Second Avenue Fourth

I’ve been busy and frustrated lately, and those two things make me a very bad writer.

So I can’t really issue an apology for the hiatus. Trust me when I tell you that you wanted me to take time away.

Yesterday was obviously Fourth of July in the States, which is when we celebrate American independence from Britain, and which is when I make all sorts of tired jokes about how I have not yet won any such independence.  But again, I’ll spare you — since I am well-known for beating dead horses.

In the afternoon, Miss Mal and JM hosted a barbecue, since it was a mid-week holiday, and it was a bit problematic for us to do our usual sloppy pilgrimmage out to Connecticut to Kat and Matthew’s.  Instead, we had a very family-friendly affair with JM’s daughter, Princess Z.

(Blurry picture of fruit and wine.  I could not get the light settings right on the camera — even with the auto feature on.)

It reminded me that everything’s changing.  After the incredible upheaval of 2008-2009, I find myself more resistant to change — in fact, a little scared of it.  Sometimes, angry about it.  Sometimes, saying But I already DID this.  Stop it, immediately

So after the party, which ended a bit early, since there was a munchkin to consider and work the next day, Strand, Kasey and I stopped by a fro-yo place on Second Avenue to refresh ourselves as the day was sweltering and it seemed like a good enough dinner, or pre-dinner dessert.  Strand put together some delightful looking thing, and I concocted a creation that was essentially more sprinkles than fro-yo.  Then we took seats outside the cafe (if it could indeed be called a cafe).  Except, they had no outdoor seating, just a few plastic chairs haphazardly placed in front of the front window.

And there we sat, for an hour and half.  At some point, Kasey joined us.

Have you ever people-watched on Second Avenue?  I have, but I hadn’t — at least, not in that way.  You begin to notice things about the buildings around you, and the passers-by, and yourself, that you’d never in a million years have noticed if you were in the outdoor seating of a restaurant, or even an observant passer-by yourself.

Second Avenue is a very weird place.  Families, and hookers, and homeless people.  Extraordinarily weathy women — ones who look like they might be first wives; the ones who made it! — bickering with their husbands, loudly, out in public in their grotesque and unitelligible tri-state area accents. 

Second Avenue is a mix of extremes.  From the people, to the apartments — it has multi-million dollar brownstones tucked on the numbered streets just off the Avenue; giant, glistening high-rises in all of their gaudy, new-moneyed glory growing out of the torn-apart sidewalks; ancient, crumbling walk-ups housing students and the area’s long-time, rent-controlled residents.

Some of the buildings had more apartments in them than we thought.  They had roof-decks — nice ones — with people out grilling.  Shirtless boys, with bikini’d girlfriends.  Young.  Was I ever that young — was I that young even when I was 22?  Will everyone I ever date leave me for someone that young? 

So what if I had crow’s feet?  I had more money and a better body.  And even just saying that in my head reminded me of Kathy Bates saying something vaguely similar (but having to do with…insurance?) in Fried Green Tomatoes, which put an image in my head of Kathy Bates in a saran-wrap dress, which instantly made me feel a little queasy.

It was that moment on Second Avenue when it occurred to me how angry I was; how guilty I felt about being angry.  How much I disliked most women under 25 these days; how much I resented the things that men seemed to want; how furious I was about the things I had sacrificed over the last ten years and was only starting to get back.

And how sad I was that I felt that way.  Wow. 

So we finished our pseudo stoop-sitting, and I went home with the thunderclap of fireworks just beginning.

I think I am reaching; seeking.  There is obviously no way to make perfect decisions, and there is no way to stop time.  I’m never going to strike a perfect balance — I’m never going to be a perfect friend; I’m never going to be the kind of woman who doesn’t blab about her bizarro dream about killer squirrels; I’m always going to be a little silly and a little strange — a mix of perfectionist and peculiar.

A bit like Second Avenue, maybe.


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