Thursday, March 4, 2010

Reality Check

My mind is like an amusement park.

Those are the choice words of a friend's friend who I met yesterday at a birthday lunch in NYC.
As often as I've tried to describe the chaos in my mind, I've never been able to do justice to its reality. These words were an aha moment. When I heard them I immediately thought, " now, that is exactly what it is like up in there"- as I imagined the ferris wheel spinning, the merry-go-round turning, the noise blaring and the lights blinking. I was happy to have met someone who shared my mind's experience and who also understood how important it was for a busy mind to take a day off- to escape reality. Today was just such a day.

The birthday lunch for my dear friend Beth was at the University Club in Manhattan. I had never been there and since I was the only one coming from outside the city, had to find parking, etc. I arrived early and the birthday gifts began.

First, It is a gorgeous building. As I entered into the grand hallway, I checked my coat and proceeded to warm myself by the enormous, roaring, marble fireplace. Such an elegant room, such a simple pleasure, and I felt so blessed just standing there.

After warming up, I wandered into the vast reading room with its oriental rugs, floor to ceiling windows, high back chairs and library tables topped with interesting reading material.

I chose the Illuminator,( a magazine published by the University Club for its members), and found a window seat in which to relax and wait. I opened the magazine to a wonderfully descriptive article about the club's library. So, bold as I am, I found my way to the fourth floor, where just as the author had promised, I entered the architecturally stunning yet incredibly inviting and cozy library.

Mahogany book shelves lined the room, frescos were painted on the gilded ceilings and stately university crests adorned the highest parts of the walls. Most importantly, as described in the Illuminator Journal, next to each light drenched window (yes, even on this cloudy day, natural light poured in to this otherwise dark space), there was a red leather reading chair with a reading lamp by its side.

Although it felt like I was alone, in fact, I was not. Two men, in different corners of the room, sat comfortably engrossed in there reading and I thought to myself, "What a luxurious way to spend what might otherwise be a dreary and hectic Wednesday afternoon." I too ensconced myself in a red leather chair and for a few spectacular moments, I read, relaxed, soaked in the rich and intellectual atmosphere, and appreciating the gifts being bestowed upon me.

At noon I met Beth and her five friends on the seventh floor for lunch in a most magnificent dining room setting. A few hours, and many great conversations later, I was heading back to suburban reality. Don't take this the wrong way, I love Bernardsville, my life and my friends, but every now and again, it is really nice to live someone else's life - and yesterday I did.

Originally, John and I had these "grand plans" to meet after my lunch and his work, so that we could enjoy dinner in NYC and stay overnight. But as is often the case with bubbles, they pop. Fictitious living only lasts so long before real life gets in the way, and in this particular case, we were needed at our regular parenting jobs back home.

But, back at the ranch, as if John read my mind, and understood that I didn't want the fairy tale to end, he, my prince in shining armor, said to Reid, "Your mother looks so beautiful, do you mind if I take her out to dinner?", and while it was not the glamour of 5th Avenue, we enjoyed a lovely dinner together, catching up on our busy lives, and appreciating our own reality.


  1. I think this where Liz Holland got married. If so, it IS gorgeous.
    Lovely post - sounds like a real gift of a day.
    "My mind is like an amusement park" - ha! So true.

  2. Karen, Love your comment and just knowing that your reading along warms my heart. Your brisket recipe is really getting passed around now that Passover is approaching. Been thinking about Denver a lot lately. I want to hear all the details when we are together this summer. John can't wait. Be well and enjoy the upcoming spring weather.

  3. oh Alicia, this was just so wonderful I don't know what to say. Thank you.