Normal day at work yesterday despite the fact that it was my birthday, or because of, since I never do anything on my birthday to celebrate my birthday. My dad was in town and I had lunch with him and Roger Reynolds, and then in the evening we saw a concert at Juilliard featuring Reynolds' piece performed by the New Juilliard ensemble and a spectacular violinist whose name I can't put here because I seem to have lost the program. (EDIT: Her name was Emilie-Anne Gendron.) That was all good.
Then (after an episode involving the loss of my gloves and, due to a fit of masochistic/acquisitive rage after walking into two Gaps, one Urban Outfitters, and one Banana Republic in search of gloves and finding them all sold out, the expense of an inexcusable amount of cash on a new pair from a store I'd like to ransack and smash) I came home to write, which I did for several hours while occasionally exchanging desultory text messages with people out enjoying themselves. As I was about to go to sleep after 1 AM, my friend D. called to weirdly tell me she was going to a party, but then say I shouldn't go, but then say I should go, but only if I wanted to. So, why not, I went. It was in "Ilya's" apartment and the first people I met were "Igor" and "Olga" and "Giorgi." Yes, it was a bunch of grim, burly Russians. I went to one's apartment--a mistake. "I live in penthouse!" he said in a hilarious guttural accent. The apartment, on the building's top floor but not an actual penthouse, was a wreck, with old food everywhere. The man's paintings were propped all over, as were others by his father, apparently a famous Soviet painter. He claimed they sell for around a hundred thousand dollars, but he kept knocking into them, nearly destroying several on numerous occasions. As he became more and more atrociously drunk, his accent became near-incomprehensible. He seemed not to like me very much and, in what can only have been a bizarre effort at social blocking, kept standing directly in front of me with his back to me. He had a binder full of nude photographs of Natalia Vodianova that he said he'd taken when she was a teenager. He insisted on showing them to us. They appeared to have been taken in a dark, seedy apartment with grime on the walls and junk all over the floor. It made me feel bad for Natalia Vodianova, although I guess she has it all right now. I went on the man's balcony and admired the spectacular view. I listened to people talk in Russian endlessly. They seemed to have forgotten I was there. The other non-Russian guy there was as bored as me, slouching on the filthy sofa and looking half-asleep. A girl in red was there and she kept talking loudly on her phone, and pouting and texting. The father's paintings were pretty interesting in some cases. I wondered how many the son had destroyed by stumbling into them while drunk. After a while I came home and finished the thing I had been working on before. Maybe the first chapter of a new novel, I don't know. It was like 5 a.m.
Oh--and I had some very weird interactions with cab drivers throughout the night. One said that he had until the past few years been relatively well paid as an insurance underwriter, well enough that he bought a house in 128th St... now the house was being foreclosed and he's driving a cab six nights a week. Later I took a cab downtown that I split with the girl in the red, and after she got out, the cab driver--who had been listening in--had a lot to say on the subject of college. We stopped and had a drink.
I've been reading Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi, about the Manson murders. It's not exactly well-written, I wouldn't say, but it's as engrossing as you might imagine. Anyway. The first three weeks of this year were pretty amazing; the last few days have been an unpleasant grind. Russians... day job... money hemorrhage... fuck.