Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Beautiful Day

Sometimes I forget how wonderful it can be in Manhattan.

Today was a typical New York day. One of my favorite types - warm with a hint of rain in the air. I came into the city to do some business - beg for business.

When I left my first meeting it was raining. But the conveniences of the city were quickly apparent. Out of nowhere, the umbrella sellers appeared, on every corner it seemed. Who are they? Where do they get their supplies? How do they pop up so quickly? Are they an organized force receiving immediate alerts on their smartphones or just individual entrepreneurs constantly watching the weather forecast and waiting to pounce?

"Five dollars, two for three." How can you go wrong?

The other wonder of New York is the constant parade of talent. In between meetings, I sat by the window in a newly opened sandwich shop. Beautiful women streamed by me. Every few minutes I fell in love. Who are these people? What are they going? Do they all have jobs?

Sitting next to the glass with drips of rain sliding down the pane, I felt like I was looking into an aquarium of the most colorful and dazzling kinds of fish. Or, was I the one in the tank. The lone fish staring out, gasping for air and leaving a shit string hanging out of my ass?

I had an hour to kill before I had to leave for my next meeting. While the cafe was new and clean, the damn place had no Wi-Fi! I figured with my Mac laptop and strong signal detector I would be able to sneak on to some other open network that appeared on my lengthy list. But it was to no avail. The signals gave me false readings.

Across the street I saw a MegaBus pull up. An amazing double-decker behemoth that advertised trips throughout the northeast for just a buck -- and free Wi-Fi onboard! I checked my network list and saw "MegaBus" pop up. I clicked on it and presto, I was in.

I opened my browser, checked my email. Opened a message and typed a response. I hit "send" and watched the browser activity icon spin, and spin. It wasn't going through. I looked across the street and the MegaBus was gone. Fuck!

It was back to watching the sidewalk scenery. I felt like Hemingway sitting in Paris, except I wasn't writing anything down. I was just staring. I thought it would be smart to write these thoughts down, but I didn't. I just wanted my internet connection back.

About 15 minutes later, another MegaBus pulled up. Voila! I connected again, and then quickly sent off my last dispatch. This time I kept one eye on the MegaBus and the other on the screen. I thought I should check the MegaBus schedule online to see how often they depart. This way I could gauge my connection time, but I didn't. I just kept looking up across the street and then back to my computer - clicking on my silly bookmarks: Huffington Post, weather, stocks, news,the Onion, email, more news - and then the connection stopped. MegaBus was gone again.

I was able to kill the hour - going on and off the grid as each bus pulled up, filled up and left.

It was time to leave, so I packed up, headed out to the street and off to my next meeting. The rain had stopped and the streets were loud with the sound of car treads slurping the wet asphalt. The endless crowds were on the sidewalks. Some with their umbrellas still open, even though the rain had stopped. I walked north joining the stream of nameless pedestrians, and enjoyed the show of talent that headed south. What else is there?