does it still count as the dog days of summer*?
or now that the (fake) fur collared chunky knit sweaters are in the shop windows and the light dimmed a little earlier than we expected this evening, surely this means fall (or autumn) is on its way?
we had a lovely day. did you?
it started later than usual (jet lag/L.A time) but there was a lot of reading, some excellent swimming (so odd to be back in the lane with a slick black swim cap on, next to thrashing young athletes in goggles, after a week of rooftop, long’ish hair back in a low ponytail and the freckles joining up, blushing at the sun’s attention, creating a light yet attractive tan), just a small amount of socializing and then some hunting for a new book to read.
amusing dialogue in the bookshop just now.
man-at-information-desk: “have I read The Ice Storm?”
teamgloria: “no. who wrote it?”
(although we were then dying to ask – well, yes, have you? and did you see the movie first and then buy the book – like we did? wasn’t S Weaver Extraordinary in her mid to late 70s carmen roller-done-hair-do? have you ever been to CT and been stuck in an actual ice storm? we have. a few years ago. on boxing day or st stephen’s day or the day-after-christmas-day. there – on the train platform – a bloody great ice storm started chucking it down and we ducked onto the train as soon as it arrived, grateful to be drying off and out of the dangerous ice floes falling en route back to manhattan)
man-at-information-desk: “Oh.” (unless he was psychic – and that is possible – this is a Very Good Bookshop – he heard none of our intense in-head-dialogue – he checked the computer instead) “Rick Moody”.
teamgloria: “Right!” (looks around slightly helplessly, with jet lag).
man-at-information-desk: “Rick Moody: The Ice Storm: American Literature, Rick Moody: The Diviners: American Literature…” (he reels off all of the Rick Moodys in the shop).
teamgloria: (bit desperately now) “Where is American Literature?”
man-at-information-desk: “I’ll show you.” (he stands up – a tall glass of water indeed, as they say in TX – and marches off towards the back of the store).
teamgloria (much smaller legs, hurries behind) and they stop short in front of all the Rick Moodys on offer.
and – bizarrely – a Nancy Mitford.
we picked The Diviners and then (helpfully) re-shelved the Nancy Mitford, back in English Literature (although if there were an Expat Section, we would have placed her there as she lived mostly in Paris, as you know. That’s Paris, France, not Paris, Texas).
gosh. just noticed. British and Irish Literature. That’s odd. in NYC there’s such a focus on Irish Ancestry that an entire section is usually given over to the Emerald Isle. Hmmm. Interesting.
we had some more amusing (to us) dialogue on the way out….
cashier: “would you like a bag?”
teamgloria: “no thank you” (pointing helpfully to swimming bag and across-the-shoulder-messenger-bag in black from elizabeth street)
cashier: “here’s your receipt – would you like a bag?”
teamgloria: “um, no thanks” (mad pointing again)
cashier: (hands over Rick Moody book) “oh god, I was just going to ask you if you wanted a bag again”
teamgloria: (backing away gently) “i’m going to go now”
cashier: “have a beautiful night!”
teamgloria: “you too!”
(clearly he was from California – probably Santa Cruz – he had that sort of sea-salt-sun-bleached curly hair – New Yorkers are firm and dismissive with the traditional parting shot of “Have a Great Night” which is sort of a demand and quite clipped – but we could be reading too much cultural significance into this exchange and, let’s face it, that wouldn’t be the first time we have.)
the heat was stifling today so we’re sure the bookshop people were quite frazzled and tired (and the lovely thing about mcnally jackson is that it stays open Very Late which is so useful when you’re lying at home on the sofa and it’s too hot to sleep, even with the AC on full blast which feels so Awful for the Environment and life Would Be So Much Better with a copy of an Italian fashion magazine so one pops down there and buys one and sips an Italian soda with a slurp of raspberry cordial in it – refreshing, both).
Then with all that thought of Paris (Nancy Mitford and her place of residence for many years), we went to Cafe Gitane, sat at the zinc-top-bar and had a delicious frothy coffee (we can do that late in the day because tomorrow is another holiday in the USA and we can stay up into the small hours should we so desire – of course that will make tuesday hard – but to quote the one in the red shoes – right? – (Tuesday) is another day)
on the way home we saw that someone with a delicious sense of fun (or vandalism, depending on your Voting Pattern) has been In Town while most of the middle classes (and those with actual money) are far away in the beach towns and expensive-handbag-shops, trying to get a reservation for supper before a last hurrah by the ocean with the liberal application of aloe vera on that sunburn.
we’re sure Nancy would have stifled a giggle as she was walking a small dog, a bag of books from the Lending Library in a cloth bag from Marseille, hanging loosely over the crook in her left arm.
*talking of the dog days of summer: our lovely friend and concierge-to-the-hip-chic-and-time-pressed, Jonathan, told us about a short story competition – the details are here - we’re going to enter – are you? it’s not the prize so much (although we Adore a Prize) but the idea of being in a short story collection that is left in every room at a Standard Hotel (where such rock star types stay) is truly delicious.
the only problem (and let’s face it, it’s a luxury one and Quite Modern as William would say) is which name we’ll use…………gloria nimbus (for tis the name on one of our emails), or teamgloria (which is sort of becoming an actual Brand – if the book deal comes off) or the original name we were published under as a journalist (which we don’t use at all anymore but is the one on our British Passport) or the name we use professionally in our soon-to-be-ending Corporate Job in Corporate America?
and such a metaphysical and modern dilemma.
off to see some unfeasibly good-looking-french-people now.