Let’s just say that when we planned an October trip to go to New York City to visit our daughter, my husband, Clif, and I did not expect to have to cope with a northeaster that alternated between driving snow, sleet, and rain. But, as I’ve become fond of saying, when it comes to the weather, weird is the new normal, and the weather was definitely weird this Saturday.
We knew bad weather was coming, of course, but hearty Mainers that we are, we decided to press on with our plans. It was the weekend of our daughter’s birthday, and we wanted to be there. How bad could it get?, we reasoned. We loaded up the cats with food and water and brought our dog, Liam, to Portland so that he could stay with our daughter Shannon and her husband, Mike. All the animals were well cared for.
As if to mock us, Friday, the day we left, was a beautiful sunny day with a bright blue sky. (The same was true for Sunday, the day we came back.)
But, oh, Saturday—which just happened to be our daughter’s birthday—with its rain, sleet, and snow. We had it all. Despite the bad weather, we decided to “Keep calm and Carry on” with our plans, which included a trip to Zucotti Park to visit Occupy Wall Street and to donate some homemade biscotti.
When we left Dee’s apartment, the rain was coming down hard, and armed with umbrellas that flipped in the wind, we made it to the subway without too much discomfort. Our first stop was Zucotti Park, and after 40 minutes or so on the subway, we emerged from the underground to a pelting, slanting snow, wet and heavy. We were soaked in minutes and very cold. We took pictures, found the food tent, and donated the biscotti. We got a distracted “Thank you and God bless” from one of the volunteers, but it was clear that nobody was in the mood to chat about food, so we left relatively quickly. (I don’t blame the volunteers at all. It was damned cold to be out there in that park.)
After that it was on to Chelsea Market, an old factory whose downstairs has been converted to a food market. All the stores are indoors where it is warm and dry, a perfect place to recover from weather that had gone from snow to sleet. By then, my shoes were soaked and so were my gloves. My hair was plastered to my head because I had given my umbrella to Clif while I took pictures of Occupy Wall Street.
We wandered about, checking out the various food places, and decided to stop at Bar Suzette, where crepes are meticulously and creatively made with fillings that range from sweet to savory. Dee got a savory crepe with portobello mushrooms, and Clif and I shared one with Nutella and bananas. Very tasty indeed. (I could have one right one.)
Because it was Dee’s birthday, we decided to let her plan the rest of the day.
“Well,” she replied. “You know what I would like to do—a movie, dinner, and another movie.”
As Captain Picard from Star Trek would say, “Make it so.”
We saw In Time, had dinner—our treat—at Spice restaurant, and then saw Margin Call. The movies are very different from each other yet both explore the nature of the greed that seems to be running unchecked in our society. In Time, which could fairly be called a “gourmet popcorn” movie, did it in an alternative reality, allegorical kind of way, where the world was divided between those who had time and those who did not. And I mean this quite literally. When your time ran out—there was some kind of clock on a person’s arm to keep track of such things—then you died. Those at the top hoarded time, keeping it from those at the bottom, who had to scrabble constantly to find time to carry on. Sound familiar? Margin Call was more direct, a morality story about the collapse of a firm obviously based on Lehman Brothers, where everyone is so corrupted by money that they do things they know they shouldn’t do and in fact would rather not do. A quiet but powerful movie.
As we were following our daughter around New York City, I had on odd, haunting thought. When I had her 34 years ago, I never would have guessed that on October 29, 2011 she would be leading the way through New York City, her home, and we would be following.
“What did you envision?” Dee asked when I mentioned this to her.
“Really, nothing,” I said. “We just wanted you to grow up to be healthy and strong.” And creative I might have added, but didn’t since I just thought of it now.
Dee is certainly strong, healthy, and creative, and she just had a birthday we will all remember.
Post Script: After the long ride home, Shannon had a hot meal waiting for us—roast chicken with lemon, thyme, and garlic; roasted potatoes and carrots; salad; and bread. It’s not every day that you find someone who will take care of your dog and who will also cook a lovely meal for you on your return. Lucky us!