2010-09-20: Stroll Under The Bridge



Date: September 20, 2010


Beggars can't be choosers when plans are made on the fly.

"Stroll Under the Bridge"

Downtown, NYC - Lower Manhattan (West)

Two hours ago

"Yes, I— Oh? Hmm, let me check… Okay, Wednesday won't budge, what about later in the week?" George leans forward at his desk, scrawling down a near-illegible note. "I'll have Evette work something out, she lives for that sort of thing. Okay, see you then."

Hanging up the phone, he sighs, feeling a little guilty about it all. Consciously tugging at the strings of fate? Tonight will be fun, but he and the increasingly harried assistant will both have a tricky time patching up the schedule later. He'll have to give her a hazard-pay bonus to make up for the trouble.

Still? Totally worth it. Picking up the phone again, he taps in another call. "Alex? Yeah, I was able to wrangle an opening—"

About 7 PM. The tail end of the evening commute. The phone call from George comes well…right in the middle of Alex arriving back home and starting to throw together a simple dinner. What that means is, still dressed from work, Alex leaves the noodles (cooked, thankfully!) cooling in a bowl in the fridge. Dinner tonight will be lunch tomorrow, it seems!

The night is chilly, so she grabs a coat on the way out, scooting down to the curb to grab a cab (no Ben Bailey, sadly), and rolls out to meet George in another hasily-planned rendezvous.


The other problem with last-minute plans is that it's tough to get into a lot of places on short notice, and George has already pushed his luck once today - he'd rather not double up unless there's an emergency. Besides, there are plenty of other options. Like the open-air space near the foot of the bridge. "How'd I miss this before?" he asks Alexandra as they walk along. "That's the one trouble with roads, you never have time to focus in on anything."

"Well, there are advantages to either driving yourself, or of not driving at all. And not just the environmental ones," Alex chides. Of course, it's not like she knew much about this place either. It's his constituency afterall; it's just her home away from real home. For work. "But, I'm not suggesting you cause an accident while driving to take a look at everything, or anything like that."

"Oh yeah, no one can see everything— you have to go on hearsay sometimes, to know what's worth checking out. Or just go out and see what happens." That second option is a little more George's thing. "So what's been eating up your week so far?" he adds, while idly peering off toward a live music combo somewhere in the distance.

"Uh, well, it's only Monday so…not much?" replies Alex, with a little upturn to the end of her phrase. "It's actually not as hectic as you think…not back to regular work, that is. It's…pretty boring sometimes, really. All the time is spent setting things up and letting them run their course, collecting data as needed." Weekday plans are out of the ordinary, typically.

George shakes his head. "I know the feeling, believe me. What you know needs doing isn't always the same as what you'd like to be doing— well, I guess it's closer for some people than others." He's dealt with a few extreme cases from both ends of the scale, not that either one tends to last very long. "The surprises are what really keep me going, in the end."

"Yeah, surprises in my field are either…million-dollar ones that make you famous, or you did something screwy. Mostly, things go just about the way you predict, and assuming you have a good hypothesis to start, they help argue your point." She strolls along in silence for a few seconds at least, before speaking up again. "So, uh, why the sudden change of plans on a Monday night? Aren't you supposed to be canoodling with voters at a sports bar or something, rooting for the home team? That's good PR."
"Sports bar was a few weeks ago, back during the pre-season." And it was good PR— except maybe with rabid Giants fans, but rabid anything tends to be a lost cause in George's book. "I was going to meet with some businessmen, kick around some ideas, but they had an afternoon thing run long." Beat. "Which I… might've encouraged a little bit. They're not the most exciting ideas in the world."

"Oh, huh. Maybe that's why that idea seems so fresh and good in my mind." Alex gives a little shrug. "I was rasied in the time of the Aints, I'm afraid, so…never really got a taste for football that way. Or baseball for that matter. Not naturally. It's more of a matter of, ah…convenience? The ability to make small talk at work on Monday and Tuesday mornings? And so I don't pick brackets based solely on the names of the schools and their mascots and rankings." But really, that's what everyone does…right?

George blinks, studying Alex more closely. "Wait, you lived in Texas. How'd you avoid getting lynched, again?" Football is srs bsnss in Texas. "We should try to make it to a game, it's worth it for the crowd even if you're not into the actual game that much. Might have to wait till late November, though…"

"That's why I said not naturally. I mean, it's hard to grow up rooting for the Aints. Of course, going to USC then Texas…well, I hear them described as football factories. And even though it's a shame about all that scandal at USC, I did get down to one or two games." In four years. Sweet attendance record there. "So…the New York teams don't actually play in New York. That always makes me giggle," she adds.

Not that George's record was exactly stellar, given Baylor's staunch middle-of-the-road performance most years. "Yeah, I think they must've cut a deal with the Port Authority to drum up business for each other. Making it free to leave and eight bucks to come back? They're not exactly being subtle there…"

"Maybe they're trying to tell their fans something, huh?" A big 'eff you!' comes to mind, but then, what professional sports club isn't all about that cash flow? Pitfalls of capitalism, unfortunately, even though the professional sports leagues seem as if they're monopolies. "I uh, I don't think I'd like to travel over there on the ferries or anything. That seems like a lot of things could be, ah, disconcerting about that trip, particualrly the one back."

George scratches his head. "Well, if you say so. What is it about the ferries, though? If it was a plane trip, then I'd understand…" She didn't seem to have any issues with the trip down to the Gulf and back. Still so many things he has yet to work out about her.

"Well, uh…water's like being in the air. Not as bad, but still…pretty bad. Like motion sickness without the sickness. Almost like, ah…if you were trying to walk around with a sleeping leg or foot. That sort of sensation." When she talks about all that, she moves her lips to one side in a trepidatious little look. "Plus, combine that with drunk people on a ferry? I hear they like to just…ah, pee wherever. So that's kind of gross. On the subways too. And that's even grosser because I use those."

At that, George's face falls a little. "I saw a kid get shot on the subway once, a few years back. Hijackers just wanting to prove they were serious. Ever since then… I don't know, the body odors are still there but they kind of fly under my radar now." At least the memories have had time to fade. "I hadn't heard that about the ferry, but I guess it wouldn't surprise me all that much."

"Seems like that's the overriding thing about New York: don't be surprised by anything. I got shot in the arm my first week here. Right in Central Park! So…anything's possible, I guess." She shrugs if off casually, and lets the silence - what little silence there is with all the traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge right there - fill the void.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License