SF Lit Crawl '18

SF Lit Crawl '18

Me and my new friend Walter Rosenthal

Hello, friends

Museum Day

August 4, 2017

Great day with Jackie in SF checking out the Edvard Munch exhibit at MOMA. I didn't miss "The Scream." He's much more than that. I'm the last one to say anything remotely intelligent about art, but he packs a punch. He reminds me of Van Gogh with the colors he uses, not quite so vivid in most cases, but dark, brooding, charged. He explores so many psychological states with arresting intimacy--jealousy, dejection, death--he must have been a lonely man. His paintbrush kept him good company.

So after that we decided to go to the Roz Chast exhibit at the Jewish Museum. Excellent, too. Funny. Nervy. Unpretentious. Singular. I recognized some cartoons from The New Yorker but still laughed aloud, seeing them for the second time. A nice video of her captured her warmth and humility and smarts.

Then we ate at an Italian place across the street. I don't want to go back to school. I don't miss work. I want to fool with my stuff and go to museums and movies and rake the lawn in fall to look busy, no, wise--to pretend I'm not an anxious mess like my friend with the purple tie in the picture. God, he's a nut. He couldn't relax. The stuff he whispered to me after the photo was snapped--crazy. "The world's a mess! I'm afraid it's going to end. What can we do? Has Trump been indicted yet? I haven't listened to the news for weeks. I can't take it."

It looked like he was going to break into an imitation of Munch's famous missing picture in a second, and I would get to see "The Scream" after all. But I calmed him with fake news. "Everything is all right. The world is a beautiful, beautiful place to live. People are reasonable. They've almost found a solution for global warming and nuclear weapons are being dismantled by unanimous agreement of the nuclear club and overpopulation is curtailed with sensible behavior of increasingly rational humans, and the art and music and films and writings are better than ever. Just mad with hope, with only a slightest hint of melancholy, of tragic awareness of ultimate futility. Sorry, man! I didn't mean to get you started again!"

We had a nice coffee in the museum cafe before we left him alone, Jackie and I, popping open a tightly capped bottle with small lettering in the corner, swallowing two pills with a cup of water to calm himself. He waved. He promised to keep in touch, my new friend Walter G. Rosenthal, and I might have confused him for a shadow of myself if I hadn't been tugged along by Jackie. "Get out of your head. You're worrying too much. I can see it."

"Who, me? Nah. I got this sap Walter figured out and I'm just trying to decide the best way to help him. I think it's by sharing his fears on a blog so he can feel less alone and unwanted, more loved, more secure, more safe. Guys like him are perpetually in crisis. The ground under them is always splitting. Sweat flies off his head naturally, see? I want to thank Roz Chast for introducing him to me, my guide for the day. I think we're going to get along just fine for a long time."

"We need to get some lunch. That's a pretty good picture of you. You look so confident."

"Like hell, ha?"

"Like Walter when the meds kick in. Let's go."