Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm Back!

And I want to leave again immediately.

Well, picture this. I hop the plane in Geneva for the short haul (an hour or so) to Paris (on my way home). In the Paris airport (Charles De Gaulle), I discover that directly opposite my gate for my NY flight, there is not only a smoking room, but a nice little stand right next to it where one can acquire a tall cold Heineken's. Can we say sophistication?

So I hop on my flight to Newark, which was uneventful...unlike an incident which bemused me on my flight Paris-Geneva on the way over. As we were descending to Geneva, a call went out on the loudspeaker for a doctor, and a gentleman seated a few rows ahead of me got up and bustled up front, where the problem seemed to be.

Well, frankly, if this gent had been bending over me when I was ill I would have commended my soul to God immediately. He was - literally - morbidly obese. I mean huge hanging swathes of flesh obese. I don't know about anyone else, but frankly, I would prefer to be seen by a doctor who looks as if he has some notion of how to take care of his OWN damn body before he starts playing around with MINE. (My own personal type doctor has a small spare tire, but I consider this normal after a certain age - I've got one myself, for heaven's sake, and I am in no possible way obese.) And no, I have no idea what the problem was, but there was an ambulance waiting when we got off the plane...but of course, given that people sue everybody these days for a wrong look, that may merely have been self-protection on the part of the airplane.

Oh, and I must add, as someone who never manages to sleep well (or, frankly, for more than an hour at a stretch) on an overnight flight, that I wanted to murder my outbound JFK-Paris seatmate. We got on the plane, she had the window and I had the aisle, with an empty seat between us. As we taxied down the runway, she put on her sleep mask, draped herself in her blanket, tucked the pillow next to the window, and proceeded to go to sleep - an activity which she continued straight through to Paris. No dinner, no breakfast, no nothing. She stayed solidly out like a light for the entire damn flight. All I could think of was When Harry Met Sally..."I'll have what she's having." Either the broad was afflicted with narcolepsy or she'd popped about eighteen Valiums before she got on the plane.

Meanwhile, back in Yvoire...ah, the pleasure of doing nothing. If you have gone to Sarah's blog and seen the pictures, you will see that Yvoire is, in fact, Neverland...or for those of us who are old enough to remember the musical, Brigadoon. If you haven't gone to Sarah's blog, just Google Yvoire. A tiny little paradise.

I thinnk my favorite is our house, however. The family has now had the house for just about exactly 60 years. and that's exactly what it looks like...a nice big family house (four bedrooms, two and a half baths)...and things that never, ever change. I always have my room (the back bedroom on the second floor)'s the one where when I wake up early I can, if I happen to be hungry, reach out and have a few grapes from the vine that hangs over one of my windows. (Or for that matter I can just go downstairs and rummage around in the icebox, but the grapes are more fun.) And I watch the village wake up...which consists of three people coming up the hill from the dock (there's a small summer community that moors their boats there and stays on them) to get their breakfast croissants, two trucks going through the village to deliver things, and...well, actually, that's it.

Then I go to the bathroom. This sounds like an unnecessarily intimate revelation, but you have to understand the plumbing at our house, which has its own little quirks (therefore making the act of getting up and going to the john an adventure). The upstairs bathroom (the third floor) is brand new (well, as we count time in Yvoire - seven or eight years, perhaps?), and is madly modern...sink, toilet, shower stall. However, this being our house, there are certain quirks. If you wish to shower upstairs, you have to turn on the water in the sink and remember that the shower faucet got installed backwards, so that hot and cold are reversed...i.e., the blue dot means hot and the red dot means cold. It is extremely important to remember this, because we have lots and lots of VERY hot water in Yvoire.

Now the second floor bathroom has a perfectly lovely big deep European tub, but I never shower in it, because before the upstairs one was installed, I had far too many episodes of either freezing or scalding, because the shower apparatus there is hand-held, and I have never in damn near thirty years ever been able to get it properly organized. And then of course there's the toilet in there, which has to be flushed with a bucket of water...this is handily kept next to the toilet and one refills it for the next person each time.

The half bathroom is a toilet under the front stairs up to the house, which in its time was a wonder, because our family installed the first flush toilet in the village. They had a party for it, in fact. This bathroom (well, all right - it's a toilet in a tiny room...that's all there is) tends to be filled with spiders, so you have to be alert when you're using it (who wants a spider bite on their ass?). But it's damned handy when you're on your way out, and it flushes all on its own...clearly a plus factor.

For the rest, the house is filled with family photos and books forever, and a great big kitchen where we normally eat, and old pots and pans, and wonderful food (well, it is in France)...and then there's the porch, where I spend a LARGE part of my time, reading, and dreaming and watching the lake and the boats and snacking...

And what did I do in Yvoire? I slept (blankets at night even in August...I love mountains...we see the Jura Mountains right across the lake), I ate, I read, I took the occasional excursion with the gang. Normally I stay on the porch or sound asleep, because the family excursions tend to be WAY too physical for me. "Let's go climb Mont Blanc!" is a rallying cry for the family. Luckily I have them trained NOT to expect me on any nonsensical expeditions like this.

We took our own personal chef with us this time, our pal Shai, and one of the most delightful things I've ever seen is Shai going through a French market going, "Oh, wow, oh, wow, oh, wow" about every six inches (we ate artichokes as big as our heads). And oh, God, he made us the most wonderful meals...

A most successful visit.

I just watched the season premiere of Mad Men, which I've never seen before. Frankly, I was not terribly impressed. I think, however, this is because I was working in advertising in the 60's, so it's hardly anything new to me. I was impressed, however, by one thing, which is that they cast women who reflect the 60's body. All of the gals in this show are properly upholstered for the period, wherein there were actually smart looking clothes in size 12, and I saw (because people seem to keep taking their clothes off) little rolls around the middle. I can't tell you how nice it was to see actual female forms, instead of stick figures.

Last night I went to see Peer Gynt in Central Park (no, not the Delacorte...this was Gorilla Rep, which plays on a goddamn rock in the midle of nowhere). It was an excellent production, but I have now loudly said to everyone that I no longer go to plays which require me to stomp about in the dark tripping over tufts of grass, and climbing huge hills to get to the production area. Which invariably has no bathroom of any variety. From here on in, I attend only productions with seats and bathrooms. However, I saw a couple of old pals and had a lovely time, once we got to the bar where I could, for God's sake, take a leak.

And tonight I had dinner with two old pals from Chicago who come in for the Gift Show at the Javits every year...Shelby and her lady Sharon. Sharon is actually a new addition...well, not new to Shelby, but her previous lady was a pal of mine (she died some years back), and I'm delighted that the two of them have such damn good fun together! Shel and I have been friends for upwards of forty years now, and it's always a huge happy pleasure to spend an evening with them.

And now, having celebrated my jet lag by never having had time to get rid of it (both the above occasions having been set up before I left for France), I am going to finish watching Rescue Me (and drooling over Denis Leary), and I'm going to sleep...and unless an agency calls (from my mouth to God's ears) with work, I think I'll just sleep away this ghastly weather. You can imagine how it feels to come back to this soup after a week sleeping under blankets...

Love, Wendy

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