Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Another Day, Another Crane

May 30, 2008

The day started like any other day. In dreamland. If I recall correctly, I was at some banquet surrounded by strangers...and I was on the dais...and for some reason...

Then my Father woke me up:

"Bob, turn on the news. We are going to the city to serve food to cops. Make sure you bring your suit for Denise's wedding. Can you believe another crane collapsed?"

This was a lot to process for being awake for eight and a half seconds. Surely enough, a second crane had collapsed in Manhattan; the second in three months. Have you ever heard of anything this ridiculous? With all the things to consider while living in a concrete jungle like NYC, watching out for falling cranes should not be one of them.

Needless to say, this was going to be a big day. It began at Costco; buying waters, donuts, coffee, paper plates etc. Also, 300 skinless hot dogs with all the fixins. Big Ron and I loaded up his DEA Canteen Truck and I followed him in my burgendy Chevy Blazer '03 full of suits and ties for my cousin's wedding later on that same day.

When we got to the scene of the accident, the police made their presence known to everybody. Sirens everywhere, cops posted on every corner, and the suits with detective badges anxiously awaited their waters and hot dogs. If you don't know by now, New York City detectives aren't only the smartest and hungriest of the police force, but they are also the best dressed.

The journalist in me couldn't help but wonder about the scene that the eyes of the nation has turned to for a brief moment of time. So, I began to walk down the block to take some pictures of the collapse that claimed the life of two men just a few hours earlier. An officer stopped me:

"Excuse me, Can I help you"

"...oh, I'm with the food." I responded.

Feed these people and you can rob banks. Trust me.

The devastation was hard to believe. Somebody is not doing there job. Imagine for a second: You are in your living room enjoying a bowl of honey nut cheerios watching the opening bell of the NYSE, maybe on the phone with your boss laying on a real thick sick voice, when all of a sudden..........craned.

We were stationed in front of a Marriott Hotel which was actually a big plus when it came time to suit up and get going to this wedding in Island Park, Long Island. After finding a men's locker room, I was able to shower, shave, put on these threads, and lace up the leather. Clearly, I clean up better than most.

The bad news was that at the end of this wedding (whenever that was going to be) my pops and I were going to have to come back for this truck. So instead of getting into the sauce with some family members, I was going to keep a clear head and my eyes on the prize for the rest of the day. Five minutes later on our way to the church I was asleep.

And I picked up where my last dream left off. I was on the dais... and somebody gives me an introduction... and the strangers are applauding... and I walk up to the podium.... take out my speech.....

Then we got to the church (the third smallest catholic church on Long Island). Denise is my father's niece. She is an absolute delight, as well. My brother arrived and then my mother, and all of a sudden I was in wedding mode.

It was a pretty nice service. The priest kind of lost me when he compared prayer to email but other than that it was standard. The husband to be hopes the bride shows up, they light a few candles, a couple of rings later they kiss, and we file out row by row.

Being at a wedding makes me think about what mine is going to be like. In my best estimation, it will be to a woman and indoors. That's as far as I usually get. A wedding is whatever the bride wants it to be. The husbands job is to do everything he is told to make that happen.

Off to the reception. It was here that I discovered something that I now am a huge fan of. Martini glass do-it-yourself mashed potatos with all the toppings you would imagine for a treat like that. Mine was graced by sour cream, gravy, and cheddar cheese. I busted out the "shakin, not stirred" James Bond one-liner for a few family members but I wasn't getting that many laughs. Since that day, I'm putting potatos in dixie cups and waffle cones.
The band was legit. They played all the great wedding songs of our time. "Let's Groove Tonight," the Bee Gees catalog, Meatloaf, Journey, and even some traditional Irish tunes. After the gig (which ended at 12:15am) I approached the guys and complemented there ability to play fourteen songs in a row without stopping between songs and to offer one piece of advice.
"You gotta play Pick Up the Pieces by Average White Band."
Surprisingly, I got a positive response and not a glaring look.
Two captain and cokes and one Chilean sea bass later, we were back on the road heading to NYC to pick up that catering truck. It was there waiting for us after serving more than 700 cops during another careless crisis.
Nobody wakes up expecting to get craned. It seems like such a awful way to go. I thought about that on the ride home. This time I let my pops sleep as I cruised down the LIE.

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