Simple Things…..

I could write about the many crises we have in the world this week but for the moment I am putting off fixing the world’s problems for another day. Dropped the gang off at the airport. Next stop London. Man it is quiet around here. Thinking of Paris, Rome and all things Continental. One of our favorite things to do when we cross the pond is walk everywhere. The hell with the map. Guys never ask directions. You can get lost but still find wonderful things.

I love alleys and doorways. It can be the Rue de Whatever or a cobblestoned byway in Assisi or San Francisco. You peer down them and see dumpsters but also hidden troves. Perhaps a garage door with just so many layers of ebony paint and brass hardware shined with pride. I wonder if a Bentley or Jetta lays just beyond the wall ready to hit the road or maybe just a fast trip to the boulangerie?

The real fun begins when there is a courtyard ringed by a story or two. It sets the stage for what lies beyond. Rich man. Poor man. Doesn’t matter. It’s the beginning of a wonderful relationship. A man’s home is his castle and this is the moat. If I give you entry then I am opening my world to you. Should I take a chance and knock? Just some idiot Americano saying “Howdie”. The rap on the door is unanswered. Probably thinks I am selling bibles or encyclopedias. Do they do that anymore?

That door is a true window into the owners heart. Is is bright red or dark green? Is there a heavy wrought iron grill work that says keep out or can you peek through the storm door that is clear glass? Is it cold with aluminum and silica or warm with the earth tones of oak or alder? There is a picture in our hallway here with Number 10 Downing Street displayed. It is bright yellow and flanked by all manner of flora. What a pleasant break from governmental BS. It almost says “We are home and at your service.” What a novel concept.

I am not crazy about doors in condos. They all look the same. Hallways seem barren and boring. Many years ago when we lived in Stuyvestantown in NYC I remember walking by 7A and picturing some little old lady in her housecoat preening her cat and watching the Soaps, all the while worrying about some sort of intruder. She would probably run down to get the mail or a quick run to Dagostino’s. Then back inside before she has to interact. Triple and quadruple bolt the door. This is living?

Actually I have a thing about locked doors. Growing up in a large colonial there was at least four or five ways you could break and enter. That’s okay, with four boys they were never locked. Have kept that same philosophy even on the mean streets of wherever. We don’t have much we consider to be of value so if you need it that bad, have at it. Just don’t mess up my new paint job. Several years ago in Vail we had a lovely home on a hill. We were going to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary. Had to call a locksmith because we couldn’t find a key to secure the establishment. Such is life.

Maybe I will just walk the streets and try to figure out this or that person’s idea of heaven. The windows always go a long way to figuring out who is inside. Fenestration is an art form….both inside and out. At our new digs we have floor to ceiling chunks of open space and we love them. At our old 1895 house the original sashes were humongous. Took a team of two or three to open them. Kathy loves to turn on lamps and unfettered they shone both inside and out. A passerby noted one time that they loved what we had done with the interior of the house. We thanked them and then took note of the fact that we had never had them inside. But then again maybe we had.

I respect people’ s privacy but I don’t know why heavy drapes are the rage. In the winter time maybe. In the spring and summer let it rip. Now sheer curtains and opaque shades can play a game. Sort of half and half. I’ll give you a little peek but not open the kimono all the way so to speak. Wait! Did I just say that? Just my sleaze ball self sneaking out every now and then. Gotta have a little fun, eh?

Now some of you are thinking, “Where the hell is bright boy going with all of this?” The answer is simple. Nowhere! I have ascribed this time to Random Acts of Writing. Reverie is one of my favorite pastimes. I know some of you are so incredibly busy or important that you don’t have time to do this. Others are so wrought up with problems and strife that flights of fancy are impossible to conceive. You have no idea how sorry I feel for you.

You can walk anywhere to find alleys, doorways and windows. You don’t need an transoceanic airplane. You can take a bus. They are right out there in front of your nose. You can’t see them if you fly by at 25 or 90. Texting and phone work dull the senses and prevent any sort of perception. You have to look to see. I just finished the morning papers before tickling the keyboard. Consider this my therapy. I hope it is for you in a way. On a day where a wonderfully creative and generous comic decided to end his life maybe that is the canary in the coal mine for our all too complicated way of life. Simple things are simply the best. Enjoy them.

As Always

Ted The Great

Factoids:

Alley is a great word. we have “Tin Pan Alley” One account claims that it was a derogatory reference to the sound of many pianos resembling the banging of tin pans. Another version claims the name stemmed from the way that songwriters modified their pianos so that they had a more percussive sound. After many years, the term came to refer to the U.S. music industry in general

Alley Oop was a comic strip for many years and probably still exists. It was about a caveman in a time warp.There was also a song “Alley Oop” which some of us remember by the world acclaimed Hollywood Argyles. The phrase is some sort of usage of “Allez” and “Hop” which was used by French trapeze artists and gymnasts and translates to Let’s Go.

We also have the Alley Oop pass in basketball which started as the center streaking down the court trying to make the best of a bad pass.

We have the Alley Cat which is an absurd dance done at weddings that I cannot stand probably because after one or two steps I am totally lost and feel like an idiot on the dance floor.

I was going to do some work on researching Kirstie Alley but I decided not to go there.

These factoids are about as whacko as this week’s blog. Hope you had fun.

4 thoughts on “Simple Things…..

  1. Nice simple happy thoughts TTG. I, like you, love the concept of 10 Downing Street, however when last in London, I decided to take a romantic stroll down Downing and was met 1 block away by Kelvar coated guards carrying AK47’s or some such weapon of deterrence. Such is the world of today versus the world of happy memories. More sadness with the death of Robin Williams who could find no happiness or even peace despite giving so many people incredible joy. His death speaks much for the importance of one of your favorite causes. Cheers. Jay

    • I was very saddened by Robin williams death. He was immensely talented. Lucy & I were at the Bronco game when he came out as a cheerleader. Lucy deals with depression every day. Her many physical aliments have made her a shadow of the fit and active woman she used to be. The latest challenge has been a steady loss of hearing, which has the effect of isolating her in social situations, has really gotten her down. I do my best to cheer her up and be understanding, but it is tough.

  2. TTG…I just returned from a month in France and, already, I miss strolling the alleyways. There is a French word, flâneur, which cannot be translated into English….but the French know exactly what it means and, if you stay long enough in France (as you have), you can also appreciate the concept, yet cannot explain it to the uninitiated. Wikipedia took a stab at defining it: “The flâneur was, first of all, a literary type from 19th century France, essential to any picture of the streets of Paris. The word carried a set of rich associations: the man of leisure, the idler, the urban explorer, the connoisseur of the street.” Yet, as Cornelia Otis Skinner suggested in her writings, there is no English equivalent of the term, “just as there is no Anglo-Saxon counterpart of that essentially Gallic individual, the deliberately aimless pedestrian, unencumbered by any obligation or sense of urgency, who, being French and therefore frugal, wastes nothing, including his time which he spends with the leisurely discrimination of a gourmet, savoring the multiple flavors of his city”
    Long live the deliberately aimless flâneur! Suze

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