Facing into radical climate change, I make alternate plans

The warnings were clear. Indeed, they were written in neon red: “Thunder storms, hail storms and possible tornadoes!” The weather warning then suggested if I were going out today, “make alternate plans.”

First, I must tell you I do not live in Kansas. I live on the upper west side of Manhattan, New York, not Manhattan, Kansas. It is unusual — no, nearly unprecedented — to be warned about tornadoes here. I got a little frisson from the warning.

Now, hail storms we have had in New York and hail is no joke. I recall standing in the lobby of my work building years ago, watching and hearing golf-ball-sized ice objects pelt the pavement until there was no pavement in view. Those are loud, hard little fuckers.

But I had a crucial final appointment with my now ex-internist (see this and this) today — crucial, because I was getting a needed prescription refill for which my MD insisted on actually seeing me in person (I assume it’s an ethical requirement) and a gratuitous pneumonia shot. Gratuitous, only in the sense that I could get it elsewhere but I was figuring if I had to go over to the east side for an Rx, let’s get everything I could out of the trip.

Thus, despite a possible tornado and death by hail, I was going out today.

My normal travel activity getting to my ex-doctor’s office on East 86th Street was to walk up West End Ave to 86th and get on the cross-town bus. So I took the weather advisory seriously and mentally made alternate plans about which I felt moderately triumphant, since I did it the way we New Yorkers do things: I thought through an alternative route without looking at maps or checking in with the MTA.

It was elaborate, even baroque, but it would keep me under the ground, i.e., out of a tornado, except for one and a half blocks, during which I could, you know, shelter until the whirling, pelting and drenching stopped. Here is what I was going to do:

My MD’s office was about a 100 feet from the 86th Street Second Avenue subway, which I would take south to 59th Street, switch to any of the downtown East Side IRTs, get out at Grand Central, traverse the newly renovated passageways to the new shuttle, take that to Times Square and take any train uptown to 72nd Street and B’way.

Don’t you like that? I mean the grand spirit of it?

OK, but when I left my apartment early this afternoon, it was merely raining. So instead of walking up to 86th Street, I did what I never do: I took the subway up to 86th. By the time I got there it wasn’t raining anymore. So, across the park via bus to my MDs office.

When I got out of her office…it was warm and sunny. Hm. I took the bus back across the park. Sitting next to me, a young woman was chatting with her friend about the weather. They both held smart phones. “Is there anything about a tornado?” I asked, plaintively. They were startled. No, no tornado, although it excited them as much as it had me.

I got off at Broadway and walked home.

P.S. Somewhere around 77th Street, I got a sudden craving for Chinese dumplings. Which I bought and ate.

That was my day. How was yours?

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