Wednesday, I was going at the Spanish Textile Exhibition organized by the Spanish Embassy. I came out of the train in Grand Central, desperately looking for the bathroom, when I saw people sprinting upstairs. Stores were abandoned, restaurants were left unattended and everybody was frantic and confused. What happened? Somebody said the subway was on fire. Somebody said it was a terrorist attack.
As I went out, I saw droves of people being pushed none too gently out of the premises, as the smoke was engulfing two buildings on Lexington and 41st. I was trying to frantically call my friends, my cousins, my parents, anybody but i only got a busy signal. There was a black man lying on the sidewalk, his skin torn from his arms and legs and revealing pink raw meat underneath. Other people were walking around covered in mud and soot from the smoke. To tell the truth, I had some hysterics, even though by then I knew that there was no more danger and it had been only one transformer that had blown up. Why we’d had one of those things happen once a week in Albania. But I was scared.
Then the self-protective mechanism kicked in and I started to see the funny side of it all, people with cell phone cameras. A whole bunch of sightseers were taking pics, including me, while the stairs outside the Library were overflowing with tourists. I took my fill of cell pics, then went on to the Spanish Textile exhibition. Free booze and food awaited, how could I say no? I needed a drink really badly.
Other people started trickling in as well, a bit pale and shaken, but exhilirated and ready for a drink or two. All the handsome Spanish men were there in full force, with their charming accents and their concentrated statures. There were plenty Young and Pretty Nu Jo:kas, and by the end of it, the blowup was almost forgotten. People looked like they were having a great time, thanks to the tapas and the wine. I learned that tapas are not a specific dish but rather delicious fingerfood which had me full and happy as a clam in no time at all.
An Indian man hit on me, which is no surprise because I do have the figure of a very fertile goddess (minus the three rows of breasts). He told me I looked like a Spanish, oops pardon Albanian goddess. I love bullshit so we ended up talking about the Great Albania project and flirting over the crushed olive sauces and gaspacho cups. He said I was smarter than Sophia Loren, because I guessed his nationality the second time, whereas she took four times. That bought him another minute of conversation, but I can only tolerate so much smelly stuff coming from moderately old and lecherous men. I was civil however so we parted on good terms. Another Brooklyn Indian found new respect about Bronx Albanians that night.
Mission accomplished, I and my delicious friends roamed around some more, learned how to open fans in a wrist flick, and how to flirt with them Spanish style, then hightailed on home, by way of 38 street and plenty of billowing smoke. I said another prayer to whoever was listening and got home safe.