Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Two Unusual Things I Saw Today

There were two unusual things I saw today. At work, after walking past the enormous, illuminated globe, set halfway into the floor, in the art deco lobby, and holding my wallet over the turnstile scanner to scan my badge. Holding it. Moving it around in a tight little circle until suddenly, the two metal bars swung open with a faint little hum and let me in. I walked past the newsstand that still said “CIGARS” on a sign above the entrance. I turned left and in the middle of the row of elevators on my bank—13 to 26—there was a shock of milky brown coffee on the floor. Full cup. Still hot, maybe. The elevators were gone and no one else was waiting. I leaned across the splatter to touch the button. Up.

After work, when I exited the subway station on Eighth Avenue and Ninth Street, there was a little crowd by the top of the steps. They were gathered around a telescope, perched on a tripod, about six inches wide and three feet long. A bespectacled young man hunched over the thing, squinting in the viewfinder, while others hovered, awaiting their turn. Every passerby looked up. An airplane crossed the sky. Could they be looking at airplanes? I thought that might be funny. Maybe they could glimpse a little scene from the cozy little world inside the cabin: a man fussing with a tiny bag of pretzels. His wife wearily paging through the TV series: drama category of the seat-back touchscreen in-flight entertainment programming. The moon was awful bright tonight. They had to be looking at it. You couldn’t see much else.