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  • Writer's pictureMiguel Fernández


It's early 1988 and I'm in Paramus, New Jersey, at my friend LGoldblatt's house. The day before we had a meeting at LouisBerger Consultants and today he was taking me to EastNorthport, Long Island, NY. We woke up with about 75cm of snow on the streets, that is, you could only go where the scraper was going, and Leonard suggested leaving me at the interstate bus stop that would take me to the Manhattan bus station (Central Station?) and from there taking the subway -train to ENorthport. So it was done. When I got off at the Central Station (bus station) on top of the subway station, with a suitcase in one hand and a smaller one in the other hand, gloves, overcoat, scarf, snow cap, I came across a huge lobby, several arrivals and exits, escalators and non-escalators, ramps, in short, a paraphernalia of arrows, indications, names, which 99.5% of people, at least, ignored because they already knew their paths by heart because they did that almost daily, like each one of we do in your city. I stopped to look at the arrows and signs, more or less in the center of the hall, some 50m in diameter or more. He must have been the prototype of the traveler or tourist arriving in the big city. Was it a hillbilly? Was it an immigrant? Umm any traveler? Who would it be? It didn't matter, I attracted the immediate attention of a character exactly like X9 from the series Baretta, who approached me from I don't know where and, trying to be friendly, said _ Do you need help? (need help?) I looked at the figure and measured the guy from top to bottom three times with my eyes. Meanwhile the X9 did the same, sizing me up-down and up-down-up three times. Until our eyes met and we were both thinking, I think more or less the following: > Me: that was just what I needed, this chick mixed between a parrot and a macaw (such was the profusion of bright colors in the outfit that went from a green blazer, rock pants, blue shirt, to white sneakers and a Tyrolean hat with a feather and everything) he's going to try to tell me some trick story or want to pull off some scam but he's going to manage to waste my time. > Him: what other big city is this strange bird that scrutinizes me the same way I scrutinize it? Better not waste your time. With no further word from him and none from me, he flashed a smile, turned around, and went to fight. I felt at home. Big city is all the same.

Miguel Fernandez y Fernandez, consulting engineer and columnist, 2023mar

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