Want One

The guy behind the Starbucks counter at Christopher & West 4th always wears eye shadow, lipstick, and a smile. This morning he asked me how my weekend was. “Miraculous,” I replied. “Yours?” “Interesting,” he said. “I learned a lot of valuable lessons.”

Me too.

Saturday was one beautiful moment after another. My cousins Brian and Roxane christened their son Liam. Father George, who has presided over many of the family sacraments, retold the history behind baptism. While the whole Christ thing’s a bit much for me (I’m down with him as a prophet, just not the sole prophet), I relished the symbolism of the oil (worn on the breast like a warrior against evil) and water (emergence as ascension). Afterwards, family and friends assembled at Tavern on the Green for lunch in a sunshine-strewn room full of babies. Nice.

But Saturday didn’t stop there. I hit Bloomingdale’s for a some suit shopping, and the Levi’s story for a new pair of jean. Then I had a beer with a high school friend. Then I met up with my cousin Bill and his wife Trisha at Park Avenue Cafe. They were celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary, which is a pretty amazing accomplishment. Because they live in St. Louis, opportunities to catch are rare, and well-appreciated. Then I met my aunt and uncle for dinner with Father George at the Post House. I was junior by some twenty-five years, but still felt like an active contributor to conversations on faith, politics, business, and love.

Sunday morning found Us at the NYU Graduate Center for a panel discussion with playwrights Nilo Cruz (‘Anna in the Tropics’), Terrence McNally (‘Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune’), Neil LaBute (‘The Shape of Things’), and Tony Kushner (‘Angels in America’). The panel was in turns hilarious, and substantive, as the four discussed life during wartime, film adaptations, creative inspiration, and process. I moved to New York City to take advantage of this sort of event. It rocked.

Perhaps the most serendipitous moment of the weekend came at brunch. We went to Paris Commune on Bleeker & Cornelia, where Rufus Wainright’s ‘Want One’ was playing from the moment we walked in, to the moment we stepped out. There could be no better soundtrack for my Sunday afternoon.

And then we hit the couch. Could there be a cooler companion than one who elects to pass a Sunday afternoon watching ‘Old School’? Then actively engages while watching the presidential debate? Who shares a Sapporo and sushi while laughing at ‘Sex in the City’ and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’? I say not.

This morning, I awoke from yet another airplane dream (they’re baaaaack). I am in a house near the Syracuse airport. The father of the family I was with says, “Look, You can see the planes take off” as a gigantic shadow passes over the window, then appears on the other side of the house. We watch, and I wait for the inevitable crash. The jet explodes in a fireball. Pieces of wing and fuselage fly toward us, one huge chunk coming to rest just inches from the window. Everything is on fire outside. But we’re unscathed. Now check out how it ends: I’m thousands of feet over the city, looking down on the smoke and debris in the distance. And I’m flying. Not crashing: flying. No plane, no wings, no cape — just me — flying. I shift my weight, and point myself towards the river, and come to a graceful landing in the water. I climb out, and reach into my pocket for my cell phone. Despite been soaked, I get a dial tone, and make The Call…

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