The Clam Before the Storm

Good morning!  As you may know, here in New York City we're being menaced by Hurricane Sandy, which is supposed to wreak all manner of devastation and inconvenience around these parts sometime this afternoon-ish.  I wasn't especially worried when they closed the subways, since they closed the subways during last year's Irene-branded storm too.  I also wasn't worried when they closed the schools, since they close the schools for pretty much anything nowadays, including obscure Jewish holidays which frankly sound made up.  However, when I got an email from my bank saying they were going to be waiving fees for the next few days I panicked, since if a financial institution is actually foregoing an opportunity to charge a fee then it's a clear sign that the end is nigh.  My bank actually charges you a fee for paying a fee, so this makes me feel like a Make-A-Wish Foundation child.

Nevertheless, pending the apocalypse I'm staying at home because I'm not in an evacuation zone:

Fortunately, I live in Zone D:

All city services and FEMA are under strict orders to neglect us until every resident of Park Slope is safe and accounted for and their frozen yogurt vending services are completely restored.

Pray for us.

By the way, just to give you a sense of how difficult life is here in a neighborhood that is only marginally gentrified, consider this doorway:

In particular, look at this sticker:

In Park Slope I'd know this was placed there by an actual math tutor attempting to solicit business from helicopter parents who hyper-educate their children.  In Williamsburg I'd know "Math Tutor" was some intentionally dorky "indie band" who websites like BrooklynVegan say are from Brooklyn even though they moved here from Indiana only seven months ago and will be living in Portland by January.  (Math Tutor would consist of six members, all of whom play vintage 1980s Casio keyboards.)  Here though I have absolutely no idea.  Really, it could go either way.

But the worst part about being under threat of a hurricane is that you have to rely on The Media, which we all know can't be trusted.  Anyone who's read enough George Orwell, smoked enough marijuana, or smoked marijuana while reading George Orwell knows that The Media is simply in the service of Big Brother, or The Man, or The Big Brother Man.  The Media isn't in the business of truth, it's in the business of manipulation.  That's why I only believe what I can see--and what I see when I look out the window is this guy:

I've mentioned before that I gauge the weather conditions by the state of undress of the guy who smokes on his fire escape, and you can see him above wearing only underpants, which is typical attire for him.  However, when I looked out the window this morning what I saw was far more alarming--even more so than an ample-breasted man in his underpants:

Yes, he was wearing an actual tracksuit with the hood pulled over his head:

(If you're smoking on a fire escape during a hurricane maybe you should consider quitting.)

For this guy merely to put on pants is a sign of a severe weather event, so if he's actually wearing a shirt and covering his head too it means we're all going to die.

In fact, I was so alarmed that despite my mistrust of the media I turned on the TV and tuned into PBS (I figure I should watch as much PBS as possible until Mitt Romney gets elected and they replace it with infomercials) only to hear a report from someone named Lauren Wanko:

Who actually said that people in Cape May were going to "have to hold onto something hard and steady" without a hint of irony.

Wanko?  Hold onto something hard and steady?  No wonder Mormons find public television so upsetting.

Anyway, in all seriousness I hope everybody's staying safe, unless you're not in the path of the storm in which case go do whatever the hell you want.  It's also a good day to simply stay home and enjoy the company of loved ones, or if you live alone to just sit back on the couch and, uh, take Ms. Wanko's advice and hold onto something hard and steady.

Moving on, given the impending storm I made sure to cram in plenty of activity this past weekend.  In particular, on Saturday I got into a four-wheeled gasoline-powered recumbent and rode it to Philadelphia, where I spoke at the Philly Bike Expo.  Then, after I spoke, I hung out at the merchandise table where I watched people pick up my books and look at them:

In any relationship there's generally an impulsive party and a sensible party.  The impulsive party is the one who does things like pick up books written by idiots and consider purchasing them, and the sensible party is the one with the wherewithal to say, "Put that stupid thing down:"

Even though my livelihood depends on the impulsive parties I have the utmost respect and admiration for the sensible parties.

Sometimes people would pick up other stuff too, like Knog lights:

I'd tout their convenient rechargeability and retina-scorching brightness, because I figured if I was just sitting there anyway that I might as well, and they'd back away slowly with polite smiles on their faces, at which point I'd realize I was drooling or had a substantial booger hanging out of my nose.

I was not cut out for retail.

After I finished repulsing people I high-tailed it back home, where the woman I tricked into marrying me and I got on our bicycle cycles and rode into the city in order to watch a professional funny person be professionally funny.  On the way we stopped to eat, only to find some hipster's moped parked at a bike rack:

I'd have surreptitiously removed the spark plug and dropped it down a storm drain if I thought it was possible to get that close to a moped motor without laughing hard enough to give me away.

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