By Peter Dichter, member since 2019

“That’s hilarious!” I’m in the lunchroom at 10:15 with a lively group and Ray has just told us his four-year old grandson’s reaction to seeing monkeys at the zoo over the weekend. It’s time for my morning class on the fifth act of The Winter’s Tale and today I am reading the role of Leontes. I am not an actor but I thought I did a good job until we saw a screening in the classroom of The Royal Shakespeare production. Still, I got praise. When the class ended at noon I was torn between meandering through Battery Park (it was a beautiful day) or going to a lunchtime session called “Arias That Move You.” I opted for the arias assuming there would be other beautiful days, and was rewarded with the sounds of Pavarotti and Tebaldi.

I don’t always stay for the afternoon presentations but this one was on the poetry of Octavio Paz, a Mexican poet I’d always admired. The next morning after the usual schmoozing, I attended a presentation on New York neighborhoods (Washington Heights, where I was born) and stayed at Quest through lunch for a group session done entirely in Spanish, a language I am learning albeit slowly. It was another beautiful day so this time, after the lunch (el almuerzo) session, I walked up Broadway, got a sandwich at Pret-A-Manger, walked past Wall Street and ate my sandwich and read my emails on a bench at Zuccotti Park.

Wednesday was, by contrast, an awful rainy day but I specifically wanted to hear our Distinguished Guest Lecturer, Jesse Green, the Times’ Chief Theater Critic so I stayed home and clicked on the Zoom link to hear him speak about the memoirs of Mary Rodgers. I was glad Thursday was a better day weatherwise because I really wanted to join the morning class on Machiavelli and the afternoon presentation on breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence. The presentations were a compelling finale to my days of education and the lunch between them had Joanne detailing an encounter at Trader Joe’s. She was hilarious!

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