Friday, March 23, 2018

Contents Under Pressure

This is the last Q train of the night, pretty sure, so it's somewhat crowded and going local, and the guy standing in front of us has clearly been over-served, judging by the fervor of his burps.

The slowness of the train isn't helping his situation any, either, as his muttering becomes increasingly less "under-the-breath," and more "aggressive, foul-mouthed-guy-talking-to-himself," so of course Katie and I start making fun of him the meaner and angrier he gets.

His latest enraged round of "just fucking go, fucking go," when the train pauses for a moment between stations brings a round of laughter from us, which brings us to his rather limited attention, and he sullenly moves to the other side of the train.

As soon as the train stops at our station, though, he dashes off, just behind us, and barely makes it to the trash can before throwing up.
One year ago: A Thousand Cuts
Two years ago: Manners
Three years ago: Delicate Gentlemen

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Manhole Fire

The streets are quiet, and almost entirely empty of cars, which makes the single police SUV guarding the police tape stretched across the intersection especially haunting. Its red and blue flashing lights spin through the dark, illuminating the falling snow and bouncing off the silent buildings lining the icy street.

By the time we make it over to the corner opposite where Katie is talking to the cop, the doge has had enough clambering through the snow, and I have to pick her up to cross the street.

"Their just babysitting the manhole fire," Katie says, joining us and gesturing to the fire trucks parked halfway up the block, while smoke, punctuated by the occasional pop and burst of light, pours from the manhole a dozen or so yards away.
One year ago: Splitting No Hairs
Two years ago: Tough Guy
Three years ago: Go To Sleep
Four years ago: On Vacation
Five years ago: Donut Danger
Seven years ago: Nothing Can Be Okay, Too

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Human in the Machine

"Printer error," reads the self-checkout screen as we walk up, but before we can do anything, an employee of the store comes up to take care of it. She doesn't look at us, no eye contact at all, she just swipes a card across the scanner, punches a few buttons on the screen, spools out the receipt, and swoops out again. It's almost like she's just a part of the machine itself, a mechanical mechanic - not that she's inhuman, just... something else.

We go home and watch the new Blade Runner movie.
One year ago: Sick of Yourself
Two years ago: Back in the Saddle
Three years ago: Go to Sleep
Five years ago: Snapshots From An Evening Walk

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


I can't make any sense of this spreadsheet. It's 7:30 and my stomach is sour and we've been working on taxes all day, and just when we thought we were done, these goddamn numbers just won't, add, up. 

Katie raises her hands to her cheeks, like Munch's The Scream or a slasher-movie queen about to give vent to an unhinged shriek, and then stops. 

"I really cannot do this anymore today," she says semi-calmly, slowly lowering her hands and placing them, palms-down, flat on the table.
One year ago: Sunshine Yellow
Two years ago: A Poetics of Politics
Three years ago: The Best I Could Do

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Indirect Proposition

The couple sits down next to us on the subway home. She pulls out her phone, and he pulls out a hardback book bound in dark blue leather with gold edging on the pages and the title in gold letters: Think And Grow Rich.

After leafing through the pages he finds what he's looking for and shows her a chapter entitled "The Mystery of Sex Transmutation."

"This is the thing I was telling you about the other night," he says, while she nods and thumbs through her phone disinterestedly.
One year ago: No Sell Out

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cheese It, It's the Fuzz

The SUV rumbles up the path on the edge of the meadow. "Uh oh," Katie says from our spot on the park bench where we've been watching the kids and dogs and joggers beneath a pale blue, cloudless sky. 

"Your dog has to be on a leash," the speaker on the top of the vehicle blares. When the woman in the meadow throws the ball again, sending her dog sprinting over the hills, the voice comes back on, exasperated now: "The lady sitting down, throwing the ball, by the tree - your dog has to be on a leash."
One year ago: Indirect
Three years ago: They Stay The Same Age
Five years ago: Wasted Years
Ten years ago: Differently Abled

Saturday, March 17, 2018

It's Medicinal

"Weren't you in earlier?" the woman behind the counter at the deli says.

"Yeah, but we only discovered we were out of coffee just now," I explain.

"You're going to drink coffee now?" she says incredulously, looking up at the clock.

"Well, if she don't have coffee, she don't get up."
One year ago: Blood
Two years ago: Kids These Days (Bike Shop Mix)
Three years ago: Digging For Copper
Four years ago: An Auspicious Start
Five years ago: Glooooom

Friday, March 16, 2018

Alternate Spelling

"Now is that 'Coco' with a 'C' or a 'K'?" the receptionist at the vet's office asks as she types. "I have to ask," she adds, seeing my confusion. "You never know what people will do."

"Like they could put an 'a' on the end, like chocolate," I joke, almost instantly regretting it.
One year ago: Hypocrisy
Two years ago: Hard to Stomach
Three years ago: Talking Back to Showtime (cont'd)
Five years ago: Honesty is the Best

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Another Side

The picture on my phone swings from the small white dog with the shamrock bandana to the smiling face of my father.

"You know he's turning eighty his next birthday," my mother says, off camera, and this causes him to nod happily.

"I like telling the other guys I play pickleball with that I'm eighty," he says, still grinning. "They go 'whoa!' and then I've got 'em."
One year ago: Blizzard Travails
Two years ago: Eat Something
Three years ago: One At a Time
Four years ago: Practicing
Five years ago: Nothing Happens Without Something Else Happening (no blame)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Of Our Fathers

"Well, maybe the comics-guy can tell us what's up," I say to Katie's cousin Ryan after this inexplicable post-credits teaser in the Marvel movie we're watching finishes.

This isn't totally from left-field, since he writes for a comics website, so if anybody in the room would know, it'd be him, but somehow the tone of my question seems to ring as a bit too aggressive in my ears. He shrugs, it's fine, but I immediately recognize one of the ways my father used to talk: jocular, yet somehow belligerent, like I mean to be funny, but I just come off as angry.

The cliche is we turn into our fathers, but it's still weird to see it in action.
One year ago: No Sense Of Snow
Two years ago: Boundary Issues
Three years ago: Physical Exertion
Four years ago: Cyclical
Five years ago: Finding Ourselves In A New Room

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


"Ow! Hey, those are my fingers," Katie says, pulling her hand away from the dog's mouth.

"This is how hard she bit me," she says, taking my reluctant hand and gnawing on my knuckles with slightly more pressure than a teething baby.

Later, as I write this, I consider that we really aren't interacting with a lot of people besides each other.
One year ago: Misread
Two years ago: Putting the "Fun" in Fundraising
Three years ago: Sick
Four years ago: Memories and Grudges
Five years ago: But Really, What Do I Know?
Ten years ago: Fragments

Monday, March 12, 2018


My anxiety mounts as I reach the front of the line at Trader Joe's and Katie still hasn't returned, when the bored young man leaning against the barrel directs me to a register.

