Little Sister

“Little Sister” is one of my favorite Elvis songs; it’s also the name of a new restaurant that combines delicious food (Indonesian) with a relaxed vibe. P and I ventured out on a cold evening and settled at the bar of Little Sister (so popular now because of great reviews). Good music in the background — early Police, Talking Heads — small dishes that hit the spot and lack of pretension. Good conversation flows in a place like this.

The holiday season is full of stress. Even social events become obligations. To me, holidays can be prime time for unhappiness. Just before Christmas, news about someone I worked with. She suddenly collapsed at a subway station and died. She was middle-aged, very smart, hated the subway, was passionate about politics, music, movies and books, loved stand-up comedy and marched to her own drum. Marching to one’s own drum can mean being mostly alone and she was. The usual work relationships that don’t extend to life after work hours. People expressed shock, sadness, said nice things about her. But even though she worked for many years at the same place, no one seems to have made a connection with her that resulted in a real friendship.

I was reading all December “The Blue Flower” by Penelope Fitzgerald. I had to put it down every now and then, not because I didn’t like it, but because I didn’t want to finish it too quickly. It’s a short book, both sad and funny, reminds me of E. M. Forster and maybe even Thomas Mann. Big, noisy family, the poet Novalis before he became Novalis, Goethe, the beautiful interaction of domesticity and imagination — Fritz (Novalis) trains to work as a tax manager in a salt mine. In some sources, he is referred to as an actuary (hmm, Ethan Hawke, you’re on the right track).

Then I saw on my ancient iPad Part 2 of the recent film “Copenhagen”. I couldn’t find Part 1. Another story of a young man attracted to a very young teen girl, who seems wise beyond her years, but nevertheless is still a kid. He is not half as self-aware or bright as Novalis, and we are definitely in post-romantic times. The only common thread is that we still look for the something that is elusive.

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