Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Appearances in Manhattan

In the city today for appointments, I stopped for lunch at Chipotle on Sixth Ave and 14th Street. I sat at the counter in the window, an odd place where your knees are basically at a level with the heads of passersby outside. There were two women beside me talking. The younger one said, "I do what they tell me. If they tell me to drive, I drive, if they tell me to kill, I kill. They treat me like I'm their dog."

Her companion said, "Do you think the law doesn't apply to you?" And on they went, talking about murder.

I couldn't help but look. They were reading from a script. Sigh of relief.

For some reason this made me think of the subway car I'd been in on the S earlier. The exterior was completely wrapped in plastic, made to resemble a brick building, maybe an abandoned warehouse bristling with the possibility of dangerous activity. (When did this mode of advertising start? Suddenly buses, cars, vans wrapped up in photo-printed plastic...) What startled me was that the INSIDE of the subway car was wrapped too. The benches had become wooden-slatted seats, the walls were old brick, the windows barred. We rode to Grand Central in a speeding movie set.

3 comments:

Todd X. said...

I hope you'll find your way to San Francisco in the near future.

Bill Matthews said...

I keep meaning to tell you to make your way down to 10th ave just below the Javits Center. They're extending the 7 line under 10th ave, which 100 years ago was part of the river and only became dry land when all the fill from the building frenzy to the east was dumped there. In digging the subway tunnel they figured out that this "fill" is too unstable to tunnel thru so now there's a huge project going on to freeze the ground, make it stiff enough to tunnel thru and then support with the new subway tunnel. There are huge compresseors and miles of tentacly black pipes snaking eveywhere, lumps of ice every place there is a seam or a bend in the pipes. It's a huge metaphor for something, but I can't quite figure out what....go see it if you can. There's lots of fencing and DANGER signs...chat up one of the workmen, that's what we did, and you'll get an earful about the project.

Matthew Thorburn said...

They've been doing that to the shuttle trains for a while, actually, but stepping into a newly wrapped one for the first time some morning, on the way to work, it's still always a bit disorienting to me.