Monday, July 10, 2006

Know Thy Neighbor -- All of Them

So for anyone on the East Coast or who has a functioning web browser -- yes, that includes you -- the news about a building collapse on 62nd and Madison this morning in NYC is common knowledge. If by some chance you missed the news (in print, on TV and online), then you're either in a coma or extremely uninformed -- and that is saying a lot, even for readers of this particular space.

In either case, I was on my way out the door when it happened, which is strange, because the same thing happened on 9/11; I had finished getting myself ready for a doctor's appointment that day and was out the door by the time the news had actually broke. The first news of 9/11 I heard was that a plane had hit one of the towers, and then, thereafter, everything slowly came together -- and, thereafter, very quickly apart.

Today, I was -- yet again -- prepping for a doctor's appointment and had disconnected myself from the otherwise constant media stream of TV, radio and internet news. So by the time I had finished about 40 minutes later with the appointment, I checked in with the office and got the news from my father, who was surprised I hadn't heard the news. Then I quickly headed over to my sister's place and we both figured out how best for her to get to the office and for me to get downtown without being too heavily affected by the catastrophic scene on 62nd. As of this writing, it appears the doctor who had an office in -- and who owned -- the building was suicidal, and the supposed "gas leak" which was the apparent cause of the explosion wasn't an accidental one. I certainly can't envision the notion of suicide, especially by blowing up a building in a high-class part of Manhattan which I own, but I am guessing that Dr. Bartha, the owner of the building and whose suicide was the apparent motive for the destruction of the building, was in pretty bad emotional shape prior to the blast. Now that it's happened, he's likely in pretty bad physical shape, too.

In any case, the 9/11 comparison didn't hit me until just now, but the truth is it's not as momentous or significant as one might think if one lived in, say, Shitkicker, Nebraska. Things happen quickly in this city, and while many of same aren't good or memorable incidents -- memorable in a good way, at least -- it's not a shock to hear a building collapsed or a taxi ploughed into a crowd of 30 people waiting on line for a bus or that someone pushed someone else in front of a speeding subway train. These things happen in big cities, for better or worse, and whether it's a question of "bad wiring," bad medicine, bad genes or bad attitudes, people do some extraordinarily shitty things to one another; unfortunately, a city on the scale of New York manages to magnify and intensify these types of actions rather than mask them. You'd think in a city this large that one building exploding before 9AM wouldn't be big news; but it is. And while that might seem, on first glance, a somewhat naive observation on my part, what I'm actually observing is that I'm surprised things like this don't happen more often. To wit: every time some shitbird tries to kill someone on a train -- whether with a knife, a gun, or, most recently, a power-saw (I shit you not) -- it's all fine n' dandy to get the requisite after-the-fact psychiatric examination, but it amazes me that this stuff doesn't occur -- and, as a result, hit the news media, more often.

Maybe I'm cynical; maybe I'm jaded. Maybe I've lived here long enough to understand that a guy flashing people his quarter-inch killer wearing only a dirty London Fog trenchcoat, a bad goatee and Hello Kitty rainboots isn't worth a priority spot in my short-term memory. Perhaps it's that I know this city, though possessing more energy than any other place on Earth, inspires some people to go bananas after awhile, whether due to circumstances, futility or even the weather. Or it might just be possible that I've done, seen and/or heard it all and very little surprises me anymore.

In either case, I'll do another quick recap of the second week of Kaia's visit next time; there's lots to address, but I wanted to hit the current events first before I delved into the past and the future with my other half. That, and I've got this weird dream rolling around in my head of a trenchcoat, Hello Kitty boots and bad facial hair.



Kaia said...

OOOH - hello kitty boots - you mean like rain boots? I'd love those - so cute!

LisaBinDaCity said...

It was a very weird story. The last report I heard was that the suicidal doctor wanted to make sure his estranged wife got nada in their divorce, (apparently he owned the building.) Now's he has some very bad burns and no building, not to mention a whole lot of people displaced, (and mucho blood on his hands.)

Couldn't he have just have gotten a shark lawyer like everyone else?

Oh and I could see the helicopters and smell the smoke at my place.

Boogie said...

A day later, Dr. Bartha's lawyers mentioned that he sent his wife an e-mail warning her that "I told you I wouldn't leave the house unless I was dead" -- well, in a bizarre twist, apparently -- the house left him.

I agree, Lisa -- instead of adversely affecting so many lives, he should have just bitten the bullet and hired a couple bad-ass lawyers. But the truth is, anyone contemplating suicide -- especially by blowing up an entire building, without forethought to anything or anyone but himself -- obviously needs a lot more than just a lawyer or two. Perhaps a therapist or five? :)

Or perhaps, Kaia, a pair of Hello Kitty rain boots... :-D