Like all of my other visits to “The City,” the latest was filled with lots of momentum and that sinfully salty pretzel smell. I meandered through the Tim Burton exhibit at MoMA, which had more than 700 “drawings, paintings, photographs, moving-image works, storyboards, puppets, concept artworks, maquettes, costumes, and cinematic ephemera.” Most of the pieces from this display of spooky grace are owned by private collectors and have rarely been seen by the public. My favorite part was a 1975 grade school essay entitled “Humor In America,” which earned Tim an 87 and the following teacher’s comment scribbled in red pen: “Good job. Some good original material. Well arranged.” Marina Abramovic’s exhibit, on the other hand, tried too hard to be macabre. I interpreted her nude live art installations as a masked quest for legitimacy through shock. One of them featured a naked woman hoisted several feet off the ground on a bicycle seat. When the elderly security guard heard me wonder aloud how long she could hold that position without moving, he whispered in my ear, “that’s a dude.” “That is not a dude,” I objected. He just glared at me, so I looked back at her. I mean, at him. Oh my God. “That’s a dude,” I said. The security guard muffled a laugh.
Moving along, there were jaunts to my all-time favorite shoe store, my most beloved New York diner (whose servers respect your order for Russian dressing), and a gourmet vegetarian restaurant that disproved my theory about organic wine. Add a glorious spring picnic in Central Park with impossibly perfect salmon salad from Sable’s, and there you have it. Except that there’s one more thing. Something else happened that was entirely and completely more meaningful than all of these other things: I spent time with my mother. And my mother spent time with me. For a couple of days, we were the only two people in the world. We walked and talked and listened. We cooked, sipped, and laughed. We shared and remembered. And maybe most importantly, we savored.