December 28, 2007
It's officially not Christmas any more, so why do I still hear so much Christmas music? Not to be a curmudgeon. I really enjoyed Christmas this year and the runup to it. But now that's gone, as gone as I am from Fairhope and Alabama, so why is the media behind this curve? Can't they let go?
I had a trip to Kingston, New York, where I found a gangly grandson who turned 13 right before my eyes and his ten-year-old brother still begging to open presents all through our carefully wrought seafood dinner on Christmas Eve. I had an idea how to cope with the incipient adolescence of the former, and the latter always wins me over with a bat of the eyelashes on his big, deep-blue eyes. My daughter's friends always give me pleasure, and this year there is a new member of her team, a rock-and-roll singer from Mississippi with a boatload of charm and a desire to make friends with her mother. All bathed me in the spirit of Christmas -- loved ones, soon-to-be-loved ones, and one big day to eat, drink, be merry and secretly contemplate the meaning of it all.
Yesterday in the rain I boarded a bus from little Kingston to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, from there to hop the bus to Hoboken. The two-hour ride from Kingston was boring until I eavesdropped on the man across the aisle advising his seat mate, a young actress on how to build her career. "It's not what you know or what you can do," he said. "It's who you know. Do you know who Danny De Vito's roommate was in college?"
As a matter of fact, I did, but I decided not to get in on this one.
I thought right away of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the movie young Michael produced, with a painfully young Danny De Vito in the cast. Then I remembered that at one point Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall roomed together. I couldn't recall any of them helping each other out, but maybe they did in early days. I thought of Marlon Brando; he once roomed with Wally Cox. I don't think this payed off for either of them with much of anything.
Yet his advice was not bad, and the conversation was certainly none of my business. It helped the time pass, and traffic was slow going as we neared the Lincoln Tunnel. We seemed to take a little duck into New Jersey, because we had passed the huge malls in Paramus where the monster Macy's, Crate and Barrel, and Ikea stores are.
The trip through the bus station to the Hoboken bus was a breeze. I've done it lots of times now. I bought something so I'd have exact change, waited with a little group for the bus, and was in my apartment some fifteen minutes after boarding. It's a miraculous little trip.
Now I'm home. Now I'm waiting for a delivery of the furniture I bought last week. My cell phone and IPod have been recharged. Now I'm waiting for some checks in the mail so I can pay for stuff. Now Christmas is behind me and I'm looking forward to the new year.