New York City Trip:
Each time spring break rolls around, I promise myself to book a trip somewhere warm and tropical. I need desperately to escape the winter. I had every intention of skipping off to Cuba for a few days this year, but I never got around to planning it. And then the bombshell announcement popped up online that Sunset Boulevard was returning to Broadway, and that sealed my plans.
I have been desperate to see the play since the first moment I heard of its existence, and when I first did, I struggled to believe it was real. It was 2009, and I was reading the delicious autobiography Swanson on Swanson that Gloria wrote about her life on a balcony of the Hotel Welcome in Villefranche-sur-Mer. She mentioned that she had crafted her own musical adaptation, but it never got off the ground. As I was researching this oddity, I came across Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version, and I just fell completely head-over-heels in love with it. I never would have expected that wonderful movie could be transformed into such a beautiful show. And so, when the New York City announcement came, it was during my spring break, and so my fate was sealed. I booked a room at my darling Jane Hotel, I have a seat on the Amtrak, and then something extraordinary happened, reader. As I was perusing Atlas Obscura — a magnificent website for more strange and unusual things to do — I started screaming. On the day I arrive in New York City, at the exact same moment as I arrive in New York City, there is a Bob Brier lecture. If this doesn’t mean anything to you, I understand, but just know that he is my favorite Egyptologist of all time. He is funny and smart and he made a real mummy out of a donated corpse. I have so many of his books and they’re wonderfully readable. He makes ancient Egypt accessible for the less scholarly, which is a difficult and considerable gift. So I immediately bought tickets. I’m probably going to miss half of the lecture, but just seeing him for one minute will be worth the price. There’s a book signing when the lecture is complete, so I assume I will at least have the opportunity to meet him. I’m giddy. I can’t wait. And aside from Glenn and Bob, there are so many wonderful things to do and to eat. I can’t wait to treat myself like a member of the Viennese aristocracy at the Café Sabarsky and then pretend I’m in French-occupied Casablanca at the Café Gitane. And I’ll stroll through the park. And it’ll just be an utterly lovely time. Hurry up, March!
January, one of the bleakest times, has finally departed for another year. And although we are living in frightening times as a worrying government grows stronger and bolder each day, there are still little things that please me. And it takes a lot these days, reader. I grow rapidly concerned about the state of affairs on our capital. I have studied history all my life and the things that are happening now seem ripped straight out of the books I’ve read. It’s not normal for a president or any decent leader to act the way ours is right now. There are so many worrying telltale signs about him that need to be sorted before something awful happens. I don’t know if enough people care enough to resist for four years though. Life is hard enough as it is, being a revolutionary is an added burden that many can’t bare. But onto lighter topics. I am quite ill. It’s not the multiple sclerosis business this time, it’s a cold that is probably the flu but I shan’t call it the flu and give it permission to flourish in my body. It’s got me exhausted, achy, and I’ve never sneezed more in my life. So I spent plenty of the day staring melancholically out the window. It warmed my weary heart to see the snow melting. It was an absurdly warm day for the end of January and I expect most of it will be gone tomorrow. I’m better when there isn’t any snow on the ground. My body is not adapted to this climate. And genetically, I’ve learned, I might have a recessive trait and that statement could be absolutely true. I’m built for the heat and sun. And the melting snow reminded me that time marches inexorably forward. Nothing stops the Earth from spinning or the seasons changing. We might not all survive the new administration, but I take comfort that the world will go on as it always has even when the world’s gone mad.
Sylvia Scarlett is a terrible picture. I read some reviews in the New York Times from 1935 that decimated the movie. I really enjoyed going over this review because the construction was so different from the ones we read today. They didn’t just pan the movie because it was bad and then leave the reviewers to make assumptions about the quality of the rest of the film. They individually praise the actors and give the majority of the blame on the director and the story, which is where the blame often falls. It was as terrible as they said.
