I am under the weather and over the water so no wonder I’m confused. The shimmers on the river match the shivers in the air, and also suck: every two seconds I’m shaking.
“Take this,” says my mother in her newly practiced German and I’m swathed in her faux fur cape, so black it looks real and so huge it fits over my actual coat. “Put the hood on,” she instructs, “It’s very Natasha.”
Note how she didn’t say, it’s very Milla, or Sasha, or Tanya D.
Instead I am a cartoon villainess with purple hair and a permanent sneer. Which is half-true, anyway. “Bullvinkle I vill get you!” I cackle down the main boulevard; several small children look up and laugh. So does my brother, who is gigantic and too young even though he’s 23, and older than me by half a lightyear and too much frosting. But I’m catching up.
At 9 am New York time I walk to a cafe and ask for coffee with milk and sugar. The waitress grabs a can of whipped cream and assaults my drink with it. I thank her in broken bits of her language and search for somewhere quiet to laugh.
Our hotel is across the street from the zoo and the world is trying to tell us something.
[RICHARD RUSSO - AM I THE IMAGINARY SOCIALITE?]