Thursday, August 11, 2005

just another morning (one more time)

Men in Black with Bags 05
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

5:44 and jasmine fills the air. The purple-pink skies complement the fragrance emanating from a neighbor’s garden. The falling full moon lingers, absconding dawn, hiding beyond one long wet grey sheet of passing cumulonimbus.

The gossamer glow illuminates a long white streak scurrying along the sidewalk; I likewise hurry, but away from this potentially putrid critter, one which I have not seen in personam in at least twenty years.

I hear they’re common around these parts, especially since we reside upon the perimeter of a large park. Alas, unless you’re an insomniac, a crazy fan of Patsy Cline, or a blood-thirsty Romanian, you’re unlikely to find any possums, coons or skunks scampering about or crossing your path all too often.

A few blocks too far away from the bus stop, I watch as the 5:45 glides past upon the perpendicular avenue. I exhale a sigh relief in response, happy to have missed the first bus in. The alleviation stems from experience, for most often this inaugural conveyance carries a motley crew of burly-armed plebeians who reek like an overflowing ashtray. Since the odor inevitably nauseates me and it is futile to hold one’s breath for half-an-hour, I usually make an effort to catch the Six instead.

Today, its about ten minutes late, which begins to make me a little anxious. My impatience stems from the fact that New York City becomes a prime target for disruption beginning this morning and exponentially so until Thursday when the Republican National Convention adjourns with the monkey king ascending to the podium for one last rallying cry. And so the importance of timely arrivals, for I like to believe that I might live a day longer if only I can get through the Lincoln Tunnel before the beginning of the rush hour—one more time.

The yellow letters of the marquis flash GOOD MORNING as the bus approaches. The driver seems unaware of this as he takes my ticket tight-lipped and then presses the pedal with an iron foot that sends all of us who have yet to find a seat jerking backwards. Courtesy, patience and liking your job are apparently not requisites for a Code 54, CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) these days.

Out of breath and seemingly nervous, a man mutters, “Excuse me” and slides into the seat next to me. He breathes through his nose the whole ride in. Immediately he opens his blank notebook, stares at it for a few minutes and then closes it without a single scratch to the paper. He makes a lot of sharp jittery moves and plays with his watch often. Eventually, he puts everything away into his black attaché just as we begin to descend into the tunnel, and once there, he closes his eyes. He is still and much calmer for what is left of the ride as we traverse on through to the other side in utter silence.

Although I had already fully intended and planned to scuttle eastward and then south into Manhattan from Port Authority, an empty Eight Avenue lures me straight ahead and onto The Garden. I realized I was fully contradicting prudence and common sense in equal measure, but I was eager to witness the police state in action. Besides, I was utterly curious to see what real-live republicans looked like in person.

Along the way, I saw lots of men in dark trousers, starched white shirts and prominently displayed rectangular leather wallets. Most of them were loitering about corners, but a few were sipping from cardboard cups, sitting in the cafes and delis where usually one might see bedraggled laymen waking up otherwise.
As a caravan of police vans passed, I noticed that the media vans were dotted about in equal droves. Even more prevalent were the quartet of cops posted at each and every corner of the city blocks cordoned off and locked down for the next four days.

Otherwise, there was little to see. I suppose a sea of NYPD blue and armies of various men-in-black standing upon the horizon, all of them looking rather bored, is a good thing.

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