I'm furiously texting Katie in response to her queries, ending with "Register 24 - Hurry," as the (also bored) cashier scans and bags my frozen tuna burgers and frozen tamales.

Finally, just as he bags my last item, Katie appears, arms laden with treasures and a giant, breathless smile on her face.

"These are some pretty end-of-the-world texts," Katie says, checking her messages.
One year ago: Still Winter
Two years ago: Spring Looks Delicious
Three years ago: Normal
Four years ago: The Art of the Deal
Five years ago: Some People Shouldn't Be In Customer Service, Or In Public

Sunday, March 11, 2018

We Don't Deserve Dogs

There's a coughing screech from the living room, followed by hysterical laughter. I dash back down the hall to find Katie, face red, laughing so hard she's starting to choke, still lying on the floor where I left her, with the doge standing over her, tongue hanging out, a not so bright look on her face.

"The dog dragged her tongue through my mouth," Katie says once she's able to get a word out, as the dog begins to circle the room yet again.

"I'll get you a glass of water," I say, heading down the hall after I catch my breath.
One year ago: Different Times
Two years ago: Uncharitable Charity
Four years ago: Reincarintersection

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Therapeutic Mugging

"You ever get really high?" the kid behind us in the booth at the pizza place says, a little too loudly, clearly in an effort to impress his friends.

"I remember my first beer," I say at the same time Katie's eyes widen and she says, "We should mug that kid."

My face must have held a bit of judgement, as she quickly backtracks. "We'd give him his stuff back right away, I would just want to see the expression on his face.

One year ago: Port of Called Out
Two years ago: Heckling
Four years ago: That's MY Problem
Five Years ago: Moving The House - Tourette's Style
Ten years ago: Liminal

Friday, March 9, 2018

Crossroad of Kindness

"You know what, Mike?" the kid in the hoodie says to his grinning friend. "I got you."

We pass them, and before we turn to head up Seventh, a smiling dog and his owner cross our path, and the dog gives us a solid wag in greeting before they continue on their way.

"That was a super friendly corner," I remark to Katie as she takes my hand.
One year ago: International Women's Day
Two years ago: Bum Skier
Three years ago: I Get It
Four years ago: I'd Know
Five years ago: Ray IS a Persuasive Dude

Thursday, March 8, 2018

It Had a Good Run

The streets and sidewalks are thick with ice and snow, but I walk without fear because I know the winter boots Katie bought me years ago are more than up to the task. Even the gutters, choked as they are with slush and dirty water, present no difficulty, and I step from the curb with a confident stride into the middle of a puddle.

...and immediately my heart fills with dread as my boot fills with water, soaking in cold and soggy at the heel, sousing the felt liner with sad and wet.

When I get home, I examine the culprit, only to find the heel completely worn out and torn away from the sole, ruinous and unfixable.
One year ago: Rising
Two years ago: What a Ham
Three years ago: First Time On The Slopes
Ten years ago: Settling In

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mortifying Both Our Families

Thankfully, the exact moment I realize I don't have a bag to pick up the poop the doge is making, my downstairs neighbor shows up with his dog, and I ask him if he's got a spare.

"We'll just double up," he says graciously, using the one bag he's got to scoop up the doge's poop. "It's like we're sharing a condom, or something."

Laughing, I admit that's the most disgusting thing I've heard today, and he acknowledges my compliment as he walks a way with a shouted, "Success!"
One year ago: Weapon of Choice
Two years ago: I Was Thinking Email Addresses, For Starters
Three years ago: First Night In Vermont
Four years ago: Rhetorical
Five years ago: Selling The Couch, Part II
Ten years ago: Where My Demons At?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Another Pool

Up the trail past the third bridge, a little north of where the sound of water gets louder as it tumbles over rocks into a deep gorge, I clamber down a short, icy incline to the water’s edge. The snow was pristine and crunchy all the way here, marred only by the occasional deer or rabbit track, so I know I’m alone, but I still check up and down the trail for anyone as I strip down to the bathing suit I wore underneath my snow pants.

The sandy shore of the river freezes the bottoms of my feet as I breathe deeply and calm my mind, but the pain is nothing compared to the shock of cold that slams into me as I step into the near freezing water and sit down in it. I feel my feet go utterly numb, my hands too, and my head feels like a balloon, while the thick frigid water flows gently by and a few stray snowflakes drift down from a pearly gray sky.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Summertime Pool

On the other side of the road is a path, right next to the guardrail, that leads down to the stream. The sky is matte gray and sleet pebbles the black asphalt white as I carefully make my way over icy stones to the burbling water below.

A few falls chatter upstream, but all of them lead to this deep green pool. A white rock pokes its head above the surface, its bulk disappearing into the green murk, and I stand in the quiet, listening to the sleet dust the trees and imagining kids jumping off this rock to splash in this pool, in a summertime that seems forever away.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Seasonal Guests

The folks without kids stay up a little bit longer, but eventually we all head to bed, weary from a day of travel, and the Vermont cabin where we’re all staying goes quiet for the night.

In our bedroom as Katie and I get ready for bed, a handful of ladybugs who’ve apparently sheltered here from winter’s chill make an exodus from the base of the ceiling fan where they’ve been hiding. A single spider and I watch them scatter across the ceiling beams with a dispassionate eye.

“Don’t fall into my mouth, or you might get eaten” Katie says to the ceiling, before we turn out the light.

Saturday, March 3, 2018


The snow that covered my glasses on the way to the store melts while I wait in line, making my vision blurry,

"Glasses aren't great in snow," I say to the cashier, but when I try to clean the lenses on my shirt tail, I  end up wiping them on my wet jacket, which just makes everything worse.

"Of course, I'd probably be having less trouble if I was a little smarter," I add.

"Oh, come now," says the now visibly uncomfortable cashier as she rings up my purchase.
One year ago: Clickhole
Two years ago: Nostalgia Trip
Three years ago: Brief Encounter
Four years ago: Boundaries
Five years ago: Brother Paul

Friday, March 2, 2018

A Night At The Opera

The woman sitting in front of us in the box at Carnegie Hall may be into opera, but she is clearly no fan of 20th Century atonal music. The first stabs of dissonance from the orchestra leave her shaking her head in absolute negation of what she's hearing, and the chorus trading syllables across vast intervalic gulfs does nothing to help her mood.

