From my journal:
6/27/2007 6:41 AM
When we came home the other day in the mail was our lottery number for the Mitchell-Lama buildings on Queens Boulevard and 60th Street. The Number is 1! Apparently there are vacancies and in the next few months we will probably be moving in. It costs a pittance and the fees are about half our current rent per month. Linda and I walked around there yesterday and the place is a classic towers and gardens development of big buildings with balconies on a well-manicured campus. A bit sterile and off the beaten path, but for a rent reduction of about 50%, we’ve got to consider it. I feel most sorry for Mason who has made friends and goes out and plays here in the neighborhood. Chandler is pitching a bitch.
6/28/2007 4:33 AM
I tried, but couldn’t get back to sleep this morning. Yesterday was the kids’ last day of school for the year. Good grades and good kids. Chandler came home jokingly bewailing her next class assignment, “nerds, nerds and more nerds.” Mason went with his friends from school and hit Burger King and then hung out at the park playing soccer. Lennox went to the zoo with school and Linda went with them. It was a good day.
As I walk around Sunnyside Gardens, which was recently landmarked by the City Council, I was struck by how much I really love the neighborhood. It is living like this that I came back to New York for. Trees, stores, livable scale, neighbors are all in a pleasant neighborhood. Sigh. Of course to turn our noses up at the savings that living in the Mitchell Lama co-op would offer would be foolish. So what I have is a battle of my two basic flaws or strengths.
I am an esthete of some sort. I like the way things look and the style and livability matter a lot to me. How I feel in a particular place, how it pleases me aesthetically really, really matter. This is both because I think of myself as a man with my own, uncompromising philosophy of style: good living is something that validates my specialness. And finding the beauty tucked away in a crowded immigrant neighborhood is the exact type of aesthetic ur-elitism that I link to my identity.
I am also frugal. Actually it is a strong sub-current of my personality. I think it is both genetic and learned from my salty New England mom. I don’t like to waste things. As I’ve stretched into middle age I’ve noticed that I behave I a lot like depression era seniors: rubber bands, paper clips, and other expendables get saved because I might have to actually buy them later. I am an ant in the ant/grasshopper continuum.
Now these are not exact analogies, but I think that this comparison works: my inner Martha Stewart is in a life and death struggle with my inner Susie Ormond. They are locked in a Canadian Cage Match-Up, fighting to the death. GRRRR. 47 years old and I’ve got blond bimbos fighting it out for my soul. I thought I outgrew this whole lust thing with puberty. Susie Ormond, played by Jessica Simpson, fights tooth and nail to defeat Paris Hilton as Martha Stewart for my eternal soul, and the future happiness of my family.
Will the tag-team of Ormond and Simpson win and cast me into the perdition of the towers of doom, where my monthly expense will be cut in half, though my elitist sense of self will wither and die? Or will it be the paroled Paris Hilton with her ex-con partner Stewart, with their ineffable sense of style (perhaps seasoned by time in stir), that will win out and cost me thousands of dollars a month to maintain a haughtier image of myself? Oh, the fates are cruel, my life decided by an all blonde-ambition WWF tag-team fight to the death in (and for) my soul.
So these are the horns of the dilemma that I live on now. Fortunately I alone am not responsible for this decision, and I will lean heavily on Linda and the kids to make the choice (though it ain’t lookin’ good for the doyen of style and hotel heiress and their frivolous ways).
Please, good readers, if you are out there, weigh in on this one: let me know what you would do. Send me an email, or leave a comment here.