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My Brilliant Friend and the new reality

Last night, sheer joy: My Brilliant Friend on HBO. Breathtakingly good, superb Italian actors, detailed period shots of Naples in the fifties and early sixties. In one short scene, the clever, defensive Lila, who has quit school and married a man with money, has bought new textbooks as a gift for her clever friend Elena, who’s doing well in school. Elena brings the 3 bags of books home to the small apartment where she lives with her parents, who have very little money, and siblings. Her mother looks at the books in awe, picks one up and smells it, and bursts into sobs. “They’re new!” she cries, grabbing our hearts with the depth of her lifelong poverty and despair.

A feast of artistry.

Today I finally realized – this is it, this is going to be life for weeks. At least another month. I’ve been planning to go to NoFrills, even to the big Loblaws, which sells my greatest necessity, Adam’s  peanut butter – I only have half a pot left! But every article is urging people over 70 to remain at home and depend on others. I know, I’m only 69 1/2. But still.

So today, Anna is coming across town with a huge load of groceries she’s bought for me. This is a woman looking after her own family, which includes, as you know, two hyperactive boys and various children from other families. But she is going to shop and deliver for her perfectly healthy, active mother who’s champing at the bit to get outside.

Insane. Our new reality. And, to boot, today is the bleakest yet – grey and cold. No desire even to go for my customary short slow run to the Riverdale Hill stairs, up and down and home. I’ll do the NYT Seven Minute Workout, which is all I can bear right now. If that.

BUT – my house is full of books, seven million of them to be exact. Not to mention what floods in via this little machine. Tons of work to do. I’d like to volunteer to help, somewhere, or to do what others are doing, making useful videos, putting stuff online – Lynn, making up stories for her far-flung grandchildren, filming and sending – what’s wrong with me, slug that I am? Well, today I am interviewing a nonfiction writer with a book coming out and will write it up for our CNFC website, so I am doing something useful. A tiny something, but something.

This morning I went through the fashion magazine that arrived free with the Star, put out by the luxury store Holt Renfrew, and if ever there was a tone deaf document, it’s this, written as if we’re all without a care in the world. Here is one of the fashions, an attractive ensemble I will definitely be wearing this spring:

The puffy shorts, below the knee socks and delightfully shiny mid-brown will perfectly complement my figure and colouring, don’t you think?

And here’s what wealthy Toronto socialite Suzanne Rogers says on the last page:
As soon as winter starts to subside, my thoughts – and my heart – turn toward London. It has long remained my favourite city to visit, and is more glorious in springtime. Over the years, I’ve established some essentials: the wonderful Mayfair Suite at the Dorchester, with its impeccable butler service (starts at $2700 a night); lunches at 5 Hertford Street and Loulou’s; and a visit to the Wallace Collection at Hertford House… I will be packing a few new wardrobe must-haves. I adore young British designer Richard Quinn, who extends his love of florals this season, including a gorgeously dramatic coat ($1,945.) I’ll pair it with boots from Paris Texas (though made in Italy) in my favourite shade of pink ($930, with 3-inch heels.) To finish off, I’ll add a delightful floral bag from Dolce and Gabbana ($4,620.) It seems an ideal ensemble for lovely spring days spent rediscovering the magic of Mayfair.

An ideal ensemble indeed, though I think a pair of those lovely shorts would look great with all those flowers, Suzanne. Get the butler to pick you up a pair.



2 Responses to “My Brilliant Friend and the new reality”

  1. Unknown says:

    I actually want to throw up all over Suzanne Rogers' gorgeously dramatic coat and her favourite shade of pink boots!

  2. beth says:

    Yes, I understand the feeling, and I imagine she, and Holt Renfrew, might be regretting the timing of this absurd magazine.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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