Boots, contd. (and: Causing Stress for Others)

Went to buy boots. Liked, in theory, the Frye style (no, I’m not talking about the English actor / comedian); in practice, I didn’t like the narrow toe, the leather soles, the “styled” aspect of them: the way it felt like they were walking me, and would take an age to break in. So I went back to Shoe Mania on Broadway, near Lafayette, and tried on a pair of brown oxblood leather mid-calf length slip-on Doc Martens engineer boots, and bought them. Rubber soles. Going back to my ’80s roots, when the Central Bank forecourt in pre-gentrified Temple Bar in Dublin was a gaggle of goths, punks, skin heads, New Wave mod-spin offs: different tribes, all wearing variations on the single European currency of the Doctor Marten air cushioned sole.

Out onto the street again. Five o’clock. (Emm, why am I shopping during rush hour?) Funny how everyone in Manhattan dresses as if they’ve been styled: as if they’ve pre-thought every eventuality. (Even the guy selling the equivalent of the Big Issues has big aviator sunglasses on, transforming him into potential cyborg pimp / porn star, gang leader from The Warriors, or messianic character from Blade Runner; Buddhist technologist.) It’s actually slightly tiresome, even though it immediately makes me want to go out and “shop!” – as I have been doing. (There must be just one more accessory out there that’s essential to my latent identity, that will transform me into my future self.)

A car is right in the “cross walk”. People flow around it (truly, here, the pedestrian is prince, queen and king). Passive aggression and mischief dictate what I do next: I stop in front of the car, point to the walking man (which replaced the “Walk / Don’t Walk” some time ago), while I look in at the driver, a business man in a silver Lexus fighting his way uptown in 5 pm rush hour traffic. He immediately starts throwing himself around inside the cockpit, thrashing with Jewish / Italian-influenced New Yorker arms waving violently into the air. I throw up my arms in, “what are you going to do?” fashion, and cross, my heart rate raised by mutual venting. It feels disturbingly good. Maybe after he’s gone a few blocks he’ll think, “that asshole,” and smile to himself. Though, the smile isn’t all that likely.

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First Annoyingly Bloggy Post

I give in. This is my first “bloggy” blog post. I have not quite sunk to the level of, “I am cutting my toe nails while talking on the phone to Philipa about The Sopranos” / “my daily post-prandial poo had a nice consistency”, but I’m getting close.

Writers’ delaying tactics have manifested as multi-tasking (i.e., watching The September Issue on Netflix while eating french bread and shop-bought humus (no chance that I would have cooked it: since moving to NYC, my store cupboard has been old Mother Hubbarding, and the fridge, with its unidentified secretions and green stains from dead vegetables, hasn’t been the most attractive place to put food. Solution? Spend around 10$ at lunch for expensive posh sambo and coffee, and 10$ to 15$ to dine alone at Dojo at Washington Square, on yakisoba, another 10$ for two pints of Japanese beer – it has to be done.) – so: eating humus at my desk with a cup of coffee; pausing film to check FBk, emails, blog stats, and if there were any other networks, pulse flickrs or twitters, I’d be checking them. All the while listening to Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü fame.

(“Why don’t we put it on Facetube?” I heard Irish poet Gerald Dawe say at the Patrick Kavanagh weekend in November 2008; an ironic twitter went through the technophiles in the audience, and panel members. Someone pulled out their Iphone and put it on twitter.) Since 1 p.m., a coolly-sinister breeze has been blowing, within, or threading through, the carpet of dirty humidity that has held over the city the last two days, rain and heat in equal measure at this late date in “autumn”: fall failing to materialise. I have just checked weather.com, and verified a comment overheard from the balcony – “yo! We got a Taw-nay-do comin’, bro!” “No shit, Anthony? You fuckin’ with me.” (I’m exaggerating – they weren’t mafioso.) – “AN ISOLATED TORNADO IS STILL NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION. A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM.” according to Weather.com.

In the shops of Ditmas avenue, Jewish women in headscarves who looked like cancer patients – due to shaved heads – were conscientiously shopping for vege, and saying “Doris, we got a big taw-nay-do comin’; how much is dat? Oh, I tawt it was .99 cents?”; the daily scene of Hassids brushing shoulders with Mesopotanian, totally-burka-ed women; in the hardware store, someone was talking Brooklynese to the shop owner, while two ferociously-bearded Orthodox men in black wearing what looked like brown, furred lamp-shades from my 1970s Balinteer Dublin suburban childhood stood by, waiting, talking together cautiously, maintaining their conscious separation via the low tone of conversation (idea: perhaps Bin Laden is hiding in plain view, as an Orthodox Jew?)

I was (1) bringing 2 weeks’ worth of laundry to Laundrymania!, a 30-washing machine operation run by Latin American women under pictures and shrines of the Virgin of Guadalupe, clashing with broadcasts of corny, breast implant soap-operas from Colombia and Mexico. I left my 16 pounds of dirty socks and jocks with them, went to various 1$ shops to buy Woolite (because the laundry ladies shrink anything they possibly can with their high power dryers), bleach (because the fruit flies, according to Katie, are breeding down the sink again), and various cleaning items to do, some day, the big clean on the general manky-ness of the public spaces in the apartment. (I had intended to get up early to write, and then do the clean, but since I woke via the snooze button at 1 p.m., the clean must go by the wayside in favour of delaying-to-write.) I also braved the crush of “Grannies of all nations”, the united front of all forms of headscarves (from the Silk Road to Asia Minor to the Near East and indeed Middle East) in the vege shops -“the ubiquity of sparrows” is what one learns most from travelling, wonderful U.S. poet Craig Arnold has noted; I notice the ubiquity of the Pushy Granny. In Spain, France and in the boroughs, the guild has mutual respect and, per capita, more influence and power than the white-vest wearing Yakusa. Shoppers, particularly men, from outside the guild, are invisible, and can be gone over like tank fodder: ethnic grannies as a form of subtle tank.

So, I returned an hour ago loaded down with vege and fly-bleach; and after I finish this post, I’m going to delay a little longer, and then write. Finally. After pouring another cup of coffee, and watching another 10 minutes, no, 15, of the film. The sky’s clearing now. Looks as if the potential tornado is dissipating.