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The things I left behind

August 25, 2011

So as if one natural disaster this week wasn’t enough, New York is now preparing for a Category 3 hurricane that is supposed to make landfall here sometime Sunday afternoon. I know this from the steady stream of alarmist messages and lists of instructions that were arriving in my inbox all day from the HR department: Announcing the new toll free inclement weather hotline. Announcing it again with the correct phone number. Warning everyone to take their laptops home tonight and test out their connections (this was the one night a week that I left my laptop on my desk, because I’m a rebel that way). Letting everyone know where they can find a list for hurricane preparedness.

One of the women I work with is from New Orleans and she has been urging everyone to take the warning very seriously. “Remember, Hurricane Katrina was a Cat-3” she said in the email she sent reminding us of all the practical things we should do to get ready (get cash from the bank, buy a gallon of water per day per person, get lots of batteries and flashlights and board games, “because being in a hurricane is really boring.”). I found her messages really charming. Maybe she can teach HR a thing or two.

I, however, am doing nothing to prepare. I hope all my NY friends fare well, but I am not sorry to have a ticket home.

The Empire State Building by day…

…and by night

Last night I met up with Magpie at a hotel not far from my office where she had been invited to attend a blogger schmoozfest sponsored by an electronics company pitching a new product. We had to sit through a short sales pitch, but it was totally worth it for free drinks and dinner and the chance to chat on a rooftop terrace in the shadow of the Empire State Building. I took the two pictures above from our seat on a wicker sofa. I had such a good time that I forgot to give her the book I’d brought for her. We shall have to meet again. It was a beautiful summer night, and the long walk home was lovely and busy. I also located a Trader Joe’s between the office and the apartment, but the lines were so long I will probably never shop there.

Tonight I finally tried to take advantage of the proximity of Fifth Avenue and did a little window shopping on my way home. By the time I turned into my cobblestoned street, the lights were starting to come on. For the first time I shared the tiny elevator (the sign says it holds up to 9 people, but if that were the case, there would be no room to inhale) with others, one a man in leather shorts with a bulldog and a lisp, the other wearing a button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up and khaki shorts. We all talked about the earthquake and the impending hurricane and the bulldog stretched his nose up for scratching before I got off at the second highest floor. And now I’m packing again. Packing to go home is always easier than packing to come here. But this time I’m leaving a few things behind. A skirt or two. An umbrella. A box of oatmeal. Half a jar of peanut butter. The pair of shoes that gave me blisters on Tuesday and left me wearing my battered old sandals for the rest of the week. I made myself a use-up-the-food dinner, a steaming bowl of tofu and spinach, while listening to my new favorite jazz station. I stopped to get some ice cubes out of the freezer and discovered there three ziploc bags, each with a tiny dead bird. Such findings are a hazard of living in an artist’s studio. The crisper is also full of Polaroid film. These things make me feel creative too, usually. I get a lot of writing done here. But today there was a little too much writing at work to write again at home. Instead I’m enjoying the peace and quiet and a few minutes of not having to be anywhere or do anything for anyone. A few more minutes and I will be in my pajamas. And a few more minutes after that and I will be asleep. Tomorrow will be about airports, which is a better topic than earthquakes and hurricanes.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2011 1:07 am

    I wish my crisper was full of Polaroid film! That is truly luxurious. And I’m glad you’re fleeing town in the nick of time. Safe travels to you.

  2. August 26, 2011 6:51 am

    Hope the power stays on, or that freezer might have a peculiar smell when you get back.

  3. August 26, 2011 8:32 am

    if you’re talking about the 6th ave and 22nd st TJ’s, the lines move SUPER fast. I have never waited longer than 10 minutes.

  4. Harriet M. Welsch permalink
    August 26, 2011 9:21 am

    I am indeed! And that is very good to know. I guess I’ll plan a trip there next one I’m here.

  5. Harriet M. Welsch permalink
    August 26, 2011 9:25 am

    We, next “time.” still getting used to posting from my phone.

  6. August 26, 2011 11:36 am

    We’ve had film in the fridge and a dead fish in the freezer. We also shared our small living quarters for years with a dressmaker’s dummy with a battered styrofoam head, both retrieved from dumpsters, wearing a wrap skirt of mine from the ’70s.

    The fish was The Offspring’s first pet, awaiting proper burial after his winter demise. The rest was indeed side effects of living with a artist.

    Safe travels. Hope you make it out ahead of the storm.

  7. August 26, 2011 6:16 pm

    I hope you aren’t planning a flight on Sunday? It seems like you might as well assume that one will be canceled, right?

    Tiny dead birds, oh my. Any possibility you can get an explanation and report back?

  8. Harriet M. Welsch permalink
    August 26, 2011 6:46 pm

    I used to have a fish in the freezer for the same reason. Unfortunately, we all for got about it for a good long time. Thankfully, I got out of NYC and am currently on my way home. LGA was packed with evacuees.ore than 50 people were standing by for my flight, which had only 3 seats to spare. I was feeling bad for all the people just arriving.

  9. Sarah Patterson permalink
    August 28, 2011 8:38 am

    I am enjoying your blog. Jill thinks I should tell you…..and not just lurk. So, Jill’s mom will be part of your audience.

  10. August 30, 2011 7:44 am

    “leather shorts with a bulldog and a lisp” – what a neat small perfectly evocative description.

    we shall, indeed, have to meet again.

  11. September 1, 2011 11:50 am

    Mrs. Patterson, thanks so much for commenting. I’m glad to know you’re here! Magpie, I’m in again the week after Labor Day. Perhaps we can grab a BLT one day.

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