Saturday, November 8, 2008

Best of Times

I should have driven around yesterday morning, but after I had picked up a few things at the Chinese laundry I felt compelled to sit in a line of D.P.s (double parkers), waiting for the broom to pass. Ahead, several men were gathered around a black Infiniti. A moving van and a garbage truck squeezed past. Lots of honking.

The broom came at nine, and we all lurched and shuffled into our legal spaces. A black woman in a white Corolla asked me if she could get in front of me and was very happy until she realized that the spot wasn’t good till ten. “Damn damn damn,” she said, and re-started her car and drove in reverse to the parking lot up the street. Her spot was vacant for five minutes before two Asian guys, students, in a gray Acura grabbed it. One of them stayed in the car while the other went to Dunkin’ Donuts, and they breakfasted on the hood. I set out on the sidewalk a pot of rosemary that I had rescued from Rockaway, and watered it from a bottle of Poland Spring. I was going to leave the rosemary out there to breathe, but a dog was headed up the street and I had a premonition that it was a bad idea. Then I relaxed and read the Times.

I have resubscribed to the Times, but my new subscription didn’t kick in till Thursday. There was no Times to be had on Wednesday, with the historic one-word headline “OBAMA.” I meant to get out early to buy a paper, then come back and luxuriate, but I got a late start and planned to pick up a paper on the way to work. Mistake. First newsstand, no Times. Second newsstand, where the cashier, a Pakistani man (I think), one Saturday morning, had come out from behind the counter to tend to the magazine rack when suddenly his store filled up with customers and he dashed back behind the counter, shouting, “Good morning, America!”: no Times. I was headed for a grocery store where I sometimes buy the paper, thinking that people might not have gone inside to look for it, when I passed a third newsstand that had three copies left: Eureka!

Later in the day, at work, where I often expect to be able to cadge a copy of the Times, first one person, then another came in to say she hadn’t been able to get a copy. The first one I showed my copy to, saying “but you can’t have it”; the second asked for it outright, and I said no. On Thursday, my new subscription kicked in, and I couldn’t get enough of the graphs showing the states Obama had won and by how much, and the maps of blue baubles and red squares. Friday, my favorite thing in the paper was the gaffe of Berlusconi, who told the Russian president that Obama was "young, handsome, and suntanned." It turned into a bigger story today, when, for the first time in months, I enjoyed having the Saturday Times delivered to my door. It is so luxurious. I'm still not going to complain about the new format.


Roy said...

It's just not fair! You get Obama and we're stuck with Silvio and his bad jokes! Did you see Carla Bruni's comment on his gaffe?

MJN/NYC said...

Grazie, Roy! I looked it up: "'I am very happy that I have become French," said the model-turned-singer spouse of President Nicolas Sarkozy who announced in July that she had become a naturalised French citizen" (from The Tocqueville Connection).