Happy Labor Day.
The U.S. Department of Labor tells us that in 1887, there were five forward-thinking states that voted to observe a newfangled thing called “Labor Day.” Among those five states: New York. Perhaps that’s why everyone has been so crazy in the city this weekend; I’m sure everyone living here knows New York was an early adopter of Labor Day and the knowledge has made them drunk on power. And alcohol.
Before I get to the story about nearly stepping on two kids making out in my apartment building last night, a terrific quote from one Mr. Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners back in the early 1880s. McGuire was a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor and he is credited by many as being the first to suggest there oughtta be a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”
I think that’s pretty well-said, don’t you? “Who from rude nature” and “delved and carved” are downright snazzy, son. And he’s right, too: We do behold grandeur, all over the place, all the time. If you don’t see it, you should clean your glasses.
Now, about stepping on these kids.
Several of Yuri’s friends were in New York to attend the U.S. Open and we went out with them last night. It was very, very difficult for me to wrench myself away from my sewing machine (I’m working on entering a quilt in QuiltCon this year) but I delved and carved myself into a Roberto Cavalli dress that made me feel like a real kitten and I got into the mood. I checked my diet rulebook and, to my delight, found that tequila is allowed. I had two modest servings of Don Julio on the rocks last night and nothing horrifying occurred. Good news for my guts and my brain, which was starting to feel a little “all work, no play.”
We taxied to a place. We danced. We clinked glasses with friends. We moved to another place. There was revelry. But not surprisingly, I was ready to go home before Yuri was ready. There was no drama in this. We’re reasonable people and we have different thresholds and clocks and such.
“Honey, I think I’m gonna dip!” I shouted over the boots-cats-boots-cats music throbbing through the speakers somewhere deep in the Lower East Side.
“What?” Yuri turned his ear toward me. An extremely enthusiastic Puerto Rican girl who wasn’t an inch over five feet tall careened past us and slammed into a man I hoped was her boyfriend. Splash.
“I’m gonna take off! I’ve had fun! I’m good! You stay out!” Behind me, a hand rested lightly on my waist. I realized it was not Yuri and gave the man behind me a filthy look; he retreated.
Yuri gave me a look of “I don’t want you to leave” but, being a reasonable person who knows me by now, said, “Are you sure?” and when I nodded vigorously, hugged me tight and said, “Okay, baby. Let’s get you a cab.”
When I got home, I had a dickens of a time getting the front gate open. I was at it for 10 minutes and when I finally got in the door, I was elated. It was nearly two in the morning and I was in very high heels. I was so happy, I didn’t mind that I nearly stepped on two youngsters in flagrante on the floor. Right there, on the floor of the building, at the foot of the stairs, laying on top of each other and vigorously making out, was the son of my landlord and a cute little blond gal.
“Oh! Uh, sorry,” I said, and waited for them to sort of roll out of my way. I needed to go up the stairs.
“No, we’re sorry,” said the young man, and kind of smooshed his way over to the side. I can’t verify it, but I’m guessing they had been drinking. An iPhone fell out of the girl’s pocket and I barely missed stepping on that. I’m telling you, they were lying on the floor! The landlord’s kid! And some girl who looked like she just had her sweet sixteen! A Labor Day scandal!
“Watch your phone, there,” I said, and I couldn’t help but smile as I made my way up the stairs. I thought about those kids — they were maybe college freshman-age? younger? — and how different their lives are from mine. I mean, this apartment building is really pretty amazing and the young guy, his dad owns it. In New York City. It’s huge. It’s pre-war. It’s a stunning place, with art all over the walls and vaulted ceilings. No wonder the landlord’s kid can nab the cute blondes, you know? He’s got game. My make-out sessions in high school (which totaled about four, by the way) took place in cars or cornfields. Same planet — but you know what they say about the worlds.
Enjoy your four-day work week, you crazy New Yorkers. And me, and you. Let’s all enjoy the grandeur of the week however many bodies we have to step over as we labor.