Politics

‘Suddenly, a Sanitation Worker Jumped Out of the Truck’s Cab’

Hosed Down

Dear Diary:

I was walking my dog on an extremely hot, humid July morning when I passed a porter hosing down the sidewalk in front of an apartment building in Lenox Hill.

There was a garbage truck stopped at a nearby traffic light. Suddenly, a sanitation worker jumped out of the truck’s cab, ran onto the sidewalk and threw his arms straight up in the air.

Accepting the invitation, the porter turned the hose on him.

“Way to go!” I shouted to the two of them through my laughter.

The sanitation worker climbed back into the truck.

“Hey, baby,” he yelled as the truck began to drive off, “it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!”

— Kristen Bihary


Long Way Around

Dear Diary:

I was driving my daughter Lorraine to J.F.K. for a flight home to Nashville. We left Brooklyn at around 1 p.m. and took the Belt Parkway.

As we pulled up to the terminal, she got a text saying her flight had been canceled. I began the drive home as she negotiated frantically with the airline.

There was a 9 p.m. flight out of Kennedy, but it was booked solid. With apologies, the airline representative booked Lorraine a seat on a flight the next morning.

Disappointed, Lorraine noticed that the airline also flew to Nashville from La Guardia and Newark. She asked to be placed on one of those flights. Sure enough, just as I found a parking spot near home, she was booked on a 5:40 p.m. flight out of Newark.

We headed for the Verrazzano, went over it and through Staten Island, crossed the Goethals Bridge and got on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Approaching the airport exit, I asked Lorraine which terminal she needed.

“Oh, no!” she blurted out while scrolling through her text messages. “My flight is out of La Guardia!”

We got back on the turnpike, crossed the Newark Bay Bridge and made our way to the Holland Tunnel. We took that into Manhattan, drove across Canal Street, went over the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn, got on the B.Q.E. and took that across the Kosciuszko into Queens.

Finally, I dropped her at Terminal C at La Guardia.

“Look at it this way, Mom,” Lorraine said with a grin. “You get to brag that you traveled across five bridges, through four boroughs, to three airports in two states — and one tunnel.”

— Eileen Tynion


Whatever It Is

Dear Diary:

I was riding the 1 to the Bronx. I was extremely upset and silently cursing the world around me.

I was sitting at the end of a bench near the door, and for no reason I began to focus my hurt on a man across from me, probably with tears in my eyes.

I remember that I was not really looking at him, and I remember screaming my thoughts in my head, just venting to myself.

When the train pulled into the next station, the man got up while I was still lost in my thoughts and yelling at the world. He stepped across the car to wait at the door.

Without my having said a single word out loud, he leaned over, put a hand on my shoulder and looked down at me.

“Whatever it is, it can’t be that bad,” he said, and then stepped out off the train.

My life changed in that instant, and I have never remembered since then why I was upset.

— John Orth


The Broom

Dear Diary:

Five years before Brian died, we had enough tickets to fill an entire section at Citi Field. He was in the 20th row; I was in the ninth. It was the upper deck, and we were lit. Brian had brought a broom to the game because he thought the Mets were going to sweep the series.

In the sixth inning, I looked behind me and saw his arm cocking back and forth, as if he were going to throw the broom toward me. I was worried he might actually do it.

The people in the 11 rows between us were also beginning to notice what was going on. As soon as Brian saw he had an audience, his bright blue eyes widened.

The broom left his hand in slow motion. It spiraled over the awed faces of people who looked like children watching fireworks and then hit the palm of my hand.

My fingers clenched around the bristles. The entire section cheered.

An hour later, the Mets completed their sweep of the Nationals.

— Thomas Porpiglia


Tripped Up

Dear Diary:

I was leaving Bryant Park with a friend when a girl accidentally tripped up the steps we were walking down. Her phone landed at my feet.

As I bent to pick it up, she noticed the drink in my hand.

“Oooh, boba,” she said. “Yum!”

“It’s wintermelon tea,” I said, smiling and handing her the phone.

“I’m getting that next time,” she said to the friend she was with.

— Lora Oh

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Illustrations by Agnes Lee


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