I got out of work an hour early yesterday when the big blackout happened around 4pm. I left my office at 48th and Park and thought about trying to figure out which bus to take home, when I remembered that there was nothing to do at home except eat all the cheese and popsicles in my fridge and lie in a bathtub full of cold water (if my apartment still had running water). I decided to go to Central Park and read for a while to kill some time, and I waded into the crowds that were swarming through the streets. It was pretty exciting. I think several perverts took advantage of the situation to grope my crotch on fifth ave., but I can’t be sure.
Outside the Plaza Hotel I saw some guy standing in the street
waving a little piece of paper with the word “STOP” written on it in permanent marker. I think he was overwhelmed with civic pride or something and had to do his part. Later on in the day I saw four ladies doing the same thing except one of them was just waving her red sweater around like one of those airport landing signal guys. New York coming together to boss around traffic and pedestrians, just what I like to see.
When I got to Central Park, I met a girl named Sonya who liked my shoes and we wandered around together, getting to know each other. If there had been romantic sparks, it totally would have been like in the 70s when this happened and all these babies were conceived between total strangers. Very romantic. But no, we just ate some popsicles (which actually didn’t cost a special blackout price of $5, like I was expecting) and heard two seconds of an Indigo Girls concert that happened at Summer Stage. Summer Stage is powered by a generator that they had just filled up yesterday morning, lucky for all those Indigo Girls fans. Sonya and figured that since half the concert didn’t show up because incoming traffic to Manhattan was blocked, they would let us in for free under the special and dire circumstances. But we were wrong; Capitalism wins out again. Whatever, the Indigo Girls are crappy anyway.
We walked to Sonya’s neighborhood on the upper east side and saw all these people wandering around in the fading daylight with beer bottles and the smell of pot smoke teased us at every corner. It reminded me of Bread and Puppet, or some other hot and dirty outdoor celebration. Not wanting to feel left out, we got a beer at this bar called “Bar Coastal,” which is supposed to remind you of the beach because it has a big deck nailed to the side of the bar, and went to wait in line for pizza. The wait wasn’t too bad and we met these two nice people in line and we all shared a pizza, sitting outside the restaurant. I was so hungry (as usual) and so very happy to have delicious pizza to eat, and as I was taking my second or third bite, I see a hand reach in and grab a piece of our pizza and quickly withdraw. With a futile cry of “BITCH!” I saw the white tanktop/black pants/kate spade bag/upper east side bitch run away giggling with her bitch friends. Feeling intoxicated by the wild spirit of that very special evening, I almost chased after and tackled her to the ground. But I was too hungry, so I just kept eating and fuming.
After Sonya had retired for the evening, I ran into my friend Mike on the street and we went to drink beers by the East River. It was a nice scene there: lots of teenagers fooling around by the fence, daring each other to jump over, tacky couples dry humping each other, and the huge shadows of barges sailing quietly by. There were no lights on except in the Citibank building in Queens, which seemed fitting for the building that is the only skyscraper in my borough and kind of symbolizes like the everburning light for those of us who see it on a daily basis. Then it was late and we went back to Mike’s house to go to sleep since I still didn’t know what bus to take home, and the East River seemed really wide to swim. I should conclude this story by telling about the hugest cockroach I’ve ever seen that crawled into my hair at Mike’s house and I didn’t even scream. I calmly told him and his boyfriend that there was a large cockroach on the wall and that it had been in my hair. I just kept it all in perspective, and that’s really what matters.