As the percussion thunders, rattles, and booms, and the orchestra riffles through the chromatic scale like a drunken man searching through his pockets for his keys, Katie leans over to me. "That woman regrets every decision in her life that brought her here," she whispers.
One year ago: Sicker Than I Thought
Two years ago: Dishwasher Epiphany
Three years ago: Near Miss
Four years ago: Wars and Rumors of Wars
Five years ago: Dressing Up And Annoying The Neighbors

Thursday, March 1, 2018

This Is Home

On the other end of the couch, Katie peers intensely into the depths of her phone as she composes an email. I get to watch her while she thinks, while a small furrow of concentration deepens between her eyebrows.

The overhead light catches coppery gold highlights in her red hair, and I lay back against the arm of the couch. My chest rises and falls with each breath I take, and feel the soft heavy mammal of my body warm and calm with gratitude.
One year ago: Sympathy
Two years ago: Shout Out to My Dead Cat Honey - The Angriest Cat in the World
Three years ago: Growing Up
Four years ago: Fashion
Five years ago: I Spoiled It

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Getting the Shaft

We come down the escalator after the movie to the mezzanine, where we pause in our conversation while Katie peers through the clear elevator doors on the far wall.

The light makes the thick plastic glow purplish-pink. We can see up the elevator shaft three stories to the top floor, and down another two stories to the ground.

"Ooooh," Katie says, and I feel a little thrill of vertigo as stare down the long emptiness to the ground.
One year ago: Moving Day
Two years ago: Pagans
Three years ago: That Turned Dark Rather Quickly
Four years ago: Extremes
Five years ago: Hypochondria

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Mnemonic Key

I do the cycle of pockets one last time before I really start to panic: right, then left jacket pocket, then right and left jeans pocket, then back pockets. No key.

After checking under the truck, then retracing my steps, I head downstairs to the storage space, my mind racing with paranoid imaginings where someone has picked up the key to our rented truck and is just waiting for me to walk away so they can steal it.

My anxiety must show on my face, because when I ask Katie if she has the key, she pulls it out slowly with a slightly pitying look, and I simultaneously remember that I gave it to her not more than fifteen minutes ago.
One year ago: Vindicated
Two years ago: Objection: Leading The Witness
Three years ago: Fail Better
Four years ago: Maternal Wisdom
Five years ago: You Spend a Third of Your Life In Bed

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Fog Makes Everything Creepy

The fog halos the streetlights as the dog jigs sideways down the sidewalk for her last walk of the night. The streets are empty, except for this guy who crosses the street in the middle of the road to walk past me and doge.

My limbic system immediately goes on high alert, and I grab my keys and put on my mean face. The doge sniffs a tree unconcernedly as the man passes within a few feet of me on the otherwise uninhabited street, and we walk to the front door, unmolested.
One year ago: Floating
Two years ago: First Impressions
Three years ago: Looks at Books
Four years ago: The Homestead Inside

Sunday, February 25, 2018


"This biologist came into the booth today," I tell Katie as we're sitting on the stools at the kitchen table. "He deals with, like, invasive species, and I did not," I say raising a finger pointedly, "talk about kudzu, and talked about invasive Argentinian red ants instead." 

"Good job," she says, "but kudzu isn't an invasive species."

I just figured everyone talked about kudzu, and he probably was tired of hearing about the one invasive species everybody thought they knew about.
One year ago: Remora
Two years ago: Alone Together
Four years ago: Dinner And A Show
Five years ago: Not That Different

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Not Leaving

March, Katie and I have agreed, is gonna be us hanging out, watching movies, and deep-cleaning the house of the devastation we have wrought upon it for the last several months as we've gotten her business off the ground. 

Trudging up the stairs after the doge's last walk of the night (she clambering awkwardly up in front of me, one laborious step at a time), I imagine, for instance, taking up all the rugs in the apartment and scrubbing the wooden floors that lie concealed beneath to a warm golden glow.

This satisfying image gives way to a further image of the rugs, gone, and all the furniture too, and everything out of the apartment to the bare white walls, the way it would look if we were moving out. The very idea of leaving this place (something we have no intention of doing) fills my heart with a heavy, wet sadness, and I have to pause at the door to let it settle before going inside to get ready for bed.
One year ago: Encouragement
Two years ago: The New Technique
Three years ago: Drunk and Cold
Four years ago: Worst Cabbie Yet

Friday, February 23, 2018

Morning Argument

She's furiously texting, walls of blue scrolling up the screen, interrupted only by small, pleading gray replies. "I deff don't need compliments but I can't handle when you" too far and fast for me to follow over her shoulder.

I adjust my grip on the subway pole. She stabs "send," turns the screen off, and clutches it to her chest, knuckles whitening.
One year ago: Self Talk
Two years ago: She Learned It From Me?
Three years ago: I'm No Cary Grant
Five years ago: I Don't Actually Wear Cologne
Seven years ago: Barbaric Meo-awp
Ten years ago: Wii Would Like to Play (With Your Balls)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Beats An Office

"I'm losing track of days," I tell Katie at the end of my twenty-fourth straight day at the booth. The cop on TV discusses how to tell if a prostitute in Vegas is dealing drugs.

"Well, a lot of office workers thought yesterday was Monday too, because of the long weekend," Katie says, peering out at me from where she's laying underneath a flannel blanket.

"Same, but without the despair," I say, nodding.
One year ago: General vs. Specific
Two years ago: Becoming Something Beautiful
Three years ago: Another Long Walk Through Winter
Four years ago: Spite
Five years ago: She Said It Would Be Cold
Ten years ago: This Old, Cold World

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Somebody Had to Start The Fire

The woman gets up from her table and, in putting on her jacket, nearly knocks over my drink. The hostess quickly assesses the situation, quietly slips over and, with a few deft adjustments, secures the safety of our drinks and makes sure the lady's jacket doesn't get wet.

We exchange glances, the hostess and I, and in response to her apologetic eye-roll I mime placing the oblivious woman's still dangling sleeve over the candle and setting it alight.

"Like that Billy Joel song, except you did," the hostess says, laughing.
One year ago: Winter Takes a Holiday
Two years ago: Like This
Three years ago: Unfair
Four years ago: Mysophobia is Occasional Common Sense
Five years ago: Stand Clear

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bleed Through

"I spent a lot of time on Twitter today," I tell Katie as we sprawl exhausted on the couch at the end of the day. "I might have cursed this one guy to baldness when he gets older."

We watch the couples dance across the ice on TV, and I find myself picking at tiny little mistakes, and feeling a sort of exhausted, dark pleasure at cleverly pointing them out.

