I walked along, the day just leaving out over the tops of the tall buildings, and sifting through the old scarred chimneys sticking up. Thank the good Lord, everybody, everything ain’t all afraid. Afraid in the skyscrapers, and afraid in the red tape offices, and afraid in the tick of the little machine that never explodes, stock market tickers, that scare how many to death, ticking off deaths, marriages and divorces, friends and enemies; tickers connected and plugged in like juke boxes, playing the false and corny lies that are sung in the wild canyons of Wall Street; songs wept by the families that lose, songs jingled on the silver spurs of the men that win. Here on the slummy edges, people are crammed down on the curbs, the sidewalks and the fireplugs, and cars and trucks and kids and rubber balls are bouncing through the streets. I was thinking, “This is what I call bein’ burned an’ a-livin’; I don’t know what I call that big high building back yonder that I left.” – “Crossroads” from “Bound for Glory”
New York City’s not nearly as intimidating the second time, especially when taking the same flight as before and staying in the same hotel, knowing how to go about getting a cab with a driver who knows how to get to said hotel. It lowers the adventure factor, but after seven months of traveling, I’m nearing my adventure quota.
It’s the last weekend in October, and this trip should be simple. Two concerts in the same location - Pace University on the Lower East Side – on two different nights. Plenty of time to travel, get lost, get found, explore, and sleep, when I’m not immersed in Justin Townes Earle and Joe Pug.
My mother wasn’t quite as convinced that I was going to be murdered to death this time in New York. I’d like to think it’s because I turned 40 a week earlier and in that time have kept myself and the person I made with my body alive and well.
No, that wasn’t it. This time, she was convinced I was going to be decimated by the hurricane slowly climbing the eastern seaboard in a grim race with the blizzard creeping east over Ohio.
“Please tell me you’re going to cancel this trip,” she sighed into the phone the day before I left.
I know the difference
And choosing my fate.
Of course I’m not canceling. Not even an option. I grew up in Tornado Alley. With my mother. Fleeing for cover with a few seconds notice? Second-nature. The hurricane and blizzard are days away and trackable.
Woody Guthrie arrived in New York City during one of the worst blizzards in the city’s history. He did just fine.