Tuesday, June 19, 2012

black jackets

Last Wednesday I found myself at a Chanel "pop-up" installation, essentially a large warehouse-y room on Wooster Street which had been converted into a gallery. The exhibit was comprised of a bunch of photos of famous people taken by Karl Lagerfeld; in each photo, the same Chanel "little black jacket" was worn by the subject.

My mom was in town from Boston, and my brother had suggested we stop by the installation before dinner. When I arrived, the two of them were already inside, examining a large-scale photograph of the back of Anna Wintour's head. The lights were dim. A mix of tourists and SoHo-y types milled about. There were three employees dressed in all black handing out posters of the Elle Fanning, Sarah Jessica Parker and Vanessa Paradis prints.

"Well, this is weird," I said.

We walked around the exhibit and lingered in front of the portraits of the more famous celebrities (Kanye, Uma, Dunst). "Interesting." "Wow." "I like this one." Perhaps it was that the same jacket was featured in every photograph, but it didn't take long for all of them to start to blend together.

About 15 minutes later, the three of us independently shifted toward the exit. My mom was only in town for two nights. I had met her at her hotel earlier that day for lunch. The previous night we had gone to an event for which I'd had to wear a suit. Now, we were off to dinner in Tribeca. In, a few nice meals, out.

We walked out of the exhibit and my brother noted that it would be closing at the end of the week.

"So it was just open for a few weeks? What was the point?"

Sam said something about how it was just a fun, short-term attraction and that it was good for the Chanel brand, but I was busy imagining a line-up of my friends all wearing the same black jacket, wondering why I always feel more distant from loved ones when they're visiting me in New York than when we're in different states, and wishing we were heading to eat in our upstairs TV room in Boston rather than a New York restaurant with an unpronounceable name.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

a bowl of macaroons

I returned to my building on a Saturday night during Passover a few months ago to find a bowl of macaroons on a stand in the lobby. A man and woman, probably in their late twenties, were staggering toward the elevators in front of me. I watched as the man clumsily peeled off to the bowl of macaroons while the woman traipsed toward the elevator.

The man and I reached the elevator at about the same time. The woman was inside, holding the door open. He popped a macaroon in his mouth.

"What are you eating?" she asked him as the door closed.

"A macaroon."

"... And you didn't get me one?"

"No. Sorry."

I felt like I was observing a real-life version of what I'd imagine an episode of "Whitney" is like.

"So you thought you'd get yourself some snacks while I've just been standing here waiting in the elevator? You didn't think to yourself, you know, 'Maybe she'd want one...'?"

We were now at my floor. I got off the elevator... and, to my surprise, so did the man.

"What are you doing?" the woman asked.

"I'm going to go back down to get you a macaroon."

As the door closed she wailed, "I don't even want one now!" I gave the man a parting look, and he shrugged in my direction, as if I was implicitly on his side. I looked down and then turned and walked to my apartment.

A bowl of macaroons likely instigated a tense few minutes of silent co-existing, a fumbling apology, a somewhat stilted brunch the next morning. Of course, if the macaroons hadn't been there, it would have been something else: a vague text message read aloud, a misplaced mug, an inadvertent laugh.

Yesterday I got on the elevator with the same woman; I hadn't seen her since the macaroons night. She was texting on her phone, but she looked up when I pressed the button for my floor. We locked eyes. She looked almost frightened, as though she recognized me from a recurring bad dream that she never wakes up from soon enough.