This evening after a long hard day at the air-conditioned office high-rise, I was on my way home and decided to stop at the local street meat vendor for some chicken and rice. (Hold the hot sauce, it’s summer for God’s sake!) The rice, vegetables and hot chunks o’chicken are piled into one of thouse round aluminum take-out trays, doused in white sauce and bbq, and shoved into a brown paper bag. The bottom of the bag becomes very hot as you try to carry the tray upright, lest the flimsy plastic top come off and your delicious dinner goes asunder.
So as I’m walking back across the street to my apartment, you can imagine my haste. I wanted to get inside and put the piping hot tray of sidewalk-smoked goodness down and let it cool a bit before digging in while watching some TiVoed Simpsons episode. But before I can enter, this bizarre wiry chap who I’ve never seen before comes walking out of my apartment building courtyard.
“Almost two years exactly since the blackout,” he says.
His head was cocked a little to the side and he had this distant look in his eyes like he didn’t know exactly how to talk to a person.
Is he talking to me? I think to myself, Well, there ain’t nobody else around, so he must be talking to me. Oh, he’s talking about the Big Fucking Blackout from two summers ago.
“Yeah,” I reply.
“And 1977 too,” he says.
“1977. There was also a blackout. July 13th. Right around the same time.”
“Oh yeah,” I mutter, wondering where this is going.
“Same day the Cubs beat the Mets at Shea Stadium.”
“Right, yeah.” I mutter again. (I checked. He was right.)
Then he walked off, across the street.
Well that was weird, I thought to myself, say, my hand is really really hot! Ow! Rain Man made me forget I was holding a plate of piping hot street meat. Damn you, Rain Man!
And so that’s how I met Rain Man.