On the first Sunday after we arrived, Kevin and I once again embarked on a mission to see more things around the city. And once again, we couldn’t convince Mark that gangs weren’t going to indiscriminately stab him, simply because he was the tallest guy in our group. The best outcome I could achieve was getting him to agree to walk across the street to the Sbarro’s a week later. I knew I’d hear from the president of our company about it. I really tried though.

Anoyhow, Kevin and I decided we were going to hit some landmarks that day: Rockefeller, Empire State Building, WTC, and so on. We had been working 6 twelve-hour days straight. Pretty much the schedule our entire three months in the city. Monday through Saturday with Sundays only half day.

The weather was really “iffy” that Sunday, as Kevin put it. Cloudy and windy. It was difficult to tell if it would rain. No sunshine at all; Chilly as if it could snow, but not quite cold enough to do so.

We headed off to midtown first. At the ESB we pushed and shoved ourselves into a crowded elevator along with a dozen other tourists, and headed up. We had convinced ourselves that we were not tourists. The logic being that we were there as “worker bees”, and therefor worth more, per pound, than typical, annoying tourists. It was “stupid logic”, as one colleague often said.

After the tour of the top floors, we made our way back down and onto the street. The wind was gusting, but not of hurricane force. Some misty stuff but no real rain shower.  We walked south towards lower Manhattan. We passed a guy selling compact umbrellas for $3. Kevin bought one.  I decided I was going to wait and see. We walked. This was a testament to how my brain worked in my twenties.

We passed another umbrella seller about five blocks south. $5 each, he shouted. Still, I waited, and we continued walking.  Ten blocks further and another seller. $10 this time.  I’m totally serious. I refused, saying we would definitely run across another seller at a cheaper price.  We walked on. The weather grew worse.  It started to rain very gradually now.

Ten more blocks and we find one lone umbrella seller shouting $15. I had only $20 bills. I ran over in the pouring rain, gave him a $20, and he handed me a cheaply made collapsible umbrella and $5 change.

The wind and rain picked up now.  I quickly extended and unfolded the amazing contraption.  As soon as it opened, a gut of wind inverted the canopy and sheared it off.  Gone.  Bye bye. I watched, stunned, as it floated off like a dandelion in a wind storm.

Within a minute everything clearrd. The wind and rain stopped.  The clouds broke up and it was as of none of this had ever happened.  Only the puddles would remain as proof that I wasn’t dreaming it all.

Standing on the corner of 5th and some street I don’t recall, I looked down at the broken, $15 dollar handle.  Then Kevin said, “Well. You should a bought the $3 one.”

More to come.


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