manhattan triptych — part 2

Friday in the Apple

Pre-9:00 am subway ride; the closeness of strangers. Who needs a coat with the heat emanating from thousands of riders?

Cart coffee: small, milk, 1 splenda. In a familiar, blue and white cup. Damn my environmentally unfriendly ways.

Joyous, affirming morning. [insert your own description of a meaningful, “life-giving” in contrast to “soul-sucking,” morning outing; mine played out in Soho]

Stumbling onto an tasty eatery with patient servers, easy audibility that did not overwhelm conversation, and boasting not one but two requisite, quintessentially NYC, microscopic spaces with the right accoutrements so that they could still be considered bathrooms.

A visit to one of my favorite haunts.

Stopped dead in my tracks by several pairs of heavy feet pounding the pavement with urgency a few milliseconds before the aural assault of a hyperactive siren screamed from inside and outside an unassuming, navy blue sedan – whose sound and then sight momentarily resembled an average Saturday night in a strobe-friendly, techno disco – turned the wrong way and chassis-blocked a young man near 8th and Broadway. I joined the few hundred onlookers, unsure of how to see what I was seeing – as resident or tourist? As advocate or citizen? As ethnographer or activist? If those are even fair dichotomies to draw, which I’m not sure they are.

Spontaneous meeting on the street with my sister.

Getting stood up at the LPQ, because the email system at my college/university never delivered my confirmation email to the person who stood me up.

Seeing Roller Girl coming out of yoga class, wearing her characteristic look of bemusement, a ponytail, and dark track suit with red piping as she held the door open for a few fellow yogis.

Crushing, suffocating, potentially anxiety-inducing swell of humanity on the Times Square subway platform; where people move not out of will but due to the onset of spontaneous peristalsis as bodies become pulsating masses of contraction and release.

Time to go home.

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