In May of 2004, I drove to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for a conference. As I passed the North Carolina border, I saw walking on the shoulder of Route 95 a Tortoise. The Tortoise was remaining in his or her lane, and clearly within the upper limits of the speed limit, so I didn't report it. I don't know where that Tortoise was going. I'd like to think that he was headed for a Tortoise convention or family reunion, at a local Tortoise resort. I hope that it was local, because there is no way that he has made it out of North Carolina yet.
No matter how upbeat I try to be, I must sometimes face reality. Today I was about a spry as that Tortoise. My legs felt like lead. Strange how that is, because just as fast as the "Tortoisia" (made up word) comes on it can go away.
When we last left our hero he was taking the Q60 bus into Manhattan to have lunch with his mother. Lunch was wonderful. For those who don't know my mother, I'm sorry to say that you're missing out on a special lady. The women in our family age very gracefully. I think that it has a good deal to do with that they're always active. Mom continues to take courses, she'll join her granddaughters for the ballet, she always keeps up with the news. She also looks and acts at least 20 years younger then her age. Today I can't say that about her youngest child.
After lunch, I took the bus back to Queens. The bus was crowded, hence I gave up my seat to a mother who had her hands full with two young children. I soon realized that if I tried to remain standing, on the moving bus, I would most likely fall. So I got off to walk the last mile. My legs were so heavy that it felt like, what I would imagine, quicksand would feel like. So I ducked into the subway and took that the rest of the way home.
Just two years ago, it wasn't uncommon for me to walk from 82nd Street on the East Side to the Museum of Modern Art, through Central Park, exiting near the Museum of Natural History, down Columbus and Broadway past Lincoln Center to Columbus Circle back to the train on 53rd and 5th. Sometimes I would stop in one of the Museums. I love this City. There is no place like it in the world.
I just realized, while writing, this that the City, along with my friends and family, have kept be vibrant and vital.
I originally had entitled this piece, "Days of Lead and Molasses." Now I'm changing it to, "New York, New York." The Liza Minelli version, of course.