Good evening from a rainy, sleety New York with sidewalks that are slick with ice.
Now, does that sound like a winter wonderland? Well, not to me either, but it is what we have tonight. With our reasonably-well-functioning public transport, we New Yorkers are generally able to just go with the flow as the unpleasant side of winter tries to interfere with our pursuit of happiness.
But, this is getting close to Christmas, and we all do have lists to check off, parties to attend, and even the usual round of errands staring at us.
For myself, this was to be a day off with lots of required appearances, nonetheless. But the weather chased most of the requisites away. I not so quietly cheered.
I did not need to attend the previously scheduled meeting downtown at 9 this morning, and so I did not set my alarm clock and let the darker-than-usual sun up allow me to sleep a bit late. But then it was up and down to the basement laundry room (now undergoing some of the signs of renovation that the new owners of this building are bestowing upon all floors of their new property.)
The early morning was rain, then sleet, then snow, then a slow reversal of the earlier special effects. I figured that if I could wrap up in weather-proof and warm layers, I should, post laundry, set out to do lots of Christmas shopping, and other errands. And so I did.
A great achievement for this small-shoe-sized person, on this foul weather day, was that I took my dripping down-coated, damp-parcel-carrying person into a neighborhood shoe shop, and asked the staff (I was the only customer on this bad weather afternoon) what waterproof, snowproof and warm boots do you have in size 5.5? Well. They showed me a fine little style, made in Canada (Pondside, take note) and a very simple design with just a little bit of edge. Hey, that is me, very simple with just a bit of edge.
I was very glad to take those little black boots home with me and to have a chance to warm up before the next required appearance of the day.
My shop was to have its holiday dinner party tonight, but thank goodness when I got home and called the shop, those there had already decided wisely, to postpone that festivity.
Great. Because I had another festive function to attend late this afternoon, a retirement farewell reception for a dear friend whom I first met back in the early 1970's when we were both archivists at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
There is no way that I would have missed attending this party, held in a rarefied lounge area of the Met. I definitely wanted to be there to honor my friend, but also to take another of my walks down memory lane. Sleet and snow and frozen sidewalks and a long wait for a crosstown bus, none of them were a deterrent.
Yes, it has been thirty years since I was an archivist at the Met, and in those thirty years I have been through many changes in my life. There were very few people whom I recognized at the party. Strangely, what interested me was that any regrets that I had wondered about ... whether I would be sorry to have given up the museum life, if re-entering that society this evening at a very high level would give me doubts about my decisions.... Well. None of that remotely true. The many people gathered about with glasses of wine, and tidbits to munch on, seemed sort of insular, a bit self-congratulatory. Virgo that I am, I could not help but check out various bits of body language, and wonder at the subtle messages that were being sent across the beautiful, large room. Messages that would mean little outside of that huge Museum building.
I was happy to see some other old pals, besides the honoree, and to chat a bit. Our old boss, a glamorous male, who featured in many society column photos, made a last minute appearance. It was fun to chat a bit with him. But all in all, I was glad to be able to take the elevator down to the first floor, and walk through the beautiful Museum lobby, out the front door and down the marble front stairs. I was so happy that all ice had been cleared from those marble steps! There was a very long wait for a bus to take me back westward across the park, but that time in the chilled evening air (with fur-edged hood up on my down coat at this point ... it was getting cold) gave me more time to contemplate some life decisions that I have made.
The career that I work so hard in now is very demanding, not very intellectually driven, but is very people focused. Tonight, as I look forward to another long day, mainly on my feet, tomorrow at the shop, I am glad that I have tried so many different ways to making my way in the world. Each career choice has had its reasons, and each aftermath has had its pluses and minuses. My current choice is still in the plus column, no matter how much I might whinge from time to time in this space.