When it’s nice outside, I like to spend my lunch hour in Central Park. It can provide an instant and miraculous change of attitude after a stressful morning. It’s peaceful. It really is!
There are a few specific benches I like to occupy. One is by the pond near 59th Street. Another is in a bit deeper near Wollman Rink. I’ll read a book or text/chat with friends. It’s the quickest hour of my day.
I also like to sit near the 6th Avenue entrance and watch the tourists. They congregate there to rent bicycles or hire a Pedicab. They’re such a happy bunch! And why not? They’re on vacation.
You can also hire a handsome carriage, which is the quintessential Central Park experience. From my bench, I watch the plumed horses parade by and I catch snippets of the driver’s rehearsed Central Park history lesson. Why is a driver with an Irish accent more compelling to listen to that the others?
I couldn’t believe it. I watched as they slowly passed by with my big stupid mouth agape. He wasn’t taking photos. He never looked up once. Why would you even bring the damn thing with you?! And those carriage rides aren’t cheap. They’ll set you back about $80 bucks. He might just as well have stayed in his hotel room alone with his iPad. Or home. This isn’t even the worst case. Yesterday, I saw a father and his young son in a carriage and Dear Old Dad never once looked up from his cell phone. It’s what gave me the idea for this post. Seriously, earthlings, if we don’t change our ways, we’re doomed.
I recently finished re-reading Nabokov’s Lolita. I read it many years ago when I was in my 20s and remember it being not only astonishingly well written but also unexpectedly funny. Now that I have a 10-year old daughter, I didn’t think it was so goddamn funny. I was still impressed with how well it’s written. Some of the sentences are so perfectly constructed that I had to read them a few times before moving on.
The problem is the book’s reputation. A friend sent me an article about how difficult it is to design cover artwork that accurately reflects the story. Many of the jackets, and also the Stanley Kubrick movie from 1962, depict Lolita as a little sexpot. That is not the case at all. The story is much more horrible than that. She’s a 12-year old child who is held captive and repeatedly raped. It’s pretty rough stuff. “…and her sobs in the night—every night, every night—the moment I feigned sleep.” What the hell was I thinking when I first read it? How did I ever get the impression it was funny?