Monday, November 14, 2005

Post-Marathon Party

Our friends Nora Maynard and Chester Jankowski had their Post-Marathon Party this past Saturday night. We always enjoy seeing them, and I also like their apartment. My apartment would like to be their apartment, because:

1. Their apartment is in this Midtown townhouse that was renovated from a commercial to residential space about a decade ago, so it has those big old rooms with thick, solid walls but with a really nice modern, open kitchen;

2. It's about the size of two of our apartment laid end to end, and so has both Northern and Southern exposures--a rarity for any non-weathy Manhattanite.

Also, one of their cats is our cats' cousin, or father, or something. Some kind of landsman.

So once a year, they invite some good friends, who bring some good friends, to get together over wine and cheese and fruit. This year, music was provided by iTunes. Chester's been ripping his CD collection and is actually using the software the way it was intended--as a repository of one's digital music files, from which one can make and unmake various mixes. This sounds like a big "Du'h!" to everyone except, well, me. Like I said, I tend to use my iPod and iTunes as a glorified mix tape. Chester's "Post-Marathon Party" mix also utilized the shuffle setting on iTunes, and a genuine variety of genres, so that Charlie Parker co-existed with Richard Hell and the Voidoids. My iTunes playlists tend to have names like "The Summer of 1972" and are burned onto a disc for posterity.

The usual suspects were there. Our friends Linda and Mark sported new specs. My sister-in-law Gilda was there with her boyfriend Bill. Gilda has a new hairstyle that makes her look like Marc Bolan.

Bill's daughter Bernadette, who teaches school, was telling us that the news about kids getting better test scores meant the kids were getting better at taking tests, but still had a lot of gaps in their deeper comprehension of a lot of subjects--most notably, social studies. I thought this opinion was evident in some of those "person on the street" interviews Jay Leno does where people can't name a Supreme Court justice or find Wyoming on a map, but Jim's opinion was that if the kids are doing better on tests, they must be acquiring some knowledge. And so the teachers, Bernadette included, were getting through to them somehow.

We met Jennifer from Australia, who has just moved to New York to take a new job in the auction business. She was doing well there, sort of a "big frog in a little pond," and here in New York she's one of many from respective small ponds. This has been "meeting people from Australia" week for me, since three of the management trainees at work are guest trainees from Australia. They've been so overwhelmed by the choice of pubs and by sweet young things who find their accents charming, that by the time they get back to Sydney and Melbourne they're going to need about a year of sleep before they can actually manage anything.

So it was good seeing everyone--who I'll refer to for now as "and the rest" because I have to get back to work-- and several people were impressed that Jim used to know Lemmy from Motorhead (he was in a band with someone Jim knew back in the '70s.) So no matter how crappy your day gets, you can always reflect on stuff like, "I knew Lemmy from Motorhead."

And I may utilize iTunes the way nature and Jobs intended, and stop thinking so linear. Although if you were running a marathon, you'd probably have to think linear or you'd end up someplace goofy.

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