I tried, but did not make it to Calvary today. Or rather, I did not make it to the new Kosciuszko Bridge, which I now visit to take in an amazing view of the old cemetery.
That view to Calvary has changed in recent weeks, as workers buried Covid-19 victims in a row of freshly-dug pits. I don’t know how many pits, or when they began digging them. But the new burials represent a striking surge in activity for that yard.
What at first seemed a moribund sight turned instead into a sobering, necessary reminder that this is really happening. From quarantine at home the world outside can seem distant, even irrelevant, as we absorb ourselves with ourselves. But I’ve made several trips out there just to see the burials, to connect with this signal point in time.
Yesterday I stayed in because the previous day’s 12-mile walk had me feeling more tired than usual. Sometimes my knees feel weak at the end of a day but I seldom feel tired after those long walks. But I ate virtually nothing before going out that day, which is never good for my constitution.
I got close but failed to make it to the bridge today because I stupidly ignored the weather forecast, thus getting caught in an obnoxious rain squall that erupted just before I got to the Kosciuszko. A couple of covered areas under the bridge looked like promising refuge, and the one I chose did keep most of the rain off me.
But what I thought would be a relatively cozy little port in a storm was a freakin’ wind tunnel. The stronger wind settled down after several minutes but it was cold, I was not wearing enough layers of clothing, and I felt frazzled to a point of trembling.
A few other people who had been on the bridge when the rains came took refuge in the space as well, all of them drenched in rain water. One woman on the other side of the street acknowledged our mutual presence in this space with a bit of a smile, to which I yelled “THIS SUCKS!” She laughed and nodded in agreement.
I then made a mistake of believing an online weather forecast which said rain would continue steadily for several hours. This prompted me to make a seemingly desperate but in retrospect stupid decision to call an Uber car. Talk about bringing yourself into close quarters with a space previously occupied by possible virus carriers.
The driver himself was well-shielded, with a plastic curtain around him and a secure mask over his face. He seemed pleasant but we made zero conversation. Even though we both had masks securely affixed I feared the movement required of our mouths to speak might encourage globules of Covid-19 to launch into the limited amount of airspace we shared.
In my past usage Uber has always required an exact street address, but could not always get it right on its own via GPS. I often if not always had to type in the street address of my location.
This time the Uber app pinpointed it perfectly at 54-19 43rd Street. I am rather impressed by this since Google Maps can barely figure out where the hell West Maspeth is.
I’m impressed not just because West Maspeth has a confusing street grid that Google Maps mostly gets wrong, but also that Uber probably gets relatively few requests for service in that area.
I was actually across the street from 54-19 43rd Street, under the bridge, and considered texting this fact to the driver. But I decided not to complicate things, and walked across the street through the rain and stood at the front door of that address.
At least I had an umbrella.
The car seemed clean and I cannot let myself worry about potentialities regarding the virus. But as we got nearer my apartment the skies cleared, the sun came out, and except for ponding it looked like no rain had come down at all.
If I had waited 15 more minutes I could have made it back on my own. Then again, what do I know, rain might have kept coming down in that area but not here, and I wouldn’t know how passable the route back from Calvary is after a big blast of rain.
Upon entering this apartment I sprayed down everything that had made contact with the Uber car’s surfaces with disinfectant, probably the most aggressive germ-fearing thing I’ve done to date.
I could have been in a lot worse situations but still, West Maspeth is a pretty suckass place to get caught in that kind of situation. This video does not really do justice to how violent this storm felt, but here it is.