Monday, July 19, 2004

I think it is exactly because there are tens of millions of people in New York that it is such a lonely place. Last time I visited I was overwhelmed by the skyscraper canyons and the lack of a horizon. This time I have found my trip here much more enjoyable. There is plenty of life here. I enjoyed my walks through the different parts of town. I learned about shea butter (every other street vendor sells it) and discovered foul smells never before experienced. I blind man would have no troubles in this city. Rotten fish flesh? Hmm. I must be on East Broadway next to Dim’s. Bizarre smell of mouldy almonds? One more block to midtown. It is incredible the variety and consistency of smells as you wander through this town. Every block has its own unpleasant bouquet which is constant.

The one major thing that would stop my move there would be the loneliness. You come across thousands and thousands of people daily but there is little but polite contact. It seems it would be hard to really get to know someone in such a busy and anonymous town.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I always assumed that if I ever had to fight in war. I would be the one who would get shot taking a crap behind a bush or a accidental self inflicted wound to the groin or some other undignified end or just the guy that breaks down crying just when the mortar shells start falling and the platoon is depending on me to call in the air support. You see I am ungainly, accident prone, and a tad absent minded. On top of that I am also a bit of a Chicken Little. The world is indeed always falling. The other night proved different. There is always noise from the street dribbling into the basement flat in which I live. This noise wasn’t quite right. When the light in the kitchen came on it became obvious that the noise was someone breaking in. Immediately, I jump into action as if beneath my pyjamas where blue tights and a shirt with a big S. “Get on the phone and dial triple nine” I whispered the order as I moved toward the door. Behind me she was already talking to the dispatcher when I opened the door to confront the enemy. Two men with shaved heads and the gaunt look of addiction were there. They froze like woodland creatures meeting man for the first time. “All right guys. Get out of here.” They stay still for a heart beat or two and then do as they are told. The tone of authority in my voice surprised even me. I close the window, draw the curtains, and wait the hour it takes for the police to arrive. It wasn’t until two days later that the what-ifs and worse case scenarios returned me to my natural Chicken Little state.