I walked out this evening to shop. We didn't really need food, though we were running low on milk. There was already a pot simmering on the stove, beginning to turn the evening apartment fragrant with the scent of ancho and cinnamon, orange and onion and garlic - a sauce for our supper tacos.
On the street I passed a small matador and a musketeer, the former announcing, Ole! on every set of stairs it could find to ascend, complete with excellent accent and sense of occasion. The matador had long legs in tights and wore tap shoes. She carried a small purse and flourished her cape formally at invisible adversaries.
We are on a lucky, dry hill.
At Mr Kim's, which we used to call Mr Lee's, the Mexican workers were piling into a minivan, their usual subway ride out of commission. Inside, in the leafy aisles, The Scream paraded, and was rewarded with candy from behind the till. The shop was well-stocked but there was not single, large carrot to be had. Interesting.
Key Food had no milk at all, neither organic nor hormoned, and practically no bread. I bought beer and flour for baking, some long life Parmalat (memories of camping) and perhaps some beer. When I got home I discovered some tiny chocolate bars that had been slipped into my shopping bags by my cashier.
At Heights Chateau I picked up some South African red wine made by Americans (...), and one of the staff members told me of his friend's waterside restaurant, wiped out on the island in a community where boats and yachts now reside in living rooms. They have lost everything, he said.
Vince was at home when I returned, back from his regular run through Lower Manhattan, which he describes as "complete chaos."
The whole of Lower Manhattan is pumping water out of deep subterranean structures. The Battery Underpass is flooded to the roof. People are working so hard, without sleep, to clean up, from professional crews and disaster management personnel, to city employees, to individuals who've lost a sofa, a box of books, a mattress, a home.
From across the vast region I hear from blog readers, friends - without electricity, feeling cold, worried about opening the fridge, unable to be where they need to be; a Facebook friend who is an engineer, who went to bed at last after working for 60 hours straight in the subway system. Strength and love to you all.
What are we doing? Sitting high and dry, drinking our drinks, about to have supper.
We feel very sad, and genuinely, unsentimentally, grateful.