This morning I crossed paths with the elderly Indian gentleman I see most mornings on my way to work. We went through our usual routine: I smile and say good morning, and he smiles back, performs an elegant flourish with his hand, and responds, “and a very good day to you.” Not only is hisContinue reading “The five lessons I learned from strangers”
Last week I was looking for my boss when I noticed Nabokov’s Pale Fire on a colleague’s desk. I asked her, “Are you reading this?” Realizing how condescending that sounded, I tried to make a joke of it and added, “Or what?”
It wasn’t stomach pain that finally drove me to a gastroenterologist, it was embarrassment. My innards were getting progressively louder. They started by sounding like a creaking door at a haunted house and eventually worsened into the howls of a depressed hound dog. The doctor ran a few humiliating exams and suggested I get anContinue reading “Candid camera”
I’m meeting an old friend for dinner at Angelica Kitchen (yes, no possessive) and arrive early. I ask for a table for two, and the hostess tells me I have to wait for the rest of my party.
A girl in college once told me she thought that people who liked the same bands could probably be friends. Her sentiment struck me as terribly naïve, but it’s taken me two decades to question my own assumption that people who like the same books share a sensibility. Last week my wife and I wentContinue reading “Don’t judge a book by its readers”
As I wait for the train at Queensboro Plaza I see a young woman on the platform trying to make herself heard over the noise. I can’t make out what she’s saying, but it’s clear that she’s asking a question and everybody is ignoring her. I notice that she’s holding a few brightly colored cords in oneContinue reading “Sorry I asked”
Here’s a sad story. When the weather allows, I like to take a break from work and visit the Strand’s kiosk in Central Park. While there, I methodically browse through all the books on sale, starting at one end and making my way to the other without skipping a single book. But this isn’t the sadContinue reading “A disturbing peek into my psyche”
After a recent vacation in Yucatan in which we encountered an alarming number of Hemingway lookalikes loitering shirtless on the beach, I returned to New York resolved that my resemblance to literary figures would end at my Sartrean eyes. I signed up at the local YMCA to join their Pilates classes posthaste.
At a recent night out with another couple, we followed Indian food with a nightcap at Rolf’s, a German restaurant. (Thankfully the ethnic leap was mitigated by the bartender, who was Bangladeshi.) It’s not often that I get to talk about my literary obsessions with a willing participant, so I drunkenly tried to keep upContinue reading “An eye for an eye”
The whole thing started off badly. I forgot that Fran Lebowitz had rescheduled her talk at BAM when I scheduled a visit to my parents, so Sabine had to give away my ticket to a friend. The day of departure I woke up at 4:30 in the morning and arrived at the airport an hour andContinue reading “Fear of flying (to Texas)”