Utopias, New Yorks, and head colds


A number of unrelated things that are inside my head right now. Only one of them is phlegm.

Today marks the beginning of the last week at home before a two-week vacation. This naturally means it will be a chaotic, busy week, as I try to cram the next three weeks’ worth of work into one. This includes the freelance project that I’ve spent the last two weeks putting off (Hi, Nick! Hi, Beth!) in favor of the other freelance project that wanted to go to alpha launch while I’ll be on the beach (Hi, Jim! Hi, Seth!), so I can be ready for the third freelance project (Hi, Lauren!) which wanted to get started a week before we get back.

Planning a vacation causes the work requests to just flow in like water. Every time.

To perfect the upcoming week, I have a head cold which first presented itself as a slightly sore throat while we drove very, very slowly through Friday’s blizzard to get to New York so we could spend the weekend watching The Coast of Utopia, and blossomed into a full-blown hacking cough just in time for Act I. I did my best not to be That Guy Who Coughed Through The Whole Play, even unwrapped dozens of cough drops beforehand so I wouldn’t be That Guy Unwrapping Cough Drops Through The Whole Play, but still only felt totally comfortable during the scenes in which one or more characters were dying of consumption.

Fortunately, this happened frequently.

About those plays: Billy Crudup is improbably charismatic, Ethan Hawke only slightly less so. The female characters were mostly indistinguishable from one another, which wasn’t helped by their recycling the same actresses and hairstyles for multiple roles. The staging was incredible, using what were certainly very expensive and complicated effects in ways that seemed spare and elegant. I especially liked how Paris was represented by forced-perspective rows of smaller and smaller lamp-posts, turning the stage into an optical illusion of a long rue ending in a ‘distant’ obelisk upstage. However, they missed the perfect opportunity to represent the onset of the French Revolution by having Bakunin march up the road, growing monstrous in size, and crushing the tiny obelisk beneath his enormous revolutionary feet while making Godzilla noises. Vive la rèvolution! Vive le Rêve!

It is possible that I am not the ideal target audience for six hours of Russian history, even as written by Tom Stoppard.

I enjoyed the plays, though. Except for all the coughing.

Speaking of New York, my friend Craig, who has spent the nearly ten years since he attended our wedding in New York and had a good time there saying that he plans to move to New York as soon as possible, even putting off relationships and jobs on the grounds that he shouldn’t waste their time since he would be moving to New York soon, has finally moved to New York. His train arrived on Sunday, just in time for us to meet him at the station, buy him a cup of coffee he didn’t really want, and see him off to the subway towards the long-stay hostel where he’ll be living while he looks for a job and a real place to live. In Bedford-Stuyvesant. The hostel, that is, not the real place to live. Unless it turns out he really likes Bed-Stuy. You never know.

I hope the city treats him well. In any case, I’m very happy that I can no longer nag him to get off his ass and move to New York, already, or else shut up about it. Because he’s done it. It took him nine years and eleven months to do it, but he did do it. Hooray for Craig.

And now I must blow my nose once again, and get some of the next three week’s worth of work done, because I only have one week in which to do it.