So, my building was rumbling and it usually doesn’t. So we left. Down the stairs, like you’re supposed to. Outside we were greeted by sooted people who had come from the epicenter, where the steam pipe had fissured and erupted. Rumors ricocheted off the buildings–a building was hit and had collapsed, a transformer was hit, the train system had been targeted. We stymied our curiosity and walked briskly down fifth, making our calls to get information and ease any worry that might come.

2 days later when asked about the event by a friend and former co-worker, I relied on gallows humor to smooth out the stress fractures in my brain:

With Brad, limp from having passed out, folded over my muscular back like wet laundry I slid down the drain pipe of our building until the tenth floor where I pushed out into open air knowing the surface tension index of vinyl, the material of the awnings below, would certainly guarantee support of the weight of 2 free-falling white collar pixel pushers.

I was right.

We bounced 3 times with diminishing peaks until we were settled comfortably into the blue vinyl pocket. I took out my snake bite kit and woke Brad up by splashing him with the serum meant for injections. Needless to say, the boy was out of sorts. I recounted what happened, careful to not rouse his fear reflex again with too much emotion. I escorted him to FAO Schwarz, knowing full well that my comfort was nothing against that of the brown acrylic hairs of a new fuzzy bear. It took awhile, but Brad eventually settled on one (sailor-themed!) and the 3 of us limped off to a life we knew was changed…….

forever.

 

 

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The night of the steam pipe eruption I was scheduled to see Chuck Klosterman speak. By the time I got to the venue, I was in an area of town that didn’t know what had happened. This fact, coupled with a few trickling reports from friends which downplayed the event, put me back into forge ahead with life mode. It was crowded. I stood near a listening station at Barnes and Noble to pass the time usefully. The new Beth Orton sounds a lot like old Beth Orton–nice.

 

Chuck took the stage and immediately convinced the audience he was smart and funny by saying doing things that were smart and funny. He talked about how he’d rather switch the order and answer questions first and then maybe read but he could picture the traditionalists in the audience freaking out in their heads: “Man, the paper said it was a READING and now he’s not even gonna read. ” He talked about his appreciation of French journalists.

 

“So, I’m telling these journalists that in America I’m often criticized for being narcissistic or solipsistic in my writing and so, ya know…and the journalists are sitting there waiting for the criticism. I LOVE French journalists! Only in France. These journalists ask me: How do you bring the darkness?”

He talked about this bizarre occurrence of a girl attending 2 of his readings in the same town and asking the same question. And he decided to answer it in the same exact way, tone and body language, if he could.

 

I liked his point about there not being legendary bands anymore because the public doesn’t really allow for a continuing audio aesthetic. They want new and different. Before, it could be viewed as consistency, a guarantee, and now it’s often redundant and played out. But I like that Beth Orton sounds like Beth Orton.

I also like Chuck’s t-shirt in that photo of him doing shadow puppets. It’s a good shirt. I have a good shirt now, if the crowd response whenever I wear it is any indication. Here, you should get one too: MONSTER MAKE ME A SANDWICH SHIRT

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hold the mayo. heavy on russian mustard and leaves of sweet basil.
Monster like.