October 20, 2011

NEW YORK—The morning routine is now a pleasure. Up early, stretch and bend the creaky limbs, hit the coffee, then off to judo and karate. Last week I only managed to get drunk twice, hence there were five such mornings. And what mornings they were. Stolen from summer without the oppressive heat, one crosses the park from east to west, the sun flooding the paths with light, creating long shadows to go along with the tall maples and oaks. It’s early and the noise level is nil and one can hear the birds. The leaves reveal autumn’s first golden blush, and I cross over ponds, small hills, groves, and spongy earth papered now with maple leaves. At present there is green everywhere, and red maples are starting to live up to their name, but the occasional discarded rubbish from the previous evening reminds me that this is not Arcadia, but Noo Yawk, the city that is known for never going to sleep.

Actually, they’ve been sleeping in a park downtown, but more on this later.

“I’m all for it, but who’s gonna replace the crooks that are there now?”

On the way to the judo club I cross mostly women, their men already down in Wall Street trying to keep up. Jewish women with tortured countenances jog as if they’re in terrible pain. Running and Jewish motherhood do not go together. You can tell they only do it so they can shop until they drop at Bloomingdale’s later in the day. Next come hatchet-faced WASP ladies looking as if they haven’t had a bowel movement in weeks. They stride through the morning mist, imperious and unfriendly. Fat Hispanics crowd me off the narrow paths pushing precious little crybabies’ carts while loud, obese, bling-covered black mamas have me wondering what they’re up to this early. It’s a good female mix with the poor little Greek boy among them on his way to torture and be tortured.

For the next hour or two Ali, Teimoc, Mark, Brian, and I take turns under the timer. After fighting and pounding the pads and bags, we lie around talking politics. Ali, an Uzbek, does not participate except to denounce the KGB. The fact it’s no longer even called the KGB does not matter. As far as Ali is concerned, KGB men are all child molesters and subhumans who have infiltrated “dis grate country of hours.” Teimoc, Mark, Brian, and I are of the same political persuasion, paleoconservatism. We are not to be confused with the scum that have names such as Kristol, Podhoretz, Perle, Abrams, Cheney, and George W. Bush—the gang that couldn’t shoot straight and got hundreds of thousands to die all in order for Likud to sleep well at night.


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