Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Waiting for Godot


The Most Adventurous Red and the Tiny Poppets came with me and we waited for Godot.

I'm from a city and all things being equal I prefer to be in cities. All things are of course not equal, so I'm four blocks from a city now, although it took me a while to accept it as a city since I am from Brooklyn and this is not Brooklyn.

When you live in Brooklyn "the city" is New York. There are no other cities, except Brooklyn. You can get there very easily, so frequently you do. I spent a lot of time in New York going to museums. They used to just be "suggested donation" so you could wander around and get lost in time and it was all free. 

Not so much now. 

I think I need to go back into the city every now and then. I forget that and stay away too long and then I look around at all the green and the lack of public transit and wonder why it all feels so oppressive. 

But going back to New York now sometimes feels like that feeling you get when you run into an old lover, whom you haven't seen in too long. There is a lot of history, but you've forgotten almost as much as you remember, and time has changed you both. 

You miss the familiarity, and the ease.  You awkwardly introduce the person from your past to your children, and you both pretend that the introduction isn't full of might-have-beens, and you both wonder what these children think of you. What do they see in the peice of the past they are meeting, you watch to see if they are weighing possibilities and the vagaries of chance. Are they measuring it against the now?

These little pieces of time crash into each other, showing how it passes. They etch themselves in your heart and remind you of who you are. I am a person who is more whole in cities.

I decided that I would wait for Godot, because I had never done so before. It had been too long and I needed to.

When I got there I found that there were places where I still knew my way.


While calling for the tickets I realized that I had never taken my children to the city with me. I had never shown them the museums and parks and libraries that make up the early part of my life.  And I could not see Godot without my Perfectly Normal Husband and My Dearest Friend. There might be still be a point without them there, but it wouldn't be nearly as sharp as it would be with them.

My Dearest Friend works in NYC and met us there.

Things were familiar, even if all the cabs looked like Disney had bought the rights to Bladerunner. It was as if technology had been superimposed over the city I remembered, but everything else was the same. Times Square was a bit seedier than at my last visit so perhaps it is beginning to revert to form. I could still hail a cab and walk at the right pace and tell when someone was BSing me. But the city and I had both changed as well, and I was somewhere halfway between a native and a tourist. 

I did notice that all the subtle little things that mark me as a tiny bit of an outsider everywhere else I go blended back into the city seamlessly. I had been concerned about the boots. No need, what made me odd anywhere else was a repeated motif when we arrived. I was in the height of fashion here where almost everyone was from Somewhere Else, and I was from Here. We are all halfway between native and tourist. Perhaps I blend in better now, than when I was fully from Here, but I was mildly surprised at the ubiquity of boots. 

The Most Adventurous Red and the Tiny Poppets passed the time pretending to be much bigger than the Empire State Building.

You cannot take pictures at Studio 54, not even in the lobby. So we don't have them. 

The play was excellent, I had forgotten enough of it that I did not know the ending. I had never studied it other than to read it, so I did not have all of the scholars who played with it laughing with me when I saw it. The thoughts and laughter were all our own. I shared it with my own cast of five. 

The Boy wondered if it were even set on Earth, or if it were out of time. The Girl wondered if Lucky was a specific reference that she was missing rather than simply the allegory he presented. We waited until afterwards at the lounge to discuss it. Just the family being ourselves. 


I think the play is not about God or Man's relationship to God, as I have seen posited, I think it's about humanity's relationship to time and how to derive any form of meaning from that time. Godot is the excuse to go on, but the play would be the same with or without him. His messengers are important to mark the passage of time not the presence or absence of Godot.

The next day. I took the children, who are not really childish any more to the Metropolitan Museum and we learned that we should come again. You cannot fit a lifetime into 8 hours and you can only cover about a third of the Met in that timeframe. We marked the places we will spend more time in later. All of the symbolism of our two days overlapped with the symbolism of Didi and Gogo. I'm still processing all of the pieces of it. 

It was good for me to be back in the city, like a plant that finally got the Ph balance in the soil right. Things were a little more balanced for a bit. 

We'll always find something to give us the impression we exist. 

I believe the Poppets are thinking of playing Godot. I'll let you know if they do this to pass the time. 

There's nothing to be done.

1 comment:

lisa said...

Drinne: Lovely post. Thank you.