Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Wait Master, it might be dangerous... you go first."

I told my niece that I would visit her once a month. In that regard, at least, I have proven to be a very serious piece of uncle.

She does not look like a college student to me, still so diminutive and child-like in many ways. She’s into fashion and I don’t get it, as I readily admit, but apparently I’m in the minority. Manhattan is a loud, mind-numbing chaos to me and imagining her day after day traipsing obliviously from dorm to classes (I mean, I’m assuming there are actually ‘classes’ of some sort involved in this fashion nonsense, right? ...RIGHT?!?!) and wherever else she may wander kind of freaks me out.

Words like ‘frailty’, ‘vulnerability’, ‘susceptibility’ - oh yes, and ‘WHAT THE HELL WERE WE THINKING LETTING THIS DITZY LITTLE GIRL MOVE TO NEW YORK BY HERSELF????’ - gently insinuate themselves into my unspoken monologues whenever she pops into my mind.

She pops often into my mind because my knee-jerk reaction to the trauma of actually watching (helping... I actually helped her move... gasp) was to get her a cell phone. In retrospect, not a mistake, but certainly not the ticket to tranquility that I convinced myself it would be.

I don’t mind the text messages at 2am... but then I find myself wondering, “Why in God’s name is this child even awake at 2am? Manhattan a college dorm somewhere alone... I mean she MUST have classes tomorrow, right? ...does this fashion bs require classes? ...what could they possibly teach in these classes? ...’Buttons 101’? ‘From Camel Skin to Cashmere: The Evolution of the Sweater Shrug’? ‘The Logic of Layering’?”

For my October visit she says she wants to celebrate Halloween in some way. Before she could even suggest anything to do with Halloween in the Village or Chelsea or anywhere else I told her I’d plan the evening.

We ended up having a burger together at the Hard Rock Cafe, mine real, hers veggie (please don’t ask) and seeing Young Frankenstein at the Hilton. I loved it as a movie when I was in high school, thankfully she loved it now, 34 years later, in its Broadway musical version. I laughed anticipating the famous old gags of the movie: “That’s Fronkensteen/That’s Eye-gor”, “Walk this way!”. “What hump?”, “Werewolf/there wolf”, “Abby Normal”, Harold the Hermit, the tap dance, etc.

Anyway, we had a good time doing something we both enjoyed. If Young Frankenstein is the scariest thing she encounters during her stay in the city, it will have gone very well for both of us indeed.