March 5, 2014 —
Sheila is in Costa Rica with friends, where the sunsets are “spectacular!” John and Robert are on their way to Jamaica to rest their heads in Noel Coward’s bedroom. Barry and Tony are just back from Cabo. What am I doing wrong?
March is coming in lion-hearted and I’m in Brooklyn, too intimidated by the threat of Titan even to venture upstate for a much-needed diversion from slushy city sidewalks.
This is winter. When even 2,000 milligrams of Vitamin D can’t lift my spirits, I know it’s time to get moving. Last weekend the temperature climbed above 40 degrees and I considered taking the bike out for a spin around the park. But by the time I had walked the dog and returned to my overly warm apartment, the idea had fled and I took refuge in the virtual companionship of Facebook. Yes, my husband was home, but conversation with a real human is so much less manageable than the “click and like” of Facebook interactions. Sometimes it’s just all I can handle.
The Oscar race brought a momentary gold glow to my surroundings. Our son, newly the most eligible bachelor in New York, found the company of his parents (and their well-stocked bar) a good alternative to his empty apartment on Oscar night. Besides, he can’t afford cable.
He even accompanied me to see the last movie on my Academy Award nominees list, “The Dallas Buyers Club.” And although the film ignited memories of the ugliness of the early AIDS crisis and the toll it took on friends and family, my son’s company, witty and warm-hearted even in his love-lorn state, cheered me. Maybe Facebook, tweets and emails can’t equal the companionship of a flesh-and-blood human being after all.
February. Even though it is the shortest month, it drags on, a torturous repetition of gray and cold, at least here in the Northeast. It’s a cold that settles in your bones requiring long-johns and extra blankets, mittens and balaclavas. It encourages bad habits like alcohol and rich food. It should encourage writing, a hunker-down kind of marathon of self-purging, but too often for me, it leads to reading endless newspaper accounts of wars, the ones that are ending badly and the ones that are starting.
It’s so easy to complain about winter. But at least the city provides so much in the way of distraction, if only you can brave the cold. It’s easier to grab the subway, or in our case, walk across the street to the Brooklyn Museum, than it is to dig out the car and brave the black ice on country roads to attend an art show or even a movie. I miss watching the changing shadows of light on the frozen river, the pink moments of dawn and dusk and the antics of wintering eagles from my green couch by the fireplace. But I have taken everyone I could wrangle to see the Jean-Paul Gaultier show at the Brooklyn Museum. And we have taken in more ballet this season than most, enjoying the new programs at New York City Ballet that are geared to bringing in younger audiences (which we are not) and the public art and lower prices that accompany them.
Still, maybe next year I will remember to book a warm-weather winter vacation in February.