On our first night of vacation in New York City we walked to Cafe Loup for a nice dinner. We’d last been there six years ago, when Jackson was still residing, rent-free, inside of me. We weren’t too sure how out-of-the-womb and ambulatory Jackson would do in a grown-up restaurant, as we never go out when we’re home in California, so we made him a deal: he could have dessert first and then we’d stop at McDonald’s on the way home. Well, he could barely believe his good luck, having been born to a couple of suckers like us. So while he nibbled at his plate of cookies, looked out the window, flirted with the hostess, and then quietly played Kirby on his Nintendo DS, Jack and I had a terrific dinner.
Then we all went home and took off all our clothes and laid down and tried not to move. Cold showers were useless as hot water was coming out of both taps.
But yesterday, as we were walking through midtown at rush hour, after having taken Jackson to his first theatrical production (The Lion King, OMG HE LOVED IT), the heat wave broke:
First, we bought ourselves three umbrellas. When we realized that we were all soaked to the ass, we took shelter on the library steps and badgered Jackson into sharing his daily ration of street food:
When the weather briefly let up we blithely grabbed the wrong bus downtown. When it ejected us eighteen blocks from our destination the sky was black, the rain splashing from the curbs in drenching comedy bucketfuls, the lightening cracking straight over our heads, and Jackson was trying to decide whether to panic or say What the hell? and hightail it to the cab that Jack had used his black magic to summon. Once home, we bolted inside, stripped off our sopping wet shoes and socks, and vowed never to leave the apartment again.
An hour later, we were back at Cafe Loup. The owner, Ardis, greeted Jackson by name at the door. Jackson shook her hand and for his polite behavior received a Shirley Temple, on the house. He ordered a cheeseburger from Julian, our waiter, and when he got tired of waiting for Jack and I to finish eating he went outside to talk to people on the sidewalk who were peering at the menu posted by the door to tell them that they should come in and eat.
Ardis eventually went out and got him — I’m not sure she wanted a six-year-old on the sidewalk shilling for her — then she brought over some tape and scissors and cut out the drawing he’d made on the tabletop so he could take it home for grandma. Then I slipped him a little cash so he could pay our bill.
Jackson loves New York, and I think it loves him back.