"You seem a little mean today," Katie finally says with a concerned look in her eyes.
One year ago: Winter Takes a Holiday
Two years ago: Like This
Three years ago: Unfair
Five years ago: Stand Clear

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Staying In Touch (With My Feelings)

"Are we FaceTiming?" my Dad shouts over the phone after he picks up, and so I pull the device away from my ear and punch the button that brings up his friendly face on my screen. I'm lying back in my bed, and I adjust my pose a little in the tiny inset picture of me on the screen to minimize my weak-ish chin.

"Why are you cheeks so red?" he asks, still smiling.

"Oh, I'm just mad about something," I say, realizing, as I say it, that that inconsiderate email I read right before I called them must have gotten to me more than I thought.
One year ago: Forgotten
Two years ago: Relief
Five years ago: Be Willing to be Boring


"Why does the dog hate me drying her off so much?" I ask, semi-rhetorically, as the dog leaps and squirms out from underneath the Shamwow™.

"She hates anything that wasn't her idea," Katie says casually from the couch in the family room where she's watching the Olympics, "which means she basically hates everything."

"Like something divided by zero," I say, while the dog staggers off down the hall, leaving uneven wet paw prints scattered across the carpet.

"The doge is the something," Katie agrees.
Two years ago: What's Good For Me
Five years ago: Maybe That's It

Saturday, February 17, 2018

That Explains That

Through my headphones, over the music, I hear a heavy thud like the sound of someone pounding on a door, and I quickly look down the train, to find a woman at the other end of the car picking up her large old fashioned umbrella which she's just dropped.

That explains that; I go back to my music and staring out the subway window as we pass over Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn.

Suddenly, a floral, medicinal scent, definite but difficult to identify, faintly reaches my nose, and I again scan the car to try to locate its source, only to find the same woman who dropped her umbrella now vigorously rubbing hand sanitizer into her palms.

From behind her head and back pops a chubby little set of arms and legs, and I see that she's toting around a little one in a baby carrier, so I guess that explains the hand sanitizer, too.
Two years ago: Willful
Three years ago: Another Dog Post
Seven years ago: Bathroom Humor
Ten years ago: A Cry For Attention

Friday, February 16, 2018

Small World

She pushes onto the train, though no one is in her way, and right up beside me where I'm holding on to the pole, utterly indifferent to my personal space. The train has plenty of room where she might stand, but she's already put down her grocery bags and is intently perusing her magazine practically up against me in the shadow of my arm.

My annoyance subsides, though, when I really look at her: she's under five feet tall, super tiny, really. It must be incredibly hard to be short in a big city, and she probably thinks she's just doing whatever she needs to do to survive, pushing her way through an indifferent world.
One year ago: That Old Chestnut
Two years ago: The Ravages of Time
Three years ago: Dog Pee
Four years ago: The Vagaries of Time
Five years ago: Screaming Goats and The Wheel of Karma

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Much Worse

"Armor class five!" I exclaim, after describing a scenario between the dog and the cat to Katie (the doge walked by the cat's perch on the chair, and the cat reached down and slammed her claws into the doge's thick fur, eliciting exactly no response whatsoever).

"Is that some kind of nerdy card game reference?" she asks skeptically as she leans up against the door frame to the kitchen.

"D and D," I say, smiling.

"So, worse," she says.
One year ago: I Am Known
Two years ago: Contrast
Three years ago: The Scientist Considers His Divorce
Five years ago: Drink The Undrinkable Drink
Seven years ago: No Good Reason
Ten years ago: There Is Nowhere That Does Not See You

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

(Sun) Salutations From the Coming Spring

I practice my breathing exercises and yoga early in the morning in front of a SAD lamp, not because I'm particularly depressed, but more as a preventative measure, so my already pretty good mood gets a boost.

As I'm doing it this morning with my eyes closed, though, I notice the light seeping through my eyelids has a distinctly different quality.

When I open my eyes, the lamp is still on, but for the first time in months, out the window behind it, between the buildings across the street, the sun is coming up. I look down at my chest and, instead of the pale bluish glow of LEDs, all I see is the shadow of the lamp, surrounded by a corona of fiery sunlight.
One year ago: Expectation of Privacy
Two years ago: Prescient
Four years ago: Time Travel Weather
Five years ago: Revolving Door
Ten years ago: February in a Nutshell

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Not So Anonymous

The dog sniffs her usual tree (after sniffing her usual rocks), so I stand around with a not terribly bright look on my face until she finishes, and two guys walk by, with a third coming the other way.

"Patrick!" one of the first two says. "We're just going to get a bite to eat beforehand."

"Yeah, I was gonna," his voice drops a little, "work with my sponsor before the meeting."
One year ago: Morning Session
Two years ago: Do You Like PiƱa Coladas?
Three years ago: After a Fashion
Four years ago: We Are Conspicuous At The Comedy Show
Five years ago: The Solution
Teny years ago: My Lungs Are A Swamp

Monday, February 12, 2018

We Can Only Hope

Everyone, including me, seems "off" today, so I am unsurprised when this guy comes on the train, his energy all spikey, and sprawls his long, lanky frame over the bench opposite me.

I keep my headphones on as he tries to engage the couple next to me in conversation, but apparently it's not all that successful, as he ends up shaking his head in disgust at them and lapsing into silence.

But he's not able to stay still for long, and he reaches into the plastic bag he's carrying, pulls out a beer and a lighter, which he uses to pop the top (this despite the medallion from which glowers a disapproving Haile Selassie dangling around his neck), and takes a deep swig.

He makes eye contact with me like he's got something to say, and when I slip one headphone off my ear, he nods darkly and says, "You call on God for the wrong reasons enough, he will come."
One year ago: Not Interested
Two years ago: Overexplaining
Three years ago: The REAL 50 Shades
Four years ago: Meeting, The Other
Five years ago: In New York City, We Are Not Overly Solicitous of One Another's Pain
Ten years ago: Never Complain, Never Explain

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Pessimist Rain

Why are we waiting for the war to start? Eyes glazed over while the news only serves as a timetable for when the monuments will go up.

Rain starts to fall as I walk under the arch memorializing the soldiers and sailors who died in the Civil War, and the air looks unsettled, unfriendly and wary, gray clouds yellowing sickly with light from an unknown source.

It's gonna get darker when the storm starts in earnest.
One year ago: Not Complaining
Two years ago: Bored
Three years ago: Bass-awkwards
Four years ago: I've Got The Look (How Do I Get Rid Of It?)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Breaking Off the Sky

As I walk to meet Katie after her shift, snow flurries begin to fall, but they only become visible when they almost hit my face. I strain my eyes to see them against the dark buildings to no avail.

