Swelter 23

The weekend, a strain on sanity and hard-fought equilibrium, fighting dark atavistic urges and unseemly puce envy: several local colleagues off to Paris on a press junket, someone sending an article about the Paris Review 40th anniversary bash in the Hamptons, a celebrity-clogged gathering that banal circumstances forced us to miss. Settling for clubs, an approximation of true decadence. A local perennial raving about the coming thing in body art, selective amputation, scarring already totally over as a trend. In tow with actress/model Simone Finnis and company, taking in the very cozy "Mockingbird Lounge" at 12.03 and then on to Les Bains: Pretty crowd, pretty room, feeling fairly nifty at a prime table. The tide turning gradually, Euro-filth spilling a drink down our lap, a champagne-swilling little sheik eventually given our niche in the VIP ecosystem, business, after all, being business. Still, happy beyond measure, impervious to rebuke, rolling with the punches. In this best of all possible worlds, it's best not to sweat the action.

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