Sunday, December 31, 2017

My Mother's Car

We put the top down at the stoplight before we get to the highway, since "What's the point of driving a convertible if you're not going to use it?" as Katie says.

But once we're on the highway, the romance wears off fast as the wind whips our hair (especially Katie's long, thick hair) into rat's nests and furious knots. Plus you can really feel the speed at which you're barrelling down the road when you're actually able to clock the windspeed on your face.

Then there's the people driving even faster than you, the speed demons screaming down the left lane beside you, the whine of their motors and the reeeeen of their tires as they shriek past calling out "death, death, death," right next to your head in your low slung convertible, barely something to notice before they're here, there, gone.
One year ago: I'm Only Six Four, Tops
Two years ago: We Know Our Own
Three years ago: Tempus Fugit
Four years ago: Maybe I'M The Problem.
Ten years ago: She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Tadpole Ln and Crystal Stream

After driving in what I'm pretty sure is the right direction for about a half-mile, I realize I have no idea where I'm going, so I pull over into a driveway blocked by a gate with signs that read "DANGER - HIGH VOLTAGE" all over it. I need to think.

Getting to the smoothie place was easy, but it was only when I was on my way back that I realize that driving to "Current Location" to get back to my parents' house isn't going to work, since my "Current Location" is currently the smoothie place, and I have no idea of my parents' actual address.

I start to panic, until my brain coughs up the names of the cross streets, names unusual for being so water related in a land so void of moisture of almost any kind, as if they were less descriptive than aspirational.
One year ago: Don't Look Away
Two years ago: That's On Me
Three years ago: Who Knows How She Knows
Four years ago: Comments On The Bukowski Documentary
Ten years ago: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

Friday, December 29, 2017

Shooting Script

"I'm a New York liberal shooting a gun for the first time," I tell the gun range monitor as I return the target to him at the office, "and I just wanted to say thanks for taking care of us."

"Well, I'm a Nevada conservative who voted for Trump out here every day," he replies without a hint of a smile, "and you're quite welcome."

We drive out of the clustered dirt berms separating the lanes where people come to shoot, and back to the highway where we drive back to Vegas surrounded by creosote and scrub brush beneath a dusty blue southwestern sky.

"This looks exactly like where they shot 'Tremors,'" Katie says, gazing out the window.
One year ago: Shower Talk
Two years ago: Back to the Grind
Three years ago: Innocent in Dreams
Ten years ago: Hell is Other People (Booking Your Air Travel)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

That Cold Thing

While Katie goes inside with the dogs, I get out of my parents' hot tub and stand on the flagstones of their back patio, staring up at what stars I can see.

The desert air is cold, all the day's heat having dissipated up into the sky, and my skin steams like my breath as I find Sirius, Betelgeuse, the Pleiades, all my favorite stars and constellations. The chlorine from the water tightens my skin and stings my eyes.

I stand stoically for a while, pleased with everything while the hot tub burbles happily to itself, but when Katie comes back out, she says, "Are you doing your cold thing in your parents backyard?"
One year ago: Turbulence
Two years ago: An Ill (-ish) Wind, Pt. 2
Three years ago: I Am Known
Four years ago: Home
Ten years ago: Mexi-can or Mexi-can't?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Before dinner, each of us takes turns holding my brother-in-law's gun, a new .357 Magnum. It is a clean, heavy piece of mechanical technology, and its burnished steel parts move smoothly and quietly, like a well-made steam engine: both anachronistic and beautiful.

As I pass it to Katie, I'm reminded of a conversation we had many years ago with my mom about gun ownership. Katie spins the cylinder, which blurs silently, then, with a flip of her wrist, snaps it back into the body of a gun, where it settles with a satisfying click, and then she gives a big smile.
One year ago: Lazy
Ten years ago: Absolution

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Psychos With Touchscreens

Katie motions me to look between the seats to the video screen of the person sitting in front of us on our flight to Vegas. "This woman has only looked at ten seconds of, like, forty different movies for the last three hours," she says with a look of horror.

"I'm not sure what I think is cooler. That she did it, or that you paid attention to it long enough to figure out what was going on," I say, laughing.
One year ago: No Sidewalks
Two years ago: The Holidays Bring Up Feelings
Three years ago: Smart Dog
Ten years ago: Melancholy Christmas

Monday, December 25, 2017


"Mushroom barley soup saved my life," I tell Katie, ladling the stuff into a paper cup. It's three PM and we're at Whole Foods by Union Square, looking for food, since I haven't eaten anything since late last night.

"I was starting to get sick at work," I continue, "and I ate some mushroom barley soup and I instantly felt better on, like, a cellular level."

A little later, she's standing at the window, taking a panorama photo of the park where we've spent every single day for the last month, and she slowly moves her phone from left to right over the landscape where thousands of shoppers buy last minute gifts for the holidays.
One year ago: Flying Home
Two years ago: What, 'cause She's Black?
Three years ago: An Antidote for Smells and Bells
Four years ago: A Gnostic Christmas

Sunday, December 24, 2017


At 3:00 AM I carry the doge downstairs for her final walk of the night. The streets are quiet and empty, and the LED Christmas lights of the cafe across the street blink in a mulitcolored shimmery sort of way.

Though it's been a while since I've thought of it, tonight I find myself with clenched fists, thinking about being mugged, and the empty streets seem more menacing.

As I'm coaxing the doge back up the front steps, a guy in an a tan slacks and a white polo shirt drives slowly by, the only car on the street, and I find myself strangely worried that someone will climb out of the car and mug me.
One year ago: Go Whistle
Two years ago: I Actually Did Do That, Though/
Three years ago: 12 Legs Toward Dreamland
Four years ago: I Just Seem Approachable, I Guess
Ten years ago: Mama Wants a Gun

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Tyranny of the Clock

At some point, the lateness of the hour suggests that "today's" entry was actually written "tomorrow" for "yesterday." It's been four years since I missed one of these, though, so I'll be damned if I miss it over a little thing like the tyranny of the clock.

