Snapshots

NEW YORK CITY

1.  Islay single malt.

Intensified by the heat, odors of noxious garbage rise from the black and white trash bags clustered on edges of sidewalks. How thickly do the smells of humanity’s refuse seep upward from the sewers! No area of the city is exempt from this intoxicating stink. Or the windlessness, the cloying humidity. But an all-pervasive frenetic energy cuts through the sticky woolen air – amazes me by winning the war with the elements so effortlessly. The Manhattan I’m traveling through, sun-dress-ed and sweaty and foot-light, is giant bead stores and bitty empanada stands and tourists and taxis and suits and ginger-beet-carrot-lemongrass shakes and half-hidden Irish dive bars with surly middle-aged bartenders. I’ve lived exclusively in large metropolises going ten years back; no where has the expression “teeming multitudes” attached itself like velcro to the surface of my brain, my tongue, like it has here. It is at once exhausting and exhilarating. My anonymity amongst the hoards. Peoples’ vision is saturated by the eternal sights of other people in all manner of dress, demonstrating the full spectrum of behaviors (normal, questionable, jabbering lunatic!) – and I, singly, whatever I wear or say or do in the street, could not be of lesser interest to them. My sempiternal self-consciousness bubbles and semi-dissolves; my limbs loosen and stretch like trash bag plastic beneath the broiling sun.

*             *             *             *             *             *             *             *

2.  Iced coffee.

I’m walking across the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn. It’s about ninety-five degrees with the mad sun on high, but I’m up up up, atmospherically elevated, and thus mildly refreshed by breezes. Above and flanking the sides of me, great curling hunks of beautifully oxidized steel – beams and rails and arches and cables; below me the metro tracks, trains rumbling; just below those the road, cars rushing, then hundreds of meters down the watery East River. I pass a duo on roller skates, early 80s style. They’re boogying four little wheels to the foot, in sync to precariously-perched boombox beats. Bridge path boogie yin-yang: she an old, white, large-hipped lady, he a young, black, baggy-jeaned fellow. Her massive grey bun is the likely result of some nest of spiders meth-wacked and busy.

I stroll a bit further. I am nearing the borough of Coney Island and hipster kings. Before my passage to the other side ends, I witness the doings of another curious individual. It is a man, shirtless but Bowler-hatted. He marches by me, and his face is an impenetrable sheet of determination, and he’s gripping a pink hoola-hoop in his left hand. I turn and walk backwards to observe his antics. Resolutely does he proceed to the middle of the bridge…whereupon arriving, he begins to hoola with all his might. What a dazzling sight from afar, his frantic gleaming torso!

~ by kingzoko on January 8, 2013.

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