In Cities, Be Alert
–Annie FinchYou may hear that your heartbeat is unevenand let new tension climb around your shoulders,thinking you’ve found the trick for going mad.But try to keep a grip on where you are.Remember: all around you is pure city;try to stay alert. On the wide streets,so empty late at night, streaking in glass,the color of an alley, or the fallof a sideways flicker from a neon signmay utterly and briefly disconcert you—but as you go, you’ll find that noise is worse.Prepare for noise. But never scream. Even tensingears too far in advance can sharpen sirens,and as for horns. … When you’re back toyour normal rhythm after such encounters,just try to stay alert. You’ll never knowexactly who is coming up behind you,but the sudden movement of pedestrianswill finally, of course, be what disarms you.