08.20.08: three sizes that day


my husband's mother's brother's wife's son's wife, ann, a lovely woman i met four years ago at a memorial service in arizona, saw ferris pass out at 31 flavors last night called me out of the blue a few weeks ago: she and her husband and their little daughter would coming out to nyc from utah this week, and how would we feel about getting together? i thought it was a fine idea, so we met them down at south street seaport to take a harbor cruise past the statue of liberty and those olafur eliasson waterfalls all the kids have been talking about.*

it was steamy and horrible in the city on monday, so getting off the island and being breezed about for an hour was more than fine. it was also nice to have an excuse to do the tourism-in-one's-own-city thing: i can be diligent about getting out to museums and things like shakespeare in the park, but i tend to forget about things like liberty island. it was also also nice to demonstrate to myself that i can handle hanging out with people i don't know very well (silly, but a huge deal for someone as shy as i am). i'd met ann and mike a grand total of once - at the aforementioned memorial service - but they're such effortlessly warm people that my nerves stopped jangling within minutes of meeting them on the dock.

the softest high note of the day, though, was spending time with mike and ann's little daughter. at eighteen months, with wispy blond hair, bottomless brown eyes, and a fluorescent green pedicure, she's a heartbreaker. ann's fluent in sign language and has already taught her eighty or ninety signs, so she responds to speech with both typical wee girl adorableness and surprisingly complex gestures (when i asked her if she wanted a water bottle i was holding, she signed, "no, mom! - and cheese."). she got to joe, too, and the look on his face when she passed out in his arms like a little sack of potatoes gave my shriveled old heart a kick. being childfree doesn't mean that i hate kids, internets: on the contrary, we get along famously (i spent two years as a camp counselor, long ago when the earth was flat: i'm like a jukebox for the under-7 set). achtung, friends and siblings! we are totally going to spoil your children.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 what's your relationship with the touristy stuff in your neighborhood?

02 what do you think of eliasson's waterfalls? how about christo's gates?

03 new york described michael phelps's body as being like "one of those long balloons you make animals out of, except for someone filled it with water and gerbils." what on earth does that mean?

*actually, most people responded to these with a really aggressive yawn, which sort of surprised me. what's so offensive about water sculpture? i have taken other public art extremely personally, though (i really hated christo's gates, for reasons i am nowhere near understanding), so maybe i shouldn't judge.


tom said...

Interesting you bring up the touristy stuff. We just had some delightfully pointless proceedings here: the Chicago Air and Water Show. And it was a nice weekend too... not a cloud in the sky, gentle lake bree--


Something about supersonic jets flying at low altitude RIGHT BY MY PLACE puts me off.

You kind of got a flavor of this when you were here. But: Chicagoans generally have a love-hate deal with things that are tourist-oriented, particularly if they are lowbrow and/or magnets for suburbanites who don't know any better. Exhibit A: Navy Freaking Pier. [Odd: Wrigley, generally, gets a pass on this.] Architecture cruises and the Art Institute, on the other hand, are educational and therefore much, much easier to swallow or tolerate.

babyjo said...

hollywood blvd. at ANY POINT IN TIME, EVER, sucks. though i will say: watching a middle aged ariel muffintop her fin while reapplying cakey face makeup in front of graumann's chinese theater was amusing and obviously memorable.

also, when i do have kids, feel free to spoil the hell out of them -- but you're going to have to wait til i'm at least 30 to start reading that chapter.

enjelani said...

oh so *that's* what those are. i glimpsed one of the Eliassons from the BQE the other night - not knowing it was a well-publicized art piece made it a nice innocent discovery, probably of the sort he intended: "whoa, that luxury condo's going to be on the waterfront all right...wait. that's not a building. there's stuff...spilling from the top? and it's all lit up! kinda like an urban waterfall! how cool." spent the next half hour lost in thoughts of the what-is-natural/what-is-art variety. that and trying not to rear-end anyone.

count this as a non-yawn!

Meg said...

Awww... I'm skipping the reading group questions and going right to your adorable description of the 18th month old, which is possibly my favorite age ever. They are smart and interactive, understand you but can't talk much yet. It's the perfect baby grown up blend. Sigh.

You just improved my day a little. And yes, it needed improving.

And, though I'm totally down with Alcatraz and cable cars, I like taking people to the more obscure SF and area sites. How about the Camera Obscura, the pirate store, and wading in the Russian River? We give a mean tour, if people just let us do our thing.