By Tenzin McGrupp © 2002, 2010
I sit in Bryant Park and I watch all the Five o'clock People scurry off, released from their cubicles they rush away down Fifth Avenue, dozens, hundreds, thousands. A flashback of a scene from the Matrix. I am alive as I will ever be, yet everything around me is as distant as far as Saturn's moon are from the Oregon Coast, my detachment thrills and disturbs my child like eyes.
I could feel a rare summer breeze. I could hear the background cacophony, conflicting city sounds echoing and dancing, horns honking from Al Qaeda supporting cabbies, bus breaks screeching to a halt, express delivery trucks beeping as they back up. A snot nosed child laughs, then a pigeon shits on a tourist from Nebraska.
The traffic light changes. A swarmy mass of pedestrians converge while I am pushed as far out onto the fringe as I have ever been. My tense back up against the sharp wall of reality. I sigh with the thoughts of futility and irresponsibility dancing in front of me with intimidating ghosts of old memories and forgotten dreams.
The minutes accumulate and I stare out into nowhere. Something real and vibrant, traits I sought out incessantly, now limped it's way down the street into a vacant lot, scattered with broken glass from cheap wine bottles and burnt out light bulbs.
The illumination vanished and the walk down the street became fabricated. The three minute jaunt from the lobby to the subway whispers hollow wood sounds that seduce the walking cliches that walk right in front of me. Their insidious conformity shines in their visionless eyeballs.
A suit on a cell phone almost ran over a group of trust fund yentas with freshly painted manicured toes, the unoriginal ones carrying Gucci handbags with tiny yapping poodles given French sounding names by their malcontent owners. Tourists in shorts and 'I LOVE NY' T-shirts quickly pull out their digital cameras, their disposable cameras, their video cameras. Their desire to photograph a scene which now makes me nauseous.
A black homeless man jingles his Starbucks cup filled with pennies and dimes and a Canadian Quarter. A sad fat woman munches down on a Big Mac, as she gripped her crumpled McD's bag. A hungry construction worker sidesteps a woman with a baby carriage so he can get home in time to eat leftovers. A thirsty alcoholic shakes his way through the crowd, his mind wanders to the afterthoughts of a double scotch. An addictive smoker chain smokes in front of a group of retarded school children. An old man carries a briefcase that looked like the one my father used to have. A distressed Ukrainian taxi driver considers running over a group of pedestrians in the crosswalk. A gay man hums a show tune. A young woman glides by and I catch a whiff of her perfume, and it reminds me of an old girlfriend, that used to wear her hair in a French Twist when she painted. A content man whistles a song. An insane red head hopes that I'll notice that she's not wearing a bra and underwear. A lonely secretary contemplates suicide. She doesn't because she has no one to look after her three cats. A cynic sits and thinks out loud. Pigeons fly overhead, some may or may not carry the Monkeypox. A pickpocket slithers away with someone's $22.00 Metrocard, only to be hit by a speeding Mercedes from Connecticut. An angry man gets out of his convertible and spits on the thief.
Tenzin McGrupp is a writer originally from New York City.