Work and home, home and work again. That’s why I escape by reading popular fiction, with the assurance that the resolution will be satisfactory in a way that real life isn’t. Anna Quindlen’s new book is like that. The boomer heroine has to downsize her NYC lifestyle and move to the country. There is the predictable country mouse, city mouse plot line. Also a relationship with a much younger, rough around the edges man who gets her. But embedded in the often told story are beautiful observations on modern life. Worries about money. Realization that friendship isn’t what it used to be. Three times a year get togethers are like a diet version of friendship – satisfying in the moment but insufficient for everyday living.

From that to Mavis Gallant’s “The Hunger Diaries” in the New Yorker – excerpts from her Spanish diary from 1952. She was living in poverty, waiting for her stories to be published so that she would have some money to live on. A different ending for Gallant than Quindlen’s fictional heroine. No man, still poverty, no new stories, on her own in Paris. A life without compromise is both easy and hard. Did she regret her loneliness?

P and I both come down with a cold on Sunday. We watch the beginning of “An American in Paris”. Seems dated now, I can’t even get into the dancing. I like the Oscar Levant bit when he dreams or imagines he playing the piano, conducting and applauding himself. Hmm, did Andre Benjamin pay tribute to that when he was making the video for “Hey Ya”?

In my cold-induced fog, I catch 2 great films on TCM: “Dodsworth” (1936) and “A Letter to Three Wives” (1949). They still seem crisp, relevant. I love Thelma Ritter in “A Letter…”. Ditto for Paul Douglas.

Life is like work-in-progress. Reshaping and adaptation is good if one can manage it.

I’m working on reshaping my work life. It’s taken a while to start to understand how my workplace ticks.

Friday evening the subway is a little emptier. People leave the Financial District earlier, so getting on the train around 6 gets me a seat. I’m just about ready to daydream, when I hear someone call me name and sit next to me. It’s someone I worked with before, now part of senior management. Prosperous and hitting middle age not too badly, with the right amount of cool. We banter back and forth, comfortable in the knowledge we don’t have to navigate the working on a client land. Info regarding indie music is exchanged. We both listen to the CBC – old fart status. I ask him about his restored Rambler. He is of course going to the car show that night, dragging his kids along. I’ve known him for probably 20 years, but it’s a very superficial knowledge. He hides behind irony.


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