Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Canal Street and New York

Yeah I know there's a Canal Street IN New York, but there's one in Paisley too, just down the road from my flat, and I was crossing it on Saturday about noon, in a mobility scooter, when I got hit by a car. It was something that had long been on my "I wonder what it's like to..." list, so now I can tick it off. It was weird; I had loads of time to think to myself "oh, so THIS is what it's like to be hit by a car. I wonder what it looks like to other people. I wonder whether I'll be badly injured" before I hit the ground. As it happens, I wasn't badly injured, in fact apart from some muscle bruising I wasn't injured at all, so quite a result really. An ambulance came, the police came, it wasn't the driver's fault (had I known the bloody filter lane no longer existed, meaning cars can turn left there from the middle lane, where I got hit, it would never have happened), end of not terribly dramatic story. I made it to my sister's pantomime, Cinderfella, that night. The stairs up to the performance space were a challenge (and getting down them for a pee even more so), I had taken no pain killers, but the show was very funny and I had a great time. Got very worried though, concerned for my visit to the large fruit that is New York City.

I made it though, had a wonderful flight from Heathrow to JFK, great seat right next to the toilet and with no seatback impeding me in front (I was over the wing). The woman next to me had an accent I couldn't figure out, so I asked her where she was from. "Originally Jamaica" she replied, "but been in Britain since my teenage years, first in Manchester, then London, then Peterborough". So no wonder I hadn't been able to identify her accent: she didn't HAVE a readily identifiable one! We had a good chat, the people on either side of me were friendly too, so were all the cabin crew, so it really was an excellent flight.

The bus from JFK took about twenty minutes to get out of the bloody massive airport, only about another twenty five, Susan told me, to then reach Port Authority. There was some confusion regarding suitcases and then seconds later I was standing in exactly the spot from which I first saw NYC ten years ago (unless you count the New Jersey Turnpike view of the skyline). About ten minutes later, only two blocks away but I was walking with sticks remember, we reached Susan's building, well not HER building exactly but the one she lives in. It is a lovely building, the former Times Square Hotel which is now a social housing project owned and run by an organisation called Common Ground. It is, as Susan described it herself, like a microcosm of the city, with all its life, its quirks and its quirky citizens. Haven't left the apartment since, until now, when I am sitting in the basement in the building's computer lab. But my poor bruised muscles have been healing nicely as I rested while getting plenty of exercise in the apartment moving around it and even exercising my legs while I sat. Watched the Colbert Report last night for the first time in many months and it was a wonderful episode, saw Jimmy Kimmel Live for the first time in over four years. Tomorrow we will be going to see Shrek the Musical, on Sunday we will go to New Jersey for the first time to meet her family (except Eliza the cat, whom I have already met and am getting along famously with), and then on the visit goes. It is wonderful being together again, we are feeling relaxed and happy in one another's company, with the sticks my walking is almost back to its normal level.

All is well in my Universe right now. I have even written my first poem; actually it got written in my head about five minutes after arriving. Would you like to hear it? Okay then.


There's a car that isn't a cab.

Better not hail it.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Good news and bad news

Well, the good news is that I'm going to spend Christmas and New Year with Susan in New York and New Jersey (where her family lives, in River Edge). The bad news is... well, I suppose I've not been sleeping too well lately.

My flight is happening thanks to a mightily generous Christmas present from my mother. I fly out on 14th December (a week on Monday as I type this) and back on 11th January, so it gives us almost a month together, during which, as I mentioned in a previous post, I can meet her friends and family, not to mention Eliza, Bailey and Stella (her cat and two dogs who live with her relatives). And she will get to meet friends of mine who live over there, too.

We have tickets for Shrek the Musical on the 17th, so that'll be me turning into instant wee boy at least for a few hours. Ground Zero, Strawberry Fields, the Empire State Building and Lady Chrysler are on the agenda, and who knows what else. And the last time I was in New York, for a couple of days in 1999, I got six or seven poems out of it, so I'll have to make sure I have a notebook with me.

The readers of Dodophobia will be the first to know what happens there (well, other than Susan and me obviously, and you won't be getting any gory details either), so stay tuned.