Sunday, September 23, 2018

Getting It Right

Getting the first set of shelves out of storage and up to the truck was a disaster: wires everywhere from the lighting, the furniture pads falling off, pieces of garland trailing behind me. The second one was a little easier, though, and the one after that, too.

As I wheeled the fourth set of shelves down the long hallway of the storage facility under the buzzing fluorescent lights, I wished, fervently, that I was the type of person who got things right on the first try.

But then I realized that almost everybody has to try and fail before they get it right for most things, and that the type of person I wanted to be probably didn’t exist.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Bees Vs. Wasps

The first day of fall shines like a polished penny, and the greenmarket by the park is so thick with people that the sound of them rises up into the blue sky with a hum and buzz. We walk past the booths filled with bright reds and greens and purples and yellows of fresh vegetables and the herbal smells of basil and oregano, thyme and mint as a thousand hands sift through piles of kale and chard, each of them looking for the perfect bunch.

One vendor does brisk business in grapes, and his tub of green and purple beauties is swarming with bees so thick he has to wave them away, but the bees only zip up into the air for a few seconds to settle back on the sweet delicious treats and resume sipping.

What looks like a wasp buzzes around my head, and I instinctively lean away in alarm, but Katie looks at me dismissively and says, “There are too many bees for there to be any wasps here."

Taking Out the Trash

It’s Friday, so we gather up the recycling and the trash and bag it up to go out to the curb - empty cans of cat food and empty plastic tubs of coffee and mayonnaise rattle around in rustling blue plastic bags.

“I thought of a really good thing to write about for my four each day while I was making dinner,” I tell Katie as she ties up a white kitchen bag of trash, “but I forgot it.”

“There’s still time,” she says mildly.

“Yeah, but I’m really good at forgetting things,” I say.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Scale Model

The guy in the storage space next to ours comes back out, and, almost shyly, hands me a stack of photos, saying, “You know how I told you my dad and me used to build model trains for people? This is what we did.”

The photos are poorly lit, and sometimes out of focus, but full of little details: the deep blue rivers and ponds dotting a miniature landscape criss-crossed with rail road tracks on gravel grades, the water towers and oil wells, the little people walking past the smoke shop, the tattoo parlor on the corner.

Something about the pictures seems to evoke a different time, a different world, where railroads tied the country together, and grown men built shrines to the places the trains used to go.


I wait, standing between two parked cars in front of my building, to cross the street to San Toy Laundry, where we’ve been dropping off our clothes since I moved in here nine years ago. I’m smack in the middle of the block, and the light at the intersection to my left has just turned red, while the intersection to my right is still green, but empty of cars. So I set out.

There’s a car coming, about half a block further on from the intersection to my right, and even though I know I have plenty of time, I hurry a little, imagining for some reason that the driver, seeing me out of the crosswalk and clearly breaking the law, might speed up out of some misguided outrage at a scofflaw like me, or just out of spite.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


We walk to the subway for our anniversary dinner after the rain lets up, and the whole world has been scrubbed clean and sparkling by the deluge. Sun comes out from behind clouds and paints the old brownstones in honey and butterscotch, while a plane flies through a patch of sky as clear as glass.

The remnants of the storm are off east of us, a high, heavy bank of clouds, and I remember the day I asked Katie to marry me, and a storm that came through that day, too.

“There’s probably a rainbow,” I say to Katie, pointing to the clouds, remembering the rainbow we saw that day, years ago.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Prophylactic Measures

On TV, a field of black, two pictures of... is it the surface of an alien world? or just a soap bubble. Then, hands come in and grab the pictures and smoothly pivot them, crossing them and gliding them through this primordial, fertile darkness, until we see that the frames of the pictures are actually, phones: specifically the newest iPhones, shining like jewels, like crowns, like stars in the firmament.

“See, this is why I have to mute the commercials,” I turn to Katie where she’s skimming through her phone on the other end of the couch. “I’m weak minded.”