When the storm blew in, there was nothing to do but watch it.
We gathered around the windows on the 48th floor. 11:00 in the morning, and the sky is an ominous black-green, the clouds so low that the effect is cave-like. Far below, tiny cars turn on their tiny headlights. The air is murky, palpable. Sidewalk traffic is almost non-existent.
Just short of 100 degrees, I am reminded of the movie Bladerunner; and I secretly suspect that at this very moment, there are people selling synthetic snakes from rickety plastic stands on the humid, sticky streets below.
“I’ve always wondered,” muses one, “about the people who stand and watch potentially dangerous storms. And now I’m one of them…”
He trails off, watches a cloud bit descend rapidly and then just as rapidly be sucked back up.
It looks like both. The sky boils as black- and gray-fisted clouds pummel each other at our eye level.
“This is not how I thought it would end,” says one.
“I thought I’d be richer.”
“I was hoping my clothes would be off,” says another.
“It’s not too late.”
“For the money or for the nudity?”
“Hey, play your cards right and the answer to both questions will be ‘yes’.”
“Our designated shelter is the north stairwell,” I say, “just past the printer.”
“Perhaps we should be in it?”
We laugh again. Why would we hide in the windowless, airless stairwell while the sky is alive with lightning bolts, while intermittent raindrops the size of beer chasers hit the windows with casual violence?
We watch in surprise as the windows flex in, then out.
“OK, that’s freaky.”
“When are they going to sound an alarm?”
“We should be moved into a safety area, don’t you think?”
“I wonder,” someone says, “if we should just go ahead and go somewhere where the chance of imminent death by window shards is less?”
“Novel idea, that.”
“Don’t mind if I do.”
And with that, Acme Sprockets and Grommets’ office staff at the northeast corner of the 48th floor moves toward the exits.
And lives to punch in another day.
17 hours ago