I had an idea for a column on "What's the thing I miss most, and have stopped doing because of my age?" I introduced the topic up over lunch at the 19th Century Club. One the women immediately answered "nightly sex." And we were off.
The week before the election of the new Pope, who appears to be a good man, I blogged about men who wore fancy hats and robes as symbols of power. I intended to put forth a reasoned inquiry into outdated customs, but, as is my wont, I was more than a bit snarky.
We're in an avalanche of media coverage of men who wear dresses and beanies. The cardinals of the Catholic church have hiked up their robes and headed for Rome to elect a new Pope, who will have earned the right to wear the trendy and embarrassing red Prada loafer. Actually, the Cardinals are meeting at the Vatican, called the Holy See, where nobody does. I have no objection to men wearing dresses and fancy hats, except for the corollaries.
I saw something lovely on the L platform last week. A man had a baby tucked inside the top of his overcoat with just the top of the baby's head sticking out. Every so often the baby would raise its head and then plop it back on his chest - making a little game, enjoying being secure, I thought. The man was staring straight ahead, lost in thought. He carried a briefcase and I guessed that he had taken the baby to work that day. Fatherhood in the modern family, not dreamed of when I was having children.
During every natural disaster, there are people who refuse to evacuate. We gape at the TV and ask ourselves: "Why didn't they leave? Are they nuts? Who are these people?" I call them crackpots. Because I can.
When I heard that Nora Ephron had died, I felt it in the pit of my stomach. I had to call a friend. She felt it, too. However, it took me a long time to get around to writing about Nora Ephron. As her friend Meryl Streep put it, ""How do you talk about a friend who said everything you wished you could say, everything you wanted to say in the world, but better?"
You know you're getting old when two friends call to check on you during the heat wave. Wait a sec, I just called to check on my sister, who's really old (87) and you're checking on me? Oh, well, it's the thought that counts, and I was grateful to share war stories. Over 100 degrees for days in a row. And more on the way. Wow.
Ken Trainor nailed it in his one of his recent column on turning sixty, or should I say he hit it out of the men's room, which he'll be visiting more frequently as he grows older. I agree with him on most of what he said, such as his "share of regrets and joys," stored in a memory that "can no longer be entirely trusted." Amen to that.
"If this is an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room." Sound familiar? It's the message you get when you call most doctors. It usually precedes or follows upwards of half a dozen other choices. Sometimes none of them put you in touch with a live person - you have to "do your time" first. I like to call the Appointment Slapdown System or A.S.S.