Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Street

…is on fire. But the fire is underground, causing smoke to pour out of the manhole covers and drift up over the sidewalks and past apartment windows. It’s quite like the special effects in movies about New York. You know, the scenes in which well-dressed couples hail cabs on damp nighttime streets dotted with billowing clouds of smoke, and you always think: Where is that smoke coming from? Why are the manholes always smoking in New York?

Well, it’s because that at any given moment, some part of the underbelly of Manhattan is burning.

In the movies, though, the smoke always looks exotic and industrial, and you never think about the rest of it, like how the air is tinged with something acrid and electric. Or how there is some bad shit going on underground which causes cops and firemen to gather around and stare curiously into the manholes and pedestrians to quicken their step as they pass.

You also never think about how the underground fire might cause other problems, like, say, melting your water main, which causes the water company to show up in the middle of the night and turn off your water and begin jack hammering in the street.

Which means that when you wake up in the morning, ill-rested from all of the jack hammering, and you walk into the bathroom and turn on the faucet, you will be unpleasantly surprised to find that you have no water at all, which presents a problem in terms of showing up for work looking properly groomed.

Happy Thursday.