The wind

It was a busy weekend. Yesterday more successful overall in terms of scheduling and stuff checked off the to-do list (kids newly shod with shoes in the correct size, then a very fun street fair).

Today, we were tired and couldn’t get a plan together. Young A had a birthday party in the afternoon, and it was over in Red Hook so I waited it out at the cafe of Fairway, the enormous grocery store located on the waterfront where On the Waterfront is set (though it was actually shot in Hoboken).

As I paid for my coffee, I overheard the two young people in front of me talking to the cashier. They were both wearing life jackets and shivering. They had just gotten off some kind of craft and when asked where they had come from, they said Florida. As I sat in the cafe reading my book, I looked up from time to time to watch them regaining their composure after what seemed like an ordeal. There were five of them in all, three men and two women. One of the women didn’t speak at all, just stared out at the water as she drank some soup. Eventually they went on their way.

All day today, the sky shifted from sun to cloud, from clear weather to spitting rain. It was much colder than it should be, mid-May. I imagined being out on the open water, how long it might take to recover from experiencing weather that way for days at a time. Not being able to count on anything being calm. No stability.

I have a CT scan tomorrow. I’m counting on no news as my good news. I’m hoping that Tuesday, when I go in for my results, I will not have the rug pulled out from under me.

If I do get bad or uncertain news, though, I’m going to show up having done something important that day – namely, Day 1 of my biking homework. I met a trainer last week and she handily dismantled some of my deepest fears about riding and about the specific ride I’m doing in June. The hills. I need to tackle hills. So before I see Dr P on Tuesday, I’m going to do hill repeats in the park. Five of them in a row. Then I’m going to shower, take the subway to Manhattan, and find out whether I get three more months tacked on to my lease.

Last night, I went out. J works most Saturday nights, and most of the time I wind up not making plans, and I stay home waiting around for him to finish working, but since he can’t start until 8 pm, he doesn’t finish until late.

Yesterday, my friend G posted on Facebook that she was planning to go to an exhibit of photographs by urban explorers – the people who like to go climbing in abandoned buildings and inside infrastructure that may or may not be legal to visit. It was being held at the Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library, a gem of a building I had only been to once before. Our mutual friend R mentioned he would go too. I hadn’t seen either of them for ages.

The exhibit was interesting, although some elements worked better than others. You had to bring a flashlight to illuminate the photos, because the overhead lights were off and the rooms lit by LED tea lights. There were some video projections, and Phillip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi played in the various rooms. G bought a beautiful watercolor and ink drawing of a bridge which was framed and seemed criminally underpriced. (I’d had my eye on it too, but we have practically run out of wall space.)

My favorite part of the evening, however, was the time I spent standing by a giant window in the upstairs reading room. The window was open and when you looked up, there was a midnight blue sky with white clouds, and when you looked down, there was all the illuminated bustle of the West Village on a Saturday night. I stood by the window for a long time, feeling the wind come through and listening to the sounds and having one of those moments which you pretty much need to have every so often when you live in a city like this – a moment that reminds you why you choose to live in a shoebox cheek by jowl with millions of others.

I’ve always been susceptible to wind. It changes me, sometimes it prompts me to ponder doing stupid things. The wind last night felt good, but it ushered in a gloomy front for me, and I’ve been pretty depressed all day today. Almost palpably so. Possibly hormonally so. The weight of it is so crushing I don’t think I could stand up to it for more than a day, which is as long as this feeling lasts. If the crushing feeling lasted longer, I might finally understand what drove my friend Sarah (of blessed memory) to cast it off.

I’m going to sign off now and go watch a funny show with J and then go to bed. But here’s a photo of the window I was standing by last night, the windy window. In the wrong light, you’ll think it’s all or mostly black. If you shut off the light (as I discovered last night) you’ll see the clouds, and then maybe you can conjure the sounds and the feeling of the wind. I hope it feels good to you too.

Night, from window of Jefferson Market Branch, NYPL

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