amanda & i are chillaxin’ at the red hook coffeeshop, waiting for our laundry to finish drying at the laundromat down the street. i was not at all interested in braving the triple-digit temperatures in order to do laundry, but ultimately, the heat will be easier to deal with if i’m doing it wearing a clean t-shirt. plus i got to chug iced coffee & snarf a tuna sandwich. it’s also great to have access to a more reliable internet connection. the signal we were able to get in the front window of amanda’s house is apparently gone forever (not even secured, but just gone), so now we can only find a signal on the back patio, where the temperatures are hovering at around 110 degrees when you consider that it’s all concrete. i know it won’t be this hot for the rest of the time i’m in philly…but i am really looking forward to returning to kansas.
i went to new york city on saturday to visit jared again. he took me out to an italian restaurant near the international house, & then we went out on the roof & watched fireworks exploding over new jersey. in the morning, we went to a little hungarian bakery with a resident cat on premises. & not just any cat–a big fat grumpy calico cat! it was like charlotte’s cousin! i petted it, but it was not amused. jared generously consented to join me in another pilgrimage to american girl place. i think we had a really nice time laughing at everything they had for sale. apparently the “girl of the year” this year is very interested in the welfare of animals & the environment. she has a birding outfit you can but, complete with a real bird field guide & tiny binoculars. hilariously, one of her accessories is a stuffed raccoon that lives in a garbage can. one of the “just like you” accessories was an inverted umbrella on a stick that the doll can hold over her pet to protect it from rain. the display featured a sandy-haired doll in a raincoat holding a leash attached to a harness, with a stuffed calico cat in the harness, with the umbrella over its head. this furthers so many hilarious fictions: that it is at all easy to get a cat to walk on a harness, that a cat will walk on a harness in the rain, that a child is capable of protecting a cat from the elements with an inverted umbrella. i took pictures. it was LOLtastic. they also sold a pet wash basin & bath supplies (for dolls), & the display featured a stuffed cat in the basin. like a child can give a cat a bath without needing a blood transfusion. i guess these toys are for children whose parents won’t let them have pets.
jared & i came down to philly on sunday evening to check out the fireworks. we decided to meet up with amanda at the art museum event, at which the goo goo dolls were slated to perform. we were hopeful that if we stopped for a lot of cigarette & vitamin water breaks on the walk, we’d miss the goo goo dolls, but we were thwarted. the goo goo dolls were such a terrible choice. they definitely did not pump up the crowd. more people were vacating the premises than anything else. after they finished up, an ambulance fought its way through the crowd toward the stage & jared said, “it’s here for any goo goo dolls that have been diagnosed with failure to rock.” when the fireworks started, i noticed a bunch of kids sitting on top of a van marooned in the middle of the street. i pointed it out to jared & he said, “it’s the goo goo dolls’ tour van.” “yeah,” i said, “it just broke down in the middle of the parkway & they had to hike to the stage.”
jared & i joined the mass exodus into the city after the fireworks were over & started walking to south philly. as we approached broad & lombard, i was overcome with a really ominous feeling. i don’t know how else to put it. i’m not sure how i feel about the idea of “something bad being in the air,” but that’s totally what i felt. there was this almost palpable sense of malice all around, & even though i didn’t see anyone getting up to anything shady, i just wanted to get the hell out of there. i grabbed jared & pulled him across broad & started plotting our escape into lightly-trafficked side streets. i just wanted to put distance between us & the bad feeling. but jared stopped & turned around & i guess he saw a crowd of teenagers kicking the shit out of a couple of dudes in the street. a cab careened around the corner & came within inches of running over one of the beating victims in the street, but it made the kids kicking the crap out of him scatter. “someone’s being hit! call 911!” he yelled. which i did, failing to take into account that i still have a boston number, so my call was routed to a useless boston 911 center. it didn’t ultimately matter–a lot of people saw what was happening & called 911 & at least one of them apparently had a local phone number. so an ambulance arrived after a brief wait.
the kids that got beaten up were a couple of young punk dudes. one of them just had a split lip & somewhat battered glasses, but the other guy seemed to have a broken nose & was having a lot of trouble standing up. he tried to get up & basically flee the scene, but didn’t make it too far. he was reluctant to go to the hospital because he didn’t have health insurance, but he had a lot of blood in his hair, obviously from some kind of head injury. he had his shit together enough to take the used fire extinguisher (who knows?) out of his backpack & kind of smile flirtatiously at me while he did so, but then he laid down on the sidewalk & just kind of gave up on life. he kept asking if he looked okay. “i feel like my face is covered in blood,” he said. “um…it is,” i said.
anyway, jared & i stuck around until the ambulance came. i got the kid with the broken nose to sit down on the curb so he wouldn’t pass out standing up. we weren’t sure how else to help. we didn’t have any water or anything on us. their injuries could have been a whole lot worse, so i figure they’ll be okay. the split lip kid had his bike stolen, & both of them will probably be freaked out by people for a while. i can relate to that. i still dislike leaving the house since my apartment was broken into a year & a half ago (it happened while we were out, using the modus operandi of knocking on the door & then busting it open with a crowbar if no one answered–i know because some random guy knocked on the door a week before the robbery & claimed to be “delivering food” when i answered, even though i hadn’t ordered food & he didn’t have food with him, & the average food delivery guy doesn’t tramp up three stories to deliver food to the wrong address in this age of cell phones). whenever i feel anxious, i calm myself down by reminding myself that no one around me probably has malicious intent, but in these cases of random violence…well, i guess my instincts were right to just try to get away from the situation. i would have been long gone is jared hadn’t turned around & noticed someone was hurt.
both jared & i were really shaken up, but trying to resist the urge to be all, “wow, that was so scary for US, the random unhurt strangers that happened to be walking by!” i really hate when people do that shit. we bought a pack of cigarettes & sat on the patio for an hour or two, chain-smoking & talking it out between the two of us. at one point, jared said i should eat a granola bar & drink some milk, which i did, & i felt a lot better–less like i was in shock. one thing i love about jared is that he is really practical. it never would have occurred to me to eat something at that point.
anyway, apparently our laundry is done. my birthday is in four days!