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September 15th, 2018



I don’t even like Delacroix that much.

French painting before Manet leaves me cold. The 19th century French Romanticists are only marginally less cloying than the 19th century French Classicists. All those scenes from bad Walter Scott novels!

(I make exceptions for The Death of Marat and The Raft of the Medusa ‘cause, you know: They were The Daily Mail of their day.)

But the Met was hosting the first Delacroix retrospect outside France in 100,000 years, and as a Met member, I get to go to the previews, and it’s always fun to wander about the City and about the Met.

I asked the Beautiful Pollster if she wanted to accompany me, and she said, Yes, yes, yes with ten exclamation points.

We exchanged some texts that morning: MetroNorth from the boonies was running late.

But when I got to the Met, the Beautiful Pollster wasn’t there.

After waiting for her for 10 minutes, I texted a cheerful I’m here followed by 15 exclamation points.

And she texted back: Hey - Im so sorry- I got tangled up in resolving an issue for Tom - just off the phone. He went to lga when he should have gone to jfk. Had to get him new tickets.
I know it's stupid
And expensive
Please go on inside
I'm really sorry


And I was really irked.

Assuming she was not lying—had not been hit by a sudden compulsion to wash her hair; had not been suddenly invited to the Lake Como compound by George and Amal—this was still pretty rude since it would have taken her maybe ten seconds to text Family emergency! Must cancel! So sorry! so long as she kept those exclamation points to a minimum.

And it would have taken her an hour at least to get to the Museum from her place in Queens by subway. So, if she hadn't left an hour before, she must have known she would be late or have to cancel.

Did she somehow think that the fact that her 50-year-old boyfriend is such an idiot that he does not check his airplane tickets was gonna extort extra sympathy from me?

Or was I just disposable? Someone who doesn't really matter? Someone who doesn’t bring much to the table, so it’s perfectly okay to blow me off?

Things happen, I texted back.

But I was irked entirely out of all proportion to the incident.

I mean—I had a perfectly fine time wandering through the exhibit and then later through the streets of Manhattan. Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue in the Seventies and Eighties are the places where rich people live; a hundred years ago, Madison Avenue was the place they did their own shopping, and Lexington Avenue was the place where they sent their servants to shop for household necessities. Even today, those distinctions still prevail.

The most stylish young woman in the world sat next to me on the museum steps:



(Check out those charm bracelets at a higher magnification!)

And it is ridiculous to feel pushed out of shape by something that is this minor: Half the world is starving; an appreciable portion of the world is being bombed or flooded. I know this, so in addition to feeling bad because—sniff—I’m unpopular (in the true High School sense of the word)—I also felt bad because I’m superficial and petty.

How can I be unpopular? I ranted to myself. Little Megan liked me. Sincerely liked me, I could tell! And not only is it difficult to make true friends with someone that much younger than you, but Little Megan is pretty picky! I know this because she was constantly bitching to me about every other person she knew here!

What are ya gonna do?

The mind does what the mind does.

###

I got home and did scut work at the benefit dinner the Garden does each year to fund fence work. Claud used to teach at CIA, and then for many years, he owned a restaurant. He is a good cook!

All the while I was washing dishes and serving vegetables, I kept thinking, Maybe I would be more popular if I did something about those marionette lines running from the edges of my nostrils to the tips of my lips! Maybe if I got hydraulic acid injections, I’d be more popular! Hydraulic acid injections and mink eyelash extensions!

###

On the train down and the train ride back, I reread The Shining Girls, and I must say, Lauren Beukes is a genius. There's not a single false note in that novel.

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