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Golfer: You better come in until this blows over.
Bishop: So what do you think?
Carl: I'd keep playing. I don't think the heavy stuff will come down for a while.
Bishop: You're right. Anyway, the good Lord would never disrupt the best game of my life.
Occasionally the spirit catches me and I want to do one of those pith-helmeted anthropological expeditions, taking pictures of The Moment or How We Live Today precipitated by some momentous event.
Well, Hurricane Sandy is about to descend upon Manhattan and besides an impulse to stock up on cheeseburgers from Village Den, I figured this would be a good time to haul ass riki-tik around the West Village and see if I could find some thread of a story on how New Yorkers act in the hours before a gnar-gnar hurricane goes wheels down.
I figured going into things that I'd see a lot of boarded up businesses and zero pedestrians as people prepare for meteorological eschaton. So I wasn't surprised when I saw my local purveyor of whimsical vittles, Cafe Cluny, ceased its slinging of concupiscent curds and decamped to pastures unknown. To paraphrase Sam Shepard's play, True West, "There's going to be a general lack of preciousness in the West Village tomorrow morning. Many many bewildered breakfast faces."
But as New Yorkers, we laugh in the face of good judgement (Close a bar at 3:30am? Fuck that! Empty a refrigerator and use it for additional closet space? Why the hell not!) so it became increasingly apparent that I had underestimated our collective desire to be out of our apartments in the hours prior to landfall, and later in my Caspar David Freidrich-esque wonderings, our collective stupidity. Really underestimated that last one.
First things somewhat first, though. There were a ton of people out. Like, you had the whole dude-with-malfunctioning-umbrella-cover-photo-for-The-Dayton-Daily-News walking in some sort of "lurchy half-stumble of a vaudeville inebriate" (h/t DFW) but you had like, regular people out doing regular people things.
People such as my good friend Vince, hanging out my favorite cafe. Hadn't seen the dude in a good three weeks and there he is, drinking his coffee, eating his muffin. So I had a good rap session with my brother from another materfamilias and set plans for the next week.
Y'all had peeps shopping, WITH AWESOME BAGS. And you also had bros running. I saw a lot of bros running.
Speaking of general cardiovascular development, Equinox, the gym chain that puts the (toned) ass in aspirational fitness, opened its eucalyptus scented doors to any and all who did not want to let a Hurricane get in the way of a good NO2-addled pump. Zoom lens affording a interesting look into the second floor.
But as I finished my tour de whimsy I peddled over to the Hudson River Park. And things got weird. Like, David Lynch's Blue Velvet weird. You know, like the Lynchian intersection of real and surreal weird. Of banal and brain-scrambling.
Pretty I standard, I guess. Stupidity knows no bounders. But this was just the opening salvo as people let their freak flags fly.
I don't know. I really don't. But it's nutty moments like this that make me glad I'm drinking from Denny's never ending coffee cup of American life. That I'm getting grandslammed into the rudy-tuti-fresh-n-fruiti embrace of American weird. That I can simultaneously wikipedia Kazakhstan's GDP and listen to Tony Robbins on mp3. Just that strange bestriding both-sides-of-the-aisle like a Colossus aspect. Like seeing the above. A Jason mask with swim goggles. Kinda normal, but really, kinda not. This makes my heart swell like watching Gary Busey and Christopher Walken high-five. It's that good.
But maybe we're not really that weird. Maybe some people were out there to do something practical, like picking up a ten foot tall tree branch. To defeat Master Spliter-sized rats coming from the ocean swells. Yeah, something like that.