Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Back to the city

Some days in New York I'm just sad I ever left.  There is a vitality to being in the streets of this place unlike that of any place I've spent a lot of time, though in principle I recognize that some other places should be similar.  London, in particular.  Probably Hong Kong too.  Big, dense, open cities where people flock to from all over, but aren't focused on some kind of local of national purity.

So today, coming down Park towards Grand Central on the East Side, a security guard-type guy, African-American, greeted some other black guys with Local 147 jackets on. "Merry Christmas, fellas, don't forget to praise the Savior."  I had a feeling it was in solidarity, real happiness to see other black people in a pretty cold and white place.  But there was such enthusiasm in it that I, done up in quasi-Wall Street office casual, with my black leather briefcase and all that, was caught up in the moment and broke into a big and utterly genuine smile and merry christmased him right back.  And he was cool with it.  And why the hell not?

My shoes, which are pretty freaking old, were lacking in tread and slipping around on the wet pavement, and I remembered I intended to do some shoe shopping, so I hung a left and went back up to Saks Fifth, stopping in a couple of other footwear-dedicated emporia on the way.  Nothing really caught my eye, and when I went into Saks -- fed by the memory of snapping up some nice keds on sale some years back -- I found myself cruelly disappointed.  Everything was way more expensive than I was gonna pay.  All the shoes on the sale racks belonged there.  Butt ugly.

And being in there reminded me of how intoxicating the wealth of Manhattan is.  All the svelte ladies and aloof gents. All the mirrors on the escalator which give you lots of time to assess yourself.  And I was reminded that it is not me.

On the way out, caught up in the spirit of the season, I thought "maybe I'll look into some pretty little useless trinket for Mary."  (What she wants for Xmas is a new mailbox, and she'll get it, too).  I stopped at a display of cashmere scarves and examined the price tag.  $1100.  Nope.  Kept on walkin.

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