Saturday, August 19, 2017

Crime Scene

They show up like brown, cubist versions of the chalk outline on the sidewalk, a spot where a person fell to earth. It's daytime, so no one's sleeping on them, but they're becoming more ubiquitous in our neighborhood - boxes flattened out and lined up, maybe a blanket balled up at one end for a pillow, always fast food containers.

The dog walks up to one to sniff them, but she won't step directly on them, even when I tug gently on her leash. It's like she knows that something happened here, and she's loathe to disturb the scene.
-----------------
One year ago: Subjective
Two years ago: The Problem of Education
Three years ago: Existential
Four years ago: Further Encounters with the "Showtime!" Kids



Friday, August 18, 2017

I Tried

"Is the delivery guy still here?" Katie says, invoice in hand, worried look on her face. "I don't have everything."

I run down stairs and around the corner to where he's parked, but I can only catch a glimpse of his tail lights at the corner a block away, so I keep running, hoping to catch up.

By the time I get there, though, he's long gone, and as I walk the long block back home through the thick, wet air, a giant butterfly flaps slowly across my path, up into the trees, and out of sight.
---------------
One year ago: Dad Humor
Two years ago: Penmanship
Three years ago: 4 People/4 Seasons
Four years ago: Marriage is a Balancing Act

Active Seniors

My dad's face comes up on the screen, sweaty and pink, a brick wall behind him. "Hey there, son!" he says heartily.

"Why do I always catch you out doing something when I call?" I say, laughing.

"I'm playing pickleball!" he says happily, holding up a black-gloved hand. 
---------------------
One year ago: Theophobia
Two years ago: Gaming
Three years ago: Vanity

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Be Nicer

We're trying to find a place to put the papers that Katie is taking into work with her tomorrow so she doesn't forget them, because mornings are hard.

"Yeah, you get all worked up, running around....," I say, to which I receive a raised eyebrow.

"Be nice," she says.

"I'm not being mean," I say, "I'm describing."
-----------------
One year ago: Distracted
Two years ago: THAT Kind of Marriage
Three years ago: sketch 8/16

Because We Ate Them

"Think we can split the bottle of sake?" I ask Katie, who shrugs and nods. "We'll get the sake, and one order of avocado buns," I tell the waitress.

A few minutes later comes the small bottle of cloudy, slightly sweet nigori sake, along with two pillowy buns hugging avocado slices drizzled in a thick teriyaki sauce and covered in sweet Japanese mayo, and we raise our glasses with our usual toast ("To the popular vote") and dig in.

A few minutes later, a different waitress comes up and apologetically informs us that, unfortunately they are entirely out of avocado buns this evening, even as I'm raising the remaining half of one to my mouth.
---------------------
One year ago: Overenthusiastic
Two years ago: They're Too Short
Three years ago: Quiet Kids
Four years ago: Houseguests

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Streets Aren't Safe

I'm standing on 7th Avenue, leaning on a construction awning, waiting for the post office to open. Some people have joined me, forming an orderly queue, like we do in NYC.

A squirrel runs up, stares me right in the face, and stands on his hind legs, like he's squaring up, and in my shock, I step back quickly, which seems to scare him enough that he runs off.

"Thought he was gonna mug me," I say to the guy laughing behind me.
-------------------
One year ago: Misery Aficionado
Three years ago: Hoo Boy
Four years ago: God Lives in the Desert, So the Rest of Us Can Live Here
Nine years ago: For those still paying attention

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Times, A'Changin'

"Whoa," I say quietly to Katie as we hit the corner by the grocery store. "check out the refugee from The MC5."

"I don't know what that means," Katie says, but there he is standing on the corner, talking on his cell, but otherwise straight out of the 1960's: bell-bottomed pants and Cuban heels, slim suit jacket with no shirt, a red, white, and blue cravat, and some of the biggest hair I've ever seen on a white man in the flesh.

He goes into the grocery store, too, but we quickly lose sight of him in the aisles, until I see him leaving, still chatting on his phone, with a case of LaCroix sparkling water under his arm.

When I mention this to Katie, specifically his choice in cans of overpriced, flavored bubbly water, she says, "Of course he did."
--------------------------
One year ago: You Just Don't Understand!
Two years ago: I'm a Liar
Four years ago: Sometimes You Gotta Eat Crow First

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Violence In Our Hearts

This part of Williamsburg, as it shades into Greenpoint, reminds me of the seedier parts of Tucson I used to frequent - single-story cinder block garages and warehouses covered in graffiti, weeds cracking the sidewalks, cyclone fences standing watch over empty, overgrown lots where wild green things eke out a meager existence in the space between stones. An overcast sky paints the whole scene a yellowish gray, while hundreds of miles away, white supremacists beat on their shields and throw Nazi salutes to the cameras like desperate divas throwing kisses to horrified paparazzi.

"I think there's a piece of me," I say to my friend as we stroll back to his workspace after lunch, "that is just fascinated by the violence, that glories in it."

"I mean, what you're talking about," he replies, as we walk slower and slower, "is really the human condition, right?"
---------------------
One year ago: Getting Better
Two years ago: A Brief Discourse On Style
Three years ago: Sic Semper Bullies
Four years ago: Brain Fart

Friday, August 11, 2017

We Wondered How They Stayed Open

"At lunchtime, they come eat here from the school," our server at the Mexican restaurant says.

"What year are these kids?" asks Katie.

"Fourth, fifth graders, and they just come in here and order food, but they're very well behaved."

"Man, I thought they were barely domesticated at that age," I say, shaking my head.
-------------------
One year ago: Fine Distinctions
Three years ago: Dead Food
Four years ago: Naptime!

Growing Boys Need Their Rest

His mom wakes up the little boy sitting next to me before she gets off the train, holding his chin in one hand as she instructs him. "Your brother's right there," she says, pointing a few seats down to where another child, only barely older than this one, sits, "and you need to hold his hand on the way home, okay?"

He nods drowsy assent, she kisses him and gets off the train, and almost immediately he falls back asleep, if possible even more deeply than before. His face squishes against my shoulder, shoving his glasses askew, and he begins to snore delicately, but he looks so exhausted that I just let him sleep.
--------------
One year ago: Missionary Man
Two years ago: You Should Be More Specific
Three years ago: The Kids Are Alright (With Adult Supervision)
Four years ago: Done, Too Late

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Almost For Me

The beer aisle at my local supermarket is perfect for someone as susceptible to advertising as me - bright colors, intricately designed labels, suggestive names like "Nooner" or "Golden Monkey" or "Delrium Tremens."

(Note for my non-New Yorker readers: beer in New York City is sold in grocery stores, but wine and liquor are sold in separate stores - local laws and customs may apply.)

