Friday, June 11, 2004

What Was I Thinking?!

Walking to work from the PATH station in the “bathtub” at the World Trade Center, especially in winter “inhales vigorously.” And what’s with all the bloody tourists standing around the site, gawking at the empty pit. Shoo! Scram! The show is over, go home! There is nothing to watch. There hasn’t been anything to see here for the past three years. I was here on Sept 11, and I say, enough of this, let’s move on! Any way, they are not New Yorkers. You can tell the way they linger and get in people’s way. New York is like the tourist capital of misery.

What else can I say? If you endured a subway ride to get here in a carriage that smelt like the last bum who had eased himself in it and through the dank and dirty tunnels, you’ve got to like misery, or maybe you are into S&M. As for the New Yorkers, they don’t have a choice – they live here.

New York is a strange place -- the weather is as radical as the people. Of course, you might choose to dismiss this as typically expatriate. Well… May be it is. I have never quite cottoned up to the elements here. Ten minutes ago, looking out of my window, it was quite sunny and bright. The sun shone on the buildings across the Hudson in Jersey City, and now it looks like the trailer of The Day After – all bleak and grey and the heavens are threatening to open up. And there is a cool wind about. It seems like a nice time for a smoke.

The smokers have become, like another sub-species here in New York. Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s efforts to bar smoking in public places and bars leave very few places for them to congregate. You can see them huddled around buildings, just outside the front doors furtively pulling on their cigarettes, looking dismal and harassed. Can’t say I blame them either. With a pack of smokes costing close to $7 in the city – I would look harassed too, if I smoked regularly. It’s been close to six months since my last cigarette, and with the weather, the way it was, I feel the urge.

Walking from the Fed building round the corner, I saw Messers Joe, Sean and John clustered around the side entrance like clams to a rock and walked up.

“Could I bum a fag off you guys?”

It was like one of the moments in The Matrix, when they slow everything down till things are suspended in mid-air.

Then Sean broke out into a broad brogue guffaw, while Joe choked on his smoke and John; well John tried very hard not to wet himself.

“What, What? Was it something I said?”