The day was unusual – a bright clean something in the air – not spring. It was February.
It takes an army to get an old person who can’t walk or breathe to the car service that only gives you three minutes to get to the corner of Broome and Columbia. And when you get there they insist you were told one minute. But they wait anyways because sunny, clear days that are not too cold are slow. All the old people who can walk take the bus then.
When I greet these car service guys I smile a lot - the smile of isn't she cute this little old lady practically toppling over and dying in my arms and I'm only 3 inches taller than her and clearly I'm her daughter just look at the cheekbones and we even still dress alike parka, beret, sneakers look how much I'm caring for my old mother aren't we a sympathetic sight?
I do this so they lighten up about it taking us more than three minutes and maybe even will be good natured about waiting at the Curb of Insanity at Beth Israel's outpatient facility while I dodge a billion other car services and Access-A-Ride vans to run in and find a wheelchair to bring out to the car.
For the most part these are the men you want in an crisis or in your family, that is if you are willing to live very traditionally. These men are the real fathers I'd hear my classmates at PS 110 talk about.
This car service guy zips left to Delancey. At the red light, Florence reads aloud all the signs in the window of the last remaining Spanish-Chinese restaurant in the city. "Apolo. Restaurant. Lunch Specials. 8.95. That's expensive."
First Avenue mid-day traffic opens up like an empty Sunday, the arms of someone big who says gimme a hug, the wide boulevard of another city maybe in Europe, the buildings suddenly with character, not tarted-up tenements with $2000 a month rent for a studio.
“The day is beautiful” she says.
“Yeah,” I agree. “Look at those trees.”
She abruptly dismisses me. "I’m not interested in nature!"
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.