Dara writes:

I was about ten blocks north of the steam pipe explosion in midtown Manhattan yesterday. I was on a 23rd Street-bound city bus, which could go no further than 50th, where I got off.

Yes, the scene was 9/11-reminiscent, unfortunately. Billowing cloud of smoke, panicked people. When I got off the bus, I struck up a chat with a Verizon Wireless worker in a van. He was feeding me info from his wife, with whom he was on the phone. "It's a transformer," he said.

"Yay," I thought. "No terrorism. Do you have it from a reliable source?" I asked VW worker.

"She wants to know if I have it from a good source," he chuckled into the phone. "ABC News."

OK, I thought, and dialed on my cell phone the person I thought would want to know I was OK, my mother. Couldn't get through. Circuits jammed. "Dude, VW. I have no service," I averred, thrusting my cell at him.

"I use Cingular!" VW laughed hysterically, showing me his rival-fueled phone.

Would that be perfect for the New York Times' Metro Section's Monday Metro Diary, or what?