The world is full of beauty and wonder. Like everyone else, I seek that out. Which is why I was in Myanmar. And that’s the problem; I’m like everyone else. There are too many people like me, all of us seeking new vistas, putting pins in the map, collecting magic moments.. It’s depressing in the end. Like the phrase implies, “taking pictures”, it’s taking something just so I can present them proudly to you and proclaim, “Look where I was!”“Isn’t this great? I’m special, aren’t I?”When the truth is I’m not. I’m just like everyone else.
I think I was a little over-detailed yesterday. It’s just that everything is so weird. I had a lot to do this week. I was going to start the final draft of My Bad Side. I had started to make notes on my next book – a trilogy about leaving for outer space! I had meetings. I had to teach. (I should also mention that my plans do not compare at all to those of my partner’s work and her amazing project coming to the Lincoln Statue next week at Union Square. (And despite everything, all of the power outages and cancelled deliveries, it is going to happen!)But these days are all weird. The first thought of the day is of course, “Is there any power?” The second thought is, “When will it come back?” (The New York TImes says tonight by midnight. Con Edison left a message with us that it would be Saturday at 11pm.) The third thought is, “I have to pee.” (And get water out of the tub to flush.)And then it’s time to walk Biba, and the weird day begins. Almost all of the little trees in this park east of Water Street are down.The truck is still underwater. And they’re still pumping water like crazy. But along with the batteries, they’re selling flowers too. We got the Spider Mums. And then I had a weird interaction with a guy that wanted money. “Hey, buddy, can I talk to you?” His eyes burned; his neck and arms were taut. “Nobody will listen down here. I don’t know what’s wrong with everybody down here. Listen, I just got out, all right? I’ve been out for two days. They gave me six years for assaulting a guy that raped my daughter, all right? And he was my fucking neighbor. And I just got out. I just need $16.25 for the bus fare, all right?” I had just bought my flowers and batteries. I gave him 85 cents. “That’s all I have.” That was true. “Thanks.” And he was gone. Things are starting to get back to normal. I think it might be time to get back to work.
It’s the morning after the morning after, cool and crisp, a bit of sun, and no power still…no power where people live anyway. There does seem to be power in various empty office buildings around us, including the Helmsley Building on Broadway at Liberty, floor after floor brightly lit, and this monstrosity (the white building on the left) across from us…Note the stream of smoke coming out the side (middle of the picture, two thirds the way up), probably from their generator, keeping almost the entire building alight, with no one ever in the building…not one person through these days. (Insert profanity here.) Water is holding out well for us – at least a third of a tub full.
And food is fine. Pasta last night. Something out of the freezer tonight – probably fish – and then that’s it for the other stuff in there. I took Biba, our 13-year-old boxer, down the 13 flights. “Good girl! One more! Just one more!” It was a long slow descent. We went down to the East Side Esplanade. Same wreckage, a little boarding up, the water down a few feet in the tunnel. It’s bright and cool, water pumping out everywhere, a lot more to go. I carried Biba back up the stairs – her hind legs just don’t work – lay gasping for a minute or two and biked up into the city, through the gridlock, looking for a bike store. Our tires needed air. We made good time, easing past the blacked-out traffic lights and around a lot of impatient drivers and aggressive turns. I mentioned bad driving habits to a few. There were no bikes stores open until 80th Street across from the American Natural History Museum. I wanted to connect, charge and blog there, but it was sold out! Computers everywhere. We went back down through midtown and came back to the familiar confines of the Beer Authority. I’m charging up, watching updates and listening to the latest. Governor Cuomo had a few good words. “Anyone who says there’s not a dramatic change in weather patterns I think is denying reality. ” Maybe someone will listen? Ha! Good joke that one…but tomorrow is another day.
It’s quiet in the city. The sandbags have been secured. A few windows have been taped. The police cruisers are patrolling back and forth, broadcasting over their PA for all to evacuate. Hurricane Sandy approaches.
There is little to no wind – although I can report one howling gust that sounded like a banshee coming out from the buildings. The water has barely crested the docks and walkways.
This morning’s high tide, at 8:30am, assisted the water’s brief and bare rise into the city. This evening’s high tide, at 8:50pm, threatens to be higher, amidst the peak of the storm. We’ll see.