Thursday, June 18, 2009
It rained really hard today. I was very glad to have my Goretex and my Dansko clogs, both of which are ideal for sloshing through a lot of water. The inside of my backpack got slightly wet, but the computer's okay, thank goodness. (It's in a protective neoprene sleeve, but one still worries.)
I had lunch today with John Shorb, my editor at Hope and Healing. He's signed on for another year and wants another twelve columns from me, so we came up with a list of topics. He's a great guy, smart and funny and fun to talk to, so the lunch was both productive and pleasant.
Then I went back uptown to Claire's apartment, finished packing, and -- by some miracle -- managed to get a cab right in front of her building. The cabbie had his off-duty sign on, but he was headed in my direction and agreed to give me a ride.
My friends Larry and Laura, whom I've known since college (we were all in the Princeton Science Fiction Society together) own an amazing brownstone in Harlem, at 153 and St. Nicholas. They're close to Columbia Presbyterian, so it will be easy for me to get back and forth from the Narrative Medicine workshop. And I love their house, three stories of dark, inlaid hardwood floores, (nonworking) fireplaces, tall ceilings, and beautiful details like the carved stairway bannisters. I have my own bedroom with a private bath; the door to the bathroom has a leaded window, and inside there's a deep, old-fashioned tub. The house feels like the setting for a fantasy story.
Larry told me that they bought the place for a song eight years ago, and then had to have virtually everything inside redone. But it was worth it! You don't find a lot of places like this in New York anymore; they've all been cut up into individual apartments (and Larry and Laura have a family renting a basement apartment).
Larry and Laura have two sweet and lively daughters, Nicola and Eleanor. I have to say that one of the great pleasures of this trip has been seeing my old friends parent so capably. Claire and Pete's son Nathan is a delight, and so are Larry and Laura's girls.
Once I'd gotten settled here, I headed down to the West Village -- via subway, this time -- for a sushi dinner with Ellen Datlow. Ellen has the world's coolest collection of stuff and two of the world's cutest cats (although mine are cuter, natch). We hadn't seen each other in ages, and really enjoyed catching up. Unfortunately, her father's having health issues, as is Larry's. In fact, nearly all my friends' parents are having health issues. We're at that age, aren't we?
Ooops: lots of sirens outside. I think I've discovered the downside of beinb so close to Columbia Presbyterian. But I grew up a block from a hospital, so I'm sure I'll tune the sirens out in no time.