06 October 2005

I wish I'd had a camera... and a tape recorder

I had to look at an apartment in midtown at noon -- not for myself; my company needs to rent an apartment for our increasing number of out-of-town employees. Those $200+/night hotel rooms are adding up too quickly.

I wasn't expected back at work right away, so after looking at the slightly grungy (but not too bad for a couple of 20-something guys) apartment, I took a walk up Fifth Avenue. At 51st Street, I noticed that Saks had changed its awnings and windows to advertise its Fall! Cashmere! Event! which mostly meant goat mannekins in sweaters. Exciting stuff.

While waiting for the light, I turned my head and saw four real live goats, in the back of a Chevy pick-up, placidly chomping at bales of hay. Whether they were there to promote or protest Saks' wool gathering, I couldn't say.

I turned west on 51st, and passed a woman standing in a doorway, talking on her cell phone.

"Did you test me for any other STDs? Or is that the only one?"

Now, I know this is a difficult call to make. If you don't have an office with a door, you can't call your doctor at work, and by the time you get home at night, the doctor's office is closed. The street is your only option. But in my one experience with having to make this phone call -- an ex-bf called me up in late December, while I out was Christmas shopping, and after a long, sunny conversation about what we'd both been up to over the last few weeks, he told me that he'd tested positive for chlamydia, and I needed to be tested too, which just confirmed what I had already suspected, that he'd been having sex with other women while we were still together, and further confirmed that he wasn't calling because he wanted to get back together, and which necessitated a gynecology appointment TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS -- I lingered outside of the office for a few minutes after 9am to call the doctor, making sure before I dialed that there was no one in earshot on the street, and even still I spoke in a low voice. My test came back negative. I don't know about the woman on 51st street.

When I got to Ninth Avenue, I got on the bus. At 42nd Street, there was the usual gridlock, made worse by the visibly impaired -- mentally, and probably chemically -- old man dressed in camoflague. He had one eye, and was walking directly in the middle of the intersection. The bus driver stopped short to avoid hitting him; he stood in front of it for what seemed like several minutes, middle finger raised. Then he started punching the windshield. The driver took his foot off the break briefly. The man inched back. Foot off; inch back. Foot off; inch back. More punching. Finally, a police car drove by and blooped its siren and the man stepped aside enough for the bus to pass. The police car just drove off, though, despite the fact that the man didn't suddenly turn into a rational and safe individual.

Just an ordinary half an hour in New York, in other words.


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