Sheets of rain this evening as I subway’d and walked back to the hotel from AWP. Rain even made it through my umbrella somehow. (How did that happen?) Maybe my umbrella is like, purely decorative, or maybe it’s a California umbrella that has its limits against weather. I leaped with great futility over rivers of water in the street. I soaked my sneakers. I hugged my purse against my chest–not like the usual New York reason which is to keep away from pickpockets, but because I wanted it to stay as dry as possible.
And I was only on the surface for 10 minutes of my 45 minute commute. The rest of the time, I was underground, in this massive hoard of people, desperate to get home and stay as dry as possible. The trains were late. They were packed. It was humid, in the way underground places get.
I still loved every minute.
It seems I surprise my husband every time I come home from walking these city streets. Today, I rang the doorbell of our room and he opened the door to me, dripping water in the hall. “Oh. Wow,” he murmured.
“It’s WET OUT THERE!” I chirped. He ran to the window and peeked out, seeing the water highlighted by the headlights of the cars below–swirling pools of water in the streets, sheets of water distorting everything in sight. Woo! He asked me about my day, the panels I went to, and I detailed them out, as I peeled my jacket, and everything dripping water off of me. Dry, dry, dry–I wanted to get dry.
Last night, I came home and rang the doorbell. I had a box of Ray’s pizza in my hand, a last minute detour I took on the way back from the conference. Ooooh, wouldn’t he be SO delighted to see the pizza?
The door opened. “What happened to you?” he asked.
“Pizza!” I pushed the box out at him.
“Okaaay.” He took the box. “What happened to you?”
Huh? “What are you talking about?”
“Your FACE.” He directed me to a mirror.
Oh. Somehow, there were streaks of dirt and soot all over the right side of my face. How DID that get there? Did a poof of exhaust deposit shmutz on my face? Being a bit OCD, I know I was careful not to smear myself in dirt–what happened? I don’t know. I told this story to Nova, who laughed and said it was a commentary on how dirty New York can be. I wiped the dirt off, and colored the white towel a dark gray brown. Hrm. The left side of my face, btw, was entirely clean. I was like two people in one face.
Of course, I had had no idea of this soot-on-face situation, that I was walking around town like a child out of a Dickens novel. I noticed that people were staring at me on the subway, but I thought, “Huh, maybe I look particularly good tonight, or maybe the ice blue jacket I’m wearing is drawing attention again.” And I focused on being nonchalant and ignoring the stares. No one really said anything. It was a nice delusion–I felt famous for a little while–ignorance is definitely bliss.
The pizza was cold. I guess carrying it uptown in freezing temperatures creates cold pizza.
Today–I went to Susan’s panel, then I went to a panel called “From Stories to Novels: Crossing the Great Divide,” and the One Story reading where the fire alarm kept going off during N.M. Kelby’s reading (and she handled it with great humor and aplomb–I would definitely like to have a drink with her for sure) and I got to hear Paul Yoon, and Brock Clarke and Ron Carlson read….and concluded with a panel on writing exercises and “stealing from the greats.”
In between all that, I got to meet Nova (and her “e”) in real life! I swear, having a blog has blessed me with so many friends–I feel like we’ve been friends for a very long time, much longer than what time has really transpired. It turned out that we had been going to almost the SAME exact readings all week, sitting in the same rooms. Ha.
Oh. And I woke up late again today. I can never switch time zones, it seems. Still running on PST.