I was walking down 95th Street between Columbus and Central Park West this afternoon, and saw two old people sucking serious face on the sidewalk. It was jarring and intriguing—she had silver bun and he had a terrible comb-over, a backpack on his back, and was about a foot shorter than she was. I couldn’t help but go out of my way to get a better look at them: Turns out she was probably my age exactly (to the day—and a double Pisces to boot), and he was, oh, probably, like, eighty. (Don’t get me wrong: I know some super attractive eighty-year-old men, but this wasn’t one of them.) He was shuffling, and they were holding hands the wrong way—she had the man’s position: over rather than under. If she hadn’t have been looking for her contact lens in his stomach with her tongue a moment before, I would definitely have assumed that he was her father.
So I thought, O.K., that guy must be really interesting. I’m not kidding—like a famous concert pianist, or, like, the poet laureate, or the guy about to invent the cure for cancer. Maybe he’s Don Delillo, or a former Nobel Peace prize winner. He didn’t look rich. Then I thought, No, if he were any of those things, he’d be with a younger, sexier chick—not a Weight Watcher in a pair of mom jeans.
So this is the point. I mean, rhonestly: how many judgments can you fit into one fantasy? All day I’ve been noticing how not a detail—not a person, not a flyer (Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl—ugh), not a dog owner, not a parent, couple, mob of teenagers—goes by that I don’t judge as good or bad, like or dislike, and then pretty, fat, cute, gay, angry, oh great shoes, and/or obnoxious.
Earlier, after I picked up car up from the Ludlow Garage (good) where I paid $600 (bad) for a new alternator (good), after having broken down on the L.I.E. (bad) with Scout (terrible), I sat down in a cafe (good) on Clinton Street (good), and plugged my computer in (really, really good). I was writing a work-related letter to someone (anxiety-provoking), two pages, single spaced (bad), and a few minutes after I sent it off, the guy next to me (not sure yet), said, “I couldn’t help but notice that you mentioned Pema Chodron in the letter you were writing; I think she’s great.” (Very, very, very bad.) And yet I liked him.
The point is, wow, by the end of a day’s worth of judgments, I’m exhausted and a totally sick of myself (good—I deserve it).