know, they rule Brooklyn as the most owned dog?" I said to Alistair casually. "Yorkie's rule Manhattan."
One of the dogs, smelling the rat underneath the car, focused on it while his owner, tired, yanked him down the street.
"There's so much to see here," Alistair said. Every person that passed had some purpose. It was much like the forest, I said. A lot of animals doing a lot of different tasks. I reflected on my first camping trip last year. I observed the movement of the ants and the birds and how industrious they looked. The forest, I surmised, was where many things happen and no one even knows.
Spending holiday weekends in the city always feels like a missed opportunity to travel somewhere. Even on Saturday night, having decided to stay in the city all weekend, we were looking up last minute trips somewhere else -- Philadelphia, Beacon, Cold Springs. Nothing promising turned up. We waited too late, everything was booked.
On Sunday we went for a walk in the rain and got barbecue nearby. Alistair had some errands to run at a hardware store in Gownus. That was most of the afternoon. We watched a film and cooked a meal, the usual. Monday, the holiday, I slept most of the day. Feeling nostalgic, I put on one of my favorite young adult films: "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" about a young character from a Disney TV show (that I also watched religiously as a teen) who goes to Rome with her classmates for an adventure. It was so warm and restorative to watch, it made me feel like a kid again.
Tuesday was one of those days where every face looked like the face of an enemy. Do you ever have those? I went and got a pedicure after work but every woman in the room seemed to look at me unfavorably. On the train, a woman sitting next to me, in a very comfortable space full of lots of seats, got up and sat in a much more crowded area. Do I smell? I wondered.
Thursday Alistair hosted another dinner party, rising to his first challenge: a vegan guest. We had roasted kabocha squash, eggplant stew and Iranian rice. For dessert, he made Mark Bittman's vegan spicy chocolate mousse. But on Friday, my stomach didn't like the kabocha squash or the wine I'd drank the night before. I went to bed at 9 pm, still feeling nauseated and gross. A few flights below, in the backyard of a church, a wedding band played cover songs till midnight. I slept through it.