Friday, February 27, 2009

A Day in New York

I woke up worried about our kitten. Truthfully, we have been struggling with Bell since we got her in August because she is constipated and strains to go to the bathroom, crying out in pain. We’ve taken her to two vets and tried all kinds of diet combinations to make her bowel movements soft and passable, but she just can’t do it due to a stricture. We made an appointment with the vet to have a surgeon look at her. Bell was to be dropped off at 8:30 am, and TD trundled off with her in a box up to the vet on 72nd Street.

I was out of sorts; we didn’t know what would happen. What if the surgeon said she needed an operation that cost several thousand dollars? Should we do that? What would the option be, put her down? Would we make that decision when we picked her up? I was on pins and needles. You fall in love with a pet, and you don’t want to lose them. I tried to do some work, and sat at the table in the living room to concentrate. I called the vet at 3:00 to check in. The surgeon had not yet arrived. I was wondering why Bell had to be waiting there all alone for six hours.

And wondering when we would be able to pick her up. Because it was the night of the big annual Bailey House Auction. Bailey House is an organization that houses homeless people with AIDS. Ted and I were involved for years planning the annual fundraising auction. I am less involved now, and Ted is on the Board of Directors at Bailey House. The auction was to start at 6:00 at Roseland in the Theater District.

Ted came home at 5:00 and we changed into blazers, wool trousers, good shoes, etc. I called the vet. The desk said she would call right back. We sat and waited. An hour later I called again. The desk said come up and get Bell at 6:45. When we got up there we had to sit in the small reception area for another twenty minutes, two tall fancy pants there for their little kitten. Waiting for the prognosis was hard. I watched the light under the door, hoping the vet would approach and swing it open.

At last the vet came out. She said the surgeon gave a complete exam and the stricture didn’t really seem that bad. The surgeon did not suggest surgery, and the vet felt it could be medically managed by diet. We were to give Bell different canned food and more stool softener. I felt a great sense of relief. Tragedy avoided. TD left for the auction, and I took Bell home. She had been given Valium and when she got home her back legs didn’t work very well; she toppled from side to side but the vet, who we like very much, said that would wear off.

I jumped back on the subway to go up to the auction. Oh, while I was home I got a phone message from my brother Thom. He had just arrived from Toronto and was in New York for one night. I called him back to say I wouldn’t be able to meet up.

When I arrived at the auction at 8:00. It was a carnival atmosphere – huge space, bright lights, packed with people, and colorful artwork, furniture, and items to be auctioned off. I found TD in the center of it. We saw lots of friends, old and new. An open bar always helps. I ran into our friends Joyce and Don Healy from Jane Street. We traveled with them to Amsterdam last October. They had just gotten back from another trip, this one three weeks long. They went on an African safari, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, spent time in Tanzania and then flew to Paris where a friend gave them tickets to the Yves Saint Laurent auction at the Grand Palais.

My mouth hung open. This was like some sort of Ernest Hemingway fantasy trip. They said the final climb up Mount Kilimanjaro took fourteen hours; eight hours up and six hours down. And they said the sheer amount of beautiful things at the YSL auction was staggering. I actually had been dreaming about what it would be like to see that exhibition in that romantic Belle Epoque building with the vaulted glass ceilings. When TD and I visited Paris in October we went to the Petit Palais but didn't get into the Grand Palais. The Healys said the crowd was very chic, with black limousines purring at the curb. Joyce and Don Healy are an inspiration; fearless travelers and always interesting.

The Bailey House live auction got under way with Simon Doonan from Barneys New York as the ring leader: “This $5,000 Armani suit is just the thing if you got canned this week!” Despite the economy, people were spending money and having a noisy good time. There are always a lot of stylish men at the event, this year in slim grey suits and big plastic frame glasses. It was a fun, fizzy party. The event was a welcome relief, a brief respite, from the bad economic news outside the door. It lifted the spirits.

When we left, the sidewalks on Broadway were packed shoulder-to-shoulder with people getting out of theater shows. At home we ate sandwiches from the deli on the couch at 11:00 and compared party notes. Bell was back to walking normally. I felt restored; all was well. Later, first Bell and then tabby cat Rose got up on the bed, every one sleeping together, as if in a rowboat floating on the sea.


Pigtown*Design said...

Hope that Bell is doing well. Poor little mite.

Party sounds like fun. I went to an "official" Oscar party for our local Aids Residential Services charity. They raised loads, too!

Paul Pincus said...

this was beautiful.

i'm pulling for bell too.