About Exile on Pain Street

It's Mrs. Wife (who has requested complete anonymity), two daughters and myself. And two smart cats.

One ringy dingy

bins

February 1, 1994

I’m destitute. I’m so broke and in desperate need of money I took a temp secretarial gig at Lehman Brothers. Answering seven phone lines isn’t doing much for my self-esteem. Is this all I’m capable of? I got home Friday and wept over feeling so hopeless and unemployable. Laura used to say I was either the most confident person she’d ever met or the greatest actor. It’s the latter. I miss her terribly.

Ann came over the next day and I was still a mess. We laid in bed and after pouring my misery out we went at each other like two Tasmanian devils in heat. She is equally adept at taking charge and being submissive. It’s a talent. I felt a little better after that. She’s leaving for Cambodia in three weeks to go ancient artifact looting—I mean shopping—to stock the gallery. I wish she would take me with her. I asked but she said it’s a business trip, otherwise, etc.

When she left she pressed a $100 bill into my hand and said I didn’t have to pay it back. I feigned like I couldn’t possibly accept it but of course I did. After she left I went across the hall to Cindy’s. Her house slippers look like oven mitts. We went to Two Boots for pizza and I paid with the money Ann gave me. $20 including tip. I spent $20 at the smelly Key Foods on Avenue A and paid my phone bill ($40). That leaves $20. Cindy is playing out on Wednesday night at the Knitting Factory and said I should bring Ann.

There was a notice in the lobby from a Law & Order location scout. They’re looking for apartments to shoot in. I took the notice down so no one else would see it and called right away. They pay $500.

I sat through orientation at Ernst & Young to be on their on-call list. It was dreadful. They covered the glorious history of Ernst & Young. Apparently, there’s a misconception in the public’s mind as to how the company’s name is pronounced, so they went around the room and made each of us say the name out loud. Humiliating. The Citibank orientation was more humane. They said I should get a beeper.

I sat in my window last night and watched firemen put out a tremendous fire across the street. There was so much smoke. I’m afraid of apartment fires. You never know what your knucklehead neighbors are up to.

~~~~~~~~~~

Oliver and Alice are alive and well albeit bored, bored, bored.

What Instagram has taught me so far

I’ve been on Instagram for about nine weeks and here are a few things I’ve learned:

  1. Everyone is having a better life than I am.
  2. No, they’re not. It just seems that way. It’s the place where people put on their best face.
  3. Real photographers use a proper camera. They don’t muck about with a mobile phone. Technologically speaking, mobile phones can’t touch a real camera. Yet.
  4. The trend in photography is to saturate photos with so much color and gleam they look like ads for LSD. Why does that feel like an appropriate reflection of our times?
  5. People are too lazy to write a pithy word or two in comment sections. Emojis are the last refuge for the verse-challenged.
  6. Instagram has revealed that I might have a latent addictive personality disorder. I check it far too often. I’m hoping the newness wears off soon.
  7. I’m disappointed over my desire for more followers. It’s not dissimilar to when I first started blogging. I got over it here. I’m sure I’ll move on there as well

~~~~~~~~~~

My bride and I went out Saturday night to see comedians John Mulaney and Pete Davidson. I enjoyed Mulaney but found Davidson vulgar and unfunny. In all fairness, we are not Davidson’s target audience. The same people who find him funny are the same folks who’d attend Coachella, which is something I’d never do.

