For as long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil and take personality tests in glossy magazines, I’ve considered myself an extrovert. I like to be around people. I feel more energetic in a group setting. Like to talk, like new experiences, blah blah blah.
Then I became a freelancer, and spent most of a decade working alone out of my spare bedroom. Something must have changed in that time, because I now find myself…less of the textbook extrovert, in the sense that all I want after a day around people is a few hours alone, or nearly so. Last night I came home, changed clothes, walked the dog, threw together some dinner and sat on the couch for two hours playing a laptop game called 2048 (WARNING WARNING ADDICTIVE ADDICTIVE CURSE YOU ERIC ZORN FOR LINKING TO THIS), thinking sooner or later my cup would refill enough to blog a bit. Didn’t happen. Extroversion had finally exhausted me. It did yesterday, anyway.
Or maybe it was the getting up at 5:30 a.m. to swim. Yesterday was one of those days when I was steaming through the morning, smugly thinking I so totally have this life thing knocked. Swim, bakery for the first loaves of the day, home, make lunch for Kate, dry hair, assemble breakfast for me — oh, you are such a lovely poached egg, yes you are — sit down and get ready to put my customary six or seven drops of Sriracha on the egg, only to watch the whole cap come off and a tablespoon, easy, drown the egg. I sat there for a moment considering my options, and finally decided: OK, today will be chili-sauce egg day, and you know what? It was sort of delicious.
Now it’s Wednesday morning, and my wind has returned. Either that, or it’s the coffee. Working at home today.
This story caught my eye in today’s NYT, mainly because gentrification has been a topic of conversation in Detroit lately. It’s about how New York City rents — Manhattan rents, anyway — have started forcing bookstores out of a place that considers itself the center of the literary universe:
When Sarah McNally, the owner of McNally Jackson bookstore in Lower Manhattan, set out to open a second location, she went to a neighborhood with a sterling literary reputation, the home turf of writers from Edgar Allan Poe to Nora Ephron: the Upper West Side.
She was stopped by the skyscraper-high rents.
“They were unsustainable,” Ms. McNally said. “Small spaces for $40,000 or more each month. It was so disheartening.”
Forty. THOUSAND. Dollars. Every single month, even the ones with 30 days? Holy shit. And there you see the problem with turning the city, any city, into a gated community for the super-wealthy. Last year, a former head of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce self-published a book, a novella of all things, about his idea for how Detroit can save itself: By turning Belle Isle, its river park, over to developers and by making it a commonwealth of the United States. Of course it would be exempt from any and all taxation. And then a miracle would happen! Dubai with snow, Monte Carlo with snow, etc.
The book was atrociously written, and had a weird undercurrent of homoeroticism that one of the local snarkers had fun with; the story was populated almost entirely by men, and a strange attention was paid to details of interior decorating and clothing choices. But even this ham-fisted Cliff Notes version of “Atlas Shrugged” had some sort of subsidy for artists and artisans to live on the island. Even he understood that a world populated solely by the super-rich and the businesses they enjoy — hint: not bookstores — is a pretty grim place.
OK, now it’s after 8, and I have to get moving. Happy hump day, all.