Sunday, November 23, 2008

I was walking down Madison Avenue about near Madison Square Park yesterday and from halfway across 29th Street I spied a tall woman standing beside the New York Life Building. It seemed odd that she was standing still - there was nothing to stand next to and she wasn't lighting a cigarette. She wasn't doing anything that people do when they suddenly stand right where they are. The wall was honeyed with the late afternoon sun. I walked past the Halal cart. "Best Halal in town." As I got closer I saw that the woman was doing something with her hands. They hung normally by her side but she was fluttering her fingers, the way a typist might loosen up her fingers before she types. She was beautiful, well-dressed and well-made-up. As I walked closer someone to the right barked a command and suddenly she was walking, and at once a battery of photographers took aim and shot her from a gallery at the edge of the sidewalk, crowded with lighting equipment, production assistants and hangers-on. I swerved between her and the others and looked back to see her stop, turn and walk back to her mark.