La Parisienne and The French Tickle.


Been too icky feeling to write in this diary until yesterday. As you know, I’ve been mostly in pain from these stones. But I was feeling slightly better and had decided to just stop putting my life aside, and get out and do something.

First choice would have been drive out with Jim and Jeramiah to Jersey. They got a Zip Car, except it’s more like a Zip Truck. At least, that’s what they’ve been telling me. The half-hour to hour ride, depending on traffic, with the bumping on the road? Too much. But I was so jealous of both of them!

For a late birthday present, Mark Janas asked if I would join him and David with several other of our friends to La Pariesienne for dinner and then to see our friend, Kalle, play a concert at Carnegie Hall with his sister. What? Carnegie Hall?

Kalle plays organ in our choir. I knew he was from Finland. I knew that people came from all over the area just to hear him improvise music before the service and after. He’s got long hair and he’s very cute. And when he plays, nothing else exists for him. He’s totally immersed. I race out of my choir robe and back into the church to listen after each service. But he has this whole act that he does with his sister, Duo Toivio. They've both from Finland and are world class virtuosos on their instruments. She, on cello (her graduate paper was on left hand techniques of cello players in the 18th century and how they’ve changed until now). Kalle on piano. They'd be playing in the Weill Recital Hall.

You see why I love living in New York. The kid on the organ in a tiny church in Brooklyn also plays concerts at Carnegie Hall.

I’d never heard of La Parisienne, but it sounded nice and I had decided to refuse to continue to let the pain control my life. I would go. Hell, I’d even walk there. Maybe this stone needs a little gentle shaking. I even took advil instead of the hard stuff. This was coming down to a fight.

I would be very zen. I would live with the pain. Push through it. Pretend, even. But, participate in life.

I sent Jim off to meet “his little friend.” I put on my suit. Slate black with subtle black on black stripes. My favorite new tie. Palest of pale yellow, which we bought down on 39th street in the shirt shop run by the kid in the yamulke.

I set off to walk. I was doing very well, and not really in pain as long as I walked kind of slow. It felt good to move. But the route seemed longer than I had calculated, added to the fact that I hadn't been there before. I worried I'd be late. I could have caught a cab, but they’re expensive and I needed to move. I just felt like I needed to move.

I walked past a few new stores I had never seen before. In this area of midtown, if anything closes, it opens right back up again as something else. Is that a hummus restaurant? We still need a decent Tex Mex. I finally get up into the 50s, it’s been what feels like a half hour. I’m not sure what La Parisienne looks like.

Did he say between 56th and 57th? Scaffolding. A city of scaffolds. Looks like. Yes.

I look in the window and see Mark with two other friends. He says he's just sending me a text. And it’s a diner.

La Parisienne is a Greek diner.

Our waitress was as gum-cracky as we needed her to be, except with a Middle Eastern? or was she Latina? She was promoting the Greek/middle eastern dishes, so I got confused.

And then, I felt The Tickle.

I’ve been waiting a month to feel The Tickle. That’s the feeling I get when the stone is making its exit. A month ago, when this first hit me, and the pain subsided in a few days, I thought the stone was gone based mainly on the fact that I was not hurting. So much. But then, it kept building. Slowly.

I ran to the bathroom, but someone was there. I waited and waited, but he never came out. I sat down at the banquette with my back to the door and asked them to play look-out. Finally, my turn.

And it was intense to the edge of being painful. But it was hugely satisfying. I peed three or four times while we were there. And I felt slightly stronger each time.

Just as I had decided to not put my life on hold, the moment I had decided to let pain into my self-identity and just deal with it, it sent signs to me that it was letting me go.

In the Bonus Round, you can’t put your life on hold. You don’t know when the buzzer is going to go off.

We had a talk about this at the dinner table. All of us unable to comprehend the concept of “retirement,” if retirement meant sitting and doing nothing, thinking nothing, creating nothing.

Actually, in show business, we have a word for people like that: Customers!

The concert was great, but the week ended in a great humiliation. I’ll tell that story next.

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