In our series My Monday Morning, self-motivated people tell WSJ. how they start off the week.
The author and humorist Fran Lebowitz says that in certain ways, the pandemic has turned her into the housewife her mother was raising her to be. The evidence is in her dishwasher, an amenity she says she doesn’t want to brag about: “I know many young people do not have this.” Lebowitz, 70, says she used to run hers once every three weeks, and now she estimates that usage is up to two times per week because she’s eating at home so much more. Not that she’s entirely stopped going out. “I haven’t been deterred by frostbite, which I’ve almost gotten several times,” she says. “You’d rather freeze to death than eat here.”
Lebowitz is the star of Netflix ’s Martin Scorsese–directed docuseries, Pretend It’s a City, which was released earlier this month. It’s the second time Scorsese has made his friend the subject of a documentary, following his 2010 film Public Speaking. The seven-part Pretend series is an ode to New York City and Lebowitz’s role as one of its most iconic fixtures. Each episode alternates between her walking around—both in pre-pandemic New York and within the Robert Moses-commissioned panorama of the city at the Queens Museum—and sitting with Scorsese at The Players club on Gramercy Park, offering her opinions and witticisms on subjects including the many failings of the NYC public transit system, her beef with the wellness industry and one of her favorite pleasures: books. Here, she tells WSJ. more about her daily routines and why she is the “Albert Einstein of coffee.”
What time do you get up on Mondays, and what’s the first thing you do?
First of all, I have to say that Mondays are not that different from other days for me. And that’s not just about the pandemic but just in general. I’m assuming Monday is much different for people who have a job, which I don’t have and I didn’t have before the pandemic. I wake up. I mean, I also don’t sleep. So you know, it’s not when I wake up, it’s when I give up and get up. And that varies. I would have to say lately it’s been pretty early and that may just be because I’m older and I realize the futility of trying to fall asleep. So it can be fairly early. It can be 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., which I find fairly early. And the first thing I do to limit my despair is to remember that the world includes one of the most wonderful things on the planet: coffee. So the first thing I do is drink coffee.
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