Sarah Crichton. Photograph by Joyce Ravid.
DAY ONE, Saturday, May 8
3:28 A.M. Up. Always up at 3:28 A.M., on the nose. Before I crashed, I started Jill Lepore’s piece on the real historical Tea Partiers in The New Yorker. I flip past Lepore and move onto Janet Malcolm’s piece on the trial of Mazoltuv Borukhova, the Bukharan Jewish doctor, for hiring a hitman to off her dentist husband. Brilliant. “We go through life mishearing and mis-seeing and misunderstanding so that the stories we tell ourselves will add up.” Heaven.
5:21 A.M. Awake again. Magazine’s on my chest; light’s still on. Bukharan killers dance in my head. Continue reading.
6:43 A.M. Awake again. Get up? Or shoot for more sleep? Return to Malcolm, who dazzles me, the way she weaves in and out of her piece. “I have let Fass run on too long, and have got ahead of my story. Let me go back to my talk in the hallway with the law guardian, who had said yes to an interview…” I’d love to read some of this to someone, but of course everyone’s asleep and my husband is in Bratislava, I think.
8:50 A.M. A proper weekend wake-up time. Tea, yogurt, weekend Times. What’s in there is scary: oil spills, crushing Greek debt. So start with real-estate section. Mean co-op boards can’t scare me! Work methodically through the sections, ending with the book section, which I’ve already read, so I pick up last week’s Book Review, which is still on the stack by my chair, and read that instead. Francine Prose on how anti-Semitic Irène Némirovsky really was.
10:00 A.M. Switch on NPR. Car Talk. I don’t own a car anymore, but I love those brothers. Would I love them as much if they didn’t have Southie accents?
11:00 A.M. Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Love that show too, but I’m done chopping vegetables for my soup, and Roy Blount, Jr. isn’t on, so I switch it off.
11:05 A.M. Boot up PC. Check to see if money has miraculously appeared in my checking account (it hasn’t); if I’ve heard from my husband in Bratislava (I haven’t); if there’s something on 1st Dibs that I should know about and buy. Read somewhere that Gwyneth Paltrow did a cute hip-hop routine with Jimmy Fallon, so track it down on Hulu.
12:30 P.M. Pick up Zipcar, and head to JFK to pick up Oberlin-student daughter, in for quick Mother’s Day visit. On radio: Live from the Met. Berg’s Lulu. The wonderful Marlis Petersen as Lulu. Reluctant to leave the opera when I get to JFK, so I sit in the parking lot until intermission. Buy Star magazine in the terminal. HOUSEKEEPERS TELL ALL. Only, they don’t. Daughter arrives. Back in Zipcar, Lulu loses to the new Grizzly Bear CD, which my daughter wants me to hear.
6:50 P.M. Jean Renoir’s Rules of the Game (La Règle du Jeu) at BAM Rose Cinema in a beautiful fresh print. Couple behind us carp as we sit down. We are tall; they are not. My daughter, sweeter than I, says, “No problem, let’s swap seats.” As we start to settle into our new seats, the couple now behind grumbles, and my daughter starts, but I make it clear I’m not moving. I haven’t seen the movie on a full-size screen since a Brattle Street Theater/Janus Film marathon in the early 1970s. The movie is a joy—farce, satire, visually delicious. But the audience is rigid with respect, and when my daughter starts cracking up, you can sense the irritation. I think they think we are drunk. We’re not. I am intimidated and quiet into a chuckle, but Eliza refuses to be muted. Rightfully so.
11:20 P.M. Home in time to catch Betty White host Saturday Night Live, who’s been picked because of a Facebook contest. She looks damn good for eighty-eight, and she always could talk quasi-dirty, which of course is what they’ve got her doing. I nod off as she’s being a baker, talking about her “big, dusty muffin.”