Saturday, October 19, 2019

Take the Compliment

The guy sitting by the train door when I get on has goth game for days: from the soles of his spiky leather booths, right up through his black jeans, on through his black denim jacket covered in band patches from Sisters of Mercy and Ministry, right to the top of his pentagrammed top hat.

I lean over and say to him, “I love your hat.”

Instantly, his face falls, and I realize that receiving a compliment on his fashion sense from a guy who dresses like me (a green button down, comfortable pants, Frye work-boots) might not have complimented him as much as I thought.

“Thanks,” he says, without changing expression..


The sirens and flashing lights down the block have attracted all sorts of people, including us, out into the chill fall air, and the fire trucks have cordoned off the block. We watch with concern as lights play on the outside of the building where smoke poured out only a few minutes before, and a few brave fire-fighters have climbed up to the window and begun to smash out the windows.

A woman and a man walk out of the building with a dog each, and another woman starts crying when she sees them, and yet another woman looks at us and see’s our delight and says, “There were actually two dogs in there.”

When we point out that two dogs came out of the building this very moment, she turns, looks, sees the other dog, and her face lights up with joy.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

An Apple, A Day

Footsore and weary after a long day of work, on my way to pick up some fruit and vegetables, I make it halfway across the intersection before the light changes, and I’m forced to pause on the median.

I stare up Atlantic Avenue as the traffic files by, their lights illuminating the dusk, and a cold wind pushes at me. I squint into the wind, and realize that it’s actually kind of cold, and that I’ve become like some sort of animal who has no emotional response to its own discomfort, but merely accepts it as a fact, like darkness or hunger.

Later, after getting the food, I walk down the street eating an apple, and it is so sweet and tart and delicious that I find myself giving thanks for the mere fact of being alive.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Exit Strategy

I pride myself on being able to chart the shortest route from the subway station to where I’m going, especially if I use the station in question frequently to get to a destination I go to often.

So when I get off the train to go to work, and see a woman I work with going up the stairs ahead of me, I fully expect her to go the way I’m planning on going.

Instead, when she exits the turnstile, instead of taking a left, and exiting a little less than a block away, she goes right, to an exit that I know will let her out on the other side of the street, adding at least a minute to her walk.

Which just seems perverse to me.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

High Holy Days

“Excuse me, are you Jewish?” the kid with the scraggly beard and the shofar asks as I walk by.

I’m always pleased when the Jews are out for their holidays trying to find secular Jews and they ask me, like the fact they can’t tell whether or not I’m Jewish means that I have a little of that air of holiness and otherworldliness that the orthodox Jews always seem to carry with them. 

“No,” I say with a big smile. “Have a nice day."

Monday, October 14, 2019

Breakfast Orphan

We’ve both been working pretty hard, and sleeping maybe less than we should, so Katie and I are both a little punchy as we head down the frozen food aisle to the checkout with frozen waffles, causing her to exclaim, “Says here on the box they have nine vitamins!"

“Nine!” I say in mock admiration.

“Are you a breakfast orphan, with no who loves you enough to make you a nourishing meal? Here’s your waffle!"

Pattern Of Behavior

“Okay, get on your bike and ride to mommy,” the man tells his small son as he finishes petting the tawny French bulldog. “And don’t hit anyone,” he shouts after him as the kid barrels down the sidewalk.

The kid rides a few feet past his mom, who is standing waiting on the next corner, and when the dad gets to them, he explains, “He had to stop and pet a dog.”

“You have to tell us if you’re going to keep doing that,” she says to her son in a mildly scolding tone, but he’s already ridden off again.