Friday, January 1, 2010

Extraordinary Good Fortune

You have read here that it’s my extraordinary good fortune to be friends with Mr. Rod McDonagh, The Nicest Guy in the UK. As I write this on the first day of 2010, it’s with the realization that it’s now likewise my extraordinary good fortune to be friends with The Nicest Couple in New York, James and Naomi — sometimes, a la Brangelina, Jaomi, or, as I would prefer, Names.

They might think I don’t realize how attentively and generously they look after me, but I do. Knowing that Claire is in the UK, they invited me over for Xmas Eve, as they’d invited many other friends. Even more generous (I suspect they feared that, left on my own, I’d go into a frenzy of self-pity, though I stopped doing that the first year I had no contact with my daughter on Xmas), they invited me over on actual Xmas Day too, as part of a much more select group. Hearing that I was without ideas for New Year’s Eve, they invited me to accompany them to a party they were going to, and there, knowing that I’m deathly uncomfortable at parties, except those thrown in my honor, were ever so attentive, Every time I was left with no one with whom to try to make small talk, there was James, the most charming man in the American Northeast, grinningly beckoning for me to join him and whomever he was talking to. Such extraordinary kindness!

I’m reminded, speaking of this, of my longtime (1970-1990) best friend, with whom I tried so hard, ultimately in vain, to reconcile in 2009. His practice at parties was to hone in on the most ill-at-ease person on the premises, and to lavish his attention and enormous charm on him or her, commonly causing the person to glow with pleasure. It was a remarkable thing to witness, and no, I’m not being even a little bit sarcastic.

2009 got almost unendurably rocky for long stretches, but when I look back and realize that it brought me both Jaomi/Names and Lady Gail-Gail, I can see it only as a red-letter year.

[Hear my life-changing new album Sorry We're Open here! Facebookers: Read more All In Tents and Porpoises essays and subscribe here.]

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