Tuesday, January 24, 2017
We are afflicted, all of us, with a "damp, drizzly November" in our souls and, unlike Ishmael, we cannot escape to the sea.
Driving to work this morning I saw two Puerto Rican maintenance men confronting a foot-deep puddle that had creeped in front of the eight-figure co-op where they work.
They had decided to disperse the collected water and were attacking it with an oversized clown broom. The shorter of the two would push at the puddle with vigor, but the puddle just, calmly, recollected itself in its previous depth.
The man lit a cigarette and stared into his private abyss. How would I conquer this he seemed to stay to himself staring into the brown slurry.
His friend threw a wet "Daily News," into a trash bin on the corner and walked to the man with the broom. He took the broom and gesticulated like a high-school basketball coach on uppers.
He began pushing at the puddle in short, aggressive strokes.
But the puddle was too quick for him and receded back in its place before any progress could be made.
His technique had failed and the second man was disgusted. He tossed his cigarette into the puddle.
One of them said something funny, and both men pointed to the puddle, spit, then left it be.
Maybe that puddle is a metaphor for our lives during the impending Trumpocalypse. We can try to push the filth away--we can try all manner of approaches. But in the end, well, our feet are going to get wet.
After two minutes of watching the men, the light finally changed and my eight-miles-per-gallon-ride coughed away from the light, sputtering dioxide.
It's cold as a witch's tit outside.
The wind is howling like a pack of dogs.
And the sky is spitting a hard rain.
But later today, or tomorrow, or the day after, or maybe by the weekend that can't come soon enough, we'll once again have sun.
Somehow the affair of the puddle made me think of this scene from Carol Reed's "The Third Man." The Cuckoo Clock speech wasn't in Graham Greene's screenplay. Orson Welles and Reed added it on set.
Posted by george tannenbaum at 8:55 AM