What was I thinking? Just because I don’t have to move the car doesn’t mean I’ve taken a vow of silence.
The Mayor suspended alternate-side parking on a whim yesterday. Or maybe just because he was feeling generous. The streets are still awful. That little bit of snow has churned up into these filthy hunks of crud lining the curbs. Yecchhh. What a brew: sleet and soot, hardened together into infernal stalagmites. The black plastic garbage bags lying on top of them are picturesque in comparison.
I am not in Spain yet. I am still in New York City, thinking about how I should have written something about Chinese New Year and Ash Wednesday. On Sunday night, I went down to the fireworks in Chinatown to ring in the Year of the Pig. It was the first time we have had real fireworks on Chinese New Year since Giuliani outlawed them. Bloomberg really does seem to be trying to roll back some of the militant reforms of the Giuliani regime. Maybe he’ll allow us to drink beer on the streets again! And urinate in public! One of the things I especially enjoyed about the Chinatown fireworks was that they weren’t patriotic—no red white and blue. These were purple and red and green and orange and blue and yellow, and shot up into the sky from a row of flaming white fountains. The reflections of the fireworks in the windows of the surrounding buildings were more beautiful (because unexpected) than the direct sight of the fireworks themselves. I kept getting distracted.
I did not celebrate Mardi Gras, though I was aware of it. Some friends of mine celebrated the Lutheran version, called Faschingsdienstag, by eating pancakes and sausages. I came home and had a black-bean burrito and a beer. Then today, Ash Wednesday, I went outside to enjoy the balmy weather (would that some of that black cinder ice would melt) and saw a few Catholics wearing their mortality on their foreheads. I’ve had ashes, and they are no joke. A priest I know in the Bronx said that the two days when the most people go to church are not Christmas and Easter, as you might expect, but Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday, when the churches are giving something away.
But back to civic life. Pleased as I am for my alternate-side-parking brethren, both those of the Monday-Thursday school and those of the Tuesday-Friday persuasion, I am really surprised that the mayor caved like that, forgiving tickets and stringing together so many alternate-side-suspended days in a row—two full weeks, if you were lucky. Let’s just hope he never hears about the Shoupistas.