Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Cardinal Sin

We’re listening, rapt, as the NY Philharmonic soars through the piece they’re playing. The soloist grins, and he sways with the music, his body a palpable expression of his joy.

And just as the music reaches a quiet interlude, we hear it: the rustle and crinkle of someone opening a bag or unwrapping a candy - the cardinal sin of concert-going - but instead of it stopping after a moment, or even a couple of moments, it goes on and on and on and on....

Katie, John and I turn almost at the exact same time to see what the hell is exactly happening here, only to be confronted by a woman rummaging through what appears to be, not one or two, but an entire grocery store’s worth of plastic bags on her lap, while everyone around her just seems to ignore her.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

train sleep

I close my eyes to better concentrate on the music. The rocking of the train and the hard subway seat fade away, and I’m left moving through the mix on my headphones, navigating the space between the cymbals and the toms on the drum kit, teasing out the separate threads of the vocal lines from the fabric they’ve woven together, feeling the bass out in the dark seas of pitch where notes cease to exist.

I can almost see it, some kind of light or consciousness at the center of the sound, right there, as close as a person can get to the center of the universe.

My body jerks and I awaken with a start.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Fatten Me Up

I lay my head in her lap as Katie scrolls through her phone. She looks down and then pokes the rise of protruding ribs underneath my t-shirt (my chest is shaped much like my grandfather’s and the bottom of my ribcage sticks out a bit). 

“I have muscles elsewhere,” I say.

“You just have to eat a stick of butter before bed,” she says playfully.

Backhanded

I’ve only just arrived to work when I hear the woman’s voice outside the stock room at the cash wrap asking, “Are you a manager?”

“Well I want to complain about one of your employees,” she continues after presumably receiving an answer in the affirmative. I freeze where I am in the stock room, listening: what will she say about one of my co-workers?

“I want to complain because he’s just too nice,” she finishes, lamely.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Different Kinds of Problems

“Speaking of the coronavirus,” Katie says nonchalantly as we walk into the grocery store. “There was a...,” she pauses, “...I’m sorry to say, viral video of a doctor freaking out on his supervisor because he was so overworked, just asking to be fired.”

A man perusing the avocados gives us a bit of a look as we walk by, and we ignore him. I go to the produce section, look around for a moment, and announce, “Looks like they moved the Brussels sprouts again.”

Thursday, January 23, 2020

What Women Have To Put Up With

My co-worker is smiling after the slightly sweaty man walks away from her, but her eyes tell another story.

“Oh, this random customer just asked if he could take a picture of me holding a shoe,” she says when I ask her what might be the matter. She takes a deep breath, her face flush, and her smile is hard and angry, just like when she caught a different customer taking a picture of her while she was bent over helping a customer.

“I guess it’s better if they ask first,” she says sarcastically, “like, I don’t mind if you’re creepy as long as you’re polite about it."


A Natural

The sky outside the window turns purple as the night slowly turns into morning. The cat sleeps on the couch next to where I’m lying on my back on the floor.

As I move slowly through a series of stretches and poses called sun salutation, I tie my breathing to my movement (the word yoga coming from the word “yoke,” after all) and my busy mind slows down a little. 

The cat, sleeping on her back, the pure white fur of her belly exposed, one paw thrown dramatically over her face, snores delicately, more relaxed than I’ll ever be.