Sunday, March 20, 2005

New York break: isn’t it a lovely day to get caught in the rain…

In New York, the sky looks yellow-gray on rainy days, misty and putrid, fouled up by rising fumes from cars, buildings and people, all releasing something horrid and stale. Rain here is dirty, not clean ((like in the Midwest)) (I had to say that). It’s brutal on the footwear because it makes the street debris adhere to it. And when you get splashed by a passing cab, you get splashed with God knows what muck lining the gutters. Yesterday, a sanitation truck went by brushing down the streets along the avenues and I wanted to ask – “why bother?” Now I understand – it’s to keep the streets less grimy for the splatter experience on rainy days like today. In all, I don’t like city rain.

On the other hand, it hardly interferes with anything that you may want to do. I would have taken the same jog, the same hike to this point or the next, the same everything, regardless of the weather. Except for one thing: I will not take out my camera in the rain. It’s the balancing act of working with it while holding an umbrella and keeping my purse from swinging freely into your camera arm – too much! Add to it the horror of fogging over my lens – forget it.

And so I have no pictures to post from today. None. The one below doesn’t count. It speaks to the place I went to so that I could convince myself that life is cheaper in the Midwest: it’s a trio of satisfied Starbucks customers. Me, I’m deeply satisfied with the beverage, less so with the cost of it, since currently a small latte here rings up at $3.37 (Madison: $2.85). Way to go, NY, keep the prices climbing, and the rain messing with my clothes and photography and I’ll thank my Midwestern stars that you’re a mere smudge in my life, no longer the prima donna that I’d kill myself for, just to spend time with and swoon over. You’re a drip and a drag.

[Did that sound convincing? No, it didn’t to me either.]
afternoon out of the rain Posted by Hello

New York break: Joe Junior

At times I feel that Central Park, before 8 a.m., belongs to the dogs. If there are leash laws, no one obeys them (are there leash laws?).

On my second day out jogging, I once again encountered an incident of the Dog That Has Tasted Freedom. This dog, by the name of Joe Junior, had an owner of Russian heritage.* He flew the coop and a distressed woman anxiously ran the paths of the park shouting “Joe! Joe Joo-nioh-r! You comb bah-ck heerrrr, n-ohv! Joe Joo-nioh-rrrrr!

You had to wonder about her life, there, in New York with Joe Junior. Or, is it not her dog? Is it the dog of the fellow she met and partnered up with? Joe Junior doesn’t seem all that fond of her (“I’ve got to split and run from this woman who has usurped my sacred spot in the household”). Did she have a dog in Moscow? Does she miss Moscow? Her girlfriend, Katya, her grandmother, Ludmila? Is the guy worth it? Does he come with a Fifth Avenue apartment?

In the meantime, all the dogs are running crazily around, chasing balls and sticks, while she’s there anxiously searching for Joe Junior, and I am jogging, rain splattering all of us so that we huddle in our private spaces, concentrating on keeping the mud off our clothes and the dogs close to us, or, in my case, far, so that they don’t shake their wet hides anywhere near me.

* The accent is a dead giveaway. Being in NY reminds me how many people in the city speak with strong accents. No wonder no one here ever asked me where mine came from – it is imperceptible when measured against the accents of others, whereas in the Midwest, any variation stands out and so I am asked repeatedly about the origins of mine.