They're like little splinters off the pearly gray sky, dissolving when they hit the ground. I pull my jacket around me, but I don't really feel cold.
One year ago: The Price of Inattention
Two years ago: Whatcha Thinking?
Three years ago: Too Many Teeth
Four years ago: The Longest Joke Ends When You Die

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Different Trains

My brain has chewed on this decision for long enough without coming to any conclusion. "I need to stop thinking about this for awhile, so I can make a decision," I say to Katie as we're standing in the subway station.

"See, I can't stop thinking about something until I make a decision," Katie says thoughtfully.

The lights of a train coming around the corner light up the tracks, followed by the roar as the train itself pulls in and grinds to a stop, while on the other side of the platform, a maintenance train, diesel engine chugging away, slowly crawls through the station without stopping.
One year ago: She Didn't Even Know He Was Gone
Two years ago: You've Been Warned
Three years ago: FaceTime Isn't for the Weak
Four years ago: You Kiss Your Toddler With That Mouth?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Out Of Balance

For about a week, my foot has been going numb as I walk around the city - a sure sign of some sort of nerve compression.

In response, I've shifted the strap of my (often very heavy) bag to the other shoulder.

I can feel the weight of it shifting the angle of my hips as I walk home from the subway, and I think about the way that we try to balance ourselves, unable to avoid the burdens of life, overcompensating and getting out of whack until parts of us go dead or numb and we're forced to change.

I check in with my foot as I step off the curb into the crosswalk, and feeling seems to be coming back into it nicely.
One year ago: Reversal: Earth/Sky
Two years ago: Intrusive Thoughts
Three years ago: What Else Am I Gonna Do?
Four years ago: Snow Walk
Ten years ago: Of Course

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Mirror

"New York is different from my home," says the Austrian artist. He's here opening up his first American show, and it's been pretty rough for him, what with agents trying to gouge him and galleries with contracts going for their pound of flesh.

I think of all the trouble I've ever had here, all the times things haven't gone my way, sometimes through no fault of my own, but just as often because of something I did.

"New York is a mirror," I finally say.
One year ago: Danny Pt. 2
Two years ago: She Knew
Three years ago: Poor Workman Blames His Tools
Four years ago: Low Blood Sugar Blues
Ten years ago: Dream of Divine Love

She's Patient With Me

"I wish you nothing but blessings, and a long happy marriage," the guy says slowly, carefully, after taking a look around the booth at all of Katie's sculptures. He turns to me with a smile: "But if you ever got divorced, can you imagine having to take all these into court to do the division of property?"

I laugh, and he warms to the topic. "Or, like, going to counseling, and telling her," miming a beggar kneeling, "'You're patient with butterflies, why can't you be patient with me?'"
One year ago: Meeting Danny
Two years ago: Expertise
Three years ago: Biometric Timebomb
Four years ago: Thankless Work

Monday, February 5, 2018

Pinky Swear

"Please don't run back into a burning building for any of our pets," Katie says to me as she's washing dishes while we clean up after the Super Bowl.

I must have given her a look, because her expression darkens. "Scott, I'm gonna need you to pinky swear to that."

"I don't think I can do that," I say as I herd the dog to the door for her evening walk.
One year ago: Manipulation
Two years ago: Subway Slashings
Three years ago: Sounds the Same
Seven years ago: The Smell Test
Ten years ago: Eli Manning Is Pretty Cool, Yeah

Sunday, February 4, 2018

All Is Forgiven

Stuck in the darkness of the tunnel, on the way into Manhattan, time passing, anxiety rising as I grow increasingly late. Finally the train begins to move.

As we begin to slowly climb the bridge into the sunny blue sky over the river, maintenance men pause in their work on the tracks (the same work that's been causing us to creep along for the last twenty minutes) to watch us pass. One worker in particular leans against a  trestle, exhaustion slackening his expression to bone-weary neutral, and the sight of his weariness unclenches the frustration that has been building in my chest, leaving me free to watch with gratitude the sun glittering the water beneath us.
One year ago: Alarmed
Two years ago: Why Downtown?
Three years ago: Full Moon
Four years ago: Timor Mortis Conturbat Me
Seven years ago: What Goes Around Comes Around
Ten years ago: Accordion Sweetness

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Taking Out The Trash On Two Glasses Of Red

A long day at work and a couple of glasses of wine have me just the tiniest bit buzzed as I take the garbage and the recycling downstairs to put it out on the curb. Not actually drunk, you understand, just the edges on the world are a little bit blunter than when I got home.

I feel, as I round the stairs to the landing on the second floor, an urge to sing very loudly, and not any particular song as much as just a loud "la-di-da-dum" at the top of my lungs.

It's only a passing notion, though, mild and easily ignored, but I realize how really drunk people must feel when they get what seems like a great idea to do something kinda stupid, and instead of waking the building I just keep doing what I'm doing: taking out the trash.
One year ago: Solidarity
Two years ago: Priorities
Three years ago: They Can Smell It On You

Friday, February 2, 2018

Into the Wind

"I don't know where you're going," he says as we're leaving the market at the end of the day, "but my protip is to walk through the market."

This is perfectly logical: his way is a long block indoors, it's quite chilly out, and the wind whips off the Hudson and over the West Side Highway with vicious cold in its teeth to shriek down streets and buffet foolish pedestrians who choose to brave it.

But to follow him, admitting, essentially, that I hadn't really thought things through?

"I'm just gonna walk this way to clear my head," I say cheerfully, feeling the false smile cracking my chapped lips.
One year ago: Genetics
Two years ago: Mundane Mindfulness
Three years ago: Football Is Manly
Four years ago: Sometimes These Things Practically Write Themselves

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Miracles and Wonders

"Dude, these are real butterflies," the guy says enthusiastically after calling his friends over to the booth where I'm selling Katie's sculptures.

One of them looks around blank-faced, nods a little.

"We live in a world of miracles and wonders," I tease gently. "Moving on!"
One year ago: Lasers
Two years ago: Taste the Rainbow
Three years ago: The Gift
Ten years ago: Wealth, I Don't Has It

I Was Thinking The Same Thing

The alarm goes off just as I'm walking by the car, and it's indicative of the day I'm having that I jump a little and then grimace.

A guy sitting on the low wall outside the church says something I can't hear to a woman walking by him, and the two of them laugh. Then, as I'm walking by him, he catches my eye.

"Shut up!" he says in a gruff voice, looking at the still wailing car, and then he smiles.
One year ago: A Discussion On Lane Bryant
Two years ago: LA Cops
Three years ago: Enabler
Four years ago: Expressing Attitude
Ten years ago: "It Just Keeps Getting Worse!"

Monday, January 29, 2018

Keeping Up The Pace

Gray day, Brooklyn sidewalk, I'm carrying a couple of pretty heavy, bulky bags that require some energy to maneuver, so I'm walking pretty slow, trying to take up as little space as possible.