The prices are right, too, for all of these interesting styles of drink in vast array, with nuanced differences between each (porter, lager, IPA, saison, Belgian, witte, barleywine, etc. etc., etc.), promising a lifetime of classifying and learning about regions and brewing minutiae. 

Unfortunately, I don't really care for beer all that much. 
----------------
One year ago: Bigger Problems
Three years ago: Child Abuse

Speak Kindly

"What I need you to do," says the voice drifting up through the window from the street, "is shut the fuck up."

"Oh no!" says Katie.

But she didn't hear the voice, and was upset because she'd forgotten to put the packing slip in the box she's sending out tomorrow.

"I think he's talking to his girlfriend, though," I say sadly, leaning out the window and peering down the street.
-----------------
One year ago: Ask First
Two years ago: Morning Snapshots
Three years ago: Made You Look
Four years ago: It Wasn't Even 10 AM

Monday, August 7, 2017

Two Guys

"A little help
Helps A LOT" reads the sign. He's sitting in a dirty t-shirt and muddy jeans, slumped at the bottom of the staircase on a stolen milk crate, face shrouded under lank, humid black curls, eyes at half-mast and despairing.

Down on the platform, by the downtown train, his doppelgänger, to the point where I have to do a double take, but this time everything went right: Adidas sneakers; deep red, clean pants with a fashionable taper, tastefully cuffed to reveal bare ankles; crisp button down shirt. The same curls, the same face beneath them, but everything softer, cleaner, brighter, his entire life a place of safety and rest, and he likely doesn't even know it as he steps on the train that whisks him even further away from the life he might have lived.
---------------
One year ago: A Reminder
Two years ago: About Time
Three years ago: Office Party
Four years ago: Which is Why I Moved Away From Tucson


Grapefruit Juice

Sometimes it's just whatever I remember best: standing in front of the patrician gray stone church on the corner, both of us burdened with bags full of groceries for dinner.

Katie is trying to be patient with me, so she asks, "Well, do you want grapefruit juice for drinks tonight?"

I'm starting to get hungry, so I don't really know, and I say so.

"Babysit these bags, okay?" she says, handing them to me, grabbing my card, and striding back to the store for the one thing we forgot.
-----------------
One year ago: An Olympic Household
Two years ago: Sawbones Saves the Day
Three years ago: Mind=Blown (Star Wars Edition)
Four years ago: I'm Only Kinda Lazy

Sunday, August 6, 2017

I Should Just Be Glad I've Got Hair

The woman at the salon washing my hair thinks she's giving me the spa treatment. She's working the sides, scrubbing behind the ears, doing this one little technique where she starts at the hairline and works all the way back to my neck with a sort of squishing motion. 

But the fact is she does it too hard, and she's not mindful enough of the water, so now I've got water in my ears, but I do sort of like being touched, in general, so I give her a pass.

A client walks up to the hair-washer while she's drying my hair and hands her a five-spot, and I wonder if I'm just too picky to really enjoy things properly.
-----------
One year ago: Afterparty
Two years ago: How You Get Paid
Three years ago: After the Gold Flush

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dogs Deserve It More

Ziggy the Labradoodle is on a leash, as they just rescued him pretty recently, and he nuzzles his big ol' russet head right up into everybody's crotches with the self-assurance of an animal that knows its love will be absolutely returned, while Baxter (also a Labradoodle) is more independent, and he's chosen to use his off-leash time to bury his enormous black head in the florist's marigolds.

"So you rescued a senior dog?" Ziggy and Baxter's owner says happily, gesturing to us. "You see, there are good people in the world," he tells his teenage daughter, who's sitting on the sidewalk with her arms around Ziggy.

"I love these dogs more that anybody in the whole world," she explains.
--------------------
One year ago: Weaponized Doge
Two years ago: Pure Bred Jerk
Three years ago: Kickass Dreams in a Restless Night
Four years ago: A Lovely Day (Even for Teddy Bears)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Keep Calm

The walk to the post office in the hot, sticky afternoon sun is not doing wonders for my calm. Also, I haven't showered yet, so I'm a little self-conscious, like, is it possible that I am the source of that funk that I keep catching a whiff of?

So when the woman at the other window sends me back into line yet again, I engage in some positive self-talk: I am here to be kind, to make this world better, and these people are just doing their jobs, however poorly, and I am going to be fucking pleasant, dammit.

So I smile at (quick glance to the name tag) Kim while she finishes filling out a form, and when she finally acknowledges my presence, I walk up to her window, slide the delivery tag she asked me to print out under the three inches of bulletproof glass, and, still smiling, say, "Hey, thanks for your help with all this."
------------------
One year ago: Washed Clean
Two years ago: She Reminded Me of Her Name Soon After
Three years ago: Blast From the Past
Four years ago: My Problems With Authority Stem From My Problems With Stupidity

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Crisis Averted

I've done self-checkout before, I know what's up.

But after quickly scanning all my items and placing them in the bagging area to await transfer into my eco-friendly bag, I snap my card into the reader, pop the correct buttons for "debit," and punch in my PIN... and accidentally hit "cancel."

Which shuts the whole thing down, and now here comes the woman who monitors the self-checkout machines to help the idiots who have trouble figuring out things like scanners and card readers, coming over to me like I'm some kind of help-needing moron.

I curse quietly and get the card back into the reader before she gets to me, and, seeing that I've got the situation under control, she goes back to her bored post, staring off into space at the foot of the aisle.
--------------
One year ago: How to Have a Bad Night
Two years ago: Consider the Trees
Three years ago: And So On
Four years ago: See You Around. Or Not. Probably Not.


Save The Comics

The woman in the front of the house at the comedy show, the one drinking High Life who talks back to all the comics, is trying to get my attention. I resolutely keep my eye on the stage though, until finally she stands up in the middle of this guy's set ("And what about airline food - you hate it right?") and gets right in my line of sight.

"Can you watch my bag?" she says, slurring her words. I give her the silent thumbs up and pretend like I'm not associated with her as she staggers off to the restroom while the guy on stage tries to carry on like nothing's happening.
-------------
One year ago: Root and Bone
Two years ago: Night Blind

Monday, July 31, 2017

(Silly) Signs and Portents

I walk to the park as an exercise in observation, a la William Burroughs: I'm to look for signs, portents, synchronicities, the ways the world is attempting to communicate with me all the time that I never notice.

Alas, despite a beautiful day, and a lovely blue sky, the world remains stubbornly mute, with at most a helicopter going over the neighborhood on the way to the park and then, maybe, the same helicopter a few minutes later going the opposite direction over the park while I sit beneath a tree and watch the clouds.

Resigned to my decidedly non-portentous life, I pull out my notebook and write a lightly poetic meditation on directions and looking for meaning in the world, afterwards relaxing in the shade and eavesdropping on nearby conversations until I push to my feet to amble through the sunshine out of the park.

