Both these things happened in New York this past week.
The Campbell Apartment is a place I'd read about. It's a place that really called to me in fundamental ways. It ranks, so many say, as one of the finest lounges in the world. Located at Grand Central Station in a room that is beautiful in every respect, it is a prohibition era lookout that trades in great cocktails and great humanity.
I was in New York for 3 days attending Vino 2009. This occasion allowed me to visit the Campbell Apartment. And I saw the most amazing things.
I sat in the back corner of the room, in relative darkness. From this vantage point I could see everything as I sipped on a beautiful Manhattan. Among the most amazing things I saw was a middle aged couple sitting on a banquette in the middle of the room, alone, with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, empty, in a bucket in front of them. They had long ago forgotten about the Champagne they'd drunk earlier. They were caught up in the kind of passionate, intimate, sensual embrace that everyone I know would hope to duplicate at some point in their lives, if not regularly. The show they gave to the inhabitants of the Apartment was both revolting and gorgeous.
They really should have known better. Public displays of affection are one thing. But what this couple was doing was plainly disturbing to everyone around them—But they didn't know it. They didn't even think about it. They didn't even consider their disposition or anyone around them. I'm positive they had completely forgotten where they were and that they were putting on a show.
Despite their obvious inappropriateness and despite their disturbing display, I envied them.
Consider how lost in your partner you have to be to let yourself go over to complete inhibition in public. Consider how completely enveloped in love, lust or desire you have to be to let the beauty of the Campbell Apartment that surrounds you completely fade away to nothing but a space to hold air you'll eventually suck in once you come up for it.
My Manhattan was very good. My expectations for the famous lounge were largely met. I'll go back. And when I do I hope that I'll see this couple again. I hope I'll be repulsed by their inappropriateness again just so I can be reminded, again, that whatever it is that motivated them really does exist for all of us, and me in particular.