She passes me on the left: fur-lined, hooded jacket, jeans with giant yellow and red flowers embroidered on the cuffs tucked into her boots, striding fast.

Though she's enough faster than me to stay in front, she's not quite fast enough to beat the lights, so at each stoplight, I end up standing awkwardly next to her, or just back from her left shoulder. I'm careful not to pass her, but I can feel my usual competitive spirit getting riled. 
One year ago: Standing O
Two years ago: (Not) Going My Way
Three years ago: It's a Living
Four years ago: Stars Don't Care
Ten years ago: Trying Too Hard

Sunday, January 28, 2018

This One Might Not Read to Those From Out Of Town

As we come off the West Side Highway down Canal, we drive past a site where we've sold Katie's art, and suddenly two formerly separate pieces of the city come together with Katie saying, "Click."

"Soho my ass," she adds, referencing the attempt of the site owners to brand the venue as part of the tony neighborhood, when clearly it's pretty far west of there.

"Well, to be fair, it is South of Houston," I say.

"So's Brooklyn," she snaps back.
One year ago: Heated
Two years ago: Admit It
Three years ago: How To Walk
Four years ago: Whole. Hearted.
Ten years ago: Scotty In Furs (Or Pleather)

A Little Before

We haven't been to this restaurant for many years. The food is still good, but the view from the enclosed rooftop, which was the draw back when we visited before, has changed substantially.

Before there was nothing out there but the water, the cacophony of the Financial District of Manhattan, and New Jersey, but now, shipping containers and giant cranes to lift them off of ships fill the horizon.

When we ask our server if she knows when all this came in, she says, "Well, I've only been here about five months, so... before that?"
One year ago: Strangers in the Crowd
Two years ago: Plans and a Carpet Spoiled
Three years ago: The Road Is Actually "Polhemus" But the Rest Is Probably True
Four years ago: The Government Sure Do Take a Bite, Don't She?
Ten years ago: Unresolved

Saturday, January 27, 2018


"Yeah, man, I used to work at a doughnut shop, too," I tell the guy behind the counter in the dimly-lit diner with the display case of pastries and doughnuts.

"So you know what I'm talking about," he says as he goes to get us our order (a marble twist for me, a chocolate covered eclair for Katie). "I used to come home every night smelling of the things, and people would be like, 'Oh, you gonna bring us doughnuts?'"

"My friends would say that thing, you remember the old commercials: 'Time to make the doughnuts?" I tell him, and he looks down and shakes his head grimly.
One year ago: The Importance of Being Earnest
Two years ago: Smiling and Waving
Three years ago: Better Unsaid
Four years ago: No Romping For You, Buddy
Ten years ago: Old Testament R&B

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Meowmento Mori

The cat is curled up on the chair in the living room, a picture of peace with her floof of a tail tucked perfectly around her.

"I'm going to have you stuffed exactly in that pose," Katie says to her. "No," she says, "I just want your skull."

After some discussion, we decide that having the skulls of our deceased pets on display would be a comforting thing, and not creepy at all.
One year ago: Lockout
Two years ago: You Just Made It Mad!
Three years ago: Class Concerns
Ten years ago: Gloves

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


"I follow several gods on Facebook," I explain to Katie.

"I'll follow more gods, and you should follow more animals," Katie replies, scrolling through her phone as we lie together before bed.

"Yeah, I should follow more gods, too," I say musingly a bit later.

"I think you're saying 'dogs' wrong again," Katie says.
One year ago: Rude
Two years ago: In the Night Kitchen
Three years ago: Bird Poem
Four years ago: Remembering My Future
Ten years ago: Yesterday, The Day Job

Thinking of Others

My mother is home from the hospital, having, as she says, "convinced" them that she was well enough to leave, and I'm on the phone with her, checking in.

"But keep your thoughts on Anchorage, Alaska," she says in her rough voice. "The earthquake and the tsunami there."

I admit that I haven't read up enough on it, and she says, "Well you should do some research on it for your Four Each Day."
One year ago: "I'm Here To Rescue You"
Two years ago: Pocket Picked
Three years ago: Bird Poem
Four years ago: A Crowded Subway Is No Excuse
Ten years ago: L'esprit de l'escalier and The Power of Music

Monday, January 22, 2018

Don't Engage (Even If They Have It Coming)

The guy pushes his way up to the counter next to Katie with a "Yeah, just move over there, why don't you try that," to the bewildered fellow who was standing there minding his own business a moment ago. Katie does a slow turn to take our new neighbor in, and while his scruffy beard, sandy feet, general unkemptness, and spiky, weird energy mark him as to-be-watched, his youth, necklaces, and painted fingernails give him up as one of the dissolute party-boys of the beach and boardwalk rather than some possibly more dangerous species of homeless person that drifts the streets of Miami Beach.

As he tries to bully the counterperson into giving him a sandwich for less than listed price, I interrupt Katie's build up to confront the guy with a "Hey, you know how you tell me not to correct strangers on factual errors even if they really need it? Don't engage."
One year ago: Scold
Two years ago: The Kindness of Strangers
Three years ago: Different Streams
Four years ago: Okay, But It's More Fun Down Here
Ten years ago: Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, Start All Over Again


The gulls hover low over the sand, making visible the shape of the wind blowing in off the waves. Katie sleeps next to me on a towel, facing away from me down the beach south while the sun warms my skin. Just up the beach from us, a couple does acrobatic yoga, thereby demonstrating the complementary nature of the universe by balancing out our utter laziness with absolutely baffling and unnecessary physical activity.

I watch for a while, admiring their fitness and grace, as the woman of the couple slowly, carefully shifts on her partner's hands and feet, moving from a handstand, to plank, to standing on his palms as he holds her up in the air, until I grow bored and close my eyes.
One year ago: For A Change
Two years ago: That Time Of Year
Three years ago: No Standing Under $100,000
Four years ago: Good Problems to Have

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Every Bistro Needs a Cat

Having finished shaking down all the patrons at the sidewalk tables, the gray cat walks back into the bistro and, after a moment's consideration, jumps up on the banquette just out of Katie's reach and begins to wash himself. I make a tsk-ing noise to attract his attention, but he ignores me completely and, if anything, washes with even more concentration.

"Why you using his government name?" Katie says. "You know how many people must waste his time every day by trying to get his attention without giving him food?"
One year ago: Just Like My Father
Two years ago: What a Fool Beliebs
Three years ago: The Virtues of Illness
Four years ago: What Am I, A Child?
Seven years ago: The Prisoner

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Cold Shower Method

I take a couple deep breaths and step into the shower. The water is bitterly cold, but I've felt kind of weird all day - a little achy, a little emotional - so instead of feeling painful, it drives out all the other feelings and leaves me hollowed out and empty.

