Sunday, February 20, 2005

Monkey in winter

Yesterday we went to look at furniture, then uptown because I wanted to show the wife a funny painting that I wanted to buy. It was of a monkey dressed up like a general. I never buy *any* paintings, but I had seen it the other day and it cracked me up.

It wasn't in the store window this time, but when we went inside I spotted it, along with a monkey dressed as some sort of clergyman.

"We have other monkeys," said the saleswoman.

There were about a dozen oil paintings in what could be called a series: monkeys dressed in human clothing, usually with a tobacco product protruding from their lips. My favorite was of a simian in a tuxedo—a monkey suit!—looking quite debonair, smoking a cigarette. There was also a monkey who appeared to be backstage at the ballet.

The wife would not indulge this eccentricity, and we left the shop.

Then we entered Central Park near the Met, and as we walked west we saw a couple cars moving slowly north on the loop, lights flashing gently. Then we heard a little applause. Then we glimpsed some orange hair—it was Jeanne-Claude! And Christo! I applauded!

* * *

Earlier yesterday, my parents strolled a ways through The Gates with us. In the 90s we saw a hawk, then two, then three, ostensibly stalking a squirrel, then another. It was like some complicated animal math problem.

* * *

Today was day nine of The Gates, and of my Gates odyssey. We actually went twice—once in the morning, from around 91st to 72nd, and then again in the late afternoon, entering in the 90s, heading up to 110th, walking east, and crossing back at 96th, then down to 86th. Highlights today included the reflection of the Gates in the water to the north; brilliant sun; one guy saying to his buddy, as he spotted a Gates-less stretch between two heavily-Gatesed ones, "What, he ran out?" Also we got a swatch from one of the gray-aproned volunteers. He asked a trivia question, which we promptly got wrong. There was a moment where it seemed he might not give up the swatch. But he did, and it's propped up on my lamp.

At the grocery store today, I bought an orange bell pepper. It was perhaps too willfully eccentric—later, I took a photo, which I'm going to splice into my pointless and entirely too absorbing mini-movies inspired by The Gates—but not as severely so as buying a General Monkey painting. Those bad boys cost nearly $200!

The paintings, not the peppers!


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