Sunday, August 1, 2021

Low Battery

End of a frantic workday, my knee sends out periodic distress signals without any hope or expectation of relief, and I limp down the stairs to the subway, letting my heart rate gradually fall from manic taps to a steady pulse.

At the edge of the platform, waiting on a train, I'm listening to a slow, sad song until my headphones announce they're out of juice and die without further comment.

My electronic book reader, too, opens to a mostly empty screen with a graphic of a battery and an exclamation point to report its inability to perform its only function.

I sigh and slap the cover closed, slip it back into my bag, pull out a notebook, and commence writing it all down, like so.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Yam Cult

"You read the thing about the yam cult?" I ask Katie as we walk through the Pacific Islander room at the American Museum of Natural History. 

"I will now!" Katie says, making a fast u-turn back to the display case full of woven masks and pictures of surprisingly curvaceous yams decorated with feathers and reeds.

We read about how sexual activity is considered to be bad for the yam crop while I pretend to rub suggestively against her, and she shoves me away. "Don't piss off the yams!" she scolds.

Slack MF

"Yeah, I'm pretty much done," he says after I ask him how the straightening up of the displays is going.

I already checked, of course, and he's nowhere near done, but rather than say that, I just say, "Cool! Let's go meet by the far wall and go through it together."

And he doesn't say, "Oh, wait, let me check that," or "Was I supposed to do that too?" (which I would have accepted as self-preservation, even though it's still a little sneaky), but just meets me where I said, where I proceed to show him all of the things that still need doing, to which he responds with slow, sullen indifference.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Non-Euclidean Rain

The umbrella is far too small for this level of precipitation, so my boots, my bag, my arms, my ankles, my shoulders, are all getting soaked.

It's like it's raining in three dimensions says my brain, which, of course it is, but I sort of half grasp the point my addled, slightly soggy brain is making. Like, it's not just raining down, but it's also raining up, and forward, and backward, and left to right.

All directions at once is like it's a non-dimensional point, adds my brain, and I shake my head in irritation and walk faster. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Headphones in on the train home - pretty familiar scenario - listening to music that sounds like my teenage years (synthesizers, guitars, drum machines, ethereal vocals singing about vampires and flying and passion and graveyards) even though it was made this century; but somehow it doesn't take me back.

The world doesn't mean anything: it's our job, as humans, to make things meaningful. I used to drown in significance - everything meant so much, and I expected it to - but now it doesn't.

But I get home, and my wife and cat are there, and that's all the meaning I seem to need.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Butt Dial

The gentle burble of my phone informs me that my mom would like to add me to a FaceTime call. We've been in pretty close touch in the past few weeks since my dad died, and there's been quite a bit of back-and-forth with the mortuary today, so I figure it has something to do with that and pick up.

But instead of my mom's smiling face, I see, through the mesh netting of the basket on the front of her walker, the walk up to the front door of her house.

"Mom, pick up!" I yell at the phone.

The Conversationalist

"Scott was just in Maui," my co-worker tells the new bartender, who just moved here from Oahu.

"Oh, they must have hated you," he says, completely serious. 

I know that he's referring to the recent water shortages in Maui because of a glut of tourists, but I still give him a look.

"That's an interesting way to start off a conversation with a stranger, but okay," I say, smiling.