I hang with it for as long as I can, until my skin is chilled and my joints ache, and then I spin the faucet over to warm. The pipes begin to squeal as hot water goes through them, and all this tension I was carrying around without knowing it melts away, washed down the drain with the soapy water as I start to lather up.
One year ago: One Last Time
Two years ago: A Momentary Truce
Three years ago: Seen That Trick Before
Ten years ago: The Sweetest Bitters

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Compromise (Of Sorts)

When I arrive back in the waiting room after the nurse has taken my vitals (blood pressure decent, weight unfairly high since my shoes and clothes add at least a good five pounds), I see the cup of water, seemingly untouched, where I left it on the table before I went into the office.

Sitting on the other side of the table, an Asian woman gives me a polite smile as I sit down in my former seat.

Now I'm faced with a decision: I'm thirsty, and the cup of water is still here, full and ready for me to drink, but this woman doesn't know it was mine, and what will she think at this random man picking up a seemingly random glass of water and draining it.

After a minute or two's hesitation, I grab the cup and walk it over to the sink where I dump it out and refill it, which seems like a good compromise, for some reason.
One year ago: Tourist
Two years ago: Dread Imaginings
Four years ago: And We Probably Won't Do Much On Saturday Two
Ten years ago: That Which Does Not Kill Me Or My City

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Our Younger Selves

I finish up my daily yoga session lying on the floor, breathing deeply, thinking about a young friend of ours who's going through some stuff right now, and it gets me wondering what I was like when I was his age.

But I have a record of those days, in the form of literally dozens of notebooks that I kept with near daily entries on what was going on, and how I felt about it, so I can actually find out exactly what I was like.

I rummage through the shelf of Moleskines of various sizes, accounting books, hardbound artist's ledgers and spiral bound notebooks with pages falling out, until I find a small black leatherbound notebook with the words "Corporate Whore" pasted to the cover.

I flip through the pages with, at first, fascination, then growing horror, until I slowly close the book, retie the strap that keeps it shut, and place it back in its place on the shelf, before going back and moving it to the back of the shelf, behind some other books.
One year ago: Bizarre Nostalgia
Two years ago: Hot and Cold
Three years ago: Thanks
Four years ago: Back and Forth
Ten years ago: Who's Laughing Now?


The stacks of clothes, while somewhat neatly folded and sorted on the bed (sweaters, shirts, pants, t-shirts), are really only a transfer of textiles from where they were piled on the floor to a few feet higher. And trying to figure out which ones to keep and which ones to donate to charity is seriously stressing me out.

Katie's doing her best to help while staying out of my way, but when I finally just give up and start putting things in drawers, only to find that I don't have the room, I get a little despairing.

"Okay, if you need me to help you with your drawers, that I can do, because those things are a nightmare," she says.
Two years ago: Deep-seated Guilt
Four years ago: Irish Farewell
Ten years ago: No Rest For The Wicked

Monday, January 15, 2018

Sleeping Late

I wake up with a dry mouth and sand in my joints, but comfortable curled up under the comforter in our hotel room. We couldn't figure out the thermostat (or at least I couldn't) and the room just stayed kinda cold all night, but the alcohol and the insane amount of food we ate last night ensured that I was in no position to get out of bed to do anything, so I just burrowed into the warmest bed ever.

I turn over and throw an arm across Katie, bury my face in her shoulder, and, still moving carefully to make sure that my entire body except for my head stays under the covers, wrap my arms and legs around her sleeping form.

"You are so snuggly," she says groggily, and then we fall back asleep.
One year ago: Quiet Please
Two years ago: Things Between Us
Three years ago: Hashtag Yes All Wineglasses
Four years ago: She'll Be Glad To Know

Unicorn Train

“You still trying to get to 23rd Street?” the conductor says to the rest of the subway car, but she’s only talking to us.

She spots us at the other end of the car and says, “You’re gonna have to get off at 14th Street and take the 6 up.”

I give her the thumbs up, she smiles and goes back into the cabin of the train, and Katie and I turn to look at each other in shocked disbelief.

“What kind of unicorn train is this?” Katie says.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


The dog has good nights and bad nights. After a painstaking climb following her walk, she finally arrives on the landing at the top of the stairs and then tries to take another step, lifting her paw only to step on thin air.

Having done the same thing, I know exactly how she feels, that weird panic as you step through nothingness, the way the earth tilts a little even after you've found your footing again.

I feel a stab of sympathy as I realize she's felt like this for years.
One year ago: I've Been Wanting to be Nice to Someone All Morning
Two years ago: Firewall
Three years ago: Inspired
Four years ago: The Shameful Science
Ten years ago: Flea Market

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Doctor Somebody

The gray, foggy day turns to rain as we walk down 4th Avenue in Brooklyn after Katie's eye doctor appointment. Her pupils are still dilated, so I'm holding her hand to make sure she doesn't trip or fall, since she can't see.

"What was the doctor's name, again?" she asks as I dig through my bag for an umbrella.

"Roger," I say.
One year ago: Pebbled
Two years ago: Literally
Four years ago: I'm Not Worthy
Seven years ago: Anatomy of a Fight
Ten years ago: Angels and Douchebags

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Following Directions

On the way to the post office, the driver suddenly stops with a exclamation of dismay, and makes to turn the car around.

I realize he thinks he's going the wrong way, and I reassure him that we're on the right street, going the right way.

"I usually work in Manhattan," he says apologetically, turning to drive up the avenue, the way I originally told him to go.

"We'll get through this together," I say.
One year ago: Revenge
Two years ago: Cancer and Entropy
Three years ago: Making Friends These Days
Four years ago: A Block is About 100 Steps
Seven years ago: Bad Mood Meanderings
Ten years ago: A New York Moment

Different Types of Sad

"It's just so incredibly sad," I say, after the episode of "Black Mirror."

"What is?" Katie asks.

"Well, the way that they portray humanity as basically awful," I say, struggling to explain exactly what I find so unpleasant about the show.

"You know, some of the things you write make me about that sad," Katie says matter-of-factly.
One year ago: Distrust
Two years ago: Wake Up
Three years ago: Another Thought on Teeth
Four years ago: Both Wrong

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Blaming the Victim

We put the pillow up in the doorway in the middle of the night to keep the dog from barking her stupid head off.

In the morning, though, it turns out she's peed on it.

I wash the pillowcase and drench the pillow itself in Nature's Miracle so it doesn't stain, and then go to the living room to do yoga, only to find that the cat has thrown up on my bag.

