No Revolution, No Revalation

I read somewhere once that listening to music brings you everything in the world, all at once. It’s like being in a revolution and revelation all in an instant, and more intensely than revolution or revelation actually is. I’m paraphrasing here. I think it was an album review somewhere. I may just be making it up completely.

Last night after a half a bottle of wine and several beers, I walked down Hudson Street, ostensibly to find a cab back to Brooklyn, but something about the not freezing air, the clear skies, and the perfection of the random music selection on my iPod made me walk all the way home by myself. Down to the end of town, across Canal Street, and over the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn, which is my favorite bridge to walk over. I like the Manhattan Bridge because it’s never crowded, and from it you get to see the Brooklyn Bridge in all its beauty against the lower Manhattan skyline, which you can’t really see when you’re on it. It’s like that saying about the architect who built the Eiffel Tower. He ate lunch at the restaurant in the tower everyday and when asked why, he said it was the only place in Paris that he didn’t have to see it. Is that a true story? I don’t remember any restaurant in the Eiffel Tower.

In any case, my somewhat frightened walk over the Manhattan Bridge may have been the longest solitary walk I’ve ever taken in ten years in New York City. I passed not a soul, and not a soul passed me until about 15 feet from the end when a bike rider dressed to the nines in reflective clothing boarded in the other direction. We gave one another the I’m-not-a-crazy-murderer-you’re-not-a-crazy-murderer-we’re-just-insane-out-here-tonight wave hello, and kept on in our opposite directions.

I can’t remember exactly what I was listening to but there was some old Bobby Marley and some new Chili Peppers and possibly some Clash. I ran my fingers down the chain link fence, and my heart was beating pretty fast. I hate that chain link fence that’s been slapped over the original railing. You have to stop to see the view. Otherwise the bridge and lower Manhattan has a grey waxy film over it. I was walking with an extra bounce as I was expecting to be jumped at any second. I had just gone to the ATM so I figured what ever I could give a mugger would be sufficient, but on the other hand I said to myself, “Fuck it.” It dawned on me as I was nearing the middle of the bridge that I was surely being watched. It dawned on me that every bridge touching Manhattan must be under constant surveillance and at that moment there was probably someone somewhere, or more than one someone, wondering if the new shoes I was carrying home in an unmarked black shopping bag was an explosive. After that I breathed easier. The adrenaline slowed down a touch.

I made my way down Flatbush Avenue where there were people again, and a bus slowed down beside me on Fulton. I was walking and not at a bus stop, but the driver must have seen me look longingly at the bus and took pity on me. I was tired, and I slunk into a single seat by the window. I love taking the bus in Brooklyn. And it stops just in front of my house. I was listening to Salif Keta. I knew my apartment would be just the same as I left it. Just the same as I always left it. I’ve taken enough mind-clearing, toe-freezing walks into nowhere in this city to know that the apartment is always the same as I left it. Sometimes it’s comforting, but most times not. The revolution and revelation found at the midpoint of an empty Manhattan Bridge are washed away by that familiar smell of home. But I was grateful to lock my door and walk in bare feet on the wood floors to bed.

Comments are closed.