Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Good Stuff: Life

Normally I don’t go in for New Year’s Resolutions. Imagine my surprise to discover that I made three of them on January 1, 2006. Let’s see how I did. Timpani!

1. Spend less time in the blogosphere.

Done. I also scaled back my posting here, believe it or not. Only post when you’ve got something to say, that’s my motto.

2. Broaden my reading range.

Done again. I’ve even got the spin-off blog to prove it. Granted, I haven’t updated it much lately, but that will change.

3. Order more obscure cocktails in bars.

Here I exceeded even my wildest expectations. In 2006 I became a regular at the Zig Zag Café, a bar specializing in obscure cocktails and convivial atmosphere. I’ve had conversations with offbeat characters from all over the world, received peerless recommendations on where to drink in Manhattan, and sampled libations like the Seelbach, favored by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the Corpse Reviver #2.

My resolutions for 2007? Same again.

2006 was a groundwork year. I laid the foundations for several projects that, with any luck, will come to fruition in the coming months. It’s going to take a lot more hard work, though, and I’m looking forward to it. I have to confess I’m always happy when the holidays end. I’m eager to roll up my sleeves and dive back into the fray.

With that, I give you a favorite memory from the year now ending.

It’s October. We’re in New York. Rosemarie and I head to Rockefeller Center. Look, here’s a picture. We get there to discover that the Fire Department is conducting an event, with equipment and personnel all over the plaza. Rosemarie notices that copies of the FDNY Calendar are on sale, filled with photos of buff, shirtless firefighters. Rosemarie thinks this will make the perfect gift for our gracious, generous hosts Barry and Buzz.

“Trust me,” she says. “They’ll get a kick out of it.”

After buying the calendar, she sees a long table behind which sit a dozen good-looking men. The models, autographing copies of the calendar. “I’ll get them to sign it,” Rosemarie says. “That makes it even better.”

Fine, I say. I’m going to go look at fire trucks.

I do that for a while, but Rosemarie’s still not finished. I cross the concourse to wait for her. After a few minutes she finally hoves into view, beet-red and giggling like a schoolgirl as she makes her way along the table chatting with the firefighters. After a few more minutes, she finally finishes and tracks me down.

Me: They didn’t sign it to Barry and Buzz, did they?

Rosemarie: No. We’re getting them wine.

Naturally, the calendar can’t hang in her office. She’s a professional, after all. So as I sit at my desk beneath the gleaming chest of Michael from Marine Unit One (“Thanks for your beautiful smile!”), I wish you a few such unexpected moments in 2007. Thanks for stopping by this year. Come on back.