Postscript: Also included in this week’s issue are two Talk stories that went straight into my personal “Talk of the Town” anthology: Rebecca Mead’s “Right-Hand Man” and Lizzie Widdicombe’s “Rush.” Mead’s piece wonderfully captures the brusque, unsentimental, Front Page-like interaction between Mayor Bloomberg and his press secretary, Stu Loeser on the occasion of Loeser’s leaving his job to start his own consulting company. The sardonic dialogue is quite funny, especially Bloomberg’s crack about “the cemeteries are full of irreplaceable people.” Mead shows she has an excellent ear for such lines.
Widdicombe’s piece is a kinetic account of her experiences accompanying a bike messenger named Austin Horse as he makes his rounds through crazy Manhattan traffic. (In typical Talk fashion, Widdicombe refers to herself in the third person, as Horse’s “guest.”) I particularly liked the part where she has to yell at some people to get out of the way (“On Fifth Avenue, an armored vehicle blocked the bus lane, and his guest found herself bellowing, “Coming through!” Pedestrians gawked. “You’re picking it up,” Horse said, and continued on to Saks Direct, on West Twenty-fourth Street, where he waited for an elevator, covered in sweat”). “Rush” is a delightful piece. I enjoyed it immensely.