On a trail out of the park, I see, coming into the park, a guy dressed in the exact same outfit I'm wearing (a blue t-shirt with little white palm trees on it, and olive green shorts), and he looks at me, looking at him, smiles hugely and says, "Strange, isn't it?"
----------------
One year ago: Phrasing
Two years ago: Flatbush Creek
Three years ago: It Works if You Work It
Four years ago: Brooklyn Midsummer
Eight years ago: too hot, too humid, too crowded

Avoidance Brownies

Our friends with kids go hard, but like, before 9:00 AM, so we get back from breakfast hanging out with them before noon. The streets of Park Slope are still empty, the sun is shining, a warm breeze gently wafts through the window, and an entire day stretches out before us.

Katie has already settled in to work on her business, and I know that I have writing to do - there's a story I could be working on, or at least a journal entry, and there's plenty of blog posts, and the novel still lingers like a stink in the air.

I stand in the kitchen for a minute, contemplating, and then pull out cocoa, flour, sugar, butter, and a mixing bowl, and start a batch of brownies.
-----------------
Two years ago: Debaser
Three years ago: A Face for Radio
Four years ago: It's Peach Season

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Cat Porn

I peek my head back in the bathroom as Katie is finishing up her shower. "When I came back in the room, the cat was sitting up in front of my open laptop, looking very guilty," I say.

"Like she downloaded porn and gave us a virus," Katie replies. "Cat porn, by the way, is just food and people falling down elevator shafts."
----------------
Two years ago: There's a Story, There
Three years ago: More Jeff Gillooly'd
Four years ago: Instead of Sports

Post-surgery

I'm sitting in a thin hospital gown, Katie in the chair next to me, getting ready to leave the hospital after surgery.

As the nurse prepares to take the IV out of my hand, Katie looks over. "Yeah, I talked to the doctor, and you're not supposed to do any headstands or pushups while you recover."

"When you asked earlier, she thought you meant, could you do yoga that normal people do," she adds.
-----------------
One year ago: Meditation
Four years ago: Too Late Now

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hare, Tortoise

The second time up the hill is killing me, but damn if I'm not going to pass as many people as possible on my way up. The competitive part of my psyche, the one that I hardly ever indulge in public, cackles with delight (internally) with each person that I pass, glorying in the little frisson of conquest, hoping that each person feels that slight disheartening sensation of defeat as I beat them to the top.

Now, at the top of the hill, my lungs are fire, and my legs molten jelly, but I suck wind with satisfaction as I coast into the downward side.

And here, on my left, comes one of the people I passed on my way up, trucking past me, leaving me in the dust without seeming to even break a sweat.
---------------------
One year ago: Behind the Sky
Two years ago: She's Right
Three years ago: A Future in Sales
Eight years ago: at best

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It Was Delicious

Normally, I don't mess around with caffeine, as it tends to interfere with the calm demeanor I've cultivated over the years, but the prospect of "Russian Evening Tea" at the famed Russian Tea Room is too good to pass up ("Low in caffeine, this tea is ideal for enjoying in the evening or late afternoon").

It comes to the table with a tray containing a small bowl of sugar cubes, some packets of artificial sweetener, a small pot of cherry jam, and, on the side, a small plate of cookies.

When I suggest that the jam might be used for sweetening the tea, Katie looks at me aghast, saying, "You better use that on your cookies."

"I think I'll ask someone," I say, looking around for our server.
-----------------
One year ago: And My Bald Head
Two years ago: Like Father, Like Son
Three years ago: Thanks
Eight years ago: Weird Ways We're Connected

On Brand

The strangers in our house sent the doge into seemingly endless paroxysms of barking, so we've decided that the best way to calm her down is ice cream.

Since we want ice cream too, this works out pretty well.

But when we bring her out her tiny little cup of vanilla ice cream, she's too wound up to even get into it properly, and after a couple distracted licks, she goes back to panting and looking worriedly over her shoulder, on the lookout for whatever doom she seems to believe is on its way to catch her unawares.

Katie sits on the sidewalk and tries to tempt the dizzy doge with a spoonful of creamy white goodness, but the dog can't even focus, and as I watch my wife try to feed our shiba-inu Haagen-Dazs, I think, "This might be one of the most Park Slope things I've ever seen."
-------------------------------
One year ago: Weather or Not
Two years ago: Coming Home
Three years ago: Real/Phony

Monday, July 24, 2017

Perfect Rain

Katie stands over me looking out the window as I lay on my yoga mat. Outside, the trees whip back and forth in the wind, and rain falls thick and heavy.

"The rain is perfect," she says, opening the window, and the noise of the rain increases, while a cool breeze flows through the room, sweet with the smell of green and wet asphalt and sidewalks.

"I feel like we've had this conversation before," I reply, and I wiggle my toes happily.
---------------
One year ago: In the Cave
Two years ago: In Bruges
Three years ago: Learning to Live
Four years ago: My People Are From Southern Illinois, But Good Point

Drunk Girls

A light rain falls on a street empty except for her, her friends who have moved a ways down the block, and, across the street, watching the whole drama play out, the doge and me.

She slams her hand against the window of the cafe that left the bench out for her, and the boom of it reverberates up and down the street. "Where my Four-Loko, hoes?" she yells at her friends, and they just laugh.

But when the guy walking around the corner sees her lolling across the bench and asks her if she's okay, her friends descend en masse: "She fine, don't worry about it, mind your business, okay?"
--------------------
One year ago: Love and Light
Two years ago: Reminiscing

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Force of Habit

The guy hiding under the awning of the bagel shop next door is the only person I can see for blocks, since the pouring rain has chased everyone else inside. I give him a nod as I put the dog down and hook the leash on her collar, but he doesn't respond.

The dog takes off at her lopsided run, and even though there are perfectly good trees within ten feet, fifteen feet, even twenty-five feet of the building, she still has to go to her one tree, the one she likes to pee beneath.

"Couldn't change your plans just this once," I say, as the rain soaks the streets, the ground, her fur, my skin, and she squats in the exact same spot she's always done with a look of determination on her doggy face.
---------------
One year ago: The Lives of Our Younger Mothers
Two years ago: Not Playing
Four years ago: Kachori from Baluchis

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Chatty

"There's this quote from Einstein, I think it's Einstein, that says, 'The most fundamental question is, is the universe friendly?' And I like to think that, by being calm, and kind, and friendly, I can sort of tip the scales in a person's perceptions toward being able to answer that question 'yes.'"

"But what do you mean by 'universe,' because it's clearly not friendly," Katie says.

"Well, 'friendly' is like any other perception of value," I start, "in that it's not intrinsic to what we see, but is a reflection of our own...I'm sorry, I'm babbling, it's just I haven't had anybody to talk to all day."
----------------------
One year ago: Spelling
Two years ago: Adventures in Badassery
Three years ago: Power Nut Bar


Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Question of Altitude

"I have a serious question," I say, seriously, and John lean backs against the counter while Katie watches me closely with narrowed eyes.

