All on a quiet winter’s night

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Walking through the snow in Riverside Park. 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.

Friday, February 19, 2021. It snowed yesterday in New York beginning in late morning. It had been forecast as a big one and a cold one. It turned out to be about six hours of snow off and on. By late afternoon the roadways and sidewalks were mainly snowless. All of which you probably know if you live on the East Coast. Although JH and family were visiting Mother-in-law in New Jersey where it was snowing hard when they woke up early in the morning. While there he took the video of the neighbor walking the dog in the snow about 11:30.

Anticipating a weekend snowed in, I made an early trip to Zabar’s about 10 a.m. It was snowing steadily mid-morning. The roads were covered and the ride was quieted by the snow’s carpet. Everyone moved about slowly and carefully. Zabar’s was very quiet also. I could see the customers were, like me, planning ahead weather-wise. There can be something comforting about the onset of a Big Snow.

New York awaiting a storm can be like this. Thursday, very early evening (6:30) I went down to Sette Mezzo to have dinner solo. It’s open inside for business now and it was a pleasure just to see it begin to come to life again. There are far fewer tables as well as separated by glass-like panels. There is not the cacophony of dozens of conversations going on at one time that we’re used to but it was still good news being there. And the tables were all filled.

Later in the evening, back at my desk, I was having a back-and-forth email conversation with my friend Marion, who was telling me about a new book she had just finished (and liked) — a memoir by photographer David Bailey — when she interrupted the discussion with the following message:

10:45 p.m., Marion: The wretched school teacher woman in the next apartment to me is having the loudest sex with someone and she is screaming and yelling, it’s unbelievable!! Shouting words that I can’t even understand. Has been going on steadily for the past hour, she is moaning and groaning. Or maybe she is just watching porn.  

I think I am going to get an umbrella and start banging it on the wall. It is usually so quiet here that I could be living in the country. 

Oh no!! she’s at it again. I think everyone on this floor can hear her…”

10:57 p.m., I write back: “Cracks me up. I can’t help it. I’m still laughing. Maybe she’s having a nervous breakdown. There are all kinds, you know.”

11:03 p.m., Marion: I hope she’s not alone. Ha ha. Haven’t heard a second voice. She is still going at it! Really loud! Maybe she bought a new vibrator…

11:11 p.m., I respond: Maybe she’s stoned, too.

11:23 p.m., Marion: I went to the lobby and the doorman/concierge was laughing. He said a man from my floor came down to the lobby awhile ago and asked, “what the hell is going on in 9E?’ Said he had never heard anything like it! He wanted the doorman to come up and listen, but he couldn’t. Doorman says there IS a man visiting her. I’ll say. A very quiet and talented man?! They are still going … no rest.

11:31 p.m., I respond: You’ve just given me tomorrow’s Diary, word for word. No names and addresses. Hilarious.

11:38 p.m., Marion:  Yes!! And having more fun than anyone else in the building? It has been an hour and a half and she’s still so LOUD. You should hear her. They don’t take any breaks, maybe she’s tied him up and gagged. Not one peep from the guy. Could be that she hired him. My imagination going wild … Maybe he’s dead.

11:55 p.m., Marion: Maybe there’s a part two. Dead bodies …

12:31 p.m., Marion again: It’s 12:30 now and they are still at it. Two hours! Yikes!

1:13 a.m., and again: Not quite so loud now but I have an umbrella and a broom ready. If I don’t go join them.

Thursday morning. Marion: All is quiet. She had a huge delivery of bottled water. The bottles piled up outsider her apartment door. Piled up high! Was not there last night.

And so it was on a quiet winter’s night in New York City waiting for the forecast blizzard that actually never quite came our way.

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