Friday, December 19, 2008

What Recession?

Lest my faithful reader fret, allow me to assure him or her as the case may be that, in my neck of the woods at least, there are no signs of increased unemployment. Three cases in point:

1. Every work day, I discover a pipsqueak of a man on the platform where I catch my daily PATH train. He's dressed in the togs of a laborer, but with no insignia to identify his employer. He sometimes has a soft bag of tools lying at his feet, and sometimes not, but I have yet to catch him working, with tools or otherwise. Sometimes, he leans against the wall, watching the trains come and go. Sometimes, he steps forward and chats with the conductor of one of the trains as it pauses at our station. More often, he's chatting up some sweet young commuter; his idleness affords him ample time in which to befriend the more photogenic members of the traveling public. But he never actually does anything. And yet I cannot overcome a powerful suspicion that he's on the clock. Somebody's clock.

2. The crowds of commuters leaving the World Trade Center PATH Station who are headed south or east of Ground Zero are herded into the little intersection where Vesey and Church Streets meet. There stands a construction worker, complete with hard hat and fluorescent vest. In his hand is one end of a chain. The other end of the chain is attached to the fence around Ground Zero. The links of the chain are coated in yellow plastic. When the light is green for traffic on Church Street and pedestrian traffic is halted, he stands next to the fence, chatting with a companion. When the light changes, he strolls about twenty feet out into Church Street, until the chain is taut. By so doing, he creates a boundary between the traffic waiting on Church and the crossing pedestrians. When the light changes again, he retreats with his chain to the fence. And so it goes. Someone is paying this man; I feel sure of it.

3. Just north of Beaver Street, blocking northbound traffic on Broad Street and preventing it from approaching the New York Stock Exchange, sits a pickup truck. In it sits a man. Guards in front of the truck review the credentials of all vehicles seeking to pass beyond the pickup to the sensitive areas beyond. From time to time, the guards grant admittance to someone; whereupon the man in the pickup comes to, shifts into gear, and backs the truck up just far enough to allow the vehicle to pass. After it passes, the pickup returns to position 1. I cannot help thinking that the man in the pickup truck supports himself in this manner, and perhaps a family, as well.

I have not yet discovered who employs these men. But I greatly fear that I do.


Blogger mberenis said...

Attention Bloggers:

Announcing project "Blogger-Earth"

Mapping the World of Bloggers!

Participate by visiting Blogger-Earth and by forwarding and posting the URL on your blogs. Together we can map the blogging world!

Copy & Paste this URL:

7:04 PM  
Blogger npetrikov said...

mberenis, I'm flattered that you would think to include me in your elite circle of bloggers. But alas! I lack the narcissism of the true blogger. I'm a mere curmudgeon; nothing more.

If you should ever establish a Curmudgeon-Earth, though, let me know!

7:10 PM  

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