"It's not a serious question," she says finally, shaking her head. "His nostrils flare when he thinks he's about to say something clever."

"For real, though," I say, standing up and ignoring her, "do you guys think I've gotten shorter?"
------------------
One year ago: Mom and Dad
Two years ago: Not That Nice
Three years ago: Love Anyways

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Priorities

"So I listened to more commercials than music," Katie says, coming out of the shower before bed, "and I heard a commercial for cosmetic gynecology."

"Oh, also, they do faces," she adds sardonically.

"Why?" I ask, eyes wide and innocent. "Clearly no one is looking above the waist."
------------------
One year ago: Recreational Vehicle
Two years ago: Stranger Danger
Eight years ago: C.H.U.D.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Weaponized Sound

After the Grand Guignol that was "1984," I have to stand outside for a few seconds, across the street from the theater, fighting the nausea and calming down. The psychological aspect of the show is not nearly so distressing as the sound design, which weaponizes amplification and frequency to the point that the body becomes a crucible for really, really bad vibes.

We go to a ramen place in the neighborhood to grab a bite and let the adrenaline work through our systems, only to find ourselves slurping noodles in the middle of a pitch meeting between a producer and a couple of directors whose nervousness has made them into "loud talkers."

When Katie suggests we steal their ideas and make a movie ourselves, just to spite them, I reply, loudly "I guess we could, if we could find an original idea in anything we've heard for the last twenty minutes!"
-----------------------
One year ago: After the Rain
Two years ago: Unasked for Massage
Three years ago: Tone Deaf
Four years ago: Go Make Babies, You Guys


Monday, July 17, 2017

Why We Write About Ourselves

Katie goes upstairs to talk to the woman helping her out with her business, and I wait downstairs with the bikes. The sun's almost gone down, and a wet breeze, still heavy with the humidity of the day, meanders down the street, barely cooling me off.

After about twenty minutes of waiting, I see a woman using a cane slowly making her way past the building, each step an exercise in patience and concentration.

I accidentally make eye contact and give her a small smile, and she smiles back, briefly, but even that little bit of frisson is enough: somebody saw me, and I saw her, and I belong here, and so does she.
-----------------
One year ago: Oh, Those
Three years ago: I Have The Touch, Redux
Four years ago: Crazy From the Heat
Eight years ago: Word (actually, Excel)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Weapon of Choice

"The only time I almost got mugged," my new friend says, "I was going through kind of a dark period, so I was," his voice lowers a little in embarrassment, "carrying a knife."

I lean in to listen more closely. "He came up behind me, and I just kind of pulled it out of my pocket and," he demonstrates, "sching, and he looked at the knife, and I looked at him, and he just kind of," he shakes his head, "and took off."

"Well," I say, laughing, "at least your story leaves you the dignity of having an actual weapon," thinking of my attempt to beat a mugger to death with a plastic bag full of empty Tupperware.
--------------------
One year ago: Convergent Play
Two years ago: Not That Smart
Three years ago: That Old Chestnut
Four years ago: Insomnia Rhapsody

A Grudge

The three-story, stained glass globe in the middle of the Christian Science Library is pretty boss, even if the map it shows of all the countries is frozen in mid-1933. We walk around inside it on a catwalk that traverses the southern hemisphere, wondering at the distance between countries, and at how large Africa really is.

Later, perusing the exhibits, we read about the ideals of Christian Scientists, and how they believe that faith in God can pretty much cure all disease.

"Sounds nice," says Katie, "but I'm pretty sure they took Jim Henson away from us, and for that I will never forgive them."
-----------------------------
One year ago: Using My Contusion
Two years ago: Not Feeling It
Three years ago: A Happy Home Has Many Cats
Eight years ago: Nice try, asshole

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Shipping Up To Boston

Three lanes on either side stretch out before us, free and clear, with enormous green signs proclaiming the way to Boston sailing overhead. A throng of trees crowd the verge on either side, as if we're passing through thick forest.

All of the people that crowd every available square foot of space back in New York, standing on top of each other, stacking up into the sky, all of them have been left behind, and their absence echoes in my awareness like the sound of a vast, empty room.

Then I remember the cars all around me, filled with people and music and conversation and arguments and fast food and cigarette smoke and the eternal roar of engines, the eternal roll of road beneath their wheels, and I sigh; a single bird flies overhead in a flat gray sky.
----------------
One year ago: Apocalypse Every Day
Two years ago: She Thought She Was Helping
Three years ago: Four
Four years ago: Ikea Builds Relationship
Eight years ago: Welcome To New York!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

#Goals

"You were really lucky to come here," the nurse says as she finishes prepping me for my MRI. "I've seen miracles. They saved my life."

"Yeah," she says, peeling of the purple latex gloves, "I had breast cancer, and I'm ten years in remission, all because of the people here."
----------------
One year ago: Friendly Fire
Three years ago: That Might Be Why
Four years ago: Ikea Eats Relationships

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dammit

Dammit, I still haven't gotten used to the N train coming in on the same track as my Q train going home at night, so now I'm on the wrong train. 

If I get off at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays, though, I can grab the 2 to Grand Army and walk home from there.

So I settle in on the 2 train, turn up my podcast and relax into it....

And look up only to find I've passed Grand Army; I'm now somewhere in Eastern Brooklyn, and I have to change trains yet again and go back the way I came. 
--------------
One year ago: Guard Doge
Three years ago: Poseur
Four years ago: Bad Wizard
Eight years ago: on returning

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Underground Geography

I haven't been in this train station for years. There are little brass statues  - bulbous, silly little homunculi hidden everywhere, peeking out of corners and on top of pillars, like Easter eggs - and a long, wide hallway that I remember vividly from when I used to come here on the E train, back when I lived way out in Queens.

I used to rush through this station on my way to the L, heading to some rehearsal in Brooklyn maybe, or to meet a friend in Union Square, but now I linger, taking my time and really looking at the place. As we change, grow older, become more ourselves, the geography of the city changes too, morphing around us, and once familiar places become new and strange.
------------------------
One year ago: Repentant Thief
Two years ago: Buffy and I Love a Good Game of Squash
Four years ago: THAT'S the Most Unbelievable Thing About the Movie to You?

Monday, July 10, 2017

An Oral History of Gentrification

Standing on the train home from work, I sway back and forth, absorbed in an oral history of the gentrification of Brooklyn I checked out of the library.

