Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Stupid Girl, Only Happy When it Rains

When someone writes, "It was cool hanging out with you," couldn't they be saying you make them forget about the heat?

I'm fascinated to read today that the Washington Post labels people like me "heat deniers," a term that makes us sound more like morons but actually just addresses our rational acceptance of hot weather in summer.

Important to note: it's not that we deny that it's hot, just that it's unbearable. Buck up, weather wimps.

My solution to dealing with triple digit temperatures involves several pro moves, the only one of which I'll admit to publicly is wading out to waist-high depths in two different rivers over the course of two days.

Despite waiting out the sky's ominous threats in a breezy gazebo with friends and strangers, tonight's outdoor party got rained out, but not before some of us gathered for a fine dinner and lots of conversation about theater, hypocrisy and gifts of jewelry.

Because now, finally, I understand why women love being given a bijou or bauble.

To compensate for ankle-deep puddles, a wet dress and missed opportunities, I accept a friend's invitation to Amour for Le Petit Rouviere Rose and the accompanying thrill of seeing a sweetbread virgin's cherry popped after an octopus salad.

We finish with Cremant d'Alsace Rose and sorbet samplers, sharing cantaloupe pastis, blueberry, lychee rose, strawberry, coconut milk and pineapple, along with the heaviest of topics: why some people choose to take care of themselves while others slide into decay with abandon.

For that matter, the more things change, they more they stay just as unsatisfactory as they were.

Proof of just that abounded at the VMFA's fabulous new photography show, "Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott," a collection of mid-century photographs, many of them chronicling just how little progress we've made in this, our so-called post-racial world.

Witness: An image of a man behind a newspaper with the screaming headline, "Seven Unarmed Negroes Shot in Cold Blood by L.A. Police" and another capturing five black men in suits and hats picketing with protest signs, including one reading, "Police Brutality Must Go."

A closer inspection of Parks' images of black life in the '50s and '60s tells stories so much bigger than a first glance offers up and surely must have been revelatory to Life Magazine's mostly white readership. The exhibit could not be more timely.

As for changing with the times, I thought that Old Saltes were the love of my life, but after years of devotion, I find that my head can be turned by a Pickering Pass.

Permanently? We shall see.

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