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The Rains

The rains! The rains that we had this evening! They were extraordinary. The only time that I have found myself beneath a louder thunderstorm was on a late night in Bermuda, where one really had the sense of being out in the middle of nowhere, storm-tossed. Because earlier rainfalls had brought the temperature down a bit, I sat through the big evening shows out on the balcony. But I crept away before I had to, having seen two fingers of God drive nightmares into Queens. I knew that I was unlikely to be struck by lightning if my feet rested on plastic bricks and my back leaned against teak. But those lurid arcs of death displaced my rational capabilities. Time to put the hors d'oeuvres in the oven!

Kathleen, meanwhile, was stranded across the street. She'd gone to six-o'clock Mass at St Joseph's. I'd given her a thee-item list of things to pick up at Gristedes on the way back: Kleenex (facial and regular), Land o'Lakes American cheese slices, and Coke. That's where she got caught by the rain. She stood in the store for ten minutes of violent downpour, and left at the first sign of letup. I know, because I saw her from the balcony. Good job, I thought, until I met her at the elevator - an odd move on my part, we don't usually do that sort of thing, but I felt that I had to, after her ordeal - and found out that she was much more soaked than even she thought she was.

The rain here, when it's thick, is very Japanese. That is, it hides what's on the other side of the East River to varying degrees. Sometimes, on a very clear day, you can see the horizon, a sight that includes the North Point Towers, which stand on the border between the City and Nassau County. Sometimes, as tonight, you can't even see the building in Steinway upon which, on a clear day, the North Point Towers look like a pimple on the shoulder. The rain falls in curtains, little pillars of thickness that always seem to move from north to south.

May I simply report that every New Yorker said at some point tonight that "We needed the rain." But what about Europe? In Spain, Portugal, and southern France, they're trying to combat the spontaneous combustion of very dry ground. I have an idea. Let's deprive the piggier CEO's of access to their comforts and see how they fare. Let's have a real "Outward Bound." Or let's tie them up in tinderbox forests. You know, mes amis, that these brutes have power only because we let them have it.

Yes, it's true: the August heat has made even of me a pocket Jacobin.

Update: Andy Towle, looking out of a Manhattan window in midtown, snags the money shot. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.


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We note with some interest that the church is St. Joseph's Yorkville. There is a sense of community in Manhattan on block by block basis that is akin to what I knew as a child in East Texas and people wonder why I like NYC so much. If nothing else it is convenient beyond measure, but the tightness of the neighborhoods has always impressed me, so snug and comfortable. The tone of your narrative today could have been set in the piney woods of East Texas around Red Hill and fit well, but they are all Jacobins there year around. Send some of your rain here, please.

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