Change is hard, other than the beauty of fall leaves turning Day-Glo colors and dropping. The rest of 2021 feels stuck in dreary neutral. Look at Washington. On second thought, don’t. No hope of any jet propulsion there. You can’t even fake a trip for a quick change of venue as you might get trapped at the airport in cancellation hell, or with an overpriced ticket you’ll never get credit for. We are in a strange limbo of “no way out” — except to just finish this year marching in place.
Most financial experts are advising clients not to buy or sell their real estate or investments till the end of 2022. The mantra is “Free in ’23.” But nobody knows what will happen. Plans are hard to make. So, sit tight. But who wants to?
Some bold city types insist the city is back. The outdoor Covid cabanas are packed, and there is a rumor that luxury spending is on the rise.
Apparently upper Madison Avenue is now bubbling with new store fronts, and “pop-up” businesses have been extended from two weeks to six months (are rents now affordable?). “Pop-up” is about as long as anyone wants to shop anymore. Who wants to commit to a big department store experience? Pop ups may be retail’s future.
Same with going into the office. It’s now a once-a-week venture. Offices are becoming “offsite,” meaning you will go to the office for “events” or to socialize. Otherwise work from home (WFH) is now the official business location.
We are discovering “less is more” and I am not just talking about the troubled supply chain or inflation. We all have to get creative; slap on a mask, get vaxxed, and do what? Go where? A Broadway show? A museum? Another wedding? A reconfigured memorial? And then what?
Last week I purged my closets and found my two-year-old makeup bag filled with eyeliner, powder, concealer, brushes, lipsticks; all bought in 2019. Not one thing survived the two-year intermission. Everything was dried out, caked up, yellowed with age and unusable — not unlike myself.
I dumped the entire bag and still wasn’t ready to re-invent or reboot myself. To what exactly — everyone has “aged” and morphed — I can’t quite get a handle. We still have more to go on this pandemic – it ain’t over till it’s over. What do new age philosophers say? “One door closes, and another door opens … so just walk through.” What if you’re stuck in the vestibule? I think our world kind of is.
But there are signs of some hopeful “breakthrough transformations.” Like Cristobal Balenciaga skipping the traditional seasonal catwalk for a special 10-minute episode of The Simpsons. In essence, Balenciaga’s artistic director Demna Gvasalia invited the Simpson family to model his clothes.
After getting a note from Homer and Marge requesting a dress, he realizes “this is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. I grew up in the Soviet Union. This is exactly the kind of woman I want to reach.” So, the designer travels to Springfield and decides to “rescue” the “style deprived” by inviting them to model his clothes in Paris. He wants “the world to see real people in my clothes.”
It’s a great short for both fans of The Simpsons and Balenciaga. When two worlds collide and make a great collaboration: fashion’s ridiculous self-seriousness and suburban masses laughing at luxury. As Gvasalia summed it up, “I just wanted a smile and a good dose of fun.” No one needs “Papal decrees” on style from designers anymore.
Meanwhile, change has become really difficult for certain celebrities and their faces. In one week, we had two go viral with telltale face filler disasters. Tom Cruise appeared at a baseball game and all anyone could talk about was his exploding chipmunk cheeks. Actually, he didn’t look like he had too many dermi injections as much as too many refrigerator visitations. No more preppy sculpted cheekbones for Tom. Social media accused him of going to Wayne Newton’s doctor. But maybe Tom is just suffering from middle age bloat! At last!
Meanwhile, Madonna appeared on the streets of Harlem looking closer to her 63 years (instead of her constant Insta postings of herself tucked and sucked) with a prominent double chin, semi-drooping mouth and a much-deflated bustline. Maybe it was the camera angle, but it almost looked refreshing. But has Madonna really been “refreshing” in her later years? Her mantra now is “artists are here to disturb the peace.” We get it, but enough already.
Actually, The Rolling Stones have done this a little differently. They are still out on tour (minus Charlie Watts who died last month) with their Septuagenarian faces untouched and bodies a bit wonky. The title of their tour is “No Filter.” I thought it should be called “No Filler.” At this point, they all look their age, even dressed in skintight black jeans, dingy t-shirts, and some black hair dye. Their saggy visuals (yes, even Mick) make me feel great. They used to be about disturbing the peace. Now they are the peace.
And finally, who can deny William Shatner his experience of an ultimate life-changing trip on Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin spacecraft. He may have seemed at a loss for words, but he gave Bezos the commercial of his life. After all, it was Shatner who put Priceline on the map — so why not Blue Origin with his endorsement line of “it’s so important for everyone to have this experience” (even though the trip fee is an undisclosed, outrageous amount and Shatner got to go for free).
His flight lasted ten minutes and Shatner said he saw life and death before him. But the line we all appreciated was his final prayer to Bezos (who looked at a loss): “I hope I never recover from this … I hope I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it.”
Good for Bill. My change of life request of Bezos is when will he develop a used box pick-up recycling service for all Amazon deliveries. Heaps of empty Prime packages are piling up in our garages, mountains in apartment lobbies, and avalanches on our streets. It’s an epidemic.
Fly me to the moon? Sure! Why not?
Otherwise, I’ll be down here drowning in cardboard.