Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Temp: triple digits

First sighting: mouse remains—a small twisted corpse, head and front legs missing.

Second sighting: abandoned teal-blue baseball cap hanging on a park railing.

Third sighting: dead sparrow, intact and belly up. Has the look of a creature that simply keeled over from the heat and fell out of the overhanging tree.

I stupidly trek twenty blocks running errands, and then have serious doubts about whether I can physically make it back to the office. I start bargaining with myself, repeating the image of the water bottle on my desk over and over in my mind’s eye, imagining draining it, the (admittedly lukewarm) liquid suffusing my cells. Try not to swoop up behind the little boy in front of me and steal the cold bottle he’s swinging carelessly at his side. I can tell it’s cold by the beads of water on the outside.

An elderly woman sits in a row of otherwise empty park benches, mopping her neck with what appears to be a crumpled paper towel. She has bright red lipstick on.

Strange how the body may not feel much different between 97 degrees and 100 degrees but the mind makes 100 seem impossible. You spend the whole day wandering around in it thinking, "This can’t be happening. It’s too hot to be real."

Maybe it’s because of the extra digit. You BAKE things in three-digit temperatures. Nobody ever wrote a recipe involving a two-digit temp.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

***We interrupt this blog to bring you a bulletin. The swamp thang has taken over the city. Repeat. The swamp thang has taken over the city. Time for languid jazz and strong drinks. The part of NYC will now be played by New Orleans. Thank you. That is all.***

Monday, July 01, 2002


The post-parade detritus has gathered into the edges of sidewalk and gutter along Washington Square. Bits of purple and pink crepe paper streamers, stacked-up metal police barricades, a long lavender line painted down the center of the (one-way) street. And stickers: God Made Me Queer. Soon-to-be Married (on a hot pink sticker with some fine print explaining the symbolic mass wedding of single-sex couples whose unions are not currently recognized in the state of New York).

I was on a quest for accessories to wear to a (hetero, state-sanctioned, even partially Catholic) wedding this weekend. Wandered through Pat Fields, where the underwear was too flashy for a wedding and all the hosiery is one-size-fits-drag-queen.

By the time I escaped into the bright hot air, I was too dazed to recall my other errand—a new book. I’m almost out. A dangerous state of affairs for a boroughs commuter.

Walked back to work admiring the chutzpah of the little Moroccan restaurant on Thompson that is bravely waging a war against anonymity. Each time I pass by, it has put up a new ad for itself and its many delectables. Today it has two giant goldenrod yellow banners, triangular, flanking the small cluster of outdoor tables like partial tent walls. Every time I go by, I think, "I really ought to eat there. They’re trying so hard."

The few patrons I have seen seated at those little circular disk-tables out front usually look pleased, so perhaps they will get some word-of-mouth.

Also of note: several interesting variations on outdoor menu-placards. One, held in place by a giant red plastic easel with the brand name "Little Tykes" was for a Japanese restaurant offering "free Japanese ice cream" with purchase of dinner. Another was a thick wooden music-stand style with the menu-holding device in the shape of a chunky ship's anchor.

Lots of smokers out today. Getting in their fill before the tax hike, I suppose. Never understand how they can stand to light up on a 90-degree afternoon, though. Yuck.
On a shopping excursion (mandatory, not recreational) on Sunday, a series of enthusiasts from two different groups (one of which I was expecting to see, and the other of which I didn't even identify until the 11 o'clock news offered an explanation). One group, composed largely of dark-skinned, dark-haired families with the occasional crop-shirted babe flashing her navel at all and sundry, wore a variety of garments in extremely specific hues of bright yellow and green—several appeared to have crafted their garments directly from a flag. These revelers, I discovered thanks to the news, were celebrating Brazil's win in the World Cup soccer match.

The funny thing was, there were a lot more of them, and they were a lot louder than the raindow-bedecked Pride Parade participants I expected to encounter. Granted, the parade moved downtown this year instead of ending in Central Park (in whose vicinity I was shopping), but still, it seemed a bit strange that some impromptu flaunting from nationalistic ex-pat soccer fans should overwhelm a long-established and beloved actual parade.

I mean, we're comparing a mere sports event, one which took place many leagues away from here, and was won by denizens of another country entirely, to an orchestrated event that celebrates a whole community, a vital group within our city's culture and one that has won its current place through hardships both human-imposed and natural disaster-related.

Anyway. The usual rude Monday awakening was made even worse by a jostling in my freshly-cleaned left arm by a rude fortyish white male who clearly considered his two seconds sooner to the subway platform more important than my personal space. Fucker.