I've been sequestered indoors since Thursday, when I woke up to an acute rhinovirus (self-diagnosed), and have seen "outside" exactly three time since then. The first was Friday night when I trudged five blocks to the grocery store for fresh nasal supplies, but mostly for Frosted Mini-Wheats. The heart wants what it wants and hang the expense. I sweated in line at D'agostino and Duane Reade and then hauled my ass back home and up four flights of stairs, only to find when I unpacked everything that I'd left the bag with the Frosted Mini-Wheats at the store. Which led to—newsflash—a frosted mini fucking breakdown. Maybe an all-time self-pity low. But I managed to see and appreciate some good things anyway. Let's count them!
1. One of my favorite sights in the world is dogs carrying big ol' gnarly sticks in their mouths on the way home from the park, and the dog owners who follow sheepishly behind them. It's like they all agree it's hard to be a dog in New York City, where you're cooped up in an apartment for most of the day and then forced to do your humiliating private business on the pavement in front of Starbucks and god and everybody, so enjoy this small harmless prop that lets you feel like a cock o' the walk for a couple of minutes. It speaks to the importance of compromise and quotidian pleasures.
2. The balding sixty-something dude who owns the ramshackle dry-cleaning place on 86th that I've been going to for years. He reminds me of my great Uncle Rollie, who was gruff and blue collar in a similar way. This guy always talks to me about how lazy his sister is or his terrible train ride in from Brooklyn and he usually calls me sweetheart, which is the kind of paternalistic tic I refuse to hold against a certain type of man. There are a lot of gray areas in life and between people, and there's a way for the word "sweetheart" to sound condescending or not, depending on the delivery and context, and when it's pointed at me I like to think I can tell the difference. So yesterday morning I walked in there sniffling and coughing and suffocating in goosedown, with my hat plastered to my forehead because what's the point in brushing your hair when you're dying. I got my sweaters out of hock and we chatted for a minute about the weather (snowy, rainy) and on my way out I said "Stay warm!" and he said "You too, baby, take care." And let me reiterate that I wouldn't take that particular endearment from many almost-strangers or even some people I know very well, but right at that moment it was a nice, simple, human thing I needed to hear from somebody.
3. "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel" on DVD (aka safe and familiar ground). These make the best sick bed viewing since there's both laughter and tears and you don't need to fast forward through anything but can fall asleep at any time if you feel like it. Wherever you wake up will be the middle of another scrape. I have many favorite parts but my favorite line comes at the very end of :The Sequel, when Katherine (with a "K") Brooke gazes quizzically at Anne of Green Gables and says, "Does life never frighten you with its bleakness?" And Anne doesn't even bother answering because no doy, Katherine. Life frightens everybody.
4. My dear friend Tucc, who will indulge my love for Megan Follows at any time of day, whether we're faxing about "Reign" gowns or crowns or our favorite tragic YouTube fan vids. Thank god somebody finally took me up on this offer and not only got it but went all in.
5. Last night I reached the worst part of my cold, where the cough dropped down into my chest and I sound like Joan Rivers strangling Rachael Ray, which is the kind of thing I'd really enjoy if it was happening outside my body. But I was soaking in the bathtub in painfully hot water up to my chin and could hear "The Big Bang Theory" on the TV in the other room—the one where Sheldon plays the bongos because his barber is in a coma—and remembered that I can't feel truly miserable when there's comedy in the world.
6. Larry David eats a pancake (always good). Larry David has such stellar teeth. He's a person I will watch just because I like to see him smile.
7. "Obvious Child" on iTunes. I fully support movies where the drama isn't cranked up to *!!!&*(#@$% and a single mistake doesn't ruin a person's whole life. This hit all the right notes in just the right key. Also: three killer roles for chicks written and directed by a chick. At one point Jenny Slate says to her business professor mother, played by Polly Draper, "You're like an Eileen Fisher ninja," which would absolutely be my #1 dream ninja.
8. Paul Simon on repeat, LOUDLY:
9. "I've been waking up at sunrise
I've been following the light across my room
I watch the night receive the room of my day"
10. Danny Castellano of "The Mindy Project," full stop. He's a total mama's boy but his love for Bruce Springsteen, like mine, is forever and true. And Chris Messina is just [dot dot dot], even on the tony, perfectly lit streets of early morning Aspen or wherever.