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Yes, I get messages from the government. They text me, and e-mail me, and tell me when things are going to happen. I swear. Like the other day, when I got word that military helicopters would be flying low over my neighborhood between midnight and dawn. It’s good to know these things, even if my friends don’t always believe me.

A few weeks ago, I began to notice more notifications than usual. I belong to the subgroup of New Yorkers—bird-watchers, meteorologists, UFO believers—who like to look at the sky, so when I heard about the helicopters, I stayed up past the monologues and scanned the horizon with binoculars. Nothing. But when the sun came up, the heavy-air-thudding helicopters had arrived. They were, the government told me, “surveying,” which looks a lot like something you’d see on the TV news during the Nixon years. The next evening there were more messages about surveys and low-flying military planes, and then the government told me about something called “Coast Guard Pyrotechnic Training” off the coast of Staten Island. Naturally, I was a little concerned.

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