the life of richie

DEE SEA

Posted in is by Rich on November 23, 2009

The girl sitting next to him on the train, cold and listens to her iPod while hitting the Blackberry keys hard and fast and avoiding eye contact with the world. Her fingers move mechanistically, with unyielding speed, cklicking out messages to the hive: how she can even think that fast, consider, where the revisioning –– she of calculated conviction can have none. She, who wears a clingy shirt dress, and boots, and Rich has the urge to lick her face while thinking of popsicles. Instead, he falls asleep between Wilmington and Baltimore.

The train comes to a full stop, shaking him from slumber: there is a broken train on the tracks up ahead. An hour’s delay as their train takes on the stranded passengers. He hears a woman behind him say she was waiting for three hours on the disabled train. The woman, who speaks with a South Asian accent, is ne’ertheless still cheerful and excited to visit her daughter in the capital. He thinks of his own mom and times when she too had been excited to see his sister home from L.A., only to have his sister be delayed or disagreeable, his mom left to feel unworthy, broken, forced to take on an ungrateful passenger.

Eventually, and more than an hour and a half en retard, Rich reaches Anne and her boyfriend Tommy. Rich ironizes: “Ahh, the romance of train travel!” The three go for coffee at Cowgirl Creamery and Pete’s a Pizza before dropping off Tommy at home and walking to meet Ashley at a speakeasy called The Gibson; an unmarked door leads to a dark lounge specializing in bespoke cocktails. Rich has two from the menu over the course of as many hours: Stranger on the Highway and The Upstate. Ashley arrives. The three gossip and giggle; the controversial topic of the Snuggie™ is broached. The intense waitress comes to give them the bill and the boot. Later, at Nellie’s, the three huddle out on the upstairs patio and later have snacks inside before retiring, to their respective abodes, to bed.

Rich wakes up, in the spare room (the office), next to Anne’s nature bowl. The primary rule of the nature bowl is that nothing goes in the bowl that is not natural; Ashley’s acorns that she gifted Anne that popped their tops cannot be glued back together; it would be sacrilege to the n.b. The bowl contains a proliferation of leaves, pine cones, a few shells. Anne is on the lookout for acorns, and Rich believes her when she insinuates that she would wrestle a squirrel for them: so great is her fervor to feather the bowl.

In the downstairs living and kitchen space, Anne makes coffee in the Chemex, while the men (though the term is used loosely of Riche et Thomas) stand and eat the woman and watch clementines and torn slices of fresh rye. After coffee with dribbles of heavy cream, they walk to their eleven o’ clock brunch appointment at the Tabard. On their pilgrimage, the three exchange stories; Rich tells about his sister, who for awhile in college dreaded her hair and gave up wearing underwear. He sees a Tourmobile bus and remembers when he and she made up a jingle for the Tourmobile while on vacation with their parents a long time ago. Sometimes he worries his sister exists mostly in anecdotes now for him. Perhaps that is true of all people: we love them and then convert them to the raw material of narration if they become less immediate in our workaday lives. Their friend Goose is resurrected in story-form many times during his visit: Goose, still in London, now married to a Brazilian, now working at the dinosaur museum. Goose, whose sobriquet itself was lifted from an advert on the underground –– an advert for whiskey at that. Oh, Goose.

After the filling brunch of fresh bread and doughnuts, po’ boy sandwiches and poached eggs over hash, brie & chanterelle omelettes, the travelers take the bus to the woods and cross through the real-life nature bowl of Glover-Archbold Park to The Kreeger Museum. The museum is lovely (nuts the Kreegers had gathered in life safely stored in this modern space), if soporific, the stuffy, windowless basement downstairs where the trio take in the evocative Kentridge exhibit like a soft muslin of chloroform applied to their mouths. Outside, the spell of the house is broken, and yawns trumpet in the re-awakening; the lawn sculptures like over-sized artifacts from Ikea and Pier 1 greet them at the gate. “Do you suppose the Kreegers had a sexless marriage?” Anne asks. Carmen and David Kreeger, attempting to satisfy themselves in marriage through a prolific consumption of art, stuffing themselves with Sisleys, gorging on the Goghs.

But at night, the friends envision the Kreegs all hot and bothered, stealing out onto the veranda to rub themselves up against the sculptures like sweaty cats. One wants to imagine them rolling around naked on the lawn, getting acorns all up in their ha-has.

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