When I tell Katie about the presents left by each animal for me, she asks incredulously, "What did you do?"
One year ago: Milking It
Two years ago: Another Timeline
Three years ago: Twitching Whiskers
Four years ago: Think Skinny Thoughts
Ten years ago: Lions and Common People

Monday, January 8, 2018

Look Up

The sidewalks are relatively clear, but the snow is piled in foot-high banks at the curbs and the sidewalks, with narrow paths cut through them where folks have worn them through. Sometimes you have to take turns walking through the cuts with your fellow pedestrians to avoid having to navigate the more treacherous berms between the streets and the sidewalks. 

Then there's this asshole: paused at the crosswalk right in front of the narrow pathway through the snow pile, scrolling through her phone as the foot traffic stacks up behind her until finally, with a tsk of disapproval, somebody tromps over the ice to go around her, leading the rest of us to do the same.

She looks up from her phone guiltily when she realizes what's going on, but it's already too late, and everybody on the street has decided she's the worst human being they know.
One year ago: Snow Globe Sunday
Two years ago: So, Like, Sushi?
Three years ago: Compression
Four years ago: The Play IS The Thing
Ten years ago: Open Heart Surgery

Forced Perspective

"You know that moment when you've been inside all day?" I ask Katie. She's a few steps ahead of me, walking quickly toward the grocery store, as she neglected to wear a hat and the cold is getting fierce. "It's like your eyeballs have to get used to seeing things at a distance again."

"Like a baby!" Katie agrees.
Two years ago: Startled
Three years ago: I Love You, MTA
Four years ago: Frost/bite
Ten years ago: Meta-bragging

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Blameless Produce

"Cash only," says the lady monitoring the self-checkout lanes at the grocery store, to general groans from the sizable number of people already waiting in line. "Machine's down."

One guy, who hasn't even been waiting as long as some of us have, throws up his hands in outrage and slams his groceries, item by item, into a nearby cart, then stalks out.

"Acting like it's the food's fault," the lady mutters as she walks by me, but when I laugh at her joke, she brightens up a little, and gives me a smile.
One year ago: As Usual
Two years ago: Short Women
Three years ago: Gospel of Thomas, Saying 70
Four years ago: Might Keep Her Warm, Might Not
Seven years ago: This Story Is Missing Some Crucial Element, But I Can't Remember What It Is
Ten years ago: Destroy All Cockroaches

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Shower Feelings

"I was sitting on the toilet when I realized I was super depressed," I tell Katie. I'm in the shower, hot water hissing around me, and she's by the sink silently taking out her contacts.

"But then I realized it was my body that was depressed, and that I didn't want my body telling my brain what to think," I continue as I scrub my chest with a soapy pouf.

"Makes sense," Katie says, but I think we're both still a little sad.
One year ago: Entering
Two years ago: Desperate To Connect
Three years ago: Voyeurism
Four years ago: Good Night
Seven years ago: A Little Not Music
Ten years ago: Out and About

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Butterflies Take a Snow Day

"I left the window in my studio open!" Katie cries in dismay. "It's snowing inside!"

I follow her voice into the studio and, sure enough, snow has drifted up against the screen and sifted through, and is now blowing around the tiny, freezing room.

"I was gonna work," she says, shooing me out as she shoves the window closed, "but I guess it's a snow day for everyone."
One year ago: Invisibility
Two years ago: All For The Best
Three years ago: Last Day of Vacation
Four years ago: Attention to Detail (Taking Things Too Seriously)
Six years ago: God Helps Fools and Drunks, So Don't Expect a Lot of Sympathy
Seven years ago: Cold to Warm
Ten years ago: Asian Pub Rules

Health Bully

I'm feeling well enough to walk the block to the store, but when I get outside, my neighbor takes one look at me and says, "You still don't feel well, do you?"

I admit I don't feel super great, and my landlord, who's also there closing up his shop for the night, says, pointing at my throat, "I still see exposed skin!"

Yes, it's cold, but my neighbor is already on to the next thing: "You need to drink that ginger, garlic, lemon, cayenne tea," she insists.

"You're kind of a health bully," I say, laughing, and she happily agrees.
One year ago: The Tumor Was Keeping Me Skinny
Two years ago: Tit For Tat
Three years ago: The World We Live In
Four years ago: Why Should a Photo Fade?
Six years ago: It's Really Cold, But Only For Some
Seven years ago: Ascension Day
Ten years ago: Dream A Little Dream

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Down With The Sickness

I wake in the morning with a heaviness in my chest, but a half-hour of yoga and breathing exercises, along with a cold shower, seems to get me out of the woods.

Until, after an afternoon of rearranging stuff in our storage space and inventorying the handful of pieces we have left, the train ride back home suddenly goes south.

Muscles begin to cramp, chills, heat behind my eyes, a stabbing headache, and a marked lack of oxygen in the 2 train to Grand Army Plaza all hit at once, and I wonder, for a brief second, if I'm going to die like a small sparrow, shivering in the cold.

I shrink down into my jacket, breathing shallowly, and, as Katie pats me on the shoulder and says, "You're doing really well," I close my eyes.
One year ago: 5:30 PM
Two years ago: Have They Seen Me Naked?
Three years ago: All One Moment
Four years ago: Never Going Back Again


Even wearing multiple layers (shirt, hoodie, scarf, overcoat, hat, heavy boots), I still feel the frigid cold creeping in as I descend to the vestibule of our building with the doge in my arms like a sack of fur and bones. Her head lolls to one side like her neck is broken, her tongue hangs out, but as soon as I reach the bottom floor and make to set her down, she rights herself and slips out the inner door with only a slight lopside to her lope. 

Through the window, I see the empty New Year's street, asphalt dry and white with cold, void of cars and sidewalk scattered with salt. The doge and I stand at the glass, my breath shaping clouds of vapor in the air, and consider our lack of options, steeling ourselves for the stinging chill as I open the door to let us out into the night.
Three years ago: Salty Teeth
Six years ago: A New Kind of New Year
Ten years ago: A Tiger, A Jacket

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Slow Procession of Winter

The in-flight movie I picked ("Atomic Blonde", a solid "B") is over, and I'm listening to a playlist I found on my phone that makes it seem like 1994 or so all over again.

I look out the window, and see the ground far below us covered in snow glowing pale in the moonlight. The occasional town sprouts from the earth like a bacterial growth or a computer chip, reaching out brilliant, glittering tendrils into the darkness of the surrounding countryside.

In between, there are rivers that divide the snow-covered surface and the cities, and the rivers snake and splinter through the frozen landscape while we hurtle through the air far above, hardly related to anything going on below in any way at all, when all of a sudden a song comes on, and everything makes sense.
One year ago: Good Job
Two year ago: Ivory Soap
Ten years ago: So This Is The New Year