Sunday, March 31, 2024


My mother insists that I go to the grocery store and buy myself some food for the duration of my visit. She herself barely eats, subsisting mostly on protein shakes, cashews, and energy drinks, which means that her refrigerator has slim pickings for a middle-aged vegetarian.

As I turn onto the main road from her subdivision, I realize I probably could have walked as easily as driven in her car, though I love driving, and don’t get to do it much back in Brooklyn. On the other hand, even though the distances are about the same as (or maybe even less than) a good walk in New York, the lack of buildings and regular city blocks make it seem like a lot further, and besides, when am I gonna get another chance to cosplay a wealthy suburbanite?

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Pendulums are the Pits

“To be honest, I don’t really even care about the healing part,” he says after seeing that this line of discussion isn’t really getting the response he’s hoping for. “I really started getting into pendulums to make money. There are all these classes to take and seminars and books to buy, it’s amazing!”

“Looks like you’re not the only one to think of making money from pendulums,” I say with as much wide-eyed innocence as I can muster.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Blame It On The Boogie

This is what they call a “kid friendly” kinda place, and lots of families have clearly heard that the rumors about this restaurant are true, with little ones running around, yelling, and having a good time generally being kids. 

One child has clearly had enough of his parent’s shenanigans, though, and in the middle of The Beastie Boys’ remarkably sexist single “Girls”, his face screws up in rage and he literally launches himself into the air and throws himself down on the ground.

“Whoa!” exclaims the friendly server who has been running the entire floor like a top-tier warship, and, after checking that the tantrum-er is safe, he begins to boogie to the music. 

Soon, he has both the child, and several other children, and their parents, and most of the restaurant, boogieing all together, and the tantrum is forgotten in a blaze of goodwill.  

Thursday, March 28, 2024

The Servant’s Entrance

“They said I could leave it with the doorman,” I tell the three uniformed gentlemen at the Upper East Side building where I’m dropping off the delivery of one of Katie’s artworks.

“Take him to the delivery room,” the most senior looking one tells the youngest, who nods officiously and sets off, with me trailing behind.

From the lush and warmly lit lobby we wind our way through sparer and more utilitarian halls, each lit more clinically than the last, until we come to a fluorescent light and tile hallway that looks straight out of a sanatorium, where another young man in a tiny room filled with shelves takes my package and waves me even further toward the back.

I pass through a series of automatic doors that look like they belong in some Olde English Tavern, then I’m spit back out on the street far from the lobby, next to a collection of delivery guys on bikes, faces in the dark illuminated as they stare into their phones. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

I Feel Seen

“I’m going to research your question,” says the HR representative on the phone. “And I’m known around here as being very tenacious, so I will definitely get to the bottom of this.”

“So our number starts with either 844 or 877,” she continues, “so when you see that number when I call you back later today, pick up, okay?”

And for some reason, that makes me feel even more confident that she’s going to take care of things, because anybody who says something like that, who knows that she has to tell me to pick up a number that I don’t recognize, well she really understands me, you know? 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Keeping It To Myself

The guy sitting next to me at the show opens up a notebook before the lights go down and starts scribbling in terrible handwriting. I’m polite so I don’t try to read over his shoulder, but the brief glance I get tells me he’s doing something technical.

The show begins, and is amazing, marred only slightly by a noise up by the lighting rig at the top of the balcony, and when someone in another row complains to their neighbor about it during intermission, he leans over and lets them know he’s the sound designer for the show we’re watching, and they’re gonna fix it.

As he continues, explaining that he sits in various seats every show, making sure the sound is excellent everywhere in the house, I keep repeating to myself, “he knows the mix was a little muddy in the opener, you don’t have to tell him, he knows the mix was a little muddy in the opener, you don’t have to tell him, he knows the mix was a little muddy....” 

Monday, March 25, 2024

A Particular Set Of Skills

The woman behind the counter at the pharmacy repeats my request to her diminutive co-worker, who dutifully heads to the back to retrieve it. “Can you reach it?” she adds to her retreating back, not unkindly, but with a little smirk.

“Let me know if I need to help out,” I ask, stretching my arm up to demonstrate my ability. ““My wife pimps me out to short people at the grocery store all the time to get stuff off the top shelf.”

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Two Types Of Trains

The train in: somewhat crowded, but we manage to find a seat.

