Monday, January 08, 2007

Strange Odor Lingers Over Manhattan

That was the CNN headline: Strange Odor Lingers Over Manhattan. "So what else is new," said Witold.

What we were actually talking about was the lingering odor of natural gas--mercaptan, specifically, the chemical additive that makes odorless gas detectible--which pervaded Manhattan all afternoon causing some alarm and much annoyance.

They told us that it wasn't anything to be worried about, that they had looked and looked for gas leaks and found nothing. That it was certainly not terrorism. It was certainly not dangerous. This, despite the evacuation of buildings and the closing of a handfull of subway lines and stations. For a time, that is.

Kip thinks it's an internal test, a way for police and security teams to see just what happens when you let loose a strange odor over Manhattan. They did it a while back with the scent of maple syrup--something I know plenty about--but it didn't give them the results they wanted. People weren't alarmed, they were merely confused. Lots of blogs went on about it, as I'm sure they will this event.

It could also be a sign of the apocalypse.* Last Saturday it was nearly 70 degrees. That's a Saturday in January, mind you. Plus Joan Didion was on the Martha Stewart show and I about died. I was just glad Martha didn't ask Joan to stick around and ice a Lady Baltimore Cake.

*I don't actually believe in "the apocalypse." It seems to me more likely that we all just muck around in our own makings until everything grinds to a sleepy, near-missable halt. Like something out of Beckett.


your mom said...

Read The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Witold Fitz-Simon said...

Personally, I like the idea of the heat death of the universe, when entropy is at maximum and everything that can happen already has. Rather like a Friday night on 8th Avenue in Chelsea.