They announced that cell phones would be locked in a Yonder pouch so the show couldn’t be recorded. The pouches are unlocked on your way out. We didn’t want to deal with all that so we left our phones at home. We sat at the dinner table and tried to remember the last time we left the house for a night out (or ANYWHERE) without our phones and we couldn’t. Initially, I was concerned that not having my phone might give me an anxiety attack but do you know what? Dinner + show – phone = emancipation. We didn’t miss it one bit. An uninterrupted dinner was a genuine pleasure.

~~~~~~~~~~

After all these years, having kids finally pays off. I waited a long time for this day to come.

Oliver and Alice say hello. They want you to know they’re fine. Send treats.

Hop hop hop

I took my 12-year old on a Chelsea gallery hop. The 17-year old is out of the game. She has a Saturday gig and a boyfriend now. There’s no room for gallery hops with Dad. Eventually, I’ll lose 12-year old too and be back to wandering around these galleries alone. I’m not hurt or insulted. It’s the nature of how things work.

I think she was a bit bored. I occasionally caught her standing in a corner staring at her phone instead of the art. I think she enjoyed the time spent with Dear Aul Da but I’m not sure how she feels about art. I either opened a world for them or turned them off to art permanently. It could go either way. But you have to make the introduction. What happens after that is out of my control.

This is Anthony McCall’s fetching light installation Split Second at the Sean Kelly Gallery.

I’m like a parrot. I like shiny objects and light is my favorite medium. Light + mist is even better.

A young child ran into the light and I couldn’t resist a pic.

James Turrell is the grandmaster for me but this is a very fine example of McCall’s ‘solid light’ works.

This room of shoe oddities tucked in the back of the Marlborough Gallery is Towards An End to Biological Perception by Genesis P-Orridge. Animal lovers beware.

My daughter didn’t spend any time looking at these. She found them disturbing, spun around on her heels and walked straight out, which I understand. But *I* liked them.

The larger part of the gallery is filled with Davina Semo’s large scale sculptures in All The World. Along the floor are heavy cubic bales that anchor chains linked to bells cast from bronze.

I didn’t want to get thrown out so I asked permission to ring the bells and they said it was OKAY. So you can imagine what that lead to.

Brightly colored reflective acrylic sheets studded with ball bearings hang on the walls throughout.

I was reading a review in ARTnews, which is something I rarely do. ARTnews sucks all the joy out of art. The reviewer said of the piece in question:

For an oeuvre that is so self-consciously synthetic, the overall experience offers a surprisingly potent meditation on attention, lifespans and mortality itself.

What does that even MEAN? I have a very base, visceral reaction to art. I look at it. Does it make me have a proper laugh (in the good or bad way)? Is it beautiful to behold? These are my criteria. It’s why I hate political art.

Treat her like a lady

bins

January 22, 1994

I’m battling the flu and guilt. I feel bad about not seeing Ann. I like sleeping with her, but not spending a great deal of time with her. This is the sort of thing that prevents me from having a proper girlfriend. Being unemployed doesn’t help.

I got another short letter from Sedaris. He said his life is still pathetic and he’s still cleaning apartments but things are changing rapidly because of the play and his exposure on NPR. Bang. Zoom. Right to the top. He said when he wrote Stitches it was just him, his sister and some friends sitting around smoking weed. I don’t buy it. I laughed hard and stuff that you write stoned is never funny the next day.

Had lunch at Bendix Diner with Laura. She’s a stunning beauty with the sexuality of a cloistered nun. The bill was $18. She ‘forgot’ to go to the bank and didn’t have any money. I probably shouldn’t be going out at all, much less buying lunch for someone, but we have a nice time and I enjoy her company. We’re quite close. We gossiped about our friends.

I called Karen at work and told her I spent New Year’s Eve in Times Square but left out the part about being alone. She went to a party with her boyfriend and when they got home he vomited all night. She gave me her home number and told me to call in the evening because he doesn’t get home from work until after midnight. I haven’t called intentionally to make her think I’m out having fun and living the champagne Manhattan life. I should call in the middle of the day and hang up when he answers.

Jessica called and I can tell she didn’t think I’d be home. She just wanted to leave a message on my answering machine, I’m sure. We talked for a while and it was nice. I’m glad she makes an effort to keep in touch. I told her I haven’t called because I don’t have a job and am ashamed. She said she understood.

Tomorrow I’m going to watch football games and stuff envelopes with resumes and cover letters. I’m mailing out 21. I hope to God Ann leaves me alone.

~~~~~~~~~

The construction of 1 Vanderbilt continues. It will not obstruct my office view of the Chrysler Building, but it’ll compromise the aesthetics a bit. It’ll be much taller. When complete, it’ll be the fourth tallest residential tower in the city.

~~~~~~~~~

If you stare into his eye for too long, you’ll inexplicably find yourself sending cat treats to New Jersey. Beware!

Unfulfilled yearning.

I was focused on the composition and lighting and didn’t notice the background until the next day.

~~~~~~~~~~

Security guard at the Whitney Museum’s expansive Andy Warhol retrospective, From A to B and Back Again. 300 pieces. Catnip for any Warhol fan.

~~~~~~~~~~

My daughter took this on Christmas morning. A cup of coffee, a cat, something to read and my family close by. If I’m not content now, there’s no hope.