Travel by Memory & Expectations

“And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate, a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, but individual, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory–this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me, it was myself. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, accidental, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy?”

Proust, of course

When we first met, David and I went into NYC a lot. We’d just spend the day wandering around, or go to little galleries or watch weird movies at Bleeker Street Cinema or watch the dogs play in the dog park. One time we happened upon a restaurant called Match around the corner from the Angelika cinema. We had red wine and French Fries and humus. It was one of those moments that’s just perfect. Exactly the right thing at the right time, with the right person. Ever since, every where we go on our travels, (and make no mistake we go everywhere, man) we seek out humus and fries. Sometimes with a glass of wine, sometimes a nice pint of beer, but the snack remains the same. It’s a comfort and a tonic.

And then we had the boys, and we didn’t go as many places, but when we did, we’d get french fries and hummus with the boys. And every year that the boys have been in school, on Valentine’s Day David and I get a couple of orders of fries, and make our own hummus and have a glass of wine in the middle of the day. It’s such a quiet glowing pocket of time. This year, as home-bound as we’ve ever been, with snow upon snow outside, and the pandemic closing in around us, it feels like a more important ritual than ever. Layers of memories, of all the conversations we’ve had down the years, all of the places we’ve been, all of the worries and joys we’ve discussed, conjured by a well-done french fry and a dab of hummus. The days and hours melt together, in our quarantine world, but this feels separate and special, it’s a very different kind of travel, but I’ll take it.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day and we were discussing gestures the other day, here are some silent love scenes:


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