I have no off switch. I don't even have a dimmer. Rick and I are invited to be guests of the chef for a 5 course fall harvest dinner at Goldner Walsh, Tim Travis' nursery in Keego Harbor, but I actually never sit down to the table. First of all I have a hard time preparing in advance for anything, so I'm forever making plans at the last minute. I am not prepared because I am perpetually overbooking myself. I think I can do everything, do it all myself and under estimate the time everything will really take. Only if it's a pressure cooker can I possibly get around to designing a table with those great fat posts that have been sitting around for 5 years for the show I'm about to do two weeks later. And, of course I have to express material for some artwork I'll have to frame in New York where that show is. What could possibly be the advantage of preparation and timely framing in your spacious, full-equipped studio at home when instead you can assemble them with someone else's tools in their New York apartment the day before the show?
We are childless and hungry, and I've been on my feet in a field all day looking at antiques at the Ann Arbor Saline Antiques Market. It's 7:00pm by the time I get home, the chef, Ross Yediak (www.walnut.com) and his partner Libby Shaw are easy going friends of ours, so we decide we are just going to "show up." No seats at the table, big surprise. We make our way back to the kitchen to atleast say hello. Have you been in a chef's kitchen when the food is ready to be served? It's hot and harried. We aren't in the kitchen 5 minutes and I'm plating green salads with risotto cakes and a Michigan relish. And this in one of my "get-ups," because I am actually going out and want to wear something "fun" after spending all day, everyday in dirty jeans and a t-shirt. On this night it's high heels and Joel's 70's patchwork jeans I bought off him at the Chelsea Garage Flea Market. I am now running in the hateful shoes out to the beautiful table with a salad. I catch someone who looks my dad's age eyeing the tattoo shirt that really looks like my entire torso and arms are covered with tattoos..exactly the sort of wait service he should expect in this suburb. Of course someone else could have served it, but I was already prepping it so I might as well serve it right? This is own- your- own work- alone mentality...or just hard-working, hard-headed me.
I was shocked to see so many dealers I know from out-of-town set-up in Ann Arbor. We are in a very tough market and coming here is dicey in my book. It's a beautiful day and the weekend ahead looks like more of the same, the best possible scenario for a good show...once upon a time. It should only take me an hour and a half to shop this show and I have 10 other things I should be doing, but I am lingering and catching up with everybody. This is as close to relaxing as I get. Truthfully, it may be the most important thing I do all week. I want all the dealers to do well, there are really great dealers here and really good stuff at this show, but I know how the crowd was in Rhinebeck where Chelsea Clinton just got married and if they were buying carefully... In the end I don't buy any of the things I really loved, too much risk. I only buy smalls. I get all the news, strategize for the next bigger, very expensive show in New York that I'm angling to do. More importantly, I cross my fingers I can share a booth and expenses there with a dealer I just suggested it too. He seemed intrigued. I am crossing my fingers. This is really the work I do
We are eating samples of the previous course off the top of the food warmer in between spooning kale, braised carrots and positioning the roasted chicken just so. I load the plates on my arm like I've done thousands of times before when I waited tables 25 years ago. You don't forget how. In a way, I never stopped practicing. I am starting to sweat.
On the way to the Ann Arbor show, I stop and take yet more pictures of a house that I have admired for 20 years. It has been boarded up all this time, never occupied and never offered for sale to my knowledge. I have a fantasy of gutting it to the bearing walls, painting it all white. I'd put only the essentials in it: a bed, a table, a chair, good reading material. I imagine silence. Oh yeah, almost forgot, a reading light...that would require a switch... oh never mind.