Meant to post yesterday but was so tired I forgot. On Sunday I drove my fourteen-year-old and one of his friends to a skateboarding camp in PA, about a three and a half hour ride or more depending on traffic, but gorgeous landscapes including the last half hour or so in Amish country (saw many horse drawn buggies full of families probably returning from church).
A friend of mine came along to keep me company on the ride back (though he slept for at least half of it and would have slept for more but I woke him to see a big black bear on the side of the highway, not in the woods but on the mowed grass section—though of course by the time my friend opened his eyes we had passed the bear). But I did all the driving (my choice) and it hit me the next day. I used to be able to drive for ten or twelve hours only stopping for gas, but I guess those days are gone now.
So Monday I was wiped out but had a busy day, including looking for a cheap summer, or at least light, suit for a wedding I'm going to on Saturday, and for some shoes, since the only ones I have are my old Beatle boots from actually before the Beatles hit it big here and they got that name, so they're pretty raggedy and I haven't used them in years (but keep because I only wore them for what seemed like many decades and the ones I used since then wore out and have no sentimental value so are long gone).
Someone told me I could find what I needed in Banana Republic and the nearest one is in a fancy mall in this part of Jersey, the Short Hills mall, where I almost found a suit at Banana Republic, that was pretty reasonable, though for someone who rarely buys clothes—I spent most of my life wearing whatever I was given as gift or I picked up in second hand stores—I find what others call reasonable or even cheap to still seem like an awful lot. But the size choices were limited and I couldn't find anything in mine.
Interesting how my conservative friends are always touting the benefits of capitalism and the free market but how the actual choices available in the marketplace in the good old USA have often become extremely limited since I was a boy back before the rightwing Republicans, especially Reagan and Bush/Cheney, started dismantling all that FDR and Truman did to make the country more economically fair and equal. Back then they sold shoes, for instance, not just in every size but in every width. Now it's the widest common denominator.
Anyway, I hate shopping and I don't like malls so I speed walked through that fancy one on Monday trying on clothes and checking sizes and price tags etc. and shoes and came up empty. Then I had some friends over that evening and watched an old movie on TV and got up yesterday and dealt with some family matters that needed immediate attention and then hopped a train to the city and did 34th Street.
Since the brain operation my mind gets really exhausted from too much stimuli, so walking down one of the most crowded streets in Manhattan popping into stores trying to find shoes (found one I dug but never in my size) and a suit (found a few that more or less fit but were way too conservative for me) was very challenging. After what seemed like hours of that, but was more likely an hour and a half, I headed downtown to see what I could find in spots that used to have second hand shops or cheaper clothes etc. like the Village and East Village and even Soho when it first changed over from empty warehouses and manufacturing lofts to shops back in the '70s.
But everything was either way too upscale, as they say, meaning too expensive for me, or not there anymore (and Soho was as crowded as 34th Street). I saw there was a "digital gallery" in the basement of the building I lived in through much of the '70s and early '80s, on Sullivan Street below Houston, and stopped in to ask how long they'd been there ("three years") and then asked if Jerry (my old landlord) had passed since it was his basement ("yes, four years ago"). Where there had been two Italian "social clubs" anchoring each end of the block there now were sidewalk cafes and boutiques.
A few old places remained (the cheese shop and one butcher) but otherwise the gentrification was so complete I couldn't afford anything being sold around there. But even on The Bowery, which has changed the quickest in recent years, it was too expensive for me, and even the lower East Side except for one second hand shop I found, but it wasn't the second hand stuff I wanted, the slim suit jackets from the '60s that I bought in the '70s and '80s but more like used suit coats from the '90s. Oy.
By then I was so exhausted I needed to sit and rest and met my good friend the poet Simon Pettet at a really terrific and cheap Vietnamese restaurant on 1st Avenue, but by the time I got home I could barely think, let alone talk, so vegged out watching Alfred Hitchcock's SABOTEUR, not one of his best but with the great closing scene of Robert Cummings trying to save the bad guy from falling from the head of the Statue of Liberty. A very stylized movie made in 1942 at the start of the war and way overestimating the number, or at least the activism and power, of Nazi agents in the USA at the time.
By the time it ended I was too tired to remember to post, let alone have the energy to (as you probably have read here, I type with two fingers while looking at the keys and since the brain op have more difficulty doing that so spend a lot of time correcting typos etc. etc.). So here's a morning one before I return to our local much cheaper mall where I should have gone in the first place to see if I can find some shoes and a cheap lightweight suit, since this Saturday in the city is supposed to be in the 90s with humidity almost as bad.
Wish me luck.