An argument breaks out at the other end of the car, and when we pull into the station, it spills out onto the platform and turns violent - one woman beating the hell out of another (earbuds flying, hair being pulled, tearing clothes off each other) while a third tries to stop it (?) or help the beating (?) - until the doors close, leaving the three of them there still working out their differences in their own ways.

The train back home: packed, no seats to be had, until a young man, seeing my cane, graciously offers me a seat, which I gratefully accept. 

Later I mutter something to Katie about wishing I didn’t look like I needed help, and she, with a mildly reproving look, replies, “Scott, just let people be nice to you.”

Saturday, March 23, 2024

A Race Against Time

I put the next batch of cookies in the oven, and turn to find Katie nibbling on another spoonful of cookie dough, one that she has carefully constructed out of just dough - no chocolate chips. 

“I think my four each day should be about how, in this house, baking cookies is a race against time,” I say.

“Mmhmm,” she says with a shrug around a mouthful of spoon. “The world needs to know.”

Friday, March 22, 2024

We Shall Not Pass This Way Again

Earlier, we were watching a movie about a rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes Mountains, all of them dying and cold and hungry, and I looked over at my wife sitting on the couch, the cats on the other side of the room, curled on their respective chairs in the way that they do (small and white and perfectly whorled in still little vortices of fur and pink skin), and I realized, or remembered, that this exact moment will never happen again, both of us warm here, relatively healthy, fiercely in love and still learning how to live. There may be other moments like this one, but this moment is here, now, and I am lucky, lucky, lucky to be here for it, with her hand on my knee and her love like a bright little coal, burning in my chest. 

So now Katie’s in the shower, washing the day off of her, while I sit at the screen and think about dying. Not in a morbid way, bemoaning my fate, waiting for the inevitable veil of endless night to descend or whatever, but in a sort of curious way, the way a person on a high hill might watch a storm approach from (hopefully) a long way off.  

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Dogs and Ducks and Sticks

The black and white harlequin Great Dane laps the water at the pond’s edge while the smaller dog, all ears and bantam confidence, dances nearby. A cold breeze ripples the surface further out, and the ducks hunch down, then exuberantly splash and flap their wings before diving and coming out to do it all again. 

The small dog, tired of waiting for something to happen, finally breaks for the hill nearby and races up with his owner calling after him, when he suddenly skids to a halt, arrested by a stick longer than he is and almost as thick.

He struggles to lift it, then drops it without regret and sprints away, whereupon the Dane, who has followed him up with two strides, grabs the stick, and with graceful movement and the leverage of an enormous paw, tilts one end up to his jaw and proceeds to gnaw it with gusto. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Only Way Out Is Through

“We’ll decide at the entrance to the park,” I say, “and if it’s still raining we can go home.”

The clouds above us move fast, swiftly shifting from deep gloom to patchy blue and back, so that by the time we get to the statue of Lafayette, the rain has let up enough for us to risk it, and we turn left into the park to continue our walk.

But the vagaries of meteorology play havoc with us, and by the time we’re halfway to the pond, the rain has returned, cold, splattery, and uncomfortable.

Katie is being a trooper, even though she’s clearly not having a good time, but when I apologize and offer to head home, she smiles grimly, striding forward, and says, ““This is the way home.”

Tuesday, March 19, 2024


“The fashion duo is here!” he says as we are trying to get back to our seats before the show starts.

We’re dressed pretty nicely, so we laugh, smile, think that’ll be the end of it, but he continues, unprompted: “I’m here to see [the woman playing the lead in the Broadway show we’re seeing], you know, during COVID I took some voice lessons with her, and I was in the chorus of a concert she did recently....”

He’s still talking, but we’re already out the door, and I call over my shoulder, “Wow, really? That’s great, gotta go!” 


Monday, March 18, 2024

The Gift Economy

After we get off the elevator, we look up and down the hallway trying to figure out which way to go. 

“Hiiiii!” the woman we’ve come to meet trills from off to our left at the end of the hallway. In one hand she’s holding the sweater she’s gifting us that we’ve come to pick up, and in the other, balanced on her hip in the time-honored stance familiar to any woman in the history of the earth who’s ever held a baby while trying to do stuff, is a baby.

