It’s so beautiful I can’t think. Only walking and looking and listening to music make sense, and yet not enough sense to convey what is happening in Alexandria now. If weathermen were better, I’d plan my year around a single day like this and use it perfectly. I’d hire a personal chef to serve me espresso and sublime scrambled eggs in the shade of a tree and I’d read something droll there. Droll and old-fashioned and spirit-lifting: the opposite of the news.
I’d meet you for lunch at that French place in Georgetown I just read about, and then we’d walk by the water. No, much better than that: We’d drive up to Great Falls, Maryland side, and I would do something I haven’t done since I was 25: jump off a cliff into the Potomac. You should jump too.
My chef is also my driver, and he’ll take us anywhere we want to go. We should want to go to Annapolis or Middleburg, but we don’t. We should want to look at art but we don’t. (For one thing, there’s no such thing as indoors today.) Instead I want to show you a couple of places that haven’t changed since 1982. I can’t show you Mr. Henry’s or Au Pied de Cochon, but I can buy you a drink at Martin’s – outdoor table, please. I can show you Dumbarton Oaks and Meridian Hill and the route I used to run along Rock Creek Parkway, with a loop through the zoo.
I can show you the marina where Dad kept his boat and I played in the caterpillar tree.
But I’m not thinking big enough. My chef/driver is a class-A sailor and ready to take us on a dusk sprint past monuments. I’ve got two bottles of wine, a tremendously expensive Chablis and a $12 bottle of Salice Salentino. France and Italy past the Kennedy Center and Lauinger Library, where it used to be that the best view was in the smoking lounge that was blown off, so to speak, for the benches by the reading room. We looked inward rather than outwards at the wider world; we weren't yet 21.
There was always an end of summer day like this in Washington, and always an end of summer day like this in New York. One of these days fell on the eleventh, when my friend Michou called from Amsterdam, waking me up and telling me to turn on the TV. For three or four or five days, all the days were as beautiful as this, but I had to show identification to come back to my apartment on Jane Street.
If, by chance, I had wandered away to the river or met a friend for a glass of wine or taken a a German guy who couldn’t get back home to Nora’s show at Fez.
Good lord, Robert: Stop writing! Go out! Or just keep the door flung open.