Written in Ink

What in Carnation

My boyfriend was itching for a new car and I'm thrilled that he has finally seen the light and agreed to downsize from two—an SUV and a sports car—to one single vehicle. He enjoys purchasing all the latest gadgets and I keep wanting to him to simplify, because one out of three electronic items he purchases has some sort of mechanical defect that causes him to stress and then I stress and the cycle is endless and tedious. I am not a shopper type at all so it's often been a source of conflict in our relationship that he is a huge consumer of things.

Anyway, he found the car he wanted—a frustratingly rare vehicle selection that is currently located only in about six dealerships in the country—and so we drove down to New York, just outside of Manhattan, in order to check one out and then we stayed at his mom's apartment in the city so as to sleep on the decision.

His mother lives in a sort of housing project for people in the arts, called Manhattan Plaza. His father was a musician and they were on a wait list for several years to get in to what was a very desirable new building in the 70's for starving artists. But they got lucky and received the call one day, so my boyfriend grew up there. His mother has moved a few times within the building, such as when her son moved out, but right now lives in a fairly large—by New York standards—one bedroom unit for which she will continue to pay just a few hundred a month until the day she dies, or until she is unable to take care of herself any longer. People pay on a sliding scale, so while his retired mother pays a few hundred to live on the 22nd floor of a NYC high-rise, another resident on the same floor who is a working actor might pay several thousand more than that.


(The view from the 22nd floor terrace.)

A lot of famous people have lived there. Alicia Keys grew up there concurrently with my boyfriend, although he doesn't remember her—the Plaza is comprised of two buildings with three and a half thousand tenants, according to wikipedia. James Earl Jones, Tennessee Williams, and Al Pacino have all lived there. I regularly run into people who look familiar in the elevator. I have a really good anecdote about the gentleman who played the gas station attendant in No Country For Old Men when I ran into him and his little dog one day. I eavesdropped on some small talk between two women, one of whom had once danced to the Banana Boat Song as an invitee to the Beetlejuice dinner party.

Anyway, Larry David lived next to Kenny Kramer there, a person who inspired the character from Seinfeld, and he still lives there. I have seen him in person once or twice. He has a very distinct appearance and you can totally imagine Kramer-esque scenarios that might have occurred in the man's life. We parked right next to him yesterday in the building's parking garage. As you can see, my dog was sort of over the whole car-buying bullshit by that point.


My boyfriend did buy the car, btw.

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