By Alex P. Vidal
“A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves.”—Marcel Proust
AT around past nine o’clock in the morning on July 4 (Monday), an Independence Day in America, a suspected homeless tall black man spat at my back head multiple times while I was sitting on the edge of a concrete garden outside the Grand Central Station on Vanderbilt Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.
It was a delayed reaction—or I noticed I was being abused only when I felt something wet landing on my left ear. I thought a gardener’s hose had accidentally sprinkled a water on my back.
By the time I saw the ill-mannered person’s face when I suddenly turned to my left, he must have already released a ton of saliva at my direction; luckily, some particles of the rude man’s sulfuric acid missed their target.
I gave him a dagger look (a natural reaction of anybody on a similar situation).
He pretended he didn’t see a Mohican; he was no Will Smith, therefore I didn’t end up as a Chris Rock.
Before walking away pretending he was a transient at the Smokey Mountain garbage colony, he unleashed one last deadly chemical assault while I was facing him—within, again, a spitting distance.
I would have spent that Independence Day morning spraying Clorox on my face to remove the stain of that naughty man’s poison gas if my alert body and quick feet betrayed me.
I was still lucky it’s only a mouth microbe spraying attack and not a football kick or a Tyson sucker punch.
A fellow Asian man standing a few meters away, who witnessed the unfortunate germs spewing session along with the area’s sprawling CCTV cameras, must have thought I would turn violent.
Of course, I didn’t. I wouldn’t: he was big and tall, most probably unhinged, and, what’s new? Aren’t we now in the “hate wave” outbreak—the so-called Asian Hate Crime?
I was a victim once, and shame on my assailant inside the Brooklyn-bound subway train in March 2021, the incident I recorded in my cellphone and which became viral. Shame on me if I land in the news anew for the same ridiculous but annoying reason.
I have vowed there would be no more part two—with or without the pandemic.
From “hate wave”, we are now being bedeviled by the record-breaking heat waves which have been sweeping the U.S., Europe and Asia, reminding us to make it even more important to stay hydrated, stay cool and stay calm.
Of the 28 states affected, New York was not actually feared to be one of those hardest hit.
The heat will bleed toward the East Coast. Heat advisories span from Delaware through parts of interior New York into southern New Hampshire on July 20 (Wednesday), where the combination of heat and humidity would make it feel like 95 to 100 degrees in the north and 100 to 105 degrees in the south.
Some of the hottest weather along the East Coast is forecast this weekend, according to the Washington Post.
On July 24 (Sunday), highs could touch the century mark from Washington to New York for the first time in at least several years.
The U.S. heat, according to the Washington Post, coincided with a historically extreme European weather event, which so far has killed more than 1,000 people and fueled wildfires that have prompted 40,000 to evacuate.
A staggering 34 weather stations broke the 101.7 degrees threshold in Britain, logging temperatures higher than anything Britain has ever observed.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)