New York was burning up like an Ebola patient. I’m a big fan of heat and can tolerate excess of said heat much easier than frost, but even I had to get in line with everyone else and curse at the malevolent summer spirits that had taken over the North East. Dispatches from Montreal assured me the situation was just as bad back home. I hoped my flowers would make it.
Hauling my bottle of water and my demo CD with me, everything neatly packed in my Pan Am bag, I was riding on the E train to Jamaica-Van Wyck, on a mission to hand in my music at VP Records. I never drink water, but waiting in a nasty Manhattan subway station during the heat wave was slightly more unpleasant than waiting in an oven and carried a great risk of dehydration, fainting and death. I am not big on dying away from home.
I got off on a platform that was eerily similar to the industrial subway stations in Bucharest such as Titan and proceeded towards the surface. The Jamaica Hospital Medical Center was right next the subway, and I was lucky to stumble upon two hospital workers (nurses, doctors or otherwise) who had come out for a cigarette. I needed some directions. I greeted the two ladies with my suave manners and a smile that would make the heat wave melt, and asked if they knew how to get to 138th street. One of them seemed more confident than the other.
‘Oh, hi hon. Sure! Ummm, let’s see…you should probably go down that way’ – she pointed at somewhere over my shoulder – ‘but the tricky bit would be getting across Van Wyck. I mean, I think you have to cross Van Wyck, right? What do you think?’
With this, she turned to her cigarette companion and co-worker, who seemed even less sure.
‘Yeah, 138th street, I think it should be somewhere nearby…hey, excuse me, miss!’
The two ladies had spotted a girl who must have been close to my age, passing by with her iPhone. They conscripted her into our little directions council, by virtue of her superior navigation technology. I gave her the exact address and she typed it in, then she took my by the hand out into the street and showed me step by step how to get to where I wanted to go. A soldier parachuting into Vietnam would have received a shorter briefing.
I thanked her for her grace, and thanked the two ladies as well, bade them all farewell, and went on my way. Jamaica was real nice, and I felt much more at ease there than in claustrophobic, psychotic Manhattan. It felt more familiar and less menacing. I did my thing, handed in my CD at VP Records and headed back, smoking a Port. Back at the subway, a kind gentleman complimented me on my Pan Am bag.
I’m not crazy about NY, but it have some very cool, friendly and helpful people in it.