Saturday, September 5, 2020

Hiding the Smells

“Does it smell like... perfume to you guys?” our downstairs neighbor asks as we meet downstairs to put the trash on the curb.

I inhale deeply. “Yeah, sorta?”

“I think [our landlord] sprayed deodorant down here to cover the smell of the garbage,” she says ruefully.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

What I’ve Been Thinking About Today (from an email to a friend)

"Business is slow, but picking up gradually. 

I often come home too tired to work on music or write, as it’s physically and emotionally pretty demanding (selling involves being ON the entire time, and there’s quite a bit of running about fetching shoes, putting shoes back, standing up to go to the mirror with her to look at the shoes, sitting down to try on more shoes, getting different sized shoes, moving the bins of shoes to a different place to make room for more shoes, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum, ad absurdum). I am, for obvious reasons, reminded of Rimbaud, though I would not say my earlier work showed as much promise, or that my diminished artistic output is quite as much of a loss. 

I feel lucky to have a job, and [the company] is honestly quite excellent - they’ve turned their offices into voter registration hubs, publicly and vocally support Black Lives Matter despite (or perhaps because of) substantial looting of stores during the recent protests as well as making some pretty dramatic structural changes to increase equality among employees and management, and paid for all furloughed employees health insurance for the duration."

Delight

The customer I sold a pair designer rainboots to last week texts me a video of her receiving them and unboxing. There’s the lifting of the lid and rustling of tissue paper, and then she squeals in delight as the well-made, very attractively designed boots are revealed.

I watch it three times in a row and then text her back. “Your sounds of delight truly made my day,” I write.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Surprising Indifference

“Oh my God,” Katie says, stopping suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk. “What is that?”

“That” is an enormous spider, posed very photogenically in the center of exactly what you would think of if somebody asked you to picture a spiderweb with an enormous, spooky spider in the middle.

We take some pictures of it, but I am surprised how few other people want to see the very large spider sitting in the middle of her web.

Monday, August 31, 2020

If You HAVE To

It’s a good day for it, if you have to stand out side a clinic to wait for a doctor’s assistant to shove a cotton swab up your nose. It’s overcast, not too hot, a light breeze blowing, and everybody seems content to stand in line six feet apart hugging the building while the impenetrable wall of cars roar down Flatbush a few yards away.

A guy rides his bike up the sidewalk, giving the line a wide berth, and normally I find such flouting of the laws and rules of the road despicable, but after a moment I shrug. If you have to ride down Flatbush on a bike (you don’t, of course, and you shouldn’t, but if you have to) I guess I’d rather you not die in the horrific traffic than obey the rules and put yourself in danger.

Unseasonably Cool

We make it to the park after work while the sun is still shining. The lawn is filled with families and friends, hundreds of people, dogs, folks playing volleyball or flying kites, a group dancing, another group playing music, plenty of room for all of us to be together while still staying far enough apart to be safe.

I suggest we sit in the sun at the edge of the shadow falling across the lawn from the sun setting, and we spread out our blanket, open a bottle of wine, and pull out slices of pizza.

By the time we’re finished doing that, the lawn is entirely in shadow, and Katie pulls a purple sweater out of her bag.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Inflection

She’s tried on seven pairs of Nikes already, and she doesn’t like any of them. “I just hate what covid has done,” she complains as I pull out pair number eight. “I had a membership at gyms, at Pinnacle Club, at Equinox, I had a pool I swam at, all gone.”

I sigh inaudibly beneath my mask as she continues, “I just can’t believe what’s happened to me!”

“What’s happened to you,” I say without inflection, looking her dead in the eye.