November 21st, 2006

Fishy Circumstances

Turkey, Velazquez

I diligently went grocery shopping yesterday, in search of a turkey for Thanksgiving. It's still a little early for turkey-buying in the UK - they're a Christmas thing - so shopping early and often in search of one seemed a good preemptive measure. Alas, Waitrose was entirely empty of whole turkeys. So I asked at the Customer Service desk in the hopes of ordering one. "For Wednesday?", asked the woman there, and then her eyes momentarily unfocused as she briefly thought. "Thanksgiving?", she asked, looking back at me. I nodded. "We'll have them in tomorrow for Thanksgiving, first come, first served."

I went back today and there they were, the remaining five turkeys (free range, fresh) for those rare Americans shopping at Canary Wharf who actually cook from scratch. (It's a financial hub, full of ready meals and people who work until midnight.) And now I feel smugly well prepared for Thursday, just another ordinary work day for most, but a day of feasting (after a bit of work) in my household.

Apropos of Thanksgiving, printperson arrived safely here this morning. We went to the Velazquez show, dealing with the mobbed throngs until 5:30, when museum announcements started to clear the crowds. We backtracked to the first few rooms, all decadently empty, good for getting much better views of the larger canvases especially. I particularly love his handling of pottery, how human-made and vividly imperfect it is. "The Water-Carrier of Seville" was a standout for me; the accompanying text critiqued the artist's nascent handling of the human form, how statue-like it is. For me, that's why the painting is so effective - the human figures work as background to the objects, the crystaline water, the water vessels.

You know how I have regular small world moments in my life? Hers are far more extraordinary. I'm not sure I've ever been to a major exhibit in London with her where she didn't happen to run into someone she knew visiting from another country.