Meditations after a month’s absence

This week I jotted down a few things I’ve noticed on return to New York after one month away from the city, on holiday back home in Australia.

  • Lots of dead Christmas trees lying on the sidewalk (footpath), waiting to be carted away. They looked to me like the slain soldiers of consumption, waiting for an inevitably undignified burial.

  • There are fewer homeless people in the streets, and more in the subway. A whole subway car¬†full of commuters¬†rode quietly into Manhattan during the week with a man stretched out along one bank of seats, fully unconscious. “Panhandlers” – the local term for people travelling the subway cars asking for one thing or another – are now all asking for food instead of cash.

  • Gloves and scarves are mandatory, and I’ve even had to put aside my longstanding aversion to “hoodies” and accept that they do serve a purpose in keeping the wind from my skin.

  • It takes at least an extra ten to fifteen minutes to leave the apartment, or a cafe, due to the sheer number of layers that require adding and ordering prior to leaving the warmth.

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