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my glamorous life

episodes & recollections

#61 i love a parade

A few weeks before 11 September I found myself walking up 3rd Avenue against a tide of human traffic. Everyone before me seemed to be yakking into a cell phone, their eyes half-glazed. Suddenly I had a vision.

It was the Second Coming. An angry Christ, taller than King Kong, bestrode the steel and stone canyons of New York City. I saw Him waving a bloody sword. I saw His long beard and fierce eyes. I saw His giant sandaled foot, Holy-Land dusty, crushing a taxi.

It was just a daydream, the kind of fantasy we all have and we all forget a thousand times a day.

On 11 September, it wasn’t a dream, it wasn’t justice, and it sure wasn’t Jesus.


So it’s Sunday, nine hours after we started bombing Afghanistan, and I’m sitting in a taxi en route to a friend’s place in Brooklyn, and we come to a halt on the far side of the Manhattan Bridge.

City cops and National Guard troops are stopping all incoming trucks and vans, and I watch them open the back of a white van as we sit stalled in traffic. The driver of the white van unlocks his rear doors, and I restrain myself from bracing for an explosion.

City cops are facing terror twelve hours a day, seven days a week, and I think of my friend Frank the Cop, and imagine what his wife Nicole must feel every time he leaves the house.

If this is a nightmare, I can’t wake up from it.


So it’s Monday. My partner and I are cabbing it to a client meeting across town, or would be if the cab was moving. My partner is wearing super-high heels. She looks damn fine but can’t really walk in them. Hence the cab.

So we’re sitting in the back of the taxi, discussing Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden and the endless West Bank violence, and we’re wondering why the oil-producing nations didn’t band together and raise the price of oil as a means of forcing America to force Israel to the peace table, and why the oil-producing nations didn’t band together and force their Palestinian client to the peace table, and why if Osama bin Laden had three million to spend on the Taliban, he didn’t spend a few more million feeding the people of Afghanistan, and this is not the kind of conversation my partner and I usually engage in.

Usually she tells me about the punk rock show she just saw and asks if I want to come see an upcoming punk rock show, and I always say no because those shows take place at night, and at night I want to be in bed with my baby.

So we’re talking about the Middle East and our cab driver is named Mohammed and the cab is just not moving and we’re late. So we give Mohammed ten dollars on a six dollar fare and we hop out, my partner hobbledy-hobbling along in her high-heeled fuckme shoes, and when we hit Fifth Avenue I see why our cab was never going to move.

It’s the Columbus Day Parade, going full gear one day after we began bombing Afghanistan, with the city on Omega alert against the threat of a second terrorist attack. And we’re holding the parade anyway, because it’s Columbus Day and this is New York and fuck you. I have never been so happy to see a parade.


So it’s Tuesday, and I’ve got the head cold everybody else has got, the one some people think is Anthrax even though it’s only a head cold, and I’m lying on the examining table in my doctor’s office, the doctor I thought was dead because he hadn’t returned my three phone calls after 11 September.

And he’s alive and well and I found this out because he made a fourth phone call and that one got through. It seems Verizon somehow lost his first three telephone messages, and that isn’t surprising considering that Verizon lost two offices at the World Trade Center, and who knows how many phone messages I and everyone else in New York may have lost.

When he made that fourth phone call and said, “Jeffrey, it’s Robert,” I thought I was dreaming, and when I realized he was alive I told him I loved him. Which isn’t the normal patient-doctor banter, but it will do.


So it’s Wednesday night, and my cheap landlord finally turned the heat on in this building, and it’s a warm night and we don’t need the heat. So the heat’s off and the window’s open and all night long we hear sirens.

11 October 2001

previously: <a ripple from the storm>


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