In Chinatown, a man dances with his forklift truck as partner. There are huge sheets of metal in a row, covering a trench in the road. He is moving them from Mott St. just around the corner to the new trench on Canal. Floodlights shine on his dancefloor. He shimmies the truck over and gently, gently, scoops up the metal sheet as if he were picking up a fried egg on a spatula. He pulls it against the body of the truck, so that it’s held diagonally by nothing more than tension. He reverses around the corner, one quick movement, and lays it flat. Like a bitch chivvying pups, he noses it into place with the forklift. It clicks, satisfyingly, next to the previous one. I ride my bike over these covers every day, and dread the irregularly-stacked disasters that will someday claim another of my front teeth. Standing there in my bike helmet, I give him a little round of applause. He bows, and drives around the corner to get the next one.

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