Sunday, October 22, 2017

More CT (And NY!) | Lefsetz Letter

We went to Storm King.

I told you my mother was a culture vulture. You need to have plans, you need to DO something, watching television during the day was illegal in our house, as is staying home and relaxing. But when we get back from the day’s activities my mother does have a stiff vodka, my dad owned a liquor store, their drink of choice used to be the whiskey sour, as for telling my mother how much to imbibe, in December she’s gonna be 91!

And all of her friends are dead. Except for Franki in Westport and Jene in California and Judy in the building. Oh, she has other friends, but the inner circle has passed, but my mother soldiers on. But instead of the weekends being full of activity, now they’re quiet.

But she gets around. Despite needing a walker and a wheelchair. She’s GAME!

So yesterday we went to the Yale Center for British Art, it just reopened, and…

I’ve told you I’d be cool with living the rest of my life in a museum. In this case, it wasn’t the art so much as the STORIES! It started in the 1500s, and the people…

Looked just like you and me.

Talk about perspective!

We think we’re important, we think what we’re doing counts, and then you read about the guy who spent his whole life in pursuit of marrying the queen. He didn’t make it. And the teenagers getting married. Most people died in their fifties, but they had huge estates and you contemplate their life and you realize they were unaware of mobile phones and the internet, but otherwise it was the same, they worked, they screwed and they gossiped, and they drank, there was a lot of drinking, and if the people in the paintings weren’t wearing different clothing, you’d swear you knew them.

And when we got back from New Haven we stopped at Pepe’s to eat, that’s right, Pepe’s Pizza, considered the best in the land by many, and of course we had the white clam, and Stanton joined us.

Stanton was a year ahead, in my sister’s class, but he didn’t leave town, he stayed here, he’s the city attorney and…

He knows everybody and everything.

Reminds me of my dad. It’s what’s going on beneath the surface that matters, that explains it all.

And we talked about the musicians who live in town, like Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, and all the acts that now come to FTC, the Fairfield Theatre, and the billionaires too, like Ray Dalio, and then we talked…

About people we knew.

Some dead, some alive, all of whose lives have been written, now that we are this age.

That’s one weird thing, you stop at the grocery store and you don’t recognize the cashier, for years I did.

And so many are retired…

And I want to work forever, but sometimes your health does not allow this. And at what point do you give up anyway, when it’s too much effort to keep up, when you don’t like the new music and no one catches the references and you’re better off hanging with the people you know until…

Felice’s mother is 93, she copes by hanging with the younger set. She’s resigned from some boards, but she’s out seemingly every night, it’s amazing.

But so many of my friends can no longer work in the music business. And so many of my friends have limited retirement accounts, if they have them at all, and just like every generation before us, we thought we’d never get old, but we did.

So today we went to Storm King. I studied it in college. That’s where the David Smith sculptures are. We were allowed to park right up close, because of my mother’s frailty, and it bugs me that the handicapped spots are always full, of wankers beating the system, hell, just getting my mother out of the car and into her wheelchair is a production, if you saw it you’d never needlessly park in one of those blue spots again, but that’s what America has turned into, a selfish state, then again, it’s amazing how people will take the time to open doors.

So Storm King is a sculpture garden. Across the Hudson, in New York, and if you go there you’ll want to move there. It’s kinda like that Arlo Guthrie song “Massachusetts,” or “Sweet Baby James” and that line about the Berkshires, even though it’s in New York, but no one would know the difference if they didn’t have signs at the border, all the landscape is the same, rolling, hilly.

And speaking of rolling, they have this one land sculpture by Maya Lin that resembles waves. Another one that is a stone wall, going across the hill and dale. And you remember that the world runs on art and physical beauty, but too many are chasing the buck.

We took a tram around the property, seeing one sculpture after another, and on the hill are the David Smiths, which is what they started with, they showed slides of them in art class, but that was forty five years ago.

I don’t want to go back, I don’t ever want to be in school.

And I remember wanting to escape, to the west.

But the west is new, and spread out. In the east there are a ton of attractions mere minutes away. Whereas once you’ve been to Santa Barbara, San Diego and Big Bear, you’ve burned out L.A.

And there’s so much history. And the roads are curvy and the trees are close and it all feels so intimate, everything looks good in hindsight, even the dead of winter when you stayed inside and drank hot chocolate, but…

I don’t know what but. You make choices in life and you end up where you do, there are no do-overs. And you lose time, you wake up and your life is set in stone, but you always wonder, should I have done it differently?

And on the way back the app took us across the countryside, avoiding the highways, and you see the ponds and the cows and the churches and your brain starts to spin tales, you feel warm and fuzzy, alive.

And then we stopped at Aspetuck Farms, so I could buy Macoun apples, a fall staple in Connecticut. I did, but they were out of cider, and the clerk implored me to try one of the free Sweet 16s, and it tasted better than any apple I’ve ever eaten in California, then again, everything does when you buy it at the farm, when it’s about local consumption as opposed to agribusiness.

Not that I want to denigrate the future, there’s some b.s. in the “Times” today about traveling without a phone. I’m sick and tired of self-satisfied boomers wanting to jet back to the past, sure, the future is imperfect, but it’s so much better. Hell, remember the cars, that used to break all the time? We may not have vent windows, but automobiles all come with air-conditioning and as I write this I remember how people bug me, run on emotion instead of fact, are set in their ways, which is one of the reasons I moved to L.A., where they tear down the past before you get used to it, it’s all evanescent, it’s all in motion, you just grab on and ride, no one’s in your business and you feel free.

And freedom’s where it’s at.

But on the east coast there’s context, and meaning, and…

I’m gonna miss it.

Yale Center for British Art

Storm King Art Center

Frank Pepe Pizzeria

Aspetuck Apple Barn


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