Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hymn to a Great City

Last Friday I made the mistake of taking my bike to work without checking the "weather report"--that is to say without looking outside my window. Sure, it was raining, but I underestimated the intensity. As I coasted down the first hill in my limited periphery (closed in by the flaps of my jacket's hood) I could see small branches, pine needles and bits of trash on both sides of the street. The farther I went the more debris there was; until, as I hit my brakes to watch for cars at the intersection, I saw a huge fallen tree, gnarly roots torn from its base and everything. I had to steer around it and the rain was so intense now that I didn't even have time to inspect it thoroughly. I was more concerned with the fact that my pants were soaking wet all the way to my legs. My shoes and socks, which were exposed, were also wet. I only had seven blocks to go.

When I got to the museum there was something haunting about the place. Security informed me that power was out and that we were running on back up generators. I had to take the stairs to the kitchen as opposed to the elevator and when I entered was greeted with a sight that horrified me: the normally bustling kitchen was completely deserted. As I walked past the dishwashing station I noticed that an uncanny silence permeated the place, even the refrigerators did not contribute their usual hum. Then, one of the prep-cooks who speaks very little english staggered in, he had a sort of makeshift poncho made out of a trash bag. "Uh, where is everyone?" I asked. He mumbled as though from exhaustion something like, "We couldn't get everything in time." His demeanor and statement shocked me. I felt for a moment that we had finally come to the disaster to end all disasters. In those few seconds, I imagined post-apocalyptic scenarios, zombies walking the earth, an eternal storm covering the entire globe, and thought how I was screwed because I hadn't gone to the grocery store in who knows how long?

Everything turned out all right though and because the museum had no power we were sent home early with a handful of sandwiches each. As we were leaving one of my coworkers Israel shared his earphone with me inspired by a song he liked coming up on his shuffle. It was Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music." It later struck me that in situations approaching disaster or severe weather everyone feels a special kind of camaraderie toward one another. Instead of greeting everyone in the morning-grunt that I usually do, we sat around the cafe tables and laughed about the travails of our morning getting to work, which was followed by talk of typical Chinese celebrations of the New Year, and so on. I imagine that this slight emergency situation is a demonstration of what would happen in an actual emergency: people come together and help each other out.

Rihanna - Don't Stop the Music [2]

I had yesterday off, so I went to the Amoeba store and did some of the most intense "record-digging" I've ever done. The trick to this is that often you'll find precious records under puzzling categories. For instance, Le Tigre in Pop-Dance/Freestyle? Or a Bell X1 remix under House? In any case, I spent about $40 of hard-earned cash there and am hoping to use these soon!

Gui Boratto - Beautiful Life

Bell X1 - Flame (Chicken Lips remix)

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