Why don't I live in New York? Actually, given that the answer to that question is pretty obvious, or rather obviously supplied by S. Bullock and the Jawa as two-part harmony ("We like San Francisco better!"), the real question is: why have I never lived in New York?
We just returned from a very short stay in Manhattan, during which I played an endless loop in my head -- "I wish we lived here. I wish we lived here. I wish we lived here." -- even while being denied such New York staples as nightlife and casual strolling.
I have to be fair here. Our New York life could have easily been reproduced on, say, a vacation in San Francisco. We could eat in restaurants, attend the theater, walk around a large, urban park and check out really cool architecture. In fact, as part of my present "return the life to Lefty's life" campaign, I vowed that our family would be more active in experiencing the culture of our culture-rich (and politically insane) city.
Democratic rule is the norm in my house, especially when I stand so far from the revenue-producing stream. We will live in San Francisco. I will remain a New Yorker who has never lived in New York.
Now that we have returned to San Francisco, Sandra Bullock has decided to take it upon herself to aid me in recapturing the personal magic she feels I feel I have let slip away. After berating me at baggage claim for wearing identical black t-shirts every day of our vacation, Bullock boldly announced this morning that, as part of our day's errands (most of which involved getting the Jawa in position to spend his birthday money on Legos), we would go to Walgreen's and buy "some of that stuff that makes hair grow."
I have no problem making hair grow. I do have a problem making it grow on my head. But now, with the addition twice daily of 1 ml of hair-growing potion -- surprisingly not provided by a fast-talking sharpie in a circus wagon and not called "elixer" -- I will soon be running a comb through a full head of luxurious hair. As a side note, I have not run a comb or brush through what remains of my hair for over 10 years. Has comb technology advanced since 1995?
I say this up front so that if any of you are confronted with the creeping suspicion that I am suddenly gaining hair, rather than losing it, you will know the reason. When I first began going gray, I tried coloring my hair, only to stop because I felt I already lied about enough things without having to add another. If this stuff works, I will be up front about it.
And yes, Dad, I am worried that it will grow hair everywhere but on my head.
As to our earlier question -- why didn't I ever live in New York? There probably wasn't much chance I would. Six years ago, when S. Bullock, the Jawa and I moved to San Francisco, we considered New York, only to realize that, whoops! we had a three-year-old.
During our short stay in Manhattan, I visited an old college friend who's become an Indie film somebody, plus my old high school girlfriend the ex-Mormon. Both are living lives stuffed full of glam. We dropped by the see Indie guy at his cool office, just before he and his stylish wife were off to Montauk for the weekend. They go every weekend, to escape the city.
The ex-Mormon met me at a hip Israeli restaurant directly after finishing a meeting with her producer, who told her that her screenplay, with a little work, would be "Oscar-worthy." I sat there in my GAP 1969 jeans, sucking in my gut, completely in awe of her accomplishment. Like me, she got the idea to write screenplays in her late 30s. Unlike me, she finished a few and began "taking meetings."
I wonder if I have a reservoir of glam hidden somewhere, untapped so far for 41 years. Maybe it's hidden in my brain, overwhelmed by overwhelming urges for Black Cherry Vanilla Coke, malted milk balls and 3x daily viewings of Sportscenter.
In New York there are legions of guys fatter and balder than me who walk around like every woman in the joint should be falling at their feet. And the scary part is -- the women actually do. I pointed this out to S. Bullock while we strolled through Central Park. She considered it and responded, "They're probably very successful at what they do."
Ouch. And true. And not really solved by 1 ml of hair-growing juice applied topically twice daily. Nor by fantasizing about the amazingly glamorous life I somehow sidestepped by never living in New York.