Thursday, August 29, 2002

Okay, here’s a more "regulation" whatisaw installment: In the grocery store (obtaining small carton of juice, cheese, and spring water), I saw a 60ish man carrying his groceries (milk and spring water; yes, I bought mine because I noticed his and remembered I was out) in a child’s cart. You know, one of those horrid youth-marketing gimmicks they have now, mini grocery carts, painted a cheery red, with a flagged sign "Customer-In-Training." It’s the sign that’s so ooky.

Anyway, I complimented him on his intelligent stratagem. It’s a small hand-basket size, but has wheels so one needn’t lug a gallon and a half of liquids around in one’s arms. And the only downside (if it’s even a downside) is looking a wee bit eccentric, which in Greenwich Village doesn’t get you much ribbing, even now in a decidedly post-bohemian New York.
Today I saw blue skies where there were none, and a bright future where normally I see chaos and uncertainty. In short, my dad did something very nice for me yesterday, and I felt loved and supported and grateful, and as I spoke to him to thank him again (by cellphone, walking through Soho under an umbrella), it felt as if he was right there with me, not physically mind you, but in some ineffable way, a bridge of sorts—the kind of presence you hope to still feel when people you love are no longer on the earth. Only, thankfully (and with much knocking of wood), he’s still around, just a few hundred miles away at the moment.

Anyway, sometimes the surprises you get from parents are very, very nice.

Pop, if you’re reading this, how’s that for a mushy blog?

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Today I saw mostly the scrumpled interior of my own yellow brain. It is a stress-filled week. A week of bizarre and elaborate rendez-vous, of harried telephone conversations, of not taking my usual walk because I just can’t imagine strolling for pleasure in the midst of Everything I Have To Do, and Manage, and Keep From Falling Into Rack And Ruin.

So I saw hardly anything as I scuttled out to buy a banana and some peanut butter (Smuckers Natural, with no hydrogenated crap in it, but it gets stiff as concrete after the first few sandwiches). Some dog poop pressed into a chain link fence as if someone were sculpting with it. A few chaps in pinstripes (okay, one). Some anonymous New Yorkers whose clothing and general demeanor made no impression on me (nor mine on them, I trust).

A rather nice Hispanic clerk in the grocery store (she smiled at me). Clump clump clump back to the office to fret some more.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

This morning I saw a rusted metal sidewalk that gave the impression of medieval tapestry. Something about the pattern of rust looked as if it might be intentional, embroidered by a large metal troll working in copper threads. A species of them might live in the sewers, I suppose. I mean, apparently there really are crocodiles down there.

I wonder what it takes to start an urban legend. Plausibility doesn’t seem to be much of a requirement. Having the ears of enough people? Naw, because urban legends are an adult version of that annoying childhood game, Telephone. Having the ear of one person who speaks to enough people. So it just takes one very popular friend.

Alas, my friends are largely geeks such as I. The sewer dwelling metal embroidery trolls will never get their 15 minutes of fame. Sorry, guys. Perhaps I can make it up to you with a new color of thread? I think they have gold at the button shop on Broadway.

Monday, August 26, 2002

On Sunday I saw a large crowd of people congregating on Orchard St. The reason? A pickle festival. That’s right, pickles. And sure enough, hordes of people lined up and waited patiently to buy long green slabs in plastic baggies. You saw them walking around, a salt-sated glaze in their eyes, sucking on a half-sour.

If that isn’t evidence of the city’s continuing diversity, I don’t know what more I can show you.