"Mommy!" pipes the little girl at the window as we emerge into the light and begin climbing the arc of the Manhattan Bridge across the East River beside dozens of cycling commuters. "Brooklyn, mommy!" she exclaims, pointing. "Look at all the bikes!"
-------------------
One year ago: And Then Some
Two years ago: Conversation Starter
Three years ago: Strange Fruit
Four years ago: Pretty Sure

Sunday, July 9, 2017

He Got The Point

The kindly looking old man sitting on the bench outside the cafe motions the dog over, and to my surprise she stops, maybe just to halt her blocks-long march to the vet that I've dragged her on today.

We quickly establish that he speaks no English, and I no what-I'm-guessing-is Italian, so we resort to broad gestures and elaborate facial expressions to get our respective points across. I realize that it's actually pretty hard to communicate that your dog doesn't really like people in general.

"Tutti!" I finally seize on, spreading my arms wide to encompass the world, and then putting on a mean, growly face with my teeth bared.
------------------------
One year ago: My Bad Hand
Two years ago: Safe Bet
Three years ago: Just Trying to Help
Four years ago: Invisible

Stealing Again

"I mean, I think Tarantino meant for it to be viewed as a single movie, you know?" I say to my downstairs neighbor out on the sidewalk.

"Absolutely," he replies. At that same moment a black woman walking down the street behind us suddenly begins shouting all these terrible, sexual things about herself, and the people around her.

Our conversation halts while she walks by, ranting the whole way, but when she's passed, I say, "You know, I was writing about this yesterday."
-------------------
One year ago: I Asked That Same Question
Two years ago: Not Her Fault
Four years ago: Not Her Kind of Place

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Honor Among Thieves

"Nah, I think he went to school to be on they level, 'cause he tired of fucking all those women," she says loudly, and its unclear whether she's on the phone, or talking to herself, or what.

I pull out my notebook and pencil and prepare to record it all when I'm stopped by a thought: isn't it a kind of theft, this writing down the behavior of others, like I'm stealing their words and thoughts? Aren't I just a thief when I take them down, freezing them in electrons and ink, recording their faces, their mannerisms, their rages and joys?

I realize, though, that just as I see them, all of these eyes around me are seeing me, recording me, placing me in their memories and thoughts, and I resign myself to being a thief among thieves, and keep writing.
---------------------
One year ago: Not the Same
Two years ago: Comfort Food
Three years ago: The New Normal
Four years ago: Different Definitions of "Fun"

Thursday, July 6, 2017

I'll Bet You Do

The composer from a show I'd been in years ago is standing on the corner with a mouthful of pizza, and he makes an awkward, muffled sound of greeting when he sees me walking by. His hands are full of the pizza, napkins, a binder of music is shoved under one arm, so instead of a handshake or a hug, I offer him an elbow to bump, which he gratefully accepts.

When he's finally swallowed, we exchange pleasantries, and I say, "Oh, I saw this show last night, and I said to Katie, 'This sounds like something Nate would have written.'"

"I wish," he says, before dashing off to rehearsal, and I resume my walk home from the train, while the breeze blows warm and soft past me to other destinations.
---------------
Two years ago: Fair Point
Three years ago: Picnic
Four years ago: Like Nobody Is Watching
Eight years ago: wedding stuff

Midnight Snack

"Egg and cheese on a roll," I order, and the guy at the slightly grungy deli on Flatbush glides into action while two girls, just off work on the late shift, sit at the counter, quietly chatting and eating what looks like gyro on rice with white sauce.

"And for the lady?" he says in his indefinable eastern European accent, but Katie can't decide, even though the guy makes the "best burgers in town," so she ends up getting nothing.

When it comes time to pay, he looks at the twenty Katie has out. "Twenty dollars," he says, deadpan, then grins mischievously. 
---------------------
One year ago: No-time
Two years ago: Eating My Feelings
Three years ago: Sunset in the Slope
Eight years ago: travel day

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Another Perspective

"You got that completely wrong," Katie says after I read her a first draft of my four each day. "He was sitting on the bench playing guitar, completely chill, like, snuck-into-a-Jimmy-Buffet-concert chill, and you made the joke about the dog, and he laughed, and then he went back to being super-chill, and we said have a nice day and he was chilling and playing guitar, but as soon as his friend with the camera walked up he struck a pose."

"Oh my God, I didn't see that," I say.

"So it doesn't matter what he said," Katie finishes, turning back to her phone.
----------------
One year ago: S(pit)
Two years ago: Not Exactly Overshare
Eight years ago: gayest post yet
Nine years ago: 

The Power of Crowds

Our section has seemingly adopted Carl, to the point that, every time he is at bat, the bleachers burst into cheers and chanted spellings of his name in the humid night air: "C-A-R-L - what's that spell?" etc.

At first it has a somewhat mocking quality, inspired by a lackluster performance by the home team and a crowd of bored people looking for something to do, but from its start in a few rows down in front it grows until the whole section seems to be focusing all its energy on this one guy, on Carl, as he faces down the opposing pitcher with a sharp intensity.

Then, almost as if on cue, the very next pitch Carl smacks the ball right over the fence and out of the park, and the crowd erupts in amazed, ecstatic joy.
----------------------
One year ago: Counterintuitive
Two years ago: Not Exactly Overshare
Three years ago: Patriots and Swayzes
Eight years ago: cleaning out the shed

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Theme Song From "Orange Is The New Black"

The cat, like so many of my cats before, starts yowling in the middle of the night for no readily apparent reason, only to stop just as quickly, also for no apparent reason.

"Earlier today," I tell Katie, "I was going down stairs and the dog started to bark and the cat started yowling. I come back up the stairs, like "What the fuck?", and she's just sitting by my bag all," I pantomime washing my paws nonchalantly.

"Okay, next time we leave the house, we should just turn on the gas," Katie suggests.
-------------------
One year ago: Hoarders
Two years ago: Stepping In
Three years ago: Thirsty Dreams
Four years ago: All's Well That Ends
Eight years ago: Mars Attacks

Sunset After Rain

Rain pours down from thick heavy clouds over Brooklyn, turning the shared backyards of all the buildings behind ours into a dark mini-jungle - trees dripping water, vines drinking it all in, their leafy hands up in supplication. It's a fast moving storm, too, so it's only a matter of a half-hour or so before we can see the sun coming out from the clouds from our kitchen, even as the sky remains dark and foreboding over the front of the house.

We've lived here long enough to know what that means, too: rainbows, and sure enough when we run to the front windows there's one of the brightest double rainbows I've ever seen arcing over the city to the east of us.

When I come downstairs just a few minutes later to forage for our dinner, the rain has stopped and the sky has almost completely cleared; the rainbow is gone, but the whole world has been cleaned and scrubbed, leaving the edges of everything sharp and precise and filled up to the top with light that threatens to spill over on the still-wet streets.
----------------------
One year ago: Burying the Lede
Two years ago: Little Help?
Three years ago: Swearing in Brazil
Four years ago: Not Even the Worst that Happened Today
Eight years ago: Caitlin Rose Visits the Zoo
Nine years ago:

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Two Types

He sweeps in from the next subway car, between cars like you're not supposed to, trailing a pungent smell of weed, while we studiously ignore him. 

