★ The umbrella made it hard to steer around the youths wearing blue Bible Crusade sweatshirts, in the narrowed passage under the scaffolding, their stances of courteous hopefulness not quite blocking the way. Just up the steps of the subway downtown, the umbrella flipped inside-out, before it could even get set square to the wind. It flipped two or three more times on the way to the office. Cars sloshed by, and the heel of the left boot—still the "new boots" in the mental inventory, though it was no longer possible to remember what year they'd arrived—made a "chup!" sound at every stride, the worn edge kissing the wet pavement open-mouthed. But the hooded jacket and the blazer, in tandem, were standing up properly to the conditions. It was a relief to have solved that aspect of things, for one day, in March. In the afternoon, the rain was drenching; people moved blindly, screening fellow pedestrians and oncoming traffic with their umbrellas. Raindrops dampened trouser legs all the way up to the bottom of the jacket. The 72nd Street subway control house was clogged with still more Bible Crusaders, gathered by the exits, out from under the uncongenial skies.
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013