We thank her profusely for the beautiful, handmade sweater, and the baby, who has a full head of hair and exactly zero teeth, gives us the most gorgeous, genuine smile.  

Sunday, March 17, 2024

We Remember What We Love

 “It’s really amazing, how much he loves the pieces he buys,” the sales assistant says. He’s referring to the owner of the vintage clothing shop where we’ve been trying on clothes this morning. 

“I can ask him about any piece, hundreds of them, and he knows exactly where it is, or if it’s been sold, and I don’t really know how he memorizes them all!” he continues with a smile and shake of his head. 

“It’s just like someone memorizing a lover’s face, you don’t really have to try to remember the things you really love, right?” I say. 

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Not Greedy

It looks like they’ve got an event coming up at the vintage store we’re shopping - there’s a velvet rope-type-thing, and a bouncer, and somebody is setting up a barbecue under a tent right by the entrance. 

As we’re going in, the bouncer stops us, saying, “You know there’s a fee for entering: a fist bump.”

Katie gives him one, and he gives her a big smile, and I give him one, and then ask if he needs a two-fisted bump. 

“Nah, one’s fine, I’m not greedy,” he says. 

Friday, March 15, 2024

Memento Mori (yet again)

The Bone Museum does almost exactly what it says on the box - a museum, very scientific, about bones, but specifically human bones: lots of full skeletons, dozens of human skulls, a whole wall of spinal columns. 

I think of myself as having a fairly strong constitution, but for just a second as we enter, my stomach flips, then settles. Some of the bones are from people who were not in the best health - vicious bone spurs, lace-like decay from infections and cancers, gnarled  knots where breaks healed improperly, coral blooms of arthritis - and some quite healthy, though it didn’t seem to matter much now, either way. 

They hand us a small rib and a section of a femur to hold, and I find myself thinking kindly about these people that once were, and about how lucky I am to still be wandering the earth, messing around and looking at bones. 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Where’s Your Ball?

The woman throws the ball, and the black and white corgi tears off after it with furious, surprising speed, his tiny legs a frantic blur through the park underbrush.

Ball retrieved, he starts back toward his family, head high with pride, only to be distracted by a grey squirrel who doesn’t know enough to just keep still, and the ball is forgotten in a sudden, mad pursuit back into the bushes.

The squirrel is, of course, smarter than the corgi in the ways of the forest, and on its home turf, so the dog doesn’t stand a chance, especially when the squirrel races up a tree, leaving a momentarily frustrated pursuer to bark on the ground.

But eventually, the corgi, ears up and eyes bright, trots back to its family, unconcerned about his failure to catch the squirrel, and the woman sighs and trudges through the fresh mud to begin looking for the lost ball. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

A Magic Place

The new-ish bookstore in our neighborhood is neat and well-organized, with wide aisles and a selection that speaks to a thoughtful and interesting mind, and Katie and I both quickly enter that sort-of-somnambulism with which frequent denizens of bookstores are quite familiar - drifting from shelf to overstuffed shelf, pulling interesting titles and leafing through them with deep concentration, only to replace them and repeat in long periods of silent, rapturous reverie.  

The young man and his son at the front counter are wrapping up their visit with the purchase of a couple of books from the dollar shelves, and the man asks, “Okay if I pay with a card?”

The total is only a couple bucks, and the proprietor asks him if he lives in the neighborhood, which he does, so he shrugs and replies with a smile, “Eh, just take ’em and come back later when you’ve got some cash.” 

Katie, upon hearing this exchange, catches my eye and whispers, “Okay, officially best bookstore ever.”

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

School’s Out

“Holy shit!” I hear behind me, followed quickly by two laughing teenage girls running down the sidewalk, weaving through the crowds as they go.

They sprint past the elementary school, which is also getting out on an unseasonably warm late winter afternoon. Sunshine beams down on a sea of tiny Brooklyn children aimlessly milling around wearing backpacks as large as they are. 

The teenagers raise cups of bubble tea up to clear the waist-high hordes, cross against the light, and, still laughing, pelt off into the freedom of the rest of their day.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Giving Strangers Something To Discuss

The tree was so tall that, after it fell, it blocked the entire park roadway, and wide enough that it was impossible to climb over or under, so the parks department had apparently just strung up caution tape across the road on all sides of the fallen beast, and left it there until they figured out what to do next. The ground had softened in the downpours this weekend, and that, coupled with the early morning’s heavy winds, had proved to much for the shallow roots, now exposed and dangling in the clear afternoon sun.

