It was a glorious weekend: Cold, sunny, filled with friends and wine and adventure.
I woke up late on Saturday after 15 hours of sleep. By the time I’d gone to bed on Friday night, the week had turned itself around dramatically. What had begun and dragged on as a dreary, dreadful sort of Monday through Friday afternoon, by evening, had morphed into Laduree macarons (the best kind!), and a new bottle of perfume in my most-beloved scent that I had picked up on my way back from the office. That evening also brought word that Kat had just been sworn in as an American citizen, among other great news.
Good things were afoot.
And then I fell asleep. For fifteen hours. Until I rolled over to answer the phone on Saturday morning, to take my friend TenKey’s call. We were meeting for brunch before a day of museums and possibly dinner with other friends of his. I was sort-of tagging along since my plans had been postponed until mid-next-week. Which was fine, really, since TenKey lived in Denver and the last time I’d seen him was in August in Notting Hill, when we were running from the London rioters.
It was as we hung up that I noticed something. My right thumb was working. It hurt like hell, but it was functioning. Stiff, but moveable. It hadn’t been usable in four months or so.
TenKey, Jenn, and I met for brunch at a cafe near me, and then we were off for the Tate Modern. The day was bright, and breathtakingly cold, so it was a perfect day to be inside. Upon arrival, we discovered that the Yayoi Kusama exhibit was open. I had seen her Love Forever exhibit at LACMA in Los Angeles in 1998, and it had blown my young mind. I’d had a poster of one of her Accumulations — the Boat — above my bed for years afterwards.
I’d left Los Angeles not too many years after that, when I looked at my then-boyfriend, George, and said, This has all begun to look like a David Hockney painting. It’s like we’re living in Nichols Canyon. Which we weren’t — but we weren’t too far from it. I was in Westwood proper, and he was just off Beverly Glen. But our lives had become too many shades and shapes; protrusions and dots; bright bits of sad things. (It is no small irony, then, that I have tickets to the Hockney exhibit at the Royal Academy this week; that the Kusama poster hung above our shared bed.)
TenKey, Jenn and I walked through the Tate Modern; made our way through the surrealists; the dreamers; the poets. Then we went to the top of the Tate for tea.
Afterwards, we went down and walked along the south bank of the Thames, planning to meet some friends of TenKey’s and Jenn’s in from Amsterdam.
The walk was cold, but beautiful. (I snapped better, more glittery shots of this view, but I preferred this one, where it looks like Jenn is TenKey’s alien baby, emerging head-first from his gut.) Of course, I don’t own a pair of gloves, so by this point, my hands had begun to freeze. Thankfully, we met the other members of the party shortly after this photo was taken.
The rest of the evening was a blur of laughter and wine; me insisting that we order nachos; the waiter bringing us nine bottles of ketchup since it was painfully obvious by the request for nachos that we were Americans.
We parted ways just around midnight.
And as I settled into bed last night, it occurred to me that perhaps it all seemed so perfect because ordinary life, like art, is sometimes better observed from a bit of a distance.