Say I’m Old Fashioned: That’s Enough

by pieces of moments

Here I sit. Propped up with a little mountain of pillows finishing off a delicious hot chocolate in my Cubs mug (please, let’s not talk about that disaster…and Mark, if you’re reading this, don’t rub it in). It’s been a three day weekend around From the Top for those of us (ahem…me) who were not scheduled to go to our live radio show taping on Saturday. The weekend has been pure bliss, I have to say. I had some rough plans involving Western Mass(achusetts) and a corn maze (yes, a corn maze), but I flaked on both in order to spend the entire 72 hours cozy in Cambridge.

I have spent hours reading, listening to music, pouring over cookbooks, perusing the shelves at Whole Foods (no Yo Yo Ma this time), cleaning the apartment, renting movies (including this documentary on Dame Evelyn Glennie…can’t wait to watch!), working on my short film, and heading over to Green Street Grill with Jean to relax (our second kitchen outside of our own apartment). It’s been great. The only thing that was missing was being able to attend Joseph’s outstandingly chic birthday part in Washington, DC. Oh well, I was there in spirit whole heartedly. He’s on a plane this moment probably somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean on his way to attend a couple of weeks of conferences in the Middle East with Secretary Rice. I keep trying to set up playing duets with her, but nothing has come to fruition….yet (*insert grin*). Joseph is one of my very dear, dear friends, and one of those small pleasures in life is always chatting with him before he takes off for another trip around world.

Back to the movie thing, I also rented The Age of Innocence to watch for the umpteenth time. I suppose it’s terribly pedestrian to admit that I love this book seeing as its main character (Newland Archer) is the bookend to my favorite character of all, Isabel Archer, but there we have it. The book has one of the most perfect endings of any book I have ever known. I first read it in high school and remember distinctly the profound melancholy I felt at reaching the conclusion. But the reason it is the best ending is because it is so exactly right. It is not the fantasy, it is not happy, but it is right. It is what would happen. I think that is one of the things about Edith Wharton’s books: they are devastatingly correct (House of Mirth – nuff said). When I was young they seemed so unjust and therefore appalling in their necessarily disappointing ends. Now that I’m older I understand that things just sometimes don’t turn out the way you plan or hope. At least if you can’t always make lemonade from lemons, due to lack of redemptive sweetness, you can always make books that get turned into films!

Man…that gets me every time. Sigh.

On a more positive note I am terribly thankful for so many things in these days of financial upheaval, and one of those things is art. I know that it is often one of the first areas to be ‘cut’ when the going gets tough and people focus more on ‘necessities’ rather than ‘luxury’ things like the arts, but for me it couldn’t be more opposite. Right? The world changes and fluctuates. We sometimes find ourselves at the mercy of a larger scene at play in which we have become extras pulled in without much preparation and perhaps even against our wills. But the constant things, the things which are ours, our feelings and emotions set off by our individual Pavlovian triggers, remain. They remain in art – visual, musical, verbal. It’s now famous, the account of the string quartet that played on while the Titanic sank. Why not play on?