My friend Tim Kreider has posted another amazing entry in the New York Times’ “Happy Days” blog:
August 2, 2009, 9:05 PM
By TIM KREIDER
In 1996 I rode the circus train to Mexico City where I lived for a month, pretending to be someone’s husband. (Don’t even ask.) I remember my time there as we remember most of our travels — vivid and thrilling, everything new and strange. My ex-fake-wife Carolyn and I often reminisce nostalgically about our honeymoon there: ordering un balde hielo from room service to cool our Coronas every afternoon, the black-velvet painting of the devil on the toilet that she made me buy, our shared hilarious terror of kidnapping and murder, the giant pork rind I wrangled through customs. Which is funny, since, if I think back honestly, while I was actually there I did not feel “happy.” In fact, as mi esposa did not hesitate to point out to me at the time, I griped incessantly about the noise and stink of the city — the car horns playing shrill, uptempo versions of the theme from “The Godfather” or “La Cucaracha” every second, the noxious mix of diesel fumes and urine, the air so filthy we’d been there a week before I learned we had a view of the mountains.
The fresh heartbreak was, in a sense, like being in a foreign country; everything seemed alien, brilliant and glinting. It was as if I’d been flayed, so that even the air hurt.
I was similarly miserable throughout the happiest summer I ever spent in New York City. I was recovering from an affair that had ended badly, and during my convalescence I was subletting a cool, airy apartment a block from Tompkins Square Park, with a kitchen window that looked out on a community garden. A theater troupe was rehearsing a production of “The Tempest” out there, and I got used to the warped rattling crash of…
(photo of Tim Kreider by Jenny Boylan, summer 2007, Greenlawn Cemetery, at the tomb of F.W. Woolworth, in a moment that was surely a mixture of great sorrow and absolute giddiness.)