Catalogue | Souvenirs | E-mail | Links
«in a perfect world... | Front | Amplification... »

September 08, 2004
About a blurry and wet experience on a morning when trains would not run and many had to walk. My eyes looked a bit as if they had been collecting the memories of my dreams in their neat little pockets over night. The dreams must have been big, the pockets were bulging. No it did not feel in any way nice and I could barely see it as well, both eyes swollen, the left one asking to be scratched and rubbed and moved, right there, right then, a lot. Allergy season is back, I guess, and I must have not noticed it until the morning, when after a night of rubbing my face against the pillow cover, the histamines really kicked in hard. Behind a wall of water outside of the window, there were large groups of human mushrooms, open umbrellas, many, many, grouped neatly around the entrances of the subway station. I had never seen the "Pharmacy" neon sign giggle, but it seemed to do just that this time. The P lit up so rarely. The "ha" "ha" again and again. The rest of the sign was clearly broken. "ha" "ha" "Pha" "Pha" "ha" "ha" "har" "har" "har"... The umbrellas were more and more. The water poured like a straight stream from a giant bucket held over the city. The faint voice of an announcer could be heard from between the rushing water. The eye-drops which I hoped to be able to use, expired in March of beautiful 2003 (or was it 2008?, no 2003). Rubbing the left eye made it even wilder, more demanding, it asked for more, greedy eye, blackmailing me with the blurriest version of the "ha" "ha" "har" "har" "har"... of the unreachable Pharmacy sign. The trains were not running at all. A woman in soaked clothes and with streaks of black mascara over her face announced to anybody who happened to be in the lobby of the building that there was no service. None at all. I asked about the other trains, the lines running near Central Park. And nobody knew an answer. (I just assumed that those who went to check, never came back to tell otherwise.) More blurred versions of wet people. A businessman wore a now cheap looking shapeless suit over a transparent because very wet shirt. A wet dog gave up shaking off his fur. In the background somewhere was were the piercing cries of a frustrated child. It took a little while to get to Central Park. Streams of water from all possible directions made the walk of a few blocks a dodging adventure. The station of the C line was packed up to the stairs. It seemed as if a whole village of New Yorker editors preferred to take this particular stop. Yes there were also those with black streaks on their quiet faces, but the majority appeared to be in their 50's, dressed for the office and rather curious and cautious, incredibly eloquent, sarcastic. They were not ready to spend their $2 on a gamble either. There was a packed crowd, but all of it on the free side of the turnstiles. The token booth clerk was calm. She explained over and over again that trains were running sporadically. She also explained that she was probably not really the one who should "file a complaint with the MTA" and that the straphangers, were the better ones to do that. (Complain about what, about the unexpected monstrous rain?) An express train unexpectedly arrived. It was packed and it was going uptown. The token booth clerk still recommended that the crowd take this one to 125th street, just to get the express train down to their desired destination. And so they did. There was a push and a pull and the mass of commuter-cattle squeezed themselves and others through the turnstiles. And when my great moment came. My metrocard implied: "Insufficient fare". The train was gone, the crowds were not. I managed to get myself to a vending machine, which reluctantly gave me a new metro card. (It at first rejected all possible forms of payment: wet cash, wet and wiped credit cards.) I managed to get in at last. I went to the local train platform. The crowd there would never possibly fit into a single train. I tried to stay near to the wall. Tried to avoid the possibility to end up on the tracks. A woman in an incredibly wet t-shirt explained to a very attentive businessman how far she had already traveled on this particular morning. I finally found my spot near the very end of the platform. Not far from a mother with two little kids, both of them with the supernatural powers to express the frustration of all of us here by screaming on top of their lungs. No, a train was not about to arrive any time soon. It did not matter how many times a blurry silhouette leaned over the yellow platform edge to look into the tunnel from which the possibly completely overcrowded Subway was supposed to emerge. I waited for probably 15 minutes. It must have been definitely less than 18, as just seconds after I made the decision to leave the station, and made my way to the outside of the turnstiles, where a new mob of highly educated people was asking the same questions... well... As soon as I got out of the paid waiting zone, a train arrived. The clerk explained again that all should take this local train uptown, I was pushed into the turnstile, swiped my card and it explained: "Just Used." And so I walked. It was relatively easy and it was something active and hopeful. The water was not all that bad. The crowds on Central Park West were also relatively civil. I walked. It was not too bad at all. I walked for miles. The further I walked towards midtown, the fancier the old lobbies became of the old apartment buildings became, the better dressed the concierges were, the nicer was the fabric on some umbrellas. There was a giant crowd around the American Museum of Natural History. I imagined the fossils trapped in the walls of the station downstairs. I imagined them breaking free after the station had been flooded. Maybe they could swim to the ever rising surface. Maybe they would then dive between the skyscrapers, a man made, concrete, coral reef. Fancy looking guests at the Trump building on Columbus Circle used their free golden trump-rellas, designed to match the Donald approved, Ivana invented decor. (I imagined the dinosaurs from the museum's subway station enjoy these particular people as an especially delicious little snack.) It took me about an hour and a half to get from 95th street all the way to Herald Square. A wet midtown smelled like various wet body parts of various species. It was as if all those trashy scents had been locked in, only to come free if one just added some water. I was not the last one to arrive at the office. Many others had been trapped in tunnels, or on bridges in steamy little cars. I looked out the window for a few moments. The blurry mushrooms down in the street had mostly black tops. I never bought new eye drops. The dinosaurs never broke free. Maybe next time.