There is nothing like the calm following a hard rain in New York City.The rain had followed thirty plus days of torrid heat and unbearable humidity.Yes, my timing was right on as usual for I had arrived in the Big Apple in the midst of one of the hottest summers in NYC history.Lucky me.
If you have never spent a summer on the East Coast or the deep South, well, you don't know what you are missing.So. I will tell you in one word.'SWEAT" I lost twenty pounds that summer.
We Northwest folks are just not cut out for the avalanche of moisture that cascades down your back,forehead,legs, everywhere and anywhere.In another chapter I will tell you about my interview at one of the leading hotels in the world and what I looked like that afternoon after my first subway trip and walk through muggy Manhattan.
The night of the refreshing rain, I ran outside my Bronx apartment to cool down after a one hundred degree day.The sound of the rain came like the sound of the dinner bell calling the workers of a farm field to eat after a day of plowing under the midwest sun. It was like the joyful ,melodious ditty of the ice cream truck coming to your neighbourhood.It was even better than the bell sounding at Wallace Junior High after sitting through Mrs. Stocks home room.
Well, you get the picture.It was a welcome sound.
Of course, going outside at night in the Bronx is not for the faint of heart and neither is it for anybody with a brain that works.I fell somewhere in between these two criterias.I didn't care.I just wanted some relief from the torrential downpour of sweat.
As I joyfully bounded down the five flights of stairs like a kid on Christmas morning, I knew where I was heading.The Stoop.The place where all NewYorkers congregate to socialize,smoke,drink java,and contemplate their navels.
I decided on a place about half way down the stairs.Not being totally brain dead(see criteria above)I could get the relief I craved as well as a position that left me free to run like crazy if one of the South Bronx gangs were patrolling Gerard Avenue looking for an easy mark.(see definition of a kid from Wallace,Idaho sitting alone in the South Bronx at night)
Lighting up my Kool King ,I inhaled,breathed in the semi fresh air. I closed my eyes for a moment and reflected on the fact that life was okay.I didn't see him or hear him coming, but suddenly there he was,sitting down beside me,my worst fear come true,a Bronx street punk.
It was too late to run. My heart pounding,my legs shaking, and the proverbial galaxy of pictures of my entire life flashing before my eyes,I turned to meet whatever fate destiny had assigned me.
To be continued.