23 September 2021

gli Uffici, and the Q train

I am still transcribing my diaries which is a Sisyphean task but I keep at it little by little most nights. I will share this day from so long ago.

Florence, 8 October, 1986

'...In the museum today, there was a young woman being pushed around in her wheelchair. She was hooked up to an oxygen machine which was attached to her throat. It struck me as most sad. The machine wheezed mechanically with a jerky rhythm pumping air into her, then sucking it out again with great urgency, almost a great violence. To imagine that I complain about my life so often! This poor woman goes through an unfathomable ordeal just to survive each day. Without the machine she is dead. I was very moved watching her in the museum today as she glided around looking at paintings so intently, more intently than most I thought. We must be thankful for our faculties I think to myself. They can be taken from us so randomly and with uneven violence. The sound of her artificial breathing moved from room to room just ahead of me. 

'... I am thinking of Paris. I always do at this time of year when the Autumnal streets darken in the moist, late afternoons. I have an urge to wander the busy boulevards aimlessly past the  cafes all lit up and full of apparent gaiety. I would be alone as usual, but that is part of this charming postcard in my head which was after all written back in childhood. Then suddenly, all the tall street lights would switch on, and the crazy birds would roost noisily in the great Plane trees overhead. That is Paris in the Fall....'


'...A funny little thing in the Herald Tribune today. In the subway station at Union Square a confused tourist on the platform was shouting at the conductor whose head had popped out of the cabin window as he was pulling out of the station. 

“Is this the 6 Train?” the tourist yelled out.

“No, This is the Q train,..Q train,, Q as in cucumber!” he shouted back as the train departed. into the black tunnel.

Ha Ha, only in New York...'

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