No one was hurt but a lot of people were shaken up by a series of explosions on Broadway near 31st Street in Astoria yesterday. I heard one explosion from about 2 blocks away and even from that distance it shook my innards. The next one came when I was just across the street. The closer proximity made the force feel gut-crunching. Someone nearby who seemed to know what he was talking about said it was a couple of transformer explosions in the people holes. He shrugged it off.
As if this wasn’t unsettling enough I later had a strange encounter with a man who walked right up to me and, with a perfectly placid and serene expression on his face, looked me in the eye and said “Yo, buddy. When you call me names it really hurts my feelings.”
I had never seen this person before, and said nothing in response to his incongruous accusation. I don’t think I even adjusted my gait, just kept moving as if no words were spoken. He continued yelling after me as I walked on, I never turning back. All I could make of what he said as I walked on was “Yo, buddy.” He may have been addressing someone else by then but his voice was raised to near screaming so I interpreted it as him yelling after me.
I hope he is not going to be a new fixture in Astoria. I did look him back in the eye as he approached because at first I assumed he was going to ask me for directions or something. He looked that normal. But then he said those few words and instantly became something else to me.
Maybe it was some kind of joke. He had his phone held up such that he could have been recording this, documenting my reaction, or rather what I felt was a successful non-reaction. Does he stroll about town collecting reactions to inane statements like the one delivered to me?
I don’t know but between that and the streets exploding I think I’ll just stay indoors for a while. Not that I’m necessarily safe from perils here. Those explosions yesterday caused some people to get evacuated from their apartments.