Friday, 10th December. West 4th Street subway, at the Waverley exit. Delta slide guitar starts up, and goes, starts to really go. It starts to soundtrack you. You walk with it in your stride.
In my favourite stationery shop on 6th Ave., where I buy my pens (I won't give them a plug, but they do have sexy Chatwin and Hemingway-esque notebooks in this shop), a harried middle-aged woman tells the Middle Eastern sales clerk, who's handing her what look like 10 Christmas cards: "95 dolla's? How'd that happen?" Darling, we ask ourselves that every Saturday morning.
"Is Sarah there? She called me real late last night, and I was like..." Young man with whiney Californian last syllable uplift, in leather jacket with hoodie under it, hood up, ear phones on, gold aviator sunglasses on, everything on, talking via his ear phones or whatever his technology is. He's locked and loaded, at one nice remove from his environment, the same as if he'd taken a pill - the nice, warm and fuzzy kind.
"Yo, that bitch is a junkie. She has a liver failure at 26 years old. I asked her if she was sniffin' coke. No! I ain't with that shit, I ain't with that, who you think I am?" a black dude in a bizarre leather jacket covered in fur is saying into his phone.
"I'll see you back in the city," a New Yorker had said to me in Lawrence, Kansas. "Oh, right, so I'll see you in Kansas City, then," I reply mischievously. He looks at me blankly, as if I were in a gorilla suit, wearing a pink bra and g-string. Damn, sorry, lad. I forgot: there's only ONE city, and the rest of creation is hinterland. Sue me.