Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Changing My Mind Again

The snow has given way to a freezing, splattering rain, but the ice still coats the sidewalks in a slick, treacherous rime. I’m wearing my cold resistant, impregnable Canadian snow boots with the deep-treaded soles, but just the way I’m built (tall, with a long torso lending me a high center of gravity) makes every step a nerve wracking potential skid right onto my ass.

Then again, I think to myself, what if my center of gravity wasn’t that high?

And just the thought makes me bend my knees slightly, and I can feel the ground under my feet, solid, and not all that slick at all, and I tramp down the sidewalk, confident and steady as the rain that continues to fall.

I Don’t Usually Talk Politics

I walk around the city, watching the tourists queue up to go inside the new mega-high-end-Starbucks, listen to the tech-bros have very intense conversations on their iPhones, and I wonder if this is how it felt to walk around in 1920s Germany: money everywhere, people living it up, and yet it feels like some form or another of capital-d DOOM is right around the corner.

Thinking about the slow-motion collapse of the Republic is disconcerting, mostly because it’s happening so slow it’s almost like it’s not happening at all. The effects are too long term to really assess the damage yet.

I’m not really worried about the current guy launching us into fascism, mostly because being a despot is too much like actual work, and he doesn’t really seem to have it in him to work that hard.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Against Manspreading

There’s a large group of women on the train sitting across the aisle from each other, at least a dozen of them, laughing and talking loudly when I get on. I spot a seat next to them, right by the door, barely big enough for me to fit in, and I smile apologetically as I slide into it.

They ignore me and continue their multiple conversations, raucously laughing and talking over each other. I try to make myself as inconspicuous as possible, and am suddenly very conscious of how much space I take up, carefully keeping my knees close together so as not to encroach on anyone by accident.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be

The old black Ford at the stoplight carries the rumbling throb of its engine around it like a bass halo to match its glossy paint job. The circular red tail lights with protuberant knobs the same color, the sleek curves and angular lines of its body, the fins, the white leather interior, all scream a heightened, fifties vision of the future that doesn’t really exist anymore. I shake my head in wonder as it rolls by.

But when I walk through its wake as it roars off into the night, all I breathe is the smell, the chemical taste, of gasoline and exhaust, and it’s been so long since I’ve inhaled anything like it that I have no question as to the source of the odor.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Reasons

A guy in shabby, dirty clothes lies across the bench in the subway, flat on his back with his eyes closed. He doesn’t smell that I can make out, as people in shabby clothes sleeping on subways sometimes do, but other riders seem to be avoiding that end of the car anyway, perhaps just on general principle (a man willing to violate the norms of the transit system so flagrantly (vagrantly?) might be capable of anything).

We pull into the station at Hoyt-Schermerhorn, which is distinguished both for its very fun-to-say name and by its unusual color scheme, in which the color brown predominates, and on the doors opening, the sleeping man stirs from his slumber, nimbly bounces to his feet and bops out the door, walking down the platform at an unhurried but determined pace.

So, of course, there are reasons, and Mr. Sleeps-on-the-Subway may have an active and rich personal and social life, but still I find myself asking: “Where, exactly, did that guy have to be?"

Icing Her Out

“I guess I’m not girly enough to like butterflies,” her friend says as she buys a beautiful specimen.

“You know who really likes butterflies that I was surprised about, is little boys,” I say while ringing up her friend.

“Yeah, they probably want to pull their wings off,” she replies with a vicious grin.

I stop what I’m doing and fix her with my iciest gaze, saying, “I haven’t found that to be the case at all."

Friday, February 15, 2019

Forgiving

“More boxes, eh?” John says, as he wanders through the ruins of our living room with his morning coffee. A shipment of glass came in earlier this week, and while we have plans to reorganize the house into something livable in March, our current market schedule makes those plans impossible to implement right now, which leaves us surrounded by stacks of large cardboard boxes as tall as Katie.

“Yeah, sorry we wrecked the place,” I say apologetically.

“It’s okay, I mean, it is your house,” he says with a shrug.