Sunday, April 12, 2009

An Urban Love Story

As she entered the train, she noticed a man standing and reading “History of Philosophy, Volume IX.” That impressed her.

I infer that people who read philosophy are people who think about life and wonder about it and just don’t take everything at face value,” she said. “I like that in a person.”

After silently willing him to look her way (he did not), she finally gathered the courage to ask him about the book. Mr. Laite, now 48, and she began chatting about whether reading philosophy had actually changed their lives. (She said yes; he was unsure). When he noted that there was a Monty Python ditty, “The Philosophers’ Song,” she sang it aloud.

Soon her stop came, and she suddenly faced a problem: should she stay and chat, or exit the train? She chose the latter, but just as the doors snapped shut she called out her e-mail address and said, “If you have any more book recommendations, let me know.” ...

Still, he Googled her that night and found a photograph of her holding one of her birds (she lives with four parrots and two dogs in her one-bedroom apartment). “I wanted to continue the conversation,” he said, and e-mailed her the names of his favorite books, including “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis and “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki...

The depth of their feelings tickled each of them, because on the surface they are opposites. Mr. Laite lives his life largely in books and movies and has a “spartan routine that would put a Samurai to shame,” said Ms. Feldman, whose apartment is the color of Pepto-Bismol, with a pink chandelier shaped like a giant octopus, expensive art commingled with paint-by-numbers paintings and a vast array of vintage memorabilia....

They were married March 29 at Providence, a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, which was decorated with all sorts of kitschy memorabilia, most of it culled from the bride’s private collection. The wedding had a “party like it’s 1929” theme, Ms. Feldman said. “A soulful era of contrasts: innocence and sin, optimism and cynicism, soft hearts and hard times.” The approximately 90 guests, were encouraged to dress in period costume and they posed for mug shots. Then, a 1930’s-style fedora perched on his head, Mr. Laite stood with his bride before Jen Laskey, a Universal Life minister, and recited his vows in gangster-ese: “You make me smile with my heart.”

Commenting on the bride — her tattoos winking out from her vintage-style wedding gown, her hair piled high like Lucille Ball — Lisa Beebe, a colleague of Ms. Feldman’s, said, “She has a look that’s very brash, but she’s the sweetest, gentlest person.”

“I see beyond the nerd in him, he sees beneath the gaudy in me,” the bride said. “For the first time in my life, Jeff makes me feel fully seen, fully accepted, fully loved.”

-Dixie Feldman and Jeffrey Laite

1 comment:

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

Although "The Philosophers' Song" does name a number of philosophers, it doesn't really have philosophical content. I suggest the following, from the movie Monty Python's the Meaning of Life. The scene is a meeting in the boardroom of the Very Big Corporation of America, Inc., and they've come to Item 6 on the agenda, the meaning of life.

Harry: I've had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and what we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts... One... people are not wearing enough hats. Two... matter is energy; in the Universe there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this soul does not exist *ab inito*, as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.


Max: What was that about hats again?

Harry: Er... people aren't wearing enough.