It's snowing like a sonovabitch and cold as a witch's teat outside, as Salinger's Caufield would say. The wind is blowing hard, particularly on the avenues where there is no shelter to block its progress. The tide is going out and accelerates the wind as it blows down the East River and into the bay. What a perfect night to have my wife send me out for a 3-4 pound kosher chicken cut into eighths.
What I realized while walking to the kosher butcher is I can't begrudge my wife sending me on this mission. Making chicken is my wife's hobby and this is how she shares it with me. I like to read or watch Josef Von Sternberg silent movies. Three arrived in the mail over the weekend, "The Docks of New York," "The Last Command" and "Underworld." My wife likes to make chickens. We all have our hobbies.
I bundled up my big red jacket--the jacket I wear only when it seems like the world is ending. Underneath it I wear a hooded sweatshirt. I've got a big Russian hat on and leather gloves lined with cashmere. I walk past the doormen, looking nervous and hangdog. Yesterday was thousands of dollars in tips, today it's shoveling and snow-blowing.
The snow is only, at this point, about four inches deep and traffic still moves, though it moves gingerly. Usually I am an inveterate jaywalker, rushing across avenue against the light, when there is an opening. Not today. Every red light has three or four cars skidding through it, unable to stop. The garbage trucks are out, girded with plows and chains, they are clearing in force, looking like a convoy accompanying ships and guarding against U-Boats.
The rabbi-butchers are pissed that I'm in their store. Their sense of duty demands that they stay open until closing time, but they're irked I wasn't in earlier. They growl and point me to the chickens, already cut-up and waiting for my wife's uxorial ministrations.
And now I walk home. It seems to have gotten colder during the five minutes I was in the butcher shop. I make it back to my building. The doormen are out with shovels. My wife is out with her spatula.