Late at night, there's nothing but cop shows and hour-long commercials that the channel guides euphemistically call "paid programming." I sit at the dining room table, singing country music songs to myself, tying labels to glass containers filled with butterflies while on TV men and women get arrested for various misbehaviors that, in the grand scheme of things, aren't bad enough to really warrant the kind of treatment they get.
One year ago: Cleaning Up The Meth You Made
Two years ago: Booze Is a Depressant
Three years ago: Which Explains a Lot, Really
Ten years ago: Putting it Together

Friday, December 22, 2017

Swept Left

Standing in the subway, waiting for the R train to come ("3 minutes away" says the countdown timer, but who really knows?) and my blood is still vibrating with rage from that guy upstairs on the corner.

He was yelling at kind of everybody, but then he started talking smack to me, too. "Oooh, faggot, gonna suck his cock?" he says to me, indicating some random passerby while I stare resolutely forward, trying to ignore him. .

The train pulls into the station and I visualize the jerk floating in front of me, hovering over the tracks, but as the train hurtles by, his shade is shoved down the station to the other end of the platform, and he becomes little more than a memory.
One year ago: Inadvertently Funny
Two years ago: Blast Zone
Three years ago: It Didn't Help
Four years ago: Make Believe
Seven years ago: Cold Winter's Night That Was *So* Deep

Thursday, December 21, 2017


I'm walking down the sidewalk past the Methodist Church (one of four churches, I think, that I pass on my walk to the subway) when I remember this meditative singing, called Taizé, we used to do at the Methodist Campus Christian Center when I was in college.

Taizé is a lovely, calming practice of singing repetitive, chant-like hymns by candlelight until the mind and heart enter into a state of prayerful peace, and in remembering it, I thought how nice it might be to practice that again, to feel that connection to some higher power that is somehow simultaneously the dynamo at the heart of the universe, and yet also as personal and intimate as my own pulse.

And suddenly, as if it had been waiting for just such a cue, a spark ignites at the center of my chest, loving and longing, reminding me that I am connected, whether I know it or not, not only to the fire at the heart of creation, but to everyone I meet, to the sidewalk beneath my feet, to the sleepy trees ready for winter, to the crisp air that tugs at my hat and pushes me along the street.

"Yes," the spark whispers, waking from a long slumber, "it's Christmas."
One year ago: An Instinct For Empathy
Two years ago: HD Killed the Video Star
Three years ago: Everybody Needs to Learn Manners
Seven years ago: Save All Your Love
Ten years ago: Perspective

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


The fellow at the hardware store directs me to the rubber gloves, and I spend only a few minutes finding the pair he says are strong enough to stand up to the acetone we use to clean certain pieces of glass Katie uses for her sculptures. Katie's pretty sure they'll just dissolve in solvent, but I'm not so certain..

A few hours later, however, after a hole has been eaten in my sad little gloves (and right at the fingertips, too), I pull them off and keep working, despite the stinging as the thousands of littte cuts and abrasions as acetone fills them with pain.

Afterwards, Katie throws out the gloves without so much as an "I told you so."
One year ago: Those Were the Days
Three years ago: The Habits of Houseguests
Four years ago: I Panicked
Ten years ago: Flying

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Real Fur

"I'm sorry," I say to the woman wearing the winter coat with the fur-lined hood. "Someone put something on your jacket, and I'm going to get it off, okay?"

I pull off the sticker and show her the thing, a bright yellow square with black, block letters declaring, "I'm an asshole - I wear FUR."

I apologize to her for someone doing something so rude and unnecessary, but she shakes her head, saying, "But it's not even real fur!"
One year ago: "Here's to the Hearts That Ache"
Two years ago: Jejune
Three years ago: I'm PRETTY Sure He's Joking
Four years ago: Late Night Wine Talk
Ten years ago: Scrabbling for Change.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Too Late to Help

At around 1:00 AM, when I'm just starting to tidy up in the kitchen, a small, despairing cry from the front of the house has me running down the hall to the dining room where I find Katie standing next to a table full of new pieces to sell tomorrow, calmly putting a lamp up on a bookcase.

When I ask her if everything's okay, she looks down with an exhausted expression that someone who didn't know her would think was her feeling pissed off.

"I'm fine," she says. "I just almost knocked the lamp over."
One year ago: Peeing Into the Void
Two years ago: Letting Go
Three years ago: Emotional Head-up Display
Four years ago: Gotta Start Shopping a Little Earlier
Seven years ago: Did You Forget?
Ten years ago: “Squaaaare eyes. Turn the oth-eh way. I don’ wanna see. Ya criy-y-y."

Sunday, December 17, 2017


Katie tells the story of my falling asleep before anyone else last night, and how both she and her cousin could hear my snores from the other end of the house. Everyone at dinner laughs, including me.

As I lie in bed typing these words, she snores delicately next to me, a rhythmic, droning counterpoint to the crime shows that put her to sleep. The dog whines, digs at the floor for a few minutes, then falls asleep herself.
One year ago: The Mask of Another
Two years ago: Holding On
Three years ago: Proverbs 25:21-22
Four years ago: Being "In the Moment"
Ten years ago: Ghosts On My Retina

Saturday, December 16, 2017

I'll Take It

Katie's family has arrived in town, and have been stopping by the booth where we sell her work to admire things.

"It's so beautiful," her aunt says, gazing up at the greenery and twinkling lights Katie has used to festoon the shelves and ceiling. "You know," she says, