Thursday, April 05, 2012

Drinking whisky and rye, unfortunately

a very dangerous bar
Yesterday I returned from 36 hours in New York City where I attended some business meetings, missed my reservation at Ko (infuriating and a long story), stayed in an "interesting" budget hotel called the Pod, coveted the pink Oriental rugs at ABC Carpet, and drank two rye manhattans at Bemelemans Bar, which is a beautiful, beautiful bar but if you ever go there you should not drink two manhattans because each Bemelmans manhattan is like two ordinary manhattans and you will regret them, especially if you have to get up a few hours later and board a 6 hour flight and then, on your way home from the airport, stop at the feed store and buy 2 bales of alfalfa hay, 100 pounds of chicken crumbles, 100 pounds of goat complete, and a bottle of iodine in anticipation of a goat birth. The walls of Bemelmans are decorated with murals by Ludwig Bemelmans, the author of the Madeline books, and it is very cozy and charming. They give you cheese straws and if you drink two manhattans, I recommend you eat a lot of cheese straws.

Tuesday, pre-Bemelmans, I was in a moderately good mood when I stepped out of a taxi, slammed the door, and realized I had left my wallet on the seat. The cab drove away. I had no money! I had no driver's license! I would be unable to board the plane 12 hours hence! Forty-five panicked seconds later, I found the wallet in an odd pocket of my overly large purse. Elation. I was no longer in a moderately good mood, I was now in a great mood -- much better than before I'd "lost" the wallet. Is there a name for this sudden enhancement of mood following a brush with minor catastrophe? Maybe in German?

I now felt radiant -- light and happy and bouncy because it was a sunny evening in New York City, I was going to meet my nice editor for a drink, and I hadn't lost my wallet. I was wearing my favorite dress and a new sweater, the meetings were over, and, holy smokes, I felt awesome. About one minute later, I tripped. Didn't fall, but staggered and a woman smiled at me sympathetically and I felt briefly silly the way you do when you almost fall in public. But much, much sillier than I would have if I hadn't been feeling so bouncy and radiant a minute before. Is there a name for this? It's what happens to Sarah Jessica Parker in her tutu in the opening credits of Sex and the City. I recovered quickly, though was not quite so light and happy and bouncy.

Shortly thereafter, I went and merrily drank those two manhattans and yesterday I was not at all light and happy and bouncy. There's a word for yesterday.

We're leaving on spring break tomorrow, going to Spain to visit my sister-in-law who is married to a Spaniard and living in Santiago de Compostela. Our whole family is going, plus a 15-year-old cousin from Seattle. It's been quite a stunning travel year for us.

Meanwhile, my father is staying at our house, feeding the chickens and attending to Natalie for 10 days during which time she may or may not kid. He is a great father.


  1. One day when I lived in San Francisco, I was walking from my gym to my office, feeling SO SO SO good about myself.

    Internal monologue went something like this: "I look so cute today! I love this outfit, and my hair came out just right. It's so sunny out, and la-la-la, I feel so great. It's awesome to be me."

    Suddenly, there was a sharp, stabby pain in my scalp. And then another one. I felt like maybe someone had thrown a rock at my head. I glanced around with a similar feeling to the one you described: half embarrassed to be seen wobbling, half scared that I was under attack.

    Then I noticed an elderly lady ahead of me on the sidewalk, bobbing and weaving like a punch-drunk boxer. And then I saw them: birds! The birds that lived in the trees that lined the sidewalk were attacking the heads of the people walking down the street.

    I felt like it was the universe knocking me down a few pegs for getting too cocky.

    Happy travels to you. Eat wonderful things!

  2. I believe the word you're looking for is "die Nachbeinahekriseeuphorie," or "the euphoria that follows a near catastrophe."

  3. I just love this post.

  4. I once fell down while crossing 42nd Street. The lunch hour crowd stepped right over me. I had to wait until the light changed and the crowd thinned to pull myself up and run the rest of the way across the street. Not even the people I was with slowed down. It was humiliating. So, hey! At least you didn't do THAT!

    Have fun in Spain. Jealous!

  5. I have a book somewhere (and by somewhere I mean in the garage because we have no bookshelves for some reason) by Ludwig Bemelemens, all about food and eating. Guy knew how to enjoy a meal.

  6. Even though I was breathlessly awaiting your Ko report, I loved this post. Spain sounds fantastic-expect lots of lovely posts. We left all of our passports on the beach in Thailand once--we were having dinner at hotel on the beach and when the check came we realized the bag was on the beach. After nearly throwing up a really nice dinner we enjoyed the feeling of utter joy when Ian came running back to the table with the bag.

  7. Manhattans go down so easy, and then the next day you feel like an unpronouncable German word.

    Have a great time in Spain! They need your tourist $$$!


  8. The is a marvelous piece of writing! I cannot compete with the German phrase, but how about assuagement and chagrin? What was the word for yesterday? See what I mean? Fabulous writing, I am totally drawn in!
    I am very envious of your trip to Spain. I picture you sitting somewhere drinking wine in the sun. I hope you have a great trip with no chagrin in sight. Oh, by the way, you do have a great father, lucky you.

  9. Now I can't get "bye, bye Miss American Pie" out of my head. Am I the only one?

    Safe travels!

  10. Santiago de Compostela is my favorite city in the world. Make sure to try Tarta de Santiago!