Friday, April 9, 2010

A Free Day

Yesterday was a free day. I don't only mean that I was free, but the whole day was, it seemed. The weather was beautiful, and, the truth is, I've got a serious case of spring fever. I haven't gotten a lick of work done in the past week and I'd been spending most of my time, wandering the city, sniffing the daffodils, planting windowboxes of my own. Dreamy, restful, but not very productive stuff.

So when my beloved, and outstanding, travel agent (who definitely belongs in this blog because she had literally gotten us around the world), Susan Levine informed me on Wednesday that she had free tickets to see the Magic Flute the following night and she couldn't use them, I said sure, I'd take them. Actually it turned out there were four tickets and I spent what little free time I had on Wednesday, calling friends and trying to give them away. With no takers.

Then my dear friend, Nancy, emailed to say that a former friend of hers, a film make named Mark Wexler, was screening his new film at the Director's Guide which was not so far from Lincoln Center in Thursday from 6-8, and it too was free, and, if I was free, which I was, I could see Nancy to boot, so why not make an evening of it? Then Nancy told me that Mark Wexler is the son of the great cinematographer, Haskell Wexler, who coincidentally is the best childhood friend of my cousin, Barney Rosset, and who also stole Barney's high school girlfriend away and married her so, given all of this, I felt I had to go.

That morning, knowing I wasn't going to get much done, I met another friend, Susan, for a morning walk along the Battery, that turned into lunch and the early afternoon so I rushed home, showered, changed, headed out, went to pick up the free tickets to the opera, then met Nancy at the Parker Meridian Bar which is decorated with silk curtains and lounge chairs that reminded me of the Topkapi harem I'd visited just weeks before (more on the harem soon).

Nancy and I found a nice table for ourselves, but as the waitress came to take our order, Nancy had a lot of trouble deciding between the smoked salmon sandwich and the vegie sandwich and the waitress didn't really know what they had so she said she'd check. Meanwhile she brought us our water and me my glass of wine.

Just then a handsome man with a shock of gray hair, dressed all in black, asked if we were going to see the film and if we were with which we knew nothing about, but it turns out that it was a kind of single's way for meeting people, but we infact were not part of the group. Still the handsome man wanted to join us, but we had to rebuff him as Nancy and I had stories to share. We began tossing around tales from our love life, our health issues, our money and the lack of it. our friends, everyone we knew in common, her brother, my daughter...

Maybe I'm free associating here. But next thing we knew our waitress returned with not one, but both sandwiches saying that since we hadn't really been able to decided she brought us both and one was on her. Meanwhile I'd given Nancy a free copy of a friend's book because I'd gotten two in the mail and told Nancy that it was all a part of my free day.

The movie which I loved is called How to Live Forever. You have to see it and laugh, but I had to leave early because I had these tickets to the Met and I also had two that I couldn't give away to friends, though I'd tried. Karma seemed to be working so I decided to get the extra tickets to someone who wanted them, but I got to the Met at 7:55 and held up my tickets, and an elderly woman with a West Indian accent approached and asked how much and I told her they were free because they'd been free to me. "A gift," I told her as she looked at the tickets. "Orchestra," she cried, tears in her eyes.

I sat next to her (since I'd given her those seats) with Larry beside me and we loved the Opera, though I had to a lot of money for two glasses of rose champagne, but who cares because nothing else had cost anything.

As the curtain came down, Larry and I headed to the subway, the spell of the Met still in our minds, the wonder of dancing bears and flying food and a mythic bird with three spirit children on its back, a birds who come to life, and find love and a magic flute. A Chinese man ahead of us stroked his metrocard, then he stepped back from the turnstyle. He spoke very little English, but enough to say, "Go."

Go? He made a grand gesture with his hand.

For whatever reason this man decided not to take the train. So we even got a free ride home!

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