Monday, April 26, 2010
About 40 feet above the underground train platform, somewhere on Park Avenue I imagine, the lightly falling spring rain is collecting in pools on the street. It mixes there with all the other things that share the streets of Gotham. Things like tubercular loogies and motor oil and dog feces and mop water and cigarette butts and spilled breakfast burritos and the collective lost hopes and dreams of 8 million souls. It cozies up with all the other infectious diseases and bodily fluids until it becomes one with the repulsive gumbo of Manhattan street water, at which point it continues on its journey. It follows the natural flow of the street until it finds a gutter to fall into, where I imagine it spills into a whole new level of decomposing detritus. Dead rats and old tampons and illegally tossed batteries and medical waste and chewed tobacco, and it is here, on this level, that it begins to take on the low light glow of radioactive material. And now, with its new lethal powers, it eats its way through the cracks of the 150 year old infrastructure of the city, past the electrical tunnels and the sewage pipes and the long buried teamster, until it finally squeezes through a microscopic pore in the ceiling of the north end of Grand Central station and lands on my head just before I reach the safety of the platform exit. It hits my head, crawls through my scalp and slowly trickles down the side of my face, just missing my eye and nearly reaching the corner of my mouth before I wipe it off with the defeated look of a guy who gave up caring about this kind of thing many years ago, and I think to myself...shit, I forgot my umbrella.