Sardine Emergency

10 10 2007

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I hope that doesn’t make me sound a grouch. It’s a mean cutlass, though. And it’s proof positive Sardine is being read, to say the least.

I’d wrapped the next Sardine, on which Guibert flies solo (no Sfar), a few weeks ago. Always a pleasure to see what puns can be smuggled across the language border. Got called in today for an emergency on-site translation of a last-second substitute story. This is about as exciting as the profession gets, folksfrantic editors and a sense of mission! Felt grateful I wasn’t halfway around the worldjust in Jersey. On the way into Manhattan, the train stalled twenty minutes for a drawbridge. This was a first. All around me, people shuffled papers, shifted briefcases, sighed, texted, left messages, ruffled their hair so they’d arrive, I suppose, looking frustrated in explanation for their lateness. Across the aisle, a girl bet her grandfather that the Amtrak stopped beside us would get to go first.

“See, I told you,” she said when it pulled away. I shared a smile with the old man.

Money makes the world go round.

Those businessmen, borne from Washington to Boston in their blue-striped silver cylinder, with their pricey tickets, stayed with me for much of the day. Do you think that at any given moment there are enough people on Manhattan to repopulate the earth? Too often, on this ark of our fair city sailing for the future, I feel I’ve bought the steerage passage and stand jostled amid hyenas and the hindquarters of ogling giraffes, in the noon thick of herd press at the zebra crossing. The spectacle at hand, Exhibit A, is the geezer in stained jogging suit—rich enough to be called “eccentric” even behind his back—at the wheel of his new Audi. He takes the final seconds of yellow to veer wide across the traffic, cutting us off, and this only reinforces my conviction.

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