Sunday, May 20, 2012


It was December, Christmas was days away and I’d just moved to my new apartment on the 23rd floor of a building near Lincoln Center. My friends were all out of town with their families for the holidays, my furniture hadn't arrived and my apartment was freezing because the heat hadn’t been turned on yet.
To warm up, I took a hot shower and sat on the floor watching the shower steam freeze on the inside of the windows.
Outside, snow swirled and it was as cold as a Wall Street banker’s heart.  When it gets this cold, New Yorkers ruthlessly replace dainty fashions with thick, woolen scarves wound around the head like bandages, heavy hoods pulled down over shapeless caps, giant leather gauntlets, bulky padded coats and massive snow boots to combat the cold and resolutely crunch through the slush. Inside my apartment, I wrapped myself in wooly scarves, caps, gloves and coats and listened to the cockroaches scampering about in the kitchen.
My phone rang.
“Hello. I’m Jack,” said an unfamiliar voice. “I was just calling numbers randomly and you answered this one.”
What to say to that?
I had nothing better to do, so we chatted about Sartre, existential ontology and, as I was still freezing, I agreed to meet this potential serial killer in a warm nearby cafĂ©. What could he do to me there, beat me to death with the copy of Camus’ “The Stranger” he said he’d be carrying?
Incredibly, he was a normal-looking, educated, interesting man and we had some hot chocolate and a lively conversation about Paris in a nice warm place. I'd love to say sparks flew, hearts thumped and we spent the rest of our lives together but, at the end of our chat, we just wrapped ourselves up again in our winter armor, said goodbye and returned to our respective lives never to see each other again.                       

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