He sits directly opposite us, the piney, skunky fug of marijuana curdling around him, an angry look in his eye, when a plastic disposable clatters from his hands to the floor; we ignore that too.

When he gets off the train an older woman, who's also been sitting across the aisle from us, notices us reading the program for "The Play That Goes Wrong," 

She follows Reeky Weed out of the train, but not before pausing to comment to us about the play, saying, "It was so funny though, wasn't it?"
------------------------------
One year ago: The Face
Two years ago: Sick Puppy
Three years ago: In My Prime
Four years ago: Birthdon't


Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Bright Future In Sales

The street solicitor rolls up on me, all ready to lay down her spiel, when she catches sight of Coco. "Aw, how old is your dog?" she says, shifting tactics, thinking to get in that way.

I meet her with my softest, most gentle demeanor, and start talking about the doge: how old she is, her blindness, her slow descent into dementia, her actual sweetness behind her gruff and neurotic exterior - just chatting, but trying to be as honest and real as I can be.

The dog stands through all of this as silent and unmoved as a cow, until quite abruptly she's had enough and she walks off, pulling me behind her, and the street botherer almost sheepishly just sort of lets me go with a, "Have a nice day," as though, after our real conversation, she's unable or unwilling to transition back into her role of pitchman for unnecessary goods and services.
--------------
One year ago: Wait, Do You Think I'm Racist?
Two years ago: Caught
Three years ago: The More Things Change, Part 2
Four years ago: A Soaking

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Back In Harness

The SIM card goes in, and the old phone, the one buried at the bottom of the drawer for three years, spins up. Under the glass of a cracked screen, the old familiar apple logo with a bite out of it gives way to a lock screen I haven't looked at in ages.

A few hours later, I'm sitting in the bedroom, thumbing through Facebook again, and Katie comes in to get me to help make dinner. "Just leave your phone in here," she says, gently taking it from my hands and placing it on the bed.
----------------
One year ago: 2016 Doesn't Like You
Two years ago: Obvious Measurement
Three years ago: Apophenia
Four years ago: It's a Very Complicated Office

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Difference

"Oh, thank you," Katie says as she notices I've cleaned up the cat barf from her side of the bed (where the cat always barfs, right by Katie's pillow).

"SHAME," she adds, leaning over the cat, who is a bit nonplussed by the sudden intrusion, but otherwise unbothered.

"Do you think cats feel shame?" I ask thoughtfully, as the cat settles back down with her tail curled around her nose. "Embarrassment, sure, absolutely, but I'm not so sure about shame, you know?"
-----------------
One year ago: The Romance Fades
Two years ago: Not Even the Best At That
Three years ago: The More Things Change
Eight years ago (one of my favorites!!!): Blessings

Monday, June 26, 2017

As If It's My Fault

I've got the green light, and the left turn that cuts across the bike lane at this intersection is supposed to yield to cyclists.

But here comes this cab, clearly doesn't see me, turning right into my path, slowly enough that I can maneuver, but still. 

"Hey!" I shout angrily into his window as I ride past, and he turns, a dumb, confused look on his face, as if he's never seen so outlandish as me (a man! on a two-wheeled contraption!) in his life.

He stops long enough for me to swerve around and continue up 1st Avenue, and as I pass his bumper, he honks, loud and long.
----------------------
Two years ago: Kids Can Be Cruel
Three years ago: A Good Idea
Eight years ago: celebrating a life

Sunday, June 25, 2017

An Attempted Murder

The crow pose ("kakasana," which has a nice onomatopoetic quality to it) involves balancing the knees on the forearms and lifting the feet off the floor while leaning forward. It's kind of tricky, and it's taken me a couple of years of trying to perfect.

"That was awesome," says my roommate John as I come out of the pose. "I look up and you're just kind of floating there."
---------------
Four years ago: Just This Once
Eight years ago: While you were out
Nine years ago: I happen to prefer pop.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Who Else Is Gonna See Me Naked?

We get home from our epic bike ride, red-skinned and exhausted.

"I'm going to have to wear a long-sleeved shirt," I say to Katie as I examine my "farmer's tan" with interest. "To cover up this ridiculous burn."

"From who?" Katie asks incredulously.
--------------------------
One year ago: Tumbling
Two years ago: Away
Three years ago: Illness
Four years ago: The Ravages of Time (no laughing matter)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time

I lift the bike off the rack, only to feel the middle of my back seize up. I set it down gently, but I must be making a face, because Katie asks me what's up, and insists I take a couple of aspirin. 

Later, after we bicker about some inconsequential nonsense, she apologizes for her part, adding, "I guess I'm just not really enthusiastic yet about this forty-mile bike ride tomorrow."

"Me neither," I say, sighing.
--------------
One year ago: Chee NO Mo
Two years ago: Rainy Day
Three years ago: "Upside?"
Four years ago: Kids These Days
Eight years ago: Am I using my time well?

Hadn't Thought Of It That Way

"So of course I told her I'd look after her dog while I sat on the stoop with Coco," I tell Katie. "And while she ran in to get her bagels, I decided to take my shirt off, to maybe even out my ridiculous farmer's tan."

"But then Coco got hot, so I let her into the vestibule, and then the woman came out, and she looked a little concerned," I continue.

"So when she got back," Katie says thoughtfully, "the clothed guy with the dog she asked to look after her elderly dog was half-naked, and had lost fifty percent of the dogs he was taking care of."
----------------------------
One year ago: Timing
Two years ago: Cleaning Cure
Three years ago: The Cat Prefers Chess, Maybe
Four years ago: Camelids With Attitude
Eight years ago: Everyone I know will one day die.
Nine years ago: Seriously, is it just me?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Curse and Cure

"You have to really push," our friend says, and so I dutifully shove the tab of the seatbelt in. The sun is pouring through her open sun roof, and I can feel it tingling on my skin like I'm some kind of vampire.

When we arrive at Ikea, though, the finicky seatbelt refuses to let me go, and my futile efforts seem only to cinch me more tightly into the seat.

Finally, we end up cutting me out of the belt with a pair of scissors from a first aid kit our friend actually bought at Ikea.
----------------
One year ago: First World Problems
Two years ago: Ants
Four years ago: Not Interested
Nine years ago: That's Mer-MAN!




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

At the Library

I run my eyes over the spines, searching each font, each design choice (blocky, emotional letters or finely chiseled, reserved serifs? plain, workmanlike matte finishes, or brash, multicolored gloss?) for that special something. I used to do this when I was a kid, too, when I tried to read the adult fiction stacks in my hometown library, working from A to Z, poring through the shelves, waiting for that one title to jump out at me, catch my eye and demand to be read.

