Note: This story was originally written for and published at Kosovo 2.0
The City Naps, or If on a Sunday Night a New Yorker
Even in New York, there comes a time when things wind down. Even the wildest beast needs rest every once in a while, and the closest thing that this city comes to sleep is its late Sunday afternoon nap.
This is the time of beautiful small moments. You will notice a solitary plastic bag dancing in the wind. A red neon sign will flicker, struggling to turn on. As its reflection bounces off the wet concrete, you will again wonder about the origins of the steam coming from the ground. Today you will start missing your sworn enemy, the crowd, and the absence of subterranean vibrations will make you wonder if the trains are running at all.
From all of the health hazards that the City bestows upon you, loss of hearing is probably the one most overlooked. Scientists claim that even the birds here have to sing louder; the ones that don’t, will fail to find a mate and their genes are never passed on. But, on this Sunday afternoon stroll you suddenly become aware of something: you can hear the sound of your own footsteps.
The streets are empty, but for the manikins peeking through the windowpanes. Their featureless faces follow you as you pass by their stores. Frozen in actions of previous lives, they are struggling to come alive and break their immobile curse. But you interrupt their revival attempts with every glance you take. For all you know, you might be a great-grandchild of Medusa. You unintentionally keep turning them back to their stone-solid state.
Then you spot that solitary cab driver that is aimlessly driving downtown in hopes of picking up a passenger. He doesn’t seem to be trying too hard, since the “off-duty” sign is lit. It was a good week for him. He got lucky with tips, and perhaps now he might be able to buy that phone he wanted so much.
While mountains of black plastic bags await to be swept from its streets, you realize that at this moment the City is most vulnerable.
As rain slowly wets the streets, the garbage trucks start absolving the city from its sins. These monks-on-wheels will work hard to wash the weekend’s puke, only for it to be replaced by Monday’s dirt of shredded documents hiding everything from financial to scientific fraud.
Tonight is the time for the streets of this battlefield to be cleansed and purified. Tonight all previous sins will be washed, and luck will be reset. Tonight the battleground will be leveled, to give everyone a fresh start, and the appearance of an equal chance in yet another week’s race.
What good is redemption, if not for perpetuating this never-ending cycle. What good are naps if not to rejuvenate the Beast that (supposedly) never sleeps.