Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Chorion. It has been, without a doubt, a week of upheaval. Mary and I decided that, for us, the best course of action was to flee civilization and take refuge atop our favorite mountain in New Paltz, New York, higher than any flood waters could ever reach us.
If we had any doubts about leaving the city last weekend, Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to evacuate everyone from our low-lying neighborhood of Battery Park City was enough to convince us to get out. For those of you who don’t know Battery Park City, it’s the neighborhood on the Al Gore Global Warming Map that is expected to be five feet under water by the year 2020. But the fishing is excellent.
So, Mary and I booked ourselves a Zip Car and we zipped up Interstate 87 a few hours north to the lovely Catskill Mountains. Mary drove the car because, for those of you who haven’t heard, I don’t know how to drive a car. Shocking, I know. But I’ve never missed driving because: 1) In New York City, having a car is about as helpful as having a lawn mower, and; 2) I very much enjoy being a passenger. Mary also happens to be an excellent driver and, as long as she can listen to her favorite CD, “Mega Hits of the 80′s,” she doesn’t mind driving us around.
And so, late Friday night we pulled into our Hudson Valley mountaintop lodge accompanied by the pulsing rhythms of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like a Wolf.” And, the fact is, I was hungry like a wolf: Hungry for the woods, hungry for the lake, and hungry for one last glimpse of summer.
With Small Potatoes and 3rd & Bird coming to Disney Junior next month, and a few new shows in the hopper, I have to say that this past year has been particularly exhausting for me. Even prior to Irene, I had decided that this weekend was my first, last and only chance to refill my creative tank before the busy fall MIPCOM season ahead.
And though Mary and I brought our various devices with us, we promised each other we would only turn them on to make sure our apartment was still in New York and had not floated off to New Jersey. The connectivity on our mountain isn’t very good, which is one of the many reasons we like it here, and I know from experience that the only way to get me to finally stop working is to unplug me.
I have very little control over the thoughts that drift through my mind, particularly when I’m on holiday, and particularly when I’m on holiday on a mountain in the middle of a hurricane without internet or phone. So, in lieu of anything important to write about this week, I wanted to share with you, in no particular order, some of the many thoughts that drifted through my mind like milkweed spores during my last long summer weekend.
1) If you’re a person who makes things, you should just make your things and not worry so much about what people who don’t make things say about the things you make.
2) Trees, food, music, love, animals, conversation and hurricanes are more exciting in real life than on screen.
3) Quantity will never be as satisfying as quality.
4) The key to good negotiating is making sure everyone is happy when the negotiations are over. If someone gets the better of you or you get the better of someone else, the resulting unhappiness will forever poison the relationship.
5) If I weighed less, I would eat more éclairs.
6) Some people commission shows based on the quality of the shows. Others commission shows because they are friends with the people who pitch to them. It takes awhile to know which broadcasters offer a level playing field.
7) After the first one, the Harry Potter books were over my head. And, in the movies, I had no idea who the “bad guys” were. But this is just me.
8) When we arrived at our mountaintop oasis, there was a family of deer on the lawn and they were real and some had spots and none of them were animated. It was awesome.
9) The demands of running a business have caused me to lose touch with some close friends in the past decade and I’d like to be a better friend to them in the coming years.
10) Steve Jobs was right when he said, “People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing. It’s totally true and the reason is because it’s so hard that if you don’t have passion any rational person would give up.”
11) I am more comfortable in buildings made of wood. And, if the building happens to have Shaker furniture in it, then I am particularly happy. I may have been born in the wrong century or perhaps I am a reincarnated Amish person.
12) The more closely you look at the natural world, the more breathtaking it is. It’s the best show ever designed.
Well, I’m back in New York City now assessing the damage. Our apartment is fine. Little Airplane is fine. Nobody I know is missing. In the end, after all of the panic and the buying of batteries and the taping up of windows, it turns out the only significant impact Irene had on Manhattan was that a few people on the Upper West Side had to wait ten minutes longer to have their Chinese food delivered. But I’m glad it wasn’t worse. I find life and work to be hard enough without a hurricane pouring water on my computers or blowing my Small Potatoes out to sea.
On a personal note, I have to say I found Irene to be rather cleansing and even, dare I say it, cathartic. She hosed me down. She forced me to take a break from my e-mails and my overseas conference calls. She was a mandatory pause in the action of my life, a life which could use a few more pauses. Irene was like Mardi Gras: exciting, tumultuous, refreshing and, thankfully, over.
And now, back to work.