Days of Ginger Wine and Hybrid Roses

Sunday, May 23rd, 2004 | Art, Family, Travel

Greetings from sunny Florida! Yes, that’s why I haven’t returned your e-mail. And your call. And not picked up that package. I’ll be home Friday, so ring me up then. I’m having a swell time, playing cabana boy at my sister Carol’s, watching sunsets on the beach, pruning everyone’s bay and citrus trees, drinking my niece’s homemade ginger wine…

A few nights ago we had dinner at a friend of Sue’s, a wonderfully eccentric fellow who raises chickens and corn out back, and hybridizes roses out front. Inside, he listens to Yoko Ono’s latest dance music cranked way up, and has mirrored the entire floor, walls, and ceiling of his fabulous little house, interspersed with sparkly glittery things, like walking into a Jack Smith film, or a Jerome Caja painting.

I’m being very low-key on this trip, or trying to be, but there’s always something too interesting to do. Tuesday we’re off to see an exhibit of Cabinets of Wonder at the Platt Museum. These “cabinets” were the forerunners of museums, collections meant to arouse a sense of wonder at the amazing objects on display. There was an interesting book a few years ago by Lawrence Weschler, Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, about the Museum of Jurrasic Technology in L.A., which is one of the most interesting museums I’ve ever been to–displaying genuine works next to elaborate fabrications. Read the book, and then go to the museum.

Speaking of books, I’m reading The Confessions of Max Tivoli, a book about a man who starts life with the body of a 70 year old, and develops backwards, physically, as his mind develops normally. It’s just delightful, very inventive, with dazzling prose. Plus it’s set in an historically accurate San Francisco of the late 19th Century, which is fun to imagine, and there’s much about love and longing that’ll just break your little heart.

So anyway, the thing I love most about being in Florida is all the guys walking around without shirts on–or much of anything else. For those of us living in chilly climes, it’s like going to a bathhouse. I am in a constant state of titilation. And of course I cruise the scantilly clad dudes with the bellies and the beards, only these aren’t the Lone Star versions, these are the real (and straight) prototypes. Sigh. “Look and perspire, but don’t touch the Hell’s Angel, little Chrissy.”

I would love to talk about the distressing and amazing Sopranos episode tonight, but I’d blow it for those of you back home who don’t have an east coast feed. It’s about to start–go watch it and we’ll chat when I get home. Oh Adriana…

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