Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Face Value

The end of a long day: weary, footsore, stumbling, a little loopy, I pick up the bag of trash from where we’ve been building the booth in preparation for selling Katie’s sculptures at the big end of year holiday market, walk up to the information kiosk, and ask, “Where are we putting trash these days?”

The bearded older gentleman with the kind face who is clearly in charge, and also clearly a little over it, looks at me mildly and replies, pointing at the ground in front of him, “Right there.”

I’m not sure I’m reading him right, so I come back, looking him right in the eye, “I’m gonna do exactly what you say.”

“I don’t play around,” he says, nodding.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Seismic Time Slip

Our roommate describes a moment of time-slippage on his ride back from Manhattan on the subway, where the people around him became like the people from pictures in the past. He says it reminds him of something I’d write one of my Four Each Days about.

“New York has this very geological kind of relation to time,” I say after thinking about it for a bit. “It’s like time is sort of layered, one era over the other, all existing together simultaneously."                                       

Naming The Ghost

“Mood,” I say as the lights unexpectedly dim in the restaurant where we’re eating dinner with Katie’s father.

“Maybe you’ve got a ghost,” Katie adds, and the waiter agrees, telling us stories of things going missing every Sunday night at the end of the shift.

“What’s his name?” Katie asks, referring to the ghost, but the waiter doesn’t know.

“Well, you wouldn’t want to be presumptuous and give him the wrong name,” I say.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Map Isn’t the Territory

“See, it’s totally useless,” I say about the map of the holiday market.

“But you can look down here,” Katie says, pointing to the legend where the shops are organized by category, “and see exactly where you need to go.”

“But how are you supposed to know where you are?”

“That’s not how you shop, so it isn’t for you."


Her lips do this thing, kind of press together and disappear, when she’s mad at me, and right now, I’m mad too, and I’m pretty sure, though I’ve never seen it, that my lips go kinda white and disappear when I’m mad, just like hers. A fight about the wording of on this little slip of paper we’ll be giving to folks traveling outside the US with her pieces, of all things.

But when she looks back down at the computer, having had her say, I watch her, just watch her for a moment - her brassy hair pulled up in a messy knot on top of her head, the strong, willful line of her jaw, her flashing eyes, sharp and penetrating - and knowing that this woman, who brooks no nonsense from anybody, loves me now, in the middle of a squabble, and loved me before, and will love me afterwards, when we are calm and relaxed, fills my heart with deep and quiet joy.

To know that I can be mad, and she can be mad, and it’s not the end of the world, is a new thing in my experience, and I am happily amazed.

Thursday, November 8, 2018


Having almost busted in on a woman who was, thankfully, only washing her hands, I know for a fact that this bathroom door doesn’t lock, and that it’s tough to hear someone inside when you knock. But since it’s the only option, and since I have to pee, this is what I’m doing, angling my back toward the door while I do my business so that, if the door does open, the perpetrator won’t get an eyeful, though it might serve them right if they did.

I finish quickly and zip up with a deep sense of relief, but still, my unease is not completely gone. I find myself washing my hands more quickly than usual, and hardly drying them at all on a paper towel as I’m walking out the door, but the corridor is empty, and I am safe.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Follow The Trail

After a long and desperate search for tortilla chips and finding none in any of the aisles where they should be, I admit defeat and resume shopping for the rest of my list, figuring I’ll stumble upon them eventually in my travels.

I’m grabbing eggs in the frigid dairy aisle when I hear a woman behind me say, “Put those back,” and turn to see a small boy with a disappointed look on his face carrying a bag of chips almost as big as he is. His cause lost, he trudges up the aisle, and, as discreetly as possible, I pursue him as he disappears around the corner.

I track him down one aisle further over, in the frozen foods section, with a slightly bigger girl I assume to be his sister, and she’s hoisting him up with both arms around his waist as he struggles to replace the chips back on the shelf far above his head.