We stood in the road and gawked for awhile, then continued our walk turning further in to the park, when a man jogged by. “Biggest fallen tree I’ve ever seen,” he said breathlessly as he pounded past and disappeared around the corner of the path.

Friday, March 8, 2024

The Better Part Of Valor

“Be careful,” Katie says before I ride my scooter to my doctor’s appointment. “It’s Friday and people drive crazy.”

Her words echo in my head as I ride past schools just getting out, and the yellow school buses jockey for position with black SUVs filled with parents picking up kids while the delivery trucks double park in the middle of the street.

I swerve around the traffic, turn down a side street and gun it, and as soon as I’m close enough to home, I just get off my scooter and walk. 

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Just In Time

The elevator dings in the lobby, and I haul myself off the bench to go up to my doctor’s appointment.

The older woman who is in the elevator hits the button for her floor, as do I, and then the door just sorta... doesn’t close.

We can hear, before we see her, another woman approaching the elevator bank having an animated conversation on her phone in a grating, nasal voice (“Well, I didn’t know she was going to show up, and I thought that if I was in her position then I would have kept going...,”). 

Seconds pass, the doors refusing to shut, the tension rising as that voice gets closer, and closer, until, “Jesus,” says the older woman, stabbing the >|< button repeatedly, and the doors close on the startled woman’s face just as she’s about to get on, still talking.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024


Katie retreats back into the row to put her jacket on at the end of the show, while the rest of the audience piles down the stairs and out into the night. We’ve just seen a Broadway musical theater version of the tearjerker “The Notebook.” 

I’m standing by an usher, pushed up against the wall as the press of humanity squeezes by, watching the crowd as they go.

“Lotta clear eyes tonight,” the usher exclaims, “that’s unusual.”

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Broadcasting Vibes

“Don’t park there,” the woman in the pink mask at the bus stop says to the car as it slowly comes to a halt right where the bus would pick us up. Her brow furrows in disappointment as the car then proceeds to do exactly that.

We roll our eyes at the audacity of this driver in solidarity with our speaker, who seems to have become our spokesman against all the rude nonsense pedestrians have to put up with from drivers.

But as soon as the bus comes into sight, the car pulls away, and I say, “He must have heard the vibes we were beaming at him.”

Monday, March 4, 2024

Lovely Day To Talk To Strangers

They both have enormous lenses on their cameras, telephoto things like hungry mouths gobbling up the light, and they’re pointing them out over the pond at the raft of ducks patrolling the water.

We start up a conversation with the gentleman with the wavy salt-and-pepper hair and the string of prayer beads wrapped around his wrist, confirming his status as a bird photographer. He seems pretty knowledgeable, so I ask him if it’s possible I might have seen an actual bald eagle in Prospect Park, and with a cheeky grin he suggests we check out his Instagram.

When Katie and I both obligingly fish out our phones to follow him, he protests jokingly, “I was just being an asshole!” 

Sunday, March 3, 2024

The New New York

We’re standing on the corner of Minetta Lane and 6th Avenue in Manhattan after a show, and the earlier blue sky of an unseasonably warm day is now mottled with thin grey clouds. A glass skyscraper lofting above the low buildings way downtown perfectly reflects the sky in such a way as to make itself almost invisible, and we pause to admire it before crossing the street.

The new-looking shops across the street alternate between cute little cafes and smoke shops and boarded up, vacant store-fronts, and when I point this out to Katie she agrees.

“It used to be:” she says, pointing left to right as she recites, “good pizza, porn shop, porn shop, smoke shop, porn shop, IFC theater.”

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Disco For A Rainy Day

The sidewalk shed at the corner gives us a brief respite from the pummeling rain while we wait for the light to change.

We hear it before we see it: someone blasting Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ for everyone on Union Street to hear, and singing loud enough to carry over the car stereo. 

We peer in the side window of the white SUV to see a gentleman boogieing in his seat as hard as he possibly can, singing along for all he’s worth, and Katie breaks into an impromptu disco session in solidarity with him.

The light changes and he speeds off without acknowledging our tribute, but she and I agree that crappy weather occasionally demands a disco to raise your spirits.