Missed Me. Neeners.
When I first moved to New York City, I was filled with anxiety. I'd visited here a number of times and had determined that NYC Was The Place For Me, but once I'd actually moved here I discovered that there is a significant difference between visiting New York and living here.
Visiting here, you get to stay on somebody's sofa, usually for free. You get to wander out and have breakfast, see a few sights, go to a few clubs or bars, maybe take in a show or two, check out the museums. It's a blast. It's almost like you're a rich guy without a care in the world.
But when you move your entire life here, you have to cope with ungodly rents for hellish apartments. You have to find a job that pays enough to cover that ungodly rent. You have to find ways to discover where the hell you are when you come up out of the subway. There are people everywhere, blocking the sidewalk in front of you when you are late for wherever you have to be. People who were born here or have lived here for ages do stuff to you, stuff that you don't even get and half the time don't even know is being done to you. There is no safety net. You either find a way to make it, or...
Well, let me put it this way. My favorite T-shirt at the time sported a picture of a row of brownstones in flames and a death skull leering out at you screeching "New York... where the WEAK are KILLED and EATEN!"
So that's kind of what it feels like at first.
Anyway, back when I was still dealing with all of that, I was sitting around one night drinking with some friends and I launched into a description of a strange image that had occurred to me a few days earlier, an image that (as I look back on it) clearly came out of all that anxiety I was feeling at the time.
I hypothesized that each of us is being stalked by a black spot which I imagined to be about six feet in diameter. These spots are little pieces of the Infinite Void, lightless, heatless, dimensionless, pure and bottomless shadows that wander semi-aimlessly, semi-mindlessly all over the surface of the Earth. They are invisible to us, though I thought it might be possible for each of us to see our own spots. There is one spot for every human being, and if a human being accidentally encounters his spot, he is sucked into the Infinite Void which means for those of you out there with less than poetic minds: he croaks.
Your spot isn't stalking you precisely, but its wandering around the surface of the planet isn't exactly random either. It's kind of a gravitational thing, I think. It's a three-body problem between you and it and the surface of the earth. Eventually you and your spot will come together. You can't stop it. The attraction is relentless. Your spot will eventually wander across the same spot on the surface of the Earth that you occupy, and when it does you're a goner.
This explains why everyone dies, see.
Sometimes you can sense its wandering orbit coming uncomfortably close to you. I recall the night I described this thing to my friends I opined that my particular black spot was somewhere up in the Bronx at the moment, wandering around the Grand Concourse maybe. Far enough away from me to not be an immediate threat, but close enough that it might wander over my sleeping form sometime in the next few weeks.
Okay, so, anyway, here's the deal...
Yesterday I posted about the time I thought I was about to be swallowed up by a tornado when I was in graduate school in Iowa City. The occasion for that post was the fact that a tornado actually did hit Iowa City on Thursday. An old school chum of mine and I were trying to figure out the path Thursday's tornado had taken. This morning she sent me a link to a map at the Des Moines Register web site.
Below is a detail from that map. Note the shaded portion moving from the lower left hand corner to the upper right hand corner. That's the path of the tornado.
In my post yesterday, I noted that my apartment at the time was near the corner of Burlington and South Johnson.
Note that the intersection of Burlington and South Johnson is right in the center of the path of Thursday's tornado.
Which is to say, everything that I imagined happening to me in my post yesterday would have happened to me Thursday, if then had been now.
Ha, ha. Missed me Mr. Smarty-Pants Black Spot. By a mile. Or, at least, by a number of years.
(Like as if it isn't eventually going to get me anyway.)