Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Venus, fireworks and New York.

Last night around 9, with Whiskey in tow, my wife and I headed out to the John Finley Walk on the East River Esplanade to see the Macy's Fireworks.

I'll admit, with each passing day, I am more and more reluctant to leave my apartment and do things like see fireworks. This might be due to work-induced depression--the sense that the world is too much with me and like the great Garbo so many decades before my time, "I vant to be alone."

But, as she so often does, my wife prevailed and I shuffled out with thousands of other people to smell the cordite and watch the show.

Like so much in our TV-dictated era, the show started late. It was scheduled to start exploding at 9:20, but that's likely when they started playing seven or a dozen commercials before the televised event. 

I turned to my wife at 9:26--I have no tolerance for tardiness--and said, "I'm out."

But just then, I noticed that the sky was remarkably clear for a summer's night in New York. I saw a fixed star in the sky, which I presumed to be Venus. Then I noticed another, perhaps Jupiter. Then another I took to be Mercury or Saturn.

The sky, before the fireworks had fairly, for New York, anyway, exploded with stars and planets. I downloaded a star-gazing app on my iPhone to get a sense of what was what, but then the fireworks started in all their commercial glory.

My problem with fireworks is always the same: there's no story arc. Just a shit load of explosions in the sky with no real crescendo. Years ago, I saw fireworks in Central Park with the New York Philharmonic playing Tsaichovsky's 1812 Overture, and that helped, but this evening, we had no such musical accompaniment.

So amid the chrysanthemum shapes and the smiley faces and the yin-yangs and the rockets' red glare, I stared up at Venus twinkling high over a billion-dollar riverfront co-op.

I worried, as so many do in New York, of a coming Trumpageddon. Of North Korea, or Isis or the Taliban, or some oil-state blowing up big portions of my fair city with a dirty bomb stuffed in a cheap Samsonite. It's yet another reason I avoid crowds whenever possible. There's no sense being part of a target when you have no intentions of being blown-up or raked with automatic fire from a Bushmaster, or some such weapon that anyone who isn't an active drooler can buy in nearly any of the over 4,000 Walmarts that blight our national landscape.

I looked up again at Venus. I could swear it blinked at me. Come on, George, it said, join me.

And for a moment, I wished I could.

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