You would think that my post apocalypse day would be filled with stories of the destruction around me, but alas it was far more banal. I had a rather annoying work day, filled with “crises” from clients far removed from Sandy and the East Coast. And it really made me think how petty are most work concerns. You would think we were rushing to save cancer patients with a new treatment or something, instead of changing some technical specification for a client. By the end of the day, I have to admit that the tension between client work and real problems for people without power, water, homes etc, had really gotten on my nerves. Josh and I went out for dinner and drinks, and all the places in Hell’s Kitchen were hopping, no doubt because that area of the city still had power. As of this morning, many of my friends south of 30th street are still without power and plumbing, and I have invited a few to come take showers at my place and recharge their devices and check emails.
Well, not really. At least not yet. The wind is really starting to pick up though as Sandy approaches. I am at work. And at home. That is one of the benefits of being a freelancer, my office IS my home. (Many businesses are closed in the city because the MTA shut down all service, and people can’t commute.) That said, with the entire city on high alert and the constant well wishing from friends around the globe concerned for my safety, I am not terribly motivated to do much work. By all accounts this will be a bit more serious than last year’s fizzle of a storm, Irene. The Duane Reade across the street from up was thankfully still open this morning, and I did manage to procure a little more food in the event of a zombie apocalypse or some such thing caused by the massive storm. Stay tuned…
One of the things I always missed about the Midwest and East Coast regions when I lived all those years in California was the presence of intense thunderstorms in the summertime. To see really raging storms with wind and intense, jagged lightning bolts striking the ground, and then the crash of thunder — these were things we never really experienced in San Francisco or LA. I got a small taste of that yesterday on my way to meet a friend for coffee. The wind started to pick up and the humidity and temp changed pretty rapidly with the fast approaching storm. I couldn’t help but smile at the memories of past storms and the refreshing embrace of the climate around me. The lightening was intense and close by, and the loud thunder followed soon after. I know some people are frightened by it, but to me it seemed more like an old friend showing off than something menacing. I made it to the cafe just before the worst of the downpour, and I loved watching all the people take shelter inside and wait out the rain, there was something really communal about it.
It is raining and dark and cold outside. Days like this are demotivating (or give me an excuse perhaps) but I haven’t really felt like doing much. Looking out the window, I see low clouds blurring much of the skyline, and there is a calm sense of melancholy in the atmosphere. Today I have not been thinking very clearly, with thoughts wandering to all sorts of things, finding work, my travels, old friends on facebook, maps, food, book writing, updating my cv, politics and headaches. On more than one occasion today I have been asked by people what I have been up to the last couple of years and in response I just send them this map:
There is something wondrous about maps and mapping. They are really just another representation of experience. A map is a schematic and abstract representation often (as in my case) keyed to so many disparate memories, yet the map’s structure brings them all together.
It has been fairly rainy since coming to Rio (although not as bad as we feared from the weather reports), and this morning the fog is so bad we can’t see mountains and hills that are quite close to us. Looking through the information on Rio on the internet, you realize to what a great degree this city relies on good weather and views for a large part of its attractions. After all, what is a trip to the top of Sugarloaf without something to look at? One of the guys we met in a club last night told us that Rio just isn’t itself lately with the weather, and that people are staying in and cocooning while waiting out the rain. Rain or no, I think we will try to visit some of the historic parts of the city today, as well as Copacabana.