Little Miss Smugface

From a technical POV this is a fairly ho-hum photo but from a personal perspective it is A Moment. I’m on my way back from seeing a show on Broadway (yes, yes, NYC, midtown) and I come across the Algonquin. The Algonquin, I say to myself, THE Algonquin. And so I pop in. And it’s a bit on the fancy side and it’s massively on the oh-my-giddy-aunt side. Because this is the hotel where Dorothy Parker, Harpo Marx, George Kaufman and a bunch of other witty and acerbic theatrical and literary types (they were known as The Vicious Circle) met weekly at the Round Table for lunches which went for hours. Now, I don’t know I know this. But when I see the hotel, this information comes flying to the forefront of my mind. Somewhere in me this knowledge is lurking. Without me being aware of it, the cultural reference has taken root at some point, and then, it is the being there that dislodges it and it tumbles out and I have A Moment. So I swan in and have a Matilda, a cocktail named for the stray cat who had wandered in during the swinging 1920s and taken up residency at the Round table with The Vicious Circle. And I’ve chosen that cocktail because as it happens, Matilda is the show I have just been to see. I sit at the Round Table and here is the photo, me ridiculously smug face, caught Mid-Moment, I don’t retake it, because this photo is real. I am Beside Myself with glee as I imagine being part of the gang, one of The Vicious Circle – (all of these cap letters are so imperative – it was a capital letter experience). And because it is New York, where anything is possible, and because I am now at the Round Table I imagine that some of their energy and verve and pizazz and talent and chutzpah will rub off on me, and I feel charged by it. These are the joys of travel, the discovery of connections and cultural references, the stories and the people who elevate the experience and live within us, either before the trip – and we discover them while travelling – or during the trip, where they take hold and change us.

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