Sunday afternoon in Riverside Park. The river stretching itself out at our feet like a yawning cat. The slow lap of waves from vanished speedboats. The sky a sincere azure, the sun beating down so bright that we feel warm even in our T-shirts. All around us, the people of New York are walking their dogs , riding their bikes, jogging, rollerblading, skateboarding, walking, kissing or indulging in any one of the dozens of other pasttimes by which the advent of the Spring is routinely celebrated. My friends and I have our own form of worship. It's called 'leaning back in a park bench soaking up the sun' .
Out of the corner of my eye, I see two Cessnas winging their way over the river, looking like slow dragonflies. It occurs to me that what we need to make this afternoon perfect (other than a cooler full of ice cold beer) is a good dogfight. You know. Not the sort of thing where actual people get hurt / killed, of course, but the sort of thing you would find in Biggles, or in cartoons. The Rat-tat-tat of machine gun fire, the explosion of flame in the front plane's right engine, the smoke billowing black and ugly from the plane as it somersaults in the air, plunges in a clean, breathless curve towards the water. The splash of it hitting the water, then the slow sinking of the wreckage, the tail the last to go, as though the drowning plane were some sort of exotic whale. The parachute blossoming over the Jersey skyline like a flower (I did say no one would get hurt, didn't I?). The dark streak of smoke across the sky, as menacing as a fake eyebrow. After all, what's a glorious day without a little gunfire?
Sometimes I scare myself.
P.S. A long-ish weekend in NYC later, I'm back. I know I still have a couple of posts due to finish off Rock week, and those will be up shortly, but I couldn't resist this one.
 Why in God's name would anyone keep a dog in Manhattan? I mean, okay, so I don't see the point of keeping a dog in general (hell I don't see the point of getting married - and at least a wife is less likely to chew your slippers and pee all over your carpet - though with the arranged marriage market the way it is you never know) but why would you do this in Manhattan where most people have to take out a mortgage on their first born just to be able to afford a crummy little shoebox of a studio in Gramercy? You either end up with one of these tiny little lapdogs that look like rats on prozac, or with some monstrously big German Shepherd type dog that has to suffer the dumb misery of being locked away in a shoe-box sized apartment the bulk of its natural life. And these people call themselves animal lovers!
 Okay, so that's not a particularly imaginative name. But hey, it was supposed to be a lazy Sunday.
 A fun trip, that included, among other delightful activities, copious hours listening to Carnatic Vocal or watching Tarkovsky (it's so great to have friends who understand that spending three and a half hours watching soulful Russian angst is the perfect way to spend a fun Saturday); even more copious hours spent waiting to get a table at Cafe Lalo, wishing you had thought to wear your 'I'm here for the desserts, not because I'm some dumb-ass tourist in love with Meg Ryan' T-shirt (in the time it took us to get a table, we managed to a) grab a drink at a nearby bar b) walk all over the upper West side, checking out apartment buildings and c) have a relaxed sushi dinner; and the wait to get a table was the quick part, it was once we got in that the service really slowed down - a glacier could have got across the room to take our order faster than the wait staff); and the intense embarassment of sitting next to M while she explained to the staff at the nice Italian restaurant that yes, she did want to sully the finely crafted flavours of their delicious pasta by bathing it in marinara sauce, thus ensuring that she is now officially a target for the Cosa Nostra (MR: don't say I didn't warn you if you wake up one morning and find the collar of your favourite Brooks Brothers shirt hanging from your bedpost).