Saturday, July 30, 2011


When my brothers and I were kids, we went off to a sleepaway camp in Maine [right] for eight weeks. And we were away.

Sure, I would write letters home  -- more often than many kids who only did so on nights they had to hand over a letter to gain entry to the dining hall.

And my mom wrote me back, envelopes stuffed with Times clippings and Mets gossip. My parents would drive up at the four-week mark  for visiting day to put faces to the names of  my counselors and bunkmates.

But I don't think I spoke to them on the phone more than once a summer, and they really had no idea what my day-to-day life was. (This was only somewhat less true during the school year when I lived with them.)

That isn't quite the case nowadays. Though my daughters are "away," I feel quite apprised of what's going on. And, in the age of helicopter parenting and TMI,  I don't know whether that's a good thing or not.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Good Swimming/Bad Handwriting

My late mother was part amphibian; she preferred a Best Western with a pool to a Ritz without one. And so I spent my brother's wedding weekend in a horrible Best Western in Seattle. My late Dad swam a mile every morning before going to work.

And as much as we try to rebel against where we come from, I, too, am happier in the water than out of it.  I prefer a lake, but when you're in New York City, where a fire hydrant sometimes is all you have, a pool shimmers like a mirage on the desert.

A friend once invited me to lunch poolside on the roof of the Soho House [left]. It was gorgeous, but like most hotel pools, also small and highly self-conscious making -- like swimming on stage for people whose main concerns are suntanning, immersion, or peacocking. I knew I was never going to pay a membership fee to swim laps that are shorter than a Mack Truck.

A few years ago my girlfriend and I