And there it is again, too, rising up in me in the present moment: that old sense of longing, the hope that this time I might find the book that will save me, rescue me from myself.

But I know my enemy of old, and I know his ways, so I breathe (the smell of paper and ink, the smell of old wood and dust) and let the feeling pass, until it is enough that I am here, now, and just then my eye snags on a book that turns out to be next in a series I'd started reading a year or so back.
-------------
One year ago: Cycling
Two years ago: Ragtimes
Four years ago: Paranoid
Eight years ago: my inexplicable heart
Nine years ago: Up on the Roof



Monday, June 19, 2017

Warm Up for Dog Days

The thick, sticky heat only seems to increase as the day goes on, and even a quick detour through the spray from an opened fire hydrant does little to cool our bike ride home. We dart in and out of traffic around trucks parked in the bike lanes manned by a handful of men in fluorescent orange vests and hardhats sweating out their lives on the hot asphalt,  

On the homestretch, now, riding down Vanderbilt and hoping we won't be too sunburned, when we hit a temperature differential. The air goes cool, almost cold, even in the broiling sun, and I can see, riding in front of me, Katie's shoulders visibly relax for just a moment before the heat clamps down again with its heavy, wet, implacable jaws. 
------------------------
One year ago: Secret Brotherhood
Two years ago: Perfection
Three years ago: Dr. Albert is Friendly
Four years ago: Long Week

Remember Pogs?

"Man, spinners are totally played out," one of the street fair vendors says to another, and from the look of things he's right. We've certainly reached a saturation point with them: almost every tent had a table of the little trilobed plastic things with a weights on the outside, and some of the tables even had super fancy, high-end ones made of brass and enameled paint 

She picks one of the fancier ones up and gives it a spin, and we both have to admit that the tactile physics of the thing are kind of fun, like holding a gyroscope in your hand that resists slightly any attempt to change the orientation of its axis.

"But as soon as I pick it up, I just want to put it down again," she says, laying the thing back in its ostentatious, brass and filigree box like she's putting down something that's kind of oily.
-----------------
One year ago: Discords
Two years ago: Extra Productive
Three years ago: When You Put it That Way
Four years ago: Sorry
Eight years ago: This damn rain

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Or Were You Just Making Conversation?

The apocalyptic downpour that came through about two hours ago seems to have worn itself out to a drizzle, and I walk back from dropping off compost at the farmer's market with the hood of my rain jacket down, letting the water pelt me as it will.

On my way up the stairs to my apartment, I meet the brother of the brother-sister duo that lives upstairs from us coming down to go out.

"Looks like you missed the worst of it," I say.

"Yeah, it's a low pressure system that's supposed to go through Staten Island on its way up through Nassau County," he says, watching me intently, "and it'll probably end up in Connecticut before heading back out to sea."
--------------
One year ago: Confessions
Two years ago: Turn it Off
Three years ago: Sick Thoughts
Eight years ago: Bad Day For Rats
Nine years ago: The Party Boat

Friday, June 16, 2017

Something Fishy

After coming home from dinner, both of us punch drunk from the week we've had, Katie stands on the bottom step of the stair waiting for her customary kiss before going upstairs.

Instead of kissing her, though, I open my mouth and put it over her entire nose, and suck on it for a second.

"It starts out warm, then gets cold, like peeing in the ocean," she says, smiling and rubbing her nose with the palm of her hand after I'm finished. "Especially since you just ate sushi," she adds, "and I mean that as a good thing."
------------------------
One year ago: Being Friendly
Two years ago: I Am Too Familiar
Three years ago: New Book In the Mail Today
Four years ago: Weiner's Everywhere
Eight years ago: Danke, Dirty Projectors
Nine years ago: echoes

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hearing Things (Exhaustion Edition)

After dinner, I start awake on the couch with the YouTube video we put on still playing, and Katie attempting to stagger to her feet.

"Going to bed...I'm going to bed," she mumbles, stumbling toward the back of the house.

Later, when I come out of the bathroom brushing my teeth, she's wrapped in a towel from her shower, making coffee for tomorrow morning, and she stops, looks at me, and asks, "Did you just whisper something creepy to me?"

I shake my head no and reply, through a mouth of minty foam, "You need to get some sleep."
-------------
One year ago: 'Tis But a Scratch
Two years ago; How Others See Us
Three years ago (one of my personal favorites): Fatherly Advice
Four years ago: Need to Get Me a Hammock
Nine years ago: 6-15-08 Well, thank God I got THAT over with.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Done

"Are you fighting on the internet?" Katie says, walking into our bedroom. I'm perched on the bed, furiously typing away. 

I don't answer and keep tapping on the keyboard until I'm finished with what I hope is a scathing retort, then I shut my laptop. 

"I'm done," I say. 
-------------------------
One year ago: Since You Asked
Two years ago: Why Yes. Yes I Would
Three years ago: Delayed

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Subway Stories

"Okay, subway stories," I say to Katie. We're lying in bed with the air-conditioner on blast to try and shake the oppressive heat.

She stares up at the ceiling smiling. "All I'm saying is that if there's a report of a murder on the N train tonight, I know who did it," she says.
------------
One year ago: Wishful Thinking
Two years ago: Absinthe
Three years ago: Delayed
Four years ago: As If What I Want Has Anything To Do With It
Nine years ago: 6-13-08 Strangers

Monday, June 12, 2017

Counterfactual History

"Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if the slave-owning Founding Fathers hadn't done that whole revolution thing," Terry from my writing group says. "Like maybe we'd be a quiet little place, just a little titular connection to the old country, like Australia or Canada. Like how much trouble could we have avoided, and slavery would have been outlawed earlier, all that."

"Oh, I'm sure there are several million people in India who might have something to say about that," Barbara replies as she's leaving.
----------------
One year ago: Making It
Two years ago: Absinthe
Three years ago: Used
Four years ago: Still Learning (Family Dynamics Edition)
Nine years ago: 6-12-08 Why Do You Think I'm Living Here?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Helping

The tequila is starting to wear off, and my brain is playing the equivalent of that game where you write texts on your phone using the next suggested word and so you end up with lines like "I take the train delayed orgasm" or whatever it is comes up on your phone. Those words would never come up on my phone.

"I'm dying," I say to Katie as I'm trying to write this and all the stuff that I did today that was very interesting to me at the time (putting together shelves, helping Katie apply to holiday markets, cooking for us, feeding and walking the dog, watching the Tony's) seems dull and entirely unworthy of writing, even though that's the point of all this.

"Do you want me to help?" she replies, leaning in super close and putting her nose right next to my cheek.
---------------------
One year ago: Encouragement
Two years ago: A Vision of the Future

Inquisitive

Driving down 6th Avenue to drop the van we rented for the day back off at U-haul, the cops have all the roads heading west shut down. "Why are they doing this?" Katie asks irritably, knowing I don't know the answer.

