Thursday, March 21, 2019

Depends How Hard You Scrub

“I have a question,” I say to Katie over the hiss of the shower while I wash my hands at the sink.

“Am I being scolded?” she says sadly.

“No, it’s a legitimate question: Does it ever hurt your hands to wash the dishes?”

“Do you mean, like, ache, or actually hurt?” she replies.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

He Never Has a Second Cup At Home

The restaurant didn’t get my order - not their fault, okay, but still a bit inconvenient when I walk seven blocks to pick it up and they haven’t started it yet.

But I don’t lose my cool, tell them I’ll wait while they take care of it, and I guess my attitude rubs off, because after everybody calms down, they offer me a cool beverage while I wait, and I accept it gratefully, but warn them, “Nothing with caffeine, please.”

They’re not sure which of their drinks has caffeine, but one of the guys behind the counter shrugs and jokes, “Hey, I’m willing to experiment.”

“Oh, you’re willing to experiment on this guy here, sure, but are you willing to give me your phone number so I can give you constructive feedback on your experiment when I’m up at three in the morning?” I joke back.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


I stand under the hot water in the shower, letting it run down my face and body, while Katie brushes her teeth at the sink. On her phone, a podcast is playing, reciting its usual litany of murder and betrayal.

Earlier, I watched a movie about drug lords and soldiers murdering each other in a country of poverty and despair.

The house is empty except for us and the cat, the doors are locked, we are well fed and relatively secure, and up above an almost-full moon shines serene in a quiet sky, but it’s not like that everywhere, and the calm order of my life seems, sometimes, like a miracle.

Not The Cat’s Birthday

We come back from dinner stuffed just shy of the point of injury, and let ourselves in to the apartment to the vehement protestations of our cat. She can tell time somewhat, and she can count up to three, so she knows the count is off and it is well past her deadline for dinner.

Katie sits on the couch while I go fetch her birthday presents from the bedroom, and the cat follows me back, meowing pitifully and attempting to indicate by example that the kitchen is just past the bedroom, dummy. I turn around and head back to the front of the house without feeding her, and her disappointment in my idiocy is palpable as she slinks back into the living room, like what did I do to be saddled with such negligent dopes.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Tear Down The Wall

In the greenhouse at the New York Botanical Garden, surrounded by a riot of green leaves and luscious orchids that swell and throb with color, my eye strays down to a small plant, growing in the seam between two stones in a wall. It’s not big, but it’s well established and solidly planted.

“Oh, that wall is done for,” I say to Katie.

“If we could see plants growing at the same speed we move around, we’d be terrified,” she replies.

Saturday, March 16, 2019


Leda, carved in stone, stares down lovingly at the equally stoney swan which she holds by the neck with gentle double-entendre, who gazes back with what can only be called lecherous affection (if such a thing is possible for a bird).

“So the God, Jupiter, or Zeus, really, was stalking her and changed himself into a swan so that he wouldn’t be noticed when they got together,” Katie’s mom explains as they stare up at the statue.

“That’s very counter-intuitive,” Katie says, looking at me and then back up to the swan.. “And I have several follow up question.:

Sagittarius Retrograde

Our friend talks about astrology all the time, specifically about her own sign (Sagittarius) and how she’s “such a Sag” (pronounced SAAHJ).

I don’t really “believe” in astrology - despite the fact that I probably could still draw a relatively decent birth chart for you if I knew your date, time, and city of birth, and with a calculator I could probably progress your birth moon - I just find it fun, and interesting, way of looking at the world.

So when I point out Katie’s necklace (which I bought for her for Christmas), I’m surprised that our friend doesn’t recognize the astrological sign for Pisces, which is Katie’s birth sign.

She squints at it for a second, then smiles brightly and starts talking about herself again.