Short Story: Nice Tools - a short scene of victory
The New York Department of Environmental Protection were digging up the street in front of my
building; doing something to the water line for days on end, and late into the evening.
I didn’t so much mind that when I turned on any faucet in my apartment the water ran brown.
(I passed Tenement Living 101 and am therefore adept at bathing with bottled water when necessary.)
The noise was unpleasant, but not as unpleasant as the fact that, when walking home alone at night,
I was welcomed at my doorstep by the warm and polite greetings for which New York City
construction workers are famous.
As I approached, I became quite aware of the fact that I was wearing a low cut spaghetti-strap tank top.
I had felt plenty clothed earlier in the night, in jeans and sneakers, but suddenly I felt like I had left a
crumpled trench coat somewhere behind me and was walking naked down the street.
Getting closer, thinking about the intrusive and disarming effect some gazes can have,
I became peripherally aware of the large, loud instruments digging up the crosswalk,
penetrating the ground and spewing water onto the asphalt.
Then an experiment: as I crossed to the north side of the street, traveling parallel to their party,
I peered at the tools (mechanical, not human) so intently as to not only appear oblivious to
the gaze of the three men, but to make them uncomfortable by sizing up
their equipment so openly.
Feeling their movements slow, knowing that they were wondering what the Hell I was doing,
how dare I stare like that, I gave the jackhammer a nice, slow up and down look, and,
without making eye contact,went into my building.