21 July 2011

Thundering Lettuce and The Jane Hotel

Standing in the produce aisle of an Annapolis, Maryland "Safeway", I was surprised to hear a rolling peal of thunder.
Puzzled, I turned to my mother. "Is there a storm coming?"
A stockboy said, "No, that's just the lettuce."

Feeling that I must have missed a beat somewhere, I asked him, in a slow, thoughtful voice, "Why is the lettuce thundering, sir?"

He looked at me in a kind way, the way one looks at one who is obviously a few sandwiches short of a picnic. "So it doesan't dry out," he explained.

Oh. Well, that answers that question. Silly me. -As it turns out, Safeway has a built in "tghunderstorm" produce-refreshing system: it makes a loud thunder noise and flashes light, before spraying the veggies with a fine mist of water. No word on whether the playful performance artists who have taken over the fruit aisle, occasionally throw in a tornado, just to keep customers on their toes. I DO know that when Mom and I left the market, it WAS, in fact, storming outside, with golfball size hailstones in July. I don't know why I want to move back to NYC: the art scene is sort of better--and a lot more subtle -here.


Actually, even DRIVING to the market was an adventure of sorts. Mom and I were being quiet, when, out of nowhere, she said, "I want to look at meat."

I said, "I beg your pardon?"

"Meat." She said simply.

I paused. "Mom, you sound like you're in a Beckett play."

Mom remarked, "Actually, Beckett was more about turnips."

Another pause. Hard to know what to say to that.

I said, "If you'd like, I can go in and shop, while you wait in the car. I know you're not feeling great."

Mom said, "Darling, I don't think that's a good idea."

I thought for a moment. "You think I'm going to emerge from the store with a basket filled entirely with Froot loops, don't you."

Mom said, "And creamed herring. Yes, actually."

I said, "Let's not forget the turnips. Froot Loops, creamed herring, and turnips."

Mom smiled. "And meat," she said quietly.

We drove the rest of the way in puzzled, beckettian silence.


I do take the occasional foray into NYC, now that Mom is recovering nicely. It's exhilerating [that's code for "terrifying, but in a good way"] to start one's life anew at whatever age I last said I am. I stay at the Jane hotel, which I was madly in love with even BEFORE I found out that it's where the Titanic survivors stayed when they were taken off the Carpathia.

Here are reasons to love the Jane with a wholehearted passion:
1) If you go to "Getaroom.com", you can find a room for 80 bucks. Admittedly, the room will look like a small ship's cabin, and you will be sharing a dormitory style shower/bathroom arrangement, but I have whatever the opposite of claustrophobia is, and delight in small cozy spaces. Also, it certainly takes a lot of the work out of seduction: if you take your date up to your room, you are not leaving he/she/it with any doubts about what your intentions are: there is barely room for two people, and if you're going to be at all comfortable, it certainly won't be, by remaining standing. [Note: This is hypothetical, on my part. Yup.]

2) The staff wear 1920's style outfits that, counterintuitively, really hot looking. "Hot" as in "adorable"...just realized that, as it is 120 degrees Celsius outside today, that should be clarified a bit. They are also extremely nice people. I was especially fond of Zach, who looks a little like Tyrone Power, and Carlos, who has a devil-may-care gleam in his eye that offsets his utter professionalism very nicely. But everyone was adorable, which is NOT the norm in a hipper-than-hell hotel. I am even now secure enough, not to mind that the waitresses in the Cafe Gitane, downstairs, all look like Brigitte Bardot's younger, betterlooking sisters. [That's because i was in my 20s once too, and got enough hugely enjoyable mileage out being cute, that I don't begrudge anyone else theirs....and in fact, enjoy it vicariously.]

3) Somehow, the staff knew who I am, which is often more than I do, and would occasionally take me aside for a moment and ask earnestly about the various ghosts they'd encountered, or if they could ask a psychic question about their love lives. That was cute. And flattering.

4) The Ballroom is a GREAT bar, especially early, before the music gets cranked up too loud to talk. It's a little like taking your date into the ballroom in "The Shining", which has always been a fantasy of mine. It's also a great "adjustable" date bar...depending on who you're with and how you're feeling about him/her/it/them, you can maintian a mysterious degree of aloof allure by perching perpendicular to their couch, or you can snuggle attractively yet appropriately on the massive couches flung around as though by a very large and peevish toddler.

Coming back to the city tomorrow, to go see "Three D Hamlet" and then go haunt the Hamptons. Looking forward to seeing Tommy Mottola's new popup gallery "Valentine". Even more looking forward to lolling about with loved friends. 

Hoping you, beloved reader, are reading this while being lightly sprayed with cooling mists, while lettuce thunders in the background,