Monday, September 20, 2021


She comes shyly into the kitchen wearing a pretty dress to show me. "Oh," I exclaim, "how lovely."

She accepts my compliment then, her eyes narrowing, asks, "What's wrong?"

I insist that everything is fine, but she says, unconvinced, "Maybe you just don't know it yet."

The Stick

"The Stick" is a physical therapy tool - a semi-rigid plastic stick with green handles mounted on either end and spools of hard white plastic threaded on it. You use it like a rolling pin to knead tired and sore muscles, separating and relaxing the fasciae and working out knots and trigger points that are causing problems.

I'm watching TV on the couch and using it on my left upper thigh, which feels terrible. It's working when I feel the muscles get tired, like I've been exercising in a gym.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Anniversary Adventure at the Feast of St. Gennaro

We leave the restaurant in that perfect state of sated and lightly tipsy, where the world has just a touch of sparkle around the edges, and you have no particular reason to say "no" to things, so you say "yes."

"Are we going the right way?" I ask, knowing we are, but wanting to see if Katie might have a better way. 

"If we're going toward that we are," she replies, pointing at the multi-colored flashing lights spoking the ferris wheel a few blocks away in Little Italy.

Later, at the top of the same ferris wheel, as we look west across the island, with the crowds and noise and traffic far below us I remark, "Look, you can see America from here."


"The problem with normalizing the so-called midlife crisis," I type into my phone, "is that by doing so, it is made banal. The overwhelming sense of meaninglessness is exacerbated by the fact that your despair lacks even the dignity of being unique."

A few hours later, I learn that a co-worker's brother was shot three times in a random act of violence. He'll probably live, thank goodness, but I bet he's not worried if his life is meaningless.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Wedding Bell Blues

At my physical therapy appointment, I explain my various pains that have cropped up over the last week - cramps and pain in my knees and hips, better than they were but still not great, and not helped by the fact that I'm on my feet 10-12 hours a day working. 

We talk a little about the exercises that I've been doing to mitigate things, and then there's a pause, and I ask, "So, how are you doing?"

She stares for a minute, looking at me but not really seeing, and I have time to see the circles under her eyes, the lines that weren't there two weeks ago, the sort of mildly traumatized glaze of a person who's seen some shit.

"Oh, you know, getting ready for the wedding," she says after a pause, and I nod knowingly.

Old Queens

The ancient pug in the dog stroller is promenaded about like a pudgy child emperor, her eyes half-slits of boredom, while her owner shops for shoes and occasionally harangues the salespeople. There is nothing in this world that can harm her in any way, that she knows of, and she is master of all she surveys.

"What's her name?" I ask solicitously, scratching this furry, undercooked soup dumpling behind the ears.

"Jezebel," her owner says proudly, and Jezebel lets out a phlegmy wheeze.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

He's Friendly

The enormous English Bulldog sprawled at her feet spots me and shoves his way to his feet like an avalanche in reverse, all rolling solidity. 

"Oh my god," I say reverently, "what is his name?"

Her eyes twinkle mischievously - she's used to this, and so glad I asked.

"Muscles," she says as a velvet sack full of boulders shoves his head into my knee and almost knocks me down.