Later, we're riding our bikes home, looking for a bite to eat, but 5th Avenue and all the roads leading to and from it are still blocked off, but when we bypass the barriers and go around the cops, we find that they've blocked it off for the Park Slope Pride parade, and as we duck across the parade route to cross the street, Katie is all smiles.

"I just wanted to know why," she says.
-----------------------------
One year ago: Beggary
Two years ago:
Three years ago: Avoidance
Four years ago: How Am I Supposed to Hate You If You Insist on Being Nice?
Eight years ago: This Is NOT An Assassination Threat, OK? Lighten Up.
Nine years ago: It Couldn't Be More Perfect


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Strawberry Moon

"Didn't that used to be Kevin's place?" I ask. Katie and I agree that it was, but the heating oil place that used to be downstairs appears to have been replaced by a real estate office, and we shake our heads.

The moon is starting to come up, and I mention that it's going to be a Strawberry Moon, but I don't know why they call it that.

"Probably something straightforward: 'Now's the time to harvest your strawberries," or something," Katie answers.
---------------------
One year ago: Mawwige is What Bwings Us Togethah
Two years ago: What Are You Waiting For
Three years ago: Tell it Like it is
Four years ago: Typical Brooklyn Sunday (In Some Places)
Nine years ago: Kill, Chat, Kill

Friday, June 9, 2017

Nuages

The orchestra plays the music of my youth in the neighborhood in which I lived and played for years.  It's cool but not cold, and the stadium is gradually filling up when, during a stirring rendition of the music from "E.T.", the sun breaks from behind a cloud and floods the upper deck of seats with low, golden light.

I tilt my head to watch the clouds moving slowly overhead, and think about how happy I am to be here, and how not too terribly long from now, everyone in this stadium, even the kids who are dancing around enjoying the music from Star Wars and Jurassic Park, everyone of us will be dead. This thought, far from filling me with fear or despair, soothes me somewhat in a mildly sad way, and I lean to my right where Katie is sitting and push the weight of my shoulder into her side, happy just that she's there, and she, slightly distracted by the music, leans back into me, then looks up from the stage and smiles.
--------------
Two years ago: The Long Cut
Eight years ago: 6/8/09 Braid

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Lunchtime "Tragedy"

Pile of veggies on a paper plate, microwave two minutes then stir. 

Oh I should get my phone, I think, maybe play a game or read an article.

But when I get back to my desk, my phone is gone. After searching everywhere, I realize: someone stole my phone.
------------
One year ago: Motherly Aggression
Three years ago: Truth
Nine years ago: 6-7-08 Playing the Ponies

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Optimism

We know the names of dogs, but not their owners, but since the dogs can't talk, we chat with the owners while we play with dogs.

"We just got back from the lawyer's office," says Serge's owner, a friendly older woman, "where we were making out our wills, and I said we should have a clause, right at the beginning, an extra ten-thousand dollars to whoever takes care of the dog."

Serge presses his lean, heavy, gray head into my hand and wags his tail as she continues: "And my husband says, 'Our daughter Wendy loves Serge, so we don't have to do that.'"

"And I say, "Are you saying that Serge is going to outlive us?'"
-------------------
One year ago: Missing My Person
Two years ago: Meta-Meta
Four years ago: Chatty. Sorry.
Eight years ago: 6/6/09 - Circle around the park
Nine years ago: 6-6-09 (supplemental)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Gospel of Thomas, Saying 102

Just as the train pulls up, he snakes his way between the woman standing in front of me and the door. He's old, with a cane, shabbily dressed, a ratty baseball cap perched at a distracted angle on top of his balding pate.

I try to give him the benefit of the doubt though, even when the doors open and he shoves his way past the exiting passengers and heads straight for the folding seat in the corner of the train; maybe he needs to sit, I mean, I don't know his life, how much pain he's in.

But instead of folding the seat down and, you know, sitting down to maybe ease whatever's wrong with whatever he needs that cane for, he starts haranguing the car, leaning up against the seat, completely incoherent, maybe not even hurt, just a mean son of a bitch.
---------------------
One year ago: It (Really) Begins
Two years ago: Fading
Three years ago: Spin Class Epiphany
Eight years ago: 6/5/09 - Short attention
Nine years ago: 6-5-09

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Paranoid

The dog stumbles from one side of the sidewalk to the other, pausing at each little well of dirt that holds a tree. She sniffs past a small empty baggie with a cartoon dog on it emblazoned on it, which claims to contain "potpourri" ("NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION") but which I know for sure once contained synthetic marijuana.

The thought of the desperation and unhappiness required to put something like this in your body gives me heart palpitations, And its cheerful colors and goofy picture makes me nervous, but I stoop to pick it up.

There's more trash on our doorstep, and I start to wonder if someone left it there, like poisonous, sinister gifts - an ancient condom, a package of Cheese Doodles - meant as a curse offering to try to kill the vibe of a good day.
----------------
One year ago: Is There a Ghost in My House (Pt. 2)
Two years ago: Nothing's Free
Three years ago: Dangers of an Audience
Eight years ago: 6/4/08 - Some Days
Nine years ago: 6-4-08 Shaving

Sassy Commitment

Everyone's out in the greenmarket at the entrance to the park, a friendly sun shines cheerily in a Disney blue sky, a delicious breeze ruffles hair and fur, playfully snatches hats off heads and sends them tumbling toward attractive strangers, and overall people are flashing just defiant amounts of skin at each other via shorts and muscle shirts.  Even the volunteers at the composting collection station are feeling sassy.

"Let's put it this way:" one says after a friend compliments him on his commitment to the cause, "until every fossil fuel company is defunct, I'll be here, doing my part."

"Oh, I bet you'd still come here," his friend says admiringly.
----------------
One year ago: Still Got Some Life Yet
Two years ago: Out of Practice
Three years ago: Putting Off The Inevitable
Four years ago: Or What to Write Here
Eight years ago: 6/3/09 - Dropped
Nine years ago: 6/3/08 "Antland, Antland, Over All"

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Inertia

The old man in the badly fitting blue suit runs by, his shoes flapping urgently on the sidewalk. He's waving frantically, flagging down the bus that just pulled up down the block.

I remember stubbornly walking through the parking lot at Desert Sky Pavilion that winter 25 years ago as my friends urged me to run; walking even though they were running to get in, even though the Grateful Dead had already started playing, the notes of "Dark Star" floating out beneath the blue.

Some people would prefer to miss the bus than run, no matter what the cost.
---------------
One year ago: Foot in Mouth
Two years ago: The Human Condition
Three years ago: Nothitarian
Four years ago: A Sense of Humor Like a Cat
Eight years ago: 6/2/09 - Seriously, it's freaking me out.
Nine years ago: 6-2-08 Fathers and Sons