Rumor of a tornado on the Upper West Side last night made me realize that I had been in it. I was walking down Amsterdam with a friend, a Lutheran minister from my singing group. He had just shown me a cell-phone picture of his cat, Shibboleth (she is gray), when a storm came up. We turned east on 60th Street (I think), hoping that a cross street would give us some protection from the wind, but first it pushed us up the street and then it came around and hit us in the face. There was a construction site across the street, and garbage was swirling on the sidewalk. It felt like we were getting pelted with rain, but the rain was not wet. It was weird.
I had been planning on getting the subway at Carnegie Hall, but my friend was taking the crosstown bus on 57th Street, and as the bus was just then approaching the stop, I boarded it with him. I had a feeling the conversation might be worth the detour. He said he was going to take Shibboleth to New Jersey for the summer, to the home of some friends who needed a mouser, or perhaps a moler, for their garden, and I asked how he was going to get her there; I knew he used to have a car, but it got totalled in an accident and he hadn't replaced it. He said he had a car again, and, as he seemed reluctant to elaborate, I asked what kind. It is a 2002 Jaguar. Black, with black leather upholstery. It had belonged to a man in another singing group who died. His widow sold it to him for much less than its market value, because she wanted it to go to a singer. He rooted through his wallet and showed me his parking permit, one of those Policemen’s Benevolent Association cards. Those in his pastoral care think he should get clergy license plates.
The street grit from the tornado had gotten in our eyes and ears and hair. It was disgusting. Just as the bus got to Lexington, big drops of rain began to fall, and as we hustled to the subway, each taking the train in the opposite direction, the rain mixed with the grit. I felt like a cement mixer.