Friday, October 9, 2009

Random Thoughts on a Friday

I have been negligent. I had intended to write something in (on?) this blog on a more regular basis, at least several times a week. But there are gaps. Since I’ve no expectation to see another play until November, there would be an awfully large gap if all I wrote here were reviews, so…..Random Thoughts Day. Do any of us wish to be working our subsistence-to-have-health-insurance jobs? Of course not. What better day for jotting down random thoughts than a brisk autumn Friday. Molly muses….

I’m a late bloomer. I only just discovered Tim O’Brien. Good golly. In the Lake of the Woods is a horrific tale exceedingly well told. What is reality? What is truth? What is sanity? O’Brien questions me. I love it. Now I have to read all his works. He has an excellent essay in the Atlantic’s fiction issue:

The bartenders at “Still” (3rd at 17th) may be swell guys, but they’re not bartenders. I’m sure they can pull a bottle of beer out of a bucket of ice, but when one requests a Manhattan, bartenders should not head for the vodka. I was only there for a charity event and a friend’s stint at guest bartending. Luckily I had coached her on the ingredients. She recognized right away that, despite the professional’s directions, the ingredients I’d mentioned were brown, not white. So, “Still” for swill and Boston games, and that’s all.

I recall a moment from decades ago when I was visiting London. It was on a tour – not a tour in which I was working, a tourist’s “If It’s Tuesday This Must Be Belgium” kind of tour: bags outside the hotel room by 6 or 7 in the morning, and never knowing where you really were. My mother and I were the northerners on a tour bus with mostly alum of Duke University. Hoping to return back home with a British accent, I ended up with a southern one instead. One evening in a hotel bar – don’t ask me which hotel or which city, but I’m sure it was England, not Scotland or Wales. Definitely not York, they were friendly if incomprehensible there – I ordered a mixed drink. I was not much of a drinker then (don’t choke), and all I really knew was rye and ginger. Seemed simple enough. The bartender, whom I would now consider quite rude and perhaps incompetent, asked belligerently, “Do you see it?” I wondered what I had done. Was asking for rye whiskey an insult to his county, his country, his manhood? Rye is in England, honestly, in the south, it was one of the Cinque Ports once upon a time. Assuming I was, in some unknown way of the ugly American, in the wrong, I did not tell him where Rye was. I just accepted whatever he gave me. Which had no rye or ginger ale in it. I didn’t like it. Oddly worrisome is that, although this occurred almost thirty years ago, I remember the moment so clearly.

I find myself being ‘friended’ on Facebook by old friends and acquaintances from Queens, people I have not seen, or thought of, in decades. Nor, I regret to say, have I missed any of them. Do I want to revisit those times? Not particularly. Well then, you may well ask, what am I doing on Facebook at all? Ach, all this self reflection, can it be good for the soul? For the harmonies of body and mind? I think not.

I tell you, I feel light as air since I finished that long dreaded ‘capsule endoscopy’ on Tuesday. I’ve no results yet, it’s just over, so I feel better already. Recipe for a stressful day: Walking through the danger zone of federal and city cops in lower Manhattan while wearing testing paraphernalia that could pass for a bomb. I wonder if those monitors taped to my belly could sense that as the capsule wended its way through my GI tract. It really didn’t matter that I had a letter from the doctor that said, and I quote, “To Whom It May Concern, Today, Mr(s). ______ is undergowing [sic] a diagnostic capsule endoscopy. For this reason equipment is attached to the patient’s body and should not be removed before the study is over.” I must have an honest face, because my body looked pretty strange, yet I didn’t have to hand that letter to anyone. No law enforcement professional or amateur stopped me despite the blinking black box (the size of two original SONY Walkman glued together) strapped to my waist. No one in the streets around the Municipal Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, or City Hall so much as took a second look. What a weird city.

Finally, and apropos of nothing, there’s a not new movie opening this weekend in NY, Chicago, and probably LA: “Trucker.” I saw it a year and a half ago at Tribeca Film Festival and loved it. Michele Monaghan actually learned to drive that truck and has a trucker’s license. If she continues to give performances like this one, she shouldn’t ever need it. And Nathan Fillion – will the world please see him as the film star he so clearly is? Check your local movie schedules for a gutsy movie. And have a great weekend.

~­ Molly Matera signing off. Thanks for stopping by.

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