A pretty photo (and some fangirling)
In part because of something vaguely resembling spite (as only one person aside from the rest of the panel had shown up to my talk) and in part because I had settled back into the rhythm of being a non-New Yorker New Yorker (after a slightly rough start due to the lack of my usual hosts and cozy floor lodgings), I had decided to spend my last full day in NY away from the conference that I was there for. However, the early morning construction workers outside my window woke me up to sunshine, which for some reason made me soften my spite-ish feelings and decide to go to the keynote talk, the first thing on the schedule that day for the conference. But just the keynote talk.
Then, as I was sitting in the Skylight Room of the CUNY Graduate Center amusedly listening to a call for anti-presentism (I’m a classicist – anti-presentism is what I do), I watched the clouds roll in. Hoping it was temporary, I took the elevator down the 9 floors to freedom and lunch by myself…and reconsidered my plan to spend the remainder of the day wandering around Central Park. Without the sun, I was not dressed warmly enough, meaning I’d have to go buy another layer or return to Brooklyn to grab the one layer I’d left behind. And, of course, I’d have to find a sufficiently clean bathroom more than one time in the 7 hours before the play I was attending that evening if I left the reliable 8th floor staff restroom in CUNY. So, after a quick avocado wrap and ginger beer at Pret A Manger, I returned for the next session of the conference. But just the one session.
Having been unable to glean anything of personal interest from that session, I quickly made a beeline for the door… where I encountered the one brilliant grad student whose presentation the day before had made me think about my own work in a different way. So, I decided to grab a coffee from the cafeteria and stay for another session, hoping to have another such experience. But just the one session.
That session made me make some interesting (though likely unstable) connections between Marcel Duchamp and my work, so I thought, what the hey, let’s stay for the next session too. But just the one session.
Thankfully (in retrospect), I wasn’t interested enough in anything from the last session and was thoroughly chilled from the air conditioning, so I decided it was finally time to break free and at least get my blood pumping for the two hours before the play. Of course, as soon as I got outside, I slightly regretted the fact that I was leaving the free wine reception upstairs behind, so I decided I needed to go somewhere fast with heating inside. Remembering that Pret A Manger was rather toasty at lunch time, I returned there for supper. And…
There in front of me, the only other person in line, was Gareth Pugh. I knew who it was before I even saw his face, my brain immediately and subconsciously matching the black leather zig-zag pieced jacket and Matrix-type boots in front of me with his name. But I had to make sure, since a previous time I had been in NY, I thought I had seen him, but it had just turned out to be someone with the same style. But this was Gareth Pugh, without a doubt. In a bit of a daze, I paid for my wrap and took the seat at the window beside Gareth Pugh, wondering if I should dare bother him. Then, when his friend got up to grab something else, I found myself tapping Gareth Pugh on the shoulder, asking him if the jacket was his own design, and, with a slightly shaky voice and trembling felafel wrap, I proceeded to have a brief conversation with Gareth Pugh, somehow managing to bring up the one time I had conversed with him over the Internet (as you may remember seeing here). Happy that I hadn’t totally made a fool of myself and had worn a respectable outfit that day (Ursa Minor dress/ArtLab jacket/Trippen shoes), I proceeded to finish my food and attempted to nonchalantly stare at those looking in from outside, wondering how no one else – in the Garment District, no less – recognized this stunning and utterly brilliant man sitting beside me. Then, when Gareth Pugh got up to leave, he made sure he got my attention, said it was a pleasure to meet me (in his charming British accent), and gave me his 100-watt smile. My day/week/month/year was made. And then, I went to go watch Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart and Billy Crudup in one of the most amazing plays I’ve ever seen. NY, I wish I knew how to quit you.
(Photo by me in Central Park, the gorgeous fall day after I met Gareth Pugh)