Monday, September 14, 2009

The Buzz on Buzz

This weekend we met Buzz Aldrin. That’s right, the astronaut. Pretty frickin’ cool. He was giving a talk and then signing his new book Look to the Stars at the best children’s bookstore in the universe, Books of Wonder. I love Books of Wonder more than I feel is normal (but not more than is merited).

First, it carries an incredibly impressive array of kids’ books; all the standards, for sure – there’s a whole section including everything Sendak ever wrote and/ or illustrated, and more Eric Carle than you thought imaginable – and then all these fantastic indie books you would never find and Barnes and Nobles, like this really innovative and fun book we found, What’s Wrong With This Book? And one of my favorites Roger, the Jolly Pirate (both of which I bought during their crazy annual 75%-off-great-books sale).

The second reason I love Books of Wonder is that inside this incomparable book sanctuary is the Cupcake Café. Now, I have a longstanding love affair with the Cupcake Café which started about 20 years ago when my aunt had me go over to their little shop on 9th Ave to pick up a birthday cake which was covered with sunflowers that rivaled Van Gogh’s. The cupcakes are far from the city’s best (I could start a whole blog devoted just to that subject) but they are stunning. And they are also cupcakes. Cupcakes are like pizza – even when it’s not so great, it’s pretty great. Notice I did not say the same about sex. Not-so-great sex is really not so great.

Back to Buzz Aldrin. Primo has been fascinated with outer space of late, particularly Pluto. So we hit BOW, where after 15 minutes of squatting in a tiny corner of the room where we could in no way see Buzz much less hear him clearly, we opted to just eat a cupcake and wait to get our book signed.

We ate cupcakes. Read Adam Rex’s Pssst (genius) The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, The Circus is Coming by Hilary Knight, Mummy Never Told Me by Babette Cole (love her but thought it was going to be about Halloween mummies and found it freaked me out a bit) and a hundred other books. We finally went up to Buzz Aldrin who is a funny and dapper white-haired man with a lot more vigor than I’ve got and a great booming voice. Primo was too shy so I told Buzz about his dream of starting a restaurant on Pluto.

“Its cooooold on Pluto,” he laughed. How could you not like the guy?

Then on the way home in the car– after Shake Shack Burgers and romping around the Madison Square Park – the kids were yelling and hitting each other and demanding shit like they were the Kind of Queen of England and David looked at me in a very beleaguered way and said:

“I don’t get it. I work all week and then devote my entire weekend to providing these children with leisure and

pleasure ----“

He couldn’t finish because I burst out laughing. He’s totally right. We bust our asses night and day to not only care for but enrich and divert these little suckers and this is the thanks we get? But the idea of children having leisure, man, that cracked me up, Leisure from what? Those long days of picking berries til their little fingerpads are raw? Selling matches on the street, barefoot?

Leisure! I’m still laughing/