…your silence can be unnerving.
So, as a brief foot update, I am poised to take my final CAT scan to determine whether or not the bone has healed. If so, I can start gradually running. If not, it’s back to the gym and just walking a bit for me. I did attempt to be scanned yesterday, pushing up and across the chilly winds on 2nd Avenue because, of course, the NYU medical center is just about as far East as you can get without falling into the river.
Let’s just say after 45 minutes of frustrated discussions with an unsympathetic but deceptively Southern Ciga representative and near tears in front of the maternal and kindly reception staff, it transpired that my trek East had, of course, been in vain. I have the joy of returning in more kindly temperatures on Monday morning at 8 a.m. but until then, there’s no change in the foot department.
Irritated, drained and world-weary, I decided to ignore the cold and walk back up to the train. Today, I was not conversing, nor did I feel like listening to music. And I didn’t wear the ubiquitous earbuds just to look important; having them in my ears makes answering the phone more efficient. I was, however, in what I thought would be a bubble of silence and, to an extent, it was. The cars thundered down the road next to me, horns screeched, poorly oiled brakes made their teeth-splitting whine. Occasionally, a siren brayed its alarm on a not-too-distant street, but much to my surprise the street was largely quiet. I passed hundreds, perhaps thousands of commuters, parents, tourists, artists, yoga practitioners…you name it, they were there. Yet there was an eerie silence hanging over the street. As each person passed another, none spoke a single word and instead, you could hear the different percussion of shoes hitting the sidewalk, the squeak of a heavy bag or the flick of a cigarette lighter. Many people stared straight ahead with a grim “I’m traveling” look on their face, but some would stare into my well-wrapped face looking for something. I don’t know what; I was doing the same to other people.
I stopped at the end of 53rd street, poised to cross and a strange panic overwhelmed me – the city’s magnitude was suddenly very great. I don’t remember the last time I experienced such silent, extreme insignificance. Breathing more quickly, I crossed and cut over to Lexington Avenue, taking in the blinking lights and blinding town cars sweeping uncerimoniously past. Under the red glow of a sushi restaurant, I slowed my pace. “I’ve been here before,” I thought, peering inside the cozy bar. Yet on second glance, I’d never visited the establishment, mistaking it for something nearly identical across town. I exhaled and kept walking, eventually floating down the familiar stairs at my subway station.