Walking Cross-Town. Blink, Damn It. Blink.

It’s 7:38 am.
The train pulls into Grand Central.
I lift briefcase – oh, oh. It’s unusually light.
Meeting notes and reports were left behind on the nightstand.
Late jump. A mere hour difference from your habitual start and you’re unhinged.
First morning call is scheduled at 8:15.
Maps signals a 30 minute walk from Grand Central to the Office.
Cab v. Foot?
I check the vitals.
Temperature? Rain? Cross-town traffic? Mood? Criticality of call?
Vitals check out.
I can beat 30 on foot.

Heavy construction lines the arteries, 48th cross-town and 7th downtown. Tourists crowd the sidewalks and hover over the filming of the Live Morning show – a shapely aerobics instructor flanked by two middle aged men wearing hot green lycra pants.

I glance at Maps. I’ve lost time. Arrival time now estimated at 8:13 for the 8:15 meeting.

I accelerate the pace, and this against a wall of foot traffic heading uptown. A hurdler off-step, I hit each Don’t Walk sign.

I glance at Maps: 8:17 ETA.

Humidity surges.  I loosen tie.  My neck moistens the shirt collar.  Fresh? Not.

The morning sun beams. A smooth thin film coats the forehead, legs and back.

Traffic thickens around Madison Square Garden and I jostle to enter the building.

I reach for my security card in my side pocket. Missing.

I check my wallet. Absent.

I check my brief case. Nada.

I approach the Security Desk and wait in line.  The Guard calls up to my floor – no one answers.

8:27.

“Sir, I can’t let you up without clearance.” He calls again.

8:35.  I’m clear.

The elevator races up to my floor. My shirt, damp, sticks to my chest. I raise my head to bathe in the air conditioning that blows from the overhead vent. The floor indicator clicks: 1…5…8…12…15…

I find my head pulled down to the text on the lower elevator panel.

Blink, damn it.

Blink.

elevator 2


Notes:

Comments

  1. I’m stressed out just reading this!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kevin Byrnes says:

    God, I do not miss that…i can feel my heartbeat every step of your journey…the sign of a good writer!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sounds like one of those days… Hopefully the meeting went well!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Clever!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. too much stress to start the day – made my heart pound, i’ve been there, back in my advertising days

    Liked by 1 person

  6. joel622 says:

    Wow, Dave. You go, man! Enjoyed Memorial Day weekend in NYC, LI & CT. As strange as it may sound, I miss living and working in NYC. Thanks for taking me there, right there. I love this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your writing brought me right back there…late for the daily morning meeting with our president. I could feel all the physical stress reactions…until I walked to the window and saw the lights reflected on the ocean. Phew. That’s good writing!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. All I can say is more breathing Mr K and less blinking! Great writing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very well written, enjoyed reading it. But, I’m wishing your tomorrow a smoother walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ah Dave…breathe…I read this literally and then figuratively…a metaphor for your going-to-work head….too much pressure either way..😉

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Your adrenaline was showing. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Don’t know how ya do it, pal. When I was in NYC a couple of week, ago I experienced a surge of adrenaline just stepping out into the ‘flow of traffic’ on the sidewalk. I simply don’t think I could do it every day–I’d be like a bottle rocket–off with a boom and then fizzling and spinning in erratic circles as I lost altitude. 😉 Will quite happily live vicariously through you and your fabulous reportage….

    Liked by 1 person

  13. In a way, glad you were late and unhinged 😉
    It’s been a while since you took us all on a Walking Cross-town ride.

    You sound like you needed Mr. Bond with a helicopter.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Reminds me of my Chef days, when the party for 1000 was at noon, and if you weren’t standing around drinking coffee at 11, with everything done, then you were in the shits. And if you were in the shits, you could sweat to pulp three paper chefs hats in an hour.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Christie says:

    Great piece of writing…hope today is less challenging 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. My hands are sweating and my breath is on my chest 😮
    You are my hero!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. oh my god.. my heart IS pounding, my palms ARE sweaty .. I now need my morning coffee – fast 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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