The Hermit Emerges

Let me tell you, having a designated parking space has been a life-changing event – literally.  No longer do I have to limit my summer weekend travels to wherever I can bike to or late Sunday evenings on the off-chance that I just might find a spot when I get home with the exodus of the day-trippers.  Now I can freely leave my house for errands, pick-ups or even just on a whim.

As a result, I have actually managed to have some semblance of a social life this summer!!  Movies, concerts, visits with friends – soon the powers-that-be will have to revoke my “hermit card”!  (And I can no longer use “parking” as an excuse to avoid socializing!)

It’s especially great when I get to spend time with people whose company I really enjoy, and who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like.  Case in point was this past week, when my friend Wendy flew up from North Carolina and our mutual friend Sue came out for the day from New Jersey.  In this instance, it wasn’t lack of parking that had prevented our get-together:  it was distance and time – too much of one, not enough of the other.  Even while ostensibly enjoying a couple of days of relaxing conversation, all three of us managed to find some time to do work.  For Sue, it was trouble-shooting calls for the au pair agency for which she is a regional representative with over 70 families to coordinate and appease (very impressive).  For Wendy, it was catching up on some online college assignments as she pursues an advanced degree in nursing while regaining her strength and stamina after a long illness (also impressive).  For me, it was the same old nonsense, and even though it was the slowest week of the legal year (the last week of August before Labor Day), I still had a few cross-border emails to address.  But for the most part, we played with the animals (Sue brought her mini-poodle Leaf and I also picked up a tiny tortie kitten named Gigi to clear out a cage at the shelter to make room for the animals our shelter director was bringing back from Houston following Harvey), ate out and enjoyed some adult beverages, and mostly talked and talked and talked, catching up on years’ worth of each others’ lives.  I loved being with people I’ve known for decades, with whom I feel comfortable enough to discuss literally ANYTHING, with many shared memories and a shared political and ethical mindset.  As far as I was concerned, it was pure bliss and I only wish it could have lasted longer.

On Friday, Wendy and I went into the city to meet her mom Marilyn and walked around the 9/11 Memorial site, looking for people’s names engraved on the walls of the reflecting pools.  Wendy had actually been at work that dreadful day, in the World Financial Center, just a skybridge away from the World Trade Center, and she retold the harrowing tale of getting out of town that day, of seeing the towers fall and the horror of people jumping, billions of bits of paper filling the sky like toxic snow.  If I wasn’t with two such lovely people, such a discussion would have been a bit of a downer.  But it was a beautiful late-summer day, with signs of the city’s renewal all around us, and we ate lunch along the Hudson and talked about politics and TV shows and dogs and how the world manages to carry on despite disasters like 9/11 and Trump.

As we were getting ready to board the E train to take us to Penn Station and Port Authority Bus Terminal, respectively, to sadly go our separate ways, we happened to walk past a tiny shop in the brand new Oculus, the mall/transportation hub near the 9/11 Memorial.  It was called Penhaligon’s, a perfumery established in 1870 in London.  An impeccably dressed and well-spoken fellow named Anthony proceeded to ask us our favorite scents and matched each of us PERFECTLY with a particular perfume, tying a little silk square scarf doused with our selected fragrance around each of our wrists.  I have been searching for a signature scent for most of my life (Love’s Baby Soft, anyone?) and I think I have finally found it:  Penhaligon’s Empressa, a patchouli base with infusions of sandalwood, coconut and vanilla.  AND IT LASTED ALL DAY, which is the true test of a signature scent.  I have promised to buy it for myself for my birthday.  At $175 a bottle, it had better last a few years!!

So the hermit has officially emerged, and it turned out to be a fine summer, highlighted by a glorious couple of days with some of my best friends in the world.  I should really try it more often!

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