New York City, February 19, 2014

★ Morning was simultaneously mild and raw, the arctic harshness replaced by a damp chill coming off the snowpack. The view from the prospective apartments was mud-colored all around. A BMW, unable to wait behind a garbage truck, pushed through a slush pile and sped the wrong way down a one-way street. The dark gray grew darker, and some sort of rain began to fall and steam on the driveway. The raindrops were splatting, or maybe it was the dripping meltwater that was splatting; the falling wetnesses were undifferentiable and terrible. Downtown, it was a full, drenching rain. Umbrellas were out. The non-rubber boots were wet, the jeans were wet. It was tempting to jaywalk to get out of it faster, but the ice banks on the far side of the street offered uncertain passage. There was a bearable moment of afternoon sun, when it was possible to stand on the fire escape in short sleeves, smelling something organic on the warming air. But by evening the dripping rain was back again. The newly bought umbrella pinched a finger, the wet ice was slippery underfoot, and the puddles were so wide as to be almost impassable.