It's thundering and lightning-ing outside. A bad-weather front that was not supposed to touch the coast has indeed struck the coast, and New York City was treated today to a deluge, a real storm. During which I was stuck at Penn Station, waiting for the North-East Corridor Line to be made functional again, and thinking to myself, nothing really changes... had I been in Bombay, I might have been stuck at Churchgate, waiting for the Western Line to be made functional again after heavy rain and flooding.
But now I'm back, and cozily sitting in my room, and thinking of the godawful workday I have tomorrow. And still smiling, because I picked up a couple of very exciting books from the Strand Bookstore today. "Over the Edge of the World" - the story of Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe, by Laurence Bergreen, and "Mercator - The Man Who Mapped The Planet" by Nicholas Crane.
And also because, this time while I was there, I saw signs for Bourbon Street and Bleecker Street. It's fascinating when street names from songs suddenly appear in front of your eyes, unbidden. Bleecker Street didn't look bleak, and the moon wasn't over Bourbon Street (it was a dark and stormy night...) but I still grinned like an idiot when I saw them.
Tomorrow will mark the first time I'll be working on the 15th of August. It'll be strange not to attend a flag-hoisting ceremony somewhere, sing the national anthem - I can't remember a time when I haven't. I'll miss the cars going by with little paper flags stuck in their bonnets, kids waving them around everywhere, shops selling flag pins to stick into blazers and collars. So distance does matter, after all.
Here's to all the flags that get stuck at half-mast, those that refuse to unfurl properly and that have to be taken down and re-hoisted... and the burst of pride one feels (even if one is a global citizen) each time one sees the flag open out and ripple in the wind.