Monthly Archives: February 2010

The sounds of New York in winter

It’s 6 p.m.  My roommate Heather’s not back yet, so i have the luxury of listening to my music without headphones.  The day is winding down, much too soon, and cars honk here and there as they rush home.  Wheels sound slick on wet roads.

It’s 7 p.m.  My suitemate Kristen takes her usual evening shower.  Maybe i should shower early tonight, too.  I’m tired and i’d like to go to bed early, maybe wake up early to finish studying.  But Heather will be back soon and i wouldn’t be able to sleep with her in the room, typing away on instant messenger.  My pills rattle as i look for my glass bottle of Vitamin B6.  I press down firmly on my pill splitter until one tablet snaps neatly in two, giving me two manageable doses of 25 mg.  No need for 50 mg at this time of the evening.

It’s 8 p.m.  Our heat’s broken again; i turn on my electric heater.  It clicks merrily as it heats up the oil inside.  The satisfying click, the promising click…  Heather’s back, and we make our usual small talk, but there’s more to talk about tonight.  Sometimes i think we turn every mundane event into drama to compensate for the lack of excitement in our lives.  An ambulance blares and honks its way down our street as Heather and i discuss the latest passive-aggressive behaviors in our suite.

It’s 9 p.m.  The heater whines and buzzes to indicate that it’s reached maximum temperature.  It’s still cold.  I walk over to the room thermostat and press the fan button to no effect.  The radiator makes a jerking sound as if it’s going to do something but doesn’t blow any air.  Kristen’s removing her dishes from the dish rack; she closes the cabinets and returns to her bedroom, shutting the door.  My turn to do the dishes.  At least the water will be hot.

It’s 10 p.m.  The wind howls through high-rise valleys and building vents.  The locals next door to our building chatter into the night, savoring the last puffs of their cigarettes.  Delivery trucks growl, rolling up 1st Ave.  Someone on the street yells, “Watch out!”  The city has so many people and sometimes it upsets me that i can’t care for every one of them, that i can’t know what happens to every one of them.

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