I like the rumble of the freight train rolling through my suburb late at night, chill as the moon, agreeable in its brevity. The little, familiar things in life make life warm for the night owls.
Some of my favorite times in New York was not in a VIP lounge, but in an all-night diner observing the clientele ordering late-night pizza after a bar crawl, etc. But, really, all the patrons. One time, at nearly 3AM, a homeless man with a grocery walker full of bags walks in to use the restroom. I was sitting, drinking tea and/or eating french fries. I had seen him around at Starbucks in the mornings on the Upper West Side. He would sit with a newspaper (not sure which one), and would read the articles out loud with the harshest raspy voice you’d ever heard. It was a piercingly annoying shrill, but it was an activity that he would do alone perhaps to keep himself awake or to maintain a semblance of sociality. This one night, he used the restroom. It was nothing out of the ordinary, but he took his time. There was no wait. Me having nothing better to do, would sit there, and look at the door after he opened it (my table’s seat was facing the back of the diner by the bathroom). As he exited the bathroom, he looked surprised that I was looking at him, and with a red face, opened up the widest smirk I’ve ever seen while keeping his mouth closed. I was not terribly amused, but like the muckraker he and I were, this was a New York moment that we shared. I couldn’t entirely hide my approval of him using the bathroom without paying. New York moments are priceless, because they’re dirt cheap and gross. Hopefully he is still there, annoying the hell out of morning Starbuck goer’s peace and quiet.