Last night, I made my very first return to Manhattan since moving to New Jersey. My return was done in style—Andrew and I went to the National Book Awards! Andrew’s company always has a table, and usually his team’s big partners are invited, but because of Sandy this year, there were empty seats, so Andrew got to bring me. I wore a lovely gray cocktail dress that’s been hanging in my closet for about five years with the tags still on, and I bought spectacular new sparkly shoes, got my nails and hair done, and generally tried my best to not look like the harried, banana-covered person I usually am.
The event was at Cipriani, very fancy, with literary luminaries sitting nearby—one of the fiction judges even sat at our table. At the after-party, I walked right past Lorrie Moore and managed to tell her I still remembered something she said at a reading about ten years ago—that you should never marry someone who thinks writing is cute. “Actually,” she said, “I think I said you should always marry someone who thinks writing is cute.” Does this mean I need to reevaluate my choice of a husband, who has never been anything but supportive and respectful of my work??
I didn’t have much time to ponder this; eleven-thirty came around fast, and we had to get home to relieve our babysitter.
And that’s the other remarkable thing about last night. Besides the fact that Andrew and I had a fancy night out—besides the fact that I maneuvered successfully in four-inch heels—besides the fact that I set foot once again in Manhattan (albeit in a part of town that has no nostalgic associations for me whatsoever)—is the fact that we had to leave before bedtime, and the world did not end. Greta had a difficult day—she got vaccinations in the morning and had only one short nap, so I put her to bed at 5:45pm. That left Lucia. Andrew and I were wracked with worry, giving our sitter dire warnings of the apocalypse she should expect. All day, I talked to Lucia about what would happen that night—that the sitter would read her stories and put her to bed. She never gave much of a reaction other than to say she wanted to come with us to our dinner. We left her as she began watching her favorite video, dread in our hearts.
But when I texted the sitter an hour later to see how it all went, she said she put Lucia to bed with no problems whatsoever. Lucia listened to stories, instructed the sitter on how wide to leave the door open, and then went to sleep.
Perhaps this means we might actually be able to start leaving the house a little bit more. An illuminating night all around.
This blog began in 2006, when I quit my job and sold all my furniture to move to Barcelona with Andrew, skipping town blissfully and dramatically; then we skipped town again, to California, and then, finally, back to Brooklyn. Now I'm in a rambling old house in the suburbs, with two babies and a husband and the suspicion that we won’t be skipping town again anytime soon—at least not the kind of skipping town that involves packing boxes and moving trucks.