After the call with Andrew on Tuesday, and Everything Else, I finally escaped New York.
I’ve been like that lately — when the going gets tough, the tough get the hell out of Manhattan.
Maybe I was always like that. But I’ve been cautioned that I sound plaintive or depressive sometimes when I write (to the point where one of my friends was intervening in my affairs because she thought I had…problems…yikes), so I’ve been trying to balance escapism with serious cheeriness.
So it was a car to JFK; JFK to LHR; LHR to AMS. Arrived at AMS Wednesday morning to springtime sunshine, which, my colleague pointed out, was precisely what the Impressionist painters saw when they painted their waterlilies, and still-lifes, and eerie self-portraits.
(This is what the approach to Amsterdam looks like if you are coming from London.)
I arrived in Amsterdam to a day of meetings during which my fitbit, one of my iPhones, and my garmin were promptly stolen. I’d stored my luggage during one set of meetings, and all of my electronics were removed from an external pocket.
No matter. It was just…stuff.
Back to London; quick stop at a friend’s new flat in Holland Park to see the gorgeous north/south exposure and early evening light through the trees on the park. The new place was great — spacious, gorgeous, and homey, with a view of the park beyond the treeline.
I came out of my friend’s place and out on to the street. I wanted to drink in the air, and the evening sunshine. I wanted to kiss every single petal falling from the trees. It had been such a long, dark winter in New York that the London springtime felt like such luxury. In fact, the day I’d left New York had been the first day in more than six months that I’d worn something so light as a trench coat!
The car took me on to my hotel.
I hadn’t stayed at this place in over 18 months; I tend to avoid it for lots of reasons — one being that this hotel once gave out my personal information to someone that they shouldn’t have; another being that I’d once been kissed in the lobby when I was in the throes of a strange, lovely, and utterly confusing romance. It had been one of those moments that had been So Perfect and So Wonderful, that it has been almost physically painful to walk through the lobby since.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I’m just saying that it’s funny how life changes.
Also, this hotel is old…and loud. Which I’ve complained about to them before, so there must’ve been a black mark in my file where they had noted: Irritating, Whiney American. The travel agent must’ve also alerted them, because they sent the VIP/Embassy Relations Staff to greet me upon arrival.
The VIP Greeter took me up to my room, during which time he discovered they’d put me in a gorgeous, well-appointed suite, next to a Jack Russell Terrier, who apparently had his own suite, and was barking his head off about it.
I am so so so sorry, the VIP Greeter said, This would drive me nuts!
Nah, doesn’t bother me. I love dogs, I laughed.
No, we will move you. We will upgrade you. We will put you in the bridal suite if we have to. I think we have a bride in there, but we will put you there!
(For the record, I don’t think this hotel even has a bridal suite…)
It’s fine. If he doesn’t stop barking, I will let you know. But I am sure that once his owner comes back, he’ll shut up. I know dogs. He just wants something.
Are you certain?
Eventually, the dog stopped. And I went downstairs for a walk, down the grand staircase, to the gorgeous lobby where I once held on to someone who stroked my hair and kissed me on the lips and forehead. I walked outside into the London springtime night, and everything felt…not just okay, but good. Really good.
It’s good to love the warmer weather, and beautiful things, and being out of one’s comfort zone. It’s good to accept that it’s only stuff when things go missing. It’s good to have loved before and to feel the twinge of loss and to have moved on, and even feel the bit of longing when back in places that remind you of those really great experiences.
And it was good to hear the barking of a terrier and confirm that I love dogs, and am not bothered by them at their best and worst, but my decision not to take my ex-husband’s dogs was the right one, and I don’t feel guilt or fear or sadness in making that choice.
Wednesday night in London was good.