Monday, February 11, 2008


Writing about the weather is so passe, yet the NYC weather seems to be so fickle -- is it winter, is it spring, is it winter, is it spring -- that the global weather changes that markedly drop the temperature by 15 or more degrees seem to envelope the City each time they arrive. And noticing the changes in the natives' responses -- mine included -- is still worth addressing on some level.

This weekend was no exception. Sure, I managed to mosey into the office on both Saturday and Sunday, and yes, Saturday was relatively decent weather-wise. But Sunday, on the other hand, was cold and breezy and my decision to forgo a scarf was a mistake I'd realized I'd made less than a block from my abode. Sound interesting? It shouldn't.

Except that the real fun part is reaching midtown on a weekend day and observing tourists as they make their way through midtown, their eyes locked on the down-wind horizon and the Vegas-esque expanse of light emanating from Times Square, or watching them overpay for what equates to diner food in European-esque cafes (whose staffs are comprised mostly of Mexicans and Dominicans) and, except if they're French, accepting the less-than-par servings at high prices as typical New York.

But what typically piques my interest is the native New Yorker -- for this example an older, crotchety woman leaning into a hard-blowing wind -- and knowing her thoughts are something akin to "Oy, this fakokta wind is driving me up a fucking wall." Invariably, the longer one's occupied geographic residence in New York, the more likely their thoughts are on their faces and their sleeves with increasingly less acceptance and optimism. This weekend was no exception. Because the weather caught many of us napping -- ie going from reasonably comfortable to cold and windy and blustery to a hard snow-flurry in the late afternoon -- the response to the weather was even more palpable.

And while the weather is, typically, a subject best left in the closet along with the quality of microwaveable reheatable dinners, the responses, especially when we New Yorkers are surprised, is as entertaining. At least that's what I think.

In either case, the aforementioned "typical" New Yorker was a mid-60's-ish whose hair more closely resembled Bozo than Vidal Sassoon, and as we each exited the bus near my office -- along with a gaggle of Japanese tourists, stereotypically, toting backpacks, cameras and City guides -- I watched the older woman, aka Bozette, try to move against the wind. She had some sort of cough throughout the busride and when her feet hit the pavement -- and the wind hit her lungs -- apparently she opted to rid herself of the cause of her cough. So she took a deep breath, cleared her throat, and let fly a big wad of loogie into the random wind. Problem 1 -- I was nearby and saw all this and wanted to get as far away from her as possible. Problem 2 -- the Japanese tourists were prattling on -- presumably in Japanese -- and didn't notice. Problem 3 -- the big wad of Bozette-phlegm danced in the wind almost instantly until it -- thwack -- hit the back of one of the tourists' black puffy jackets. Problem 4 -- seeing all this without a) laughing, b) insuring I wasn't accused of issuing the offending loogie; and c) letting Bozette know her cough produced something that would likely be the most repulsive thing I'd seen all day.

Rather than confront her, I opted -- intelligently -- to keep moving on. I didn't have much to gain by tsk-tsking Bozette -- let's face it, if you're an older woman who has no qualms about spitting into the wind in public, nothing I'm going to say is going to pull you forth from your behavior coma -- and more importantly, I have to commend her for managing to hit one of the tourists with such accuracy, and, simultaneously, not being detected.

Then again, another part of me wonders if, in forty years or so, an older Japanese woman somewhere in Osaka sits her grandchildren down and warns them about the dangers of walking the streets of Manhattan, stirring the fear of God and phlegm therein, and praying they all distrust New Yorkers and their inability to relieve their coughs with medicinal and behavioral appropriateness. In hindsight, of course, this isn't exactly the worst thing that could happen -- men consume deer-penis in Japan to enhance their virility -- yet still, knowing some loose-lipped phlegm-toting oral-smith's carelessness could have long-term, far-reaching consequences has not been lost on me.

If for no other reason, it's this experience that reminds me if you walk through this world with your eyes closed, you'll miss the humor and the wonder of this world -- even if in something as boring and uninspiring as the weather.

And you might just get nailed in the forehead with a big, steaming loogie.


LisaBinDaCity said...

I missed the loogies today - thank heavens! Damnnnnnn, it was cold though!!!!!

Boogie said...

LOL...well, judging by my commute this morning, any flying loogies will likely freeze mid-air, thus preserving US-Japanese relations and insuring sushi bars and micro-mp3 players will continue to pervade these shores.

Just in case, though, best be on the look-out for anything dancing in the chilly breeze ;-)