Friday, December 19, 2008

A Slushy New York Night With Campbell Scott

So if you're a Manhattanite & you can't get any friends to see a play called The Atheist (by Irish-born Ronan Noone), what do you do? You buckle up and go by yourself. Even if there's a foot of slush everywhere between you and the theater.
Criminy, where else in America can you actually WALK to see a play & actor of this quality? It's not even a fifteen-minute walk to get there from my apartment, and most of the sidewalks are clear even if the corners require strategic leaping and feinting through deep icy mush.

Campbell, you may not know it, but you and I have a date. Lookin' good, I think, hair just the right length & fake shade of red, blue eyes peeping over my new scarf with the blue and mustard circle pattern...The play is caustic & biting, a tale of a journalist gone bad (in search of his mother's love?), not searingly original but I love the telegraphic language & musical phrasing, and Campbell Scott is brilliant. Infused with energy I drift home, wishing I could discuss it over a pint with someone.
I pass the faux army surplus Marc Jacobs store on Bleecker Street and see that there are people shopping (wtf??) at 10 pm at night. Yikes. Further on, I enter a deli to buy seltzer to mix with my pomegranate juice at home. A very wet & cold Irish wolfhound puppy befriends me as his owner buys peanut butter. His wagging tail endangers the potato chip racks for 3 feet all around. I swear the dog is smiling. Do we deserve such good will from the animal kingdom?

"Be careful, don't fall...stay warm," says the Pakistani store owner as he carefully gives me my one cent change from the three dollars I handed him. As I push open the door the Guatemalan man wrapping roses in the little tented foyer just beside the entrance looks up and smiles at me. "Have a good night," he says. "You too," I mumble. (Yeah, right. He is going to be standing there in the cold for a few more hours long after I am home in bed.)
A block from my apartment, I pass the nursing home and see that an old woman is being wheeled out on a gurney by two ET's, into an ambulance. She is wearing an oxygen mask and her naked body is barely covered by a white bedsheet. One of the ET's tries to cover her shoulder, but the sheet keeps slipping off to reveal her pale, cold flesh. They don't have an extra blanket to spare? I am wearing a down jacket, scarf & gloves and she is practically naked in the middle of the street.

Just another night in the big city, eh, boys and girls? My emotions are swirling and I can't feel my feet anymore. Or maybe it's my heart that's numb. I keep walking. Should I have taken off my jacket and put it over the ailing woman? She was almost inside the ambulance....

I arrive home finally, and am soon secure in the warm cocoon of my pre-Campbell Scott existence. Was it as good for him as it was for me?

Somehow, I don't think he's going to call me in the morning.