A friend of mine came to visit me in Poland for a few days . He flew in from Switzerland where he was playing several gigs . He lived there for several years and developed a following and a knowledge of the music scene there . He is a musician , you see .
Nowadays he lives in a small town in Connecticut , having emigrated north from New York City . He grew up living on 5th Avenue , if I got that right . I don’t know New York City at all at all . I’ve only been there once .
This friend of mine used to come out to LA every year . He’d stay with me in my various LA Basin domiciles and he’d always invite me to visit him in New York . But , you know how it is : I never had the money or the time , or the time and money together , so I never went . Over 25 years or more , I never went .
He had a small pad in Greenwich Village for decades , paying rent-controlled rent and at some point living in Switzerland , and playing in places all over southern England , and generally not being around Greenwich Village much . The landlords get irritated at that kind of stuff . They salivate at the rents they could otherwise be charging fresh tenants , and they jump at the opportunity to find ways to squeeze the long-time and especially absentee tenants out .
Eventually my buddy suspected that the tide would soon turn against him , and that they’d convert his pad into a condo , or the building owners had finally found a local political pal who’d institute a residence rule that would kick absent tenants out , or some such thing , so my friend accepted a buy-out payment and he invited all of his friends to a good-bye apartment party at his Thompson Street pad .
I got off the phone with him then thinking that the good bye apartment party was a cute idea and I was appreciative of the invitation , but I never really thought I’d go . All the way to New York for a party ? Mama H didn’t raise no fools !
When I told Ada about the invitation she told me that I had to go . She insisted . Can’t miss it , she said . So I went .
I think I got two hours of sleep that party weekend . I slept at his little place . His brother was there , too , and a few others shared the digs for the weekend . We weren’t there much , though . Maybe we slept in shifts ; I can’t recall . We walked all over the area , the Village , and I saw some of that part of the city . We ate Chinese food in Chinatown . We attended some kind of an art party with trendy artsy people with accents and cool haircuts , and we hit some of the local bars . New friends of mine , fellow apartment -party people , gave me a New York necktie as a gift . It had a picture of the twin towers on it . I still have it somewhere .
It was a wonderful weekend , but I’ve felt like an idiot since then —- all of those years I could have gone and visited New York City , had a place to stay and a tour guide too ! Oh , well . One of the missed opportunities in life . Let’s not dwell on that too long or make a list of missed opportunities . It might be a little disconcerting if we were to do such a fruitless thing .
So , anyhow , I’ve visited this guy in Switzerland and in England and in Connecticut and he’s continued to visit me in California , although not nearly as frequently as he did in the old days .
We were walking along a Szczecin, Poland street a couple of days ago searching for a blue purse as a gift for his wife . She likes blue . He found a good one , I think . He thought so too , but we two guys were on our own at the time so what , really , do we know about purses ? Luckily , Ada verified the goodness of the blue purchase when we got back later to the apartment . His wife is in Connecticut , so he’ll have to wait for her opinion .
Ada went off to do her errands and my old friend and I went down to the river to take a one hour sightseeing cruise . That didn’t work out too well , but that’s a story for another day . We went to plan B . I always have a plan B , but plan B didn’t work out either , so we had to devise a plan C right there on the spot . Usually a plan B is enough .
I hope I’m not getting to a point in life where I always have to have a plan C too , because the world seems to be getting crazier , or more scatter-brained and unpredictable , where plans A and B may no longer suffice . Or maybe it’s just me .
I think when you have old friends , though , you’ll be okay . You can come up with plan Cs together without much of a problem , and just let the world spin .