Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Lunatic Fringe Starts Riiiight…Here

I’m standing at the Newburgh ferry landing in the morning, waiting for the boat to come in. Another fellow waits nearby smoking a pipe, looking out over the water. A third commuter who has ridden his bike to the ferry is walking along the waterfront looking down at the river.

“Sign of the times,” says the guy near me. He’s wearing paint-spattered pants and boots, with a flannel shirt. A heavy ring of keys hangs from his belt.

“Oh yeah? What’s that?”

He gestures at the other guy. “Looking for cans and bottles down at the river. Things are getting tough. Yeah, I keep my eyes on things, see a lot of…sit-ua-tions…going on.” He hitches up some snot back there in the works, like he’s going to spit, but doesn’t.

“Take New York City,” he continues. “That where you’re going?”

It’s one of those conversations where you know you’re about to hear some crazy theory. The Illuminati. The Sumerians. Bigfoot. The CIA and St. John holed up together writing the Book of Revelations and the Dead Sea Scrolls with Rasputin.


“Now they’re trying to charge money to get to certain parts of Manhattan?”

“Oh, yeah, a congestion tax.”

“Sometimes I wonder if I ought to pull out to the wilderness, you know?” He laughs. “I mean, what happens when all those people down there can’t make it?”

And suddenly I’m right there with him. I get a little excited.

“You know, it’s funny — a guy I know and I were just talking about this. You see down there —” I gesture to the south, toward Storm King.

“Yeah,” he says, grinning.

“There’s a narrow place right there where they’d have to come up. We get a few people in the pass there, we can hold ’em off.”

We smile, chums, and wish each other well as we get aboard the boat.


Magpie said...

Do you have some big chains laid in?

Anonymous said...

I love when you meet a fellow crazy in the most unexpected of places. It's like what Anne of Green Gables called a "kindred spirit" but instead of feeling the connection with music or art or football, you connect over that weird sense that something is on the verge of 'bad' but you have at least figured out a suitable Plan B. It's a cosy warm feeling.

Suzanne said...

Man, if I had a dollar for every time I befriended a weird stranger...

Amy Plum said...

I thought you had to ride the Greyhound to meet those kind of people.