But, even though it was abysmal and the plot made little sense, it was so much fun, reader. Nothing delights me more than a gender bending comedic romp. It reminded me very vaguely of Victor/Victoria, which is one of my very favorite movies of all time. If you haven’t seen it, yet, you need to remedy this crime immediately. But we aren’t talking about Julie Andrews pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. God, I love that movie. Anyway, in Sylvia Scarlett Katherine Hepburn plays a young girl who escapes to England and for reasons that aren’t justified satisfactorily, she decides she has to ferry across the English Channel as a boy, so she lops off her hair and then nothing bad happens. It’s dumb. And then Cary Grant shows up with a horrific Cockney accent so appalling that I was shocked. He’s English. He has a real English accent, but he could not pull this off. He plays a scam artist and he takes in Sylvia, who is now Sylvester, and her father and they become crappy thieves. Then, for reasoned that are barely explained, the trio goes on the road as a singing troupe and then Sylvia falls in love with an artist and nonsense ensues and then they jump off a train. It’s terrible. I highly recommend it.
Shiatsu Massage Chairs in the Mall:
Have you ever sat in one of those chairs at the mall that gives you a massage for a couple dollars? I never have as I assumed they were inadequate and would do nothing more than buzz at me. Reader, I was intensely wrong. I am now utterly and completely obsessed with these magical chairs, and may have driven to the mall just for a chair massage. I am not ashamed of it, and I will most certainly do it again. I’m not sure if my painful back is due to my spinal curvature, stress and tension in my shoulders, or if it is due to multiple sclerosis. It could be a combination of all these miseries, but the exact culprit is unknown to me. Someday I will get it sorted. This winter, the pain in me has grown in intensity, and on a few occasions it becomes utterly unbearable. I feel like a crippled fool, so out of desperation I stuck two dollars in one of those shiatsu chairs. Reader, my life changed for the better. I had no anticipation of what was about to happen, but I didn’t expect it to massage me so well. When I sat up after the first treatment, I was fabulously impressed by how light I felt, how magical it was to feel cured of all that ails me. Of course I wasn’t and the tension and pain came back a few hours later, but during those few moments, I knew true bliss. If I had the money — or if it’s possible to get a prescription for one of these — I would sit in one of these chairs every morning after I woke up. It would squeeze my legs and pummel my back and massage every ailment out of my neck. Then I could go about my day with enthusiasm instead of the mortification of being a cripple. Instead, I just have to go to the mall. Next Wednesday I’m going to sit in one for a half hour and live my best life. It’ll be the best ten dollars I ever spend. But seriously, can you get a prescription that I can write off my taxes? If you know anything about this, comment below! I need my health back.
There is nothing good about the word cold. Nothing. Well, I suppose I don’t mean that entirely since I could go for a freezing cold gin martini, but aside from that perfect cocktail, I hate everything to do with cold. But you know that since I bitch about it all the time. But in this instance I mean an illness. I’m never sick, reader. We’ve discussed this before. For decades I knew that if I believed in my health and sent positive thoughts throughout my brain that I’d be healthy and live forever. Then I got multiple sclerosis and realized that I wasn’t going to live forever. That still bums me out. But this lengthy introduction is to say that I’ve been sick for the past four days. I haven’t been able to breathe or sleep, I’ve had aches in my head and my body, I’ve sneezed more than any human has a reason to, and I’ve missed two days of work to spend in bed. It’s been right miserable, reader. After days of doing nothing but making tea and hot toddies, I finally found the strength this afternoon to get up and cook dinner. This was quite an achievement after days of involuntary lethargy. So I made the spiciest shakshuka I could tolerate, and I found my sinuses clearing out. That was so helpful. I’m not going to say what ails me because I don’t know exactly, and I can’t name a disease or I’ll get it. So I’ll just say I had a cold, even if it is probably the flu. I had a fever too, but I never checked it. I have fever spots on my teeth — which doesn’t seem to be an actual thing. But it is reader. That’s all in the past now. Well mainly in the past. I’m finally well enough to get back to work and back to life. Never get sick, darling readers, nothing is more annoying in this whole wide world.