Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Apologies, Part 2

"The reason I lost my temper with you yesterday," I tell the belligerent optometrist, "is that you told me, when I bought a gift certificate from you with my FSA, that there'd be no problem. But I had to pay for it, because it's totally not legal."

After going back and forth for a bit, he finally says, "Well, if you'd let me know, I could have written a receipt saying you bought some glasses or something, and that would have taken care of it."

"Yeah, I try to avoid lying to the government as much as possible," I reply.
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One year ago: Sleeper Car
Two years ago: Dogs Make Friends
Three years ago: Memory
Four years ago: The Cat Saves the Day
Seven years ago: God Doesn't Mind if You Have a Good Time
Ten years ago: Metrocard Athlete 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

He Called Back to Apologize

"No, see, you have to come in for an exam, since the prescription changed," says the optometrist I've been going back and forth with.

"You see," I finally say in exasperation, "this is why I stopped going there: everything is a hassle with you guys."

"Why don't you just go fuck yourself!" losing his cool in an instant.

"Yeah, you too," I reply, and we both hang up.
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One year ago: Christmas Brass
Three years ago: Memory
Four years ago: He's Got My Back
Seven years ago: A Conversation at a Party - 2:30 AM
Ten years ago: There is No Good In Tarot Cards

Monday, December 11, 2017

Where You From?

He's looking down at his phone, absorbed in whatever arrangement of pixels happen to be going on there, so he doesn't hear me say, "Excuse me," but I'm carrying two pretty heavy bags, and so, without touching him, I move past him with a, "Right behind you." That seems to startle him enough to wake him out of his electronic stupor, and he obligingly moves out of the way and further into the subway car.

When we go over the bridge, though, he and his girlfriend get up and look out the window over the East River, down the length of the island toward the Statue of Liberty.

"It's much prettier than yesterday," she says, and he nods, thinking, probably, of a dark sky flinty with snow.
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One year ago: Accelerate Out of Danger
Two years ago: Mea Culpa
Three years ago: I'll Be Fine Tomorrow
Four years ago: Among Other Things (But Not Many)
Seven years ago: Sometimes I Get Carried Away

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Talking About the Weather

Bananas, spinach, milk, and a half-tube of cheez flavored Pringles - I lay them on the counter and, while she rings them up, I look through the glass out the front door where the late-fall snow is drifting down in enormous, fat flakes from a frozen smoke sky.

"Pretty bad out there," I say, making idle conversation. But she looks up from scanning barcodes with furrowed brows and says, "Not stopping anytime soon."

When I express surprise at this, she shakes her head, as if addressing someone who is clearly dealing with a serious brain injury, adding, "They say it's gonna keep snowing all through the night."
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One year ago: The Physics of Fire
Two years ago: Phone Snatchers Abound in Midtown
Three years ago: Morning Luck
Four years ago: Good Guy Brain
Seven years ago: Late Nights in the Slope

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dodge Parry Thrust

I sometimes feel as though I'm fencing with customers, parries and ripostes against their cynicism and bitterness.

"But they're not real butterflies, right?" he says, smiling as if he's caught me out in some desperate lie.

I smile back and shake my head, but I know my smile has a bit of an edge. "Nope," I say, "they're all real."
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One year ago: Colossus
Two years ago: Overheard at Work
Three years ago: Somebody to Talk to At The Office Party
Four years ago: Dad Jokes At The Wine Shop

Thursday, December 7, 2017

2018 is Coming

2016 was the warm-up: the usual trials and sorrows that we are all heir to (illness, death, regret), but amplified, a border skirmish with the emissaries from the realm of grief and loss.

2017 has turned up the volume on all that 2016 portended, and added the voices of those who would no longer remain silent in the face of suffering; it burned away the facades of pretenders and told us that everything not freely given would be stripped away.

A man stands immobile in the middle of the subway platform, clutching a cane in his enormous hand. The furious swirl of commuters part like water to either side around the vast bulk of him, while he waits for something just out of sight with a look of stoic, smoldering rage.
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One year ago: Politeness
Two years ago: Chopping Onions
Three years ago: Magic Beans
Four years ago: An Important Day in a Boy's Life
Seven years ago: Armored

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Abandon Hope, Ye Who Enter

I run up the stairs to the second floor of Whole Foods, my bladder singing a single, insistent note (a P above middle C), to find, thankfully, no line to the bathroom.

But when I walk in, the door to the only stall is closed, and a clear trash bag wraps the only urinal in despair. A smell of the sewer greets my nose as a voice, echoing against the tiles like some damned soul speaking from hell, intones, "No good in here, man."

I stand for a moment, dumbfounded and desperate, only to be recalled to myself when the speaker lets loose a long, ringing fart in the silence, and I beat a hasty retreat.
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One year ago: Psalm 121:1
Two years ago: First Rule
Three years ago: Two Wrongs
Seven years ago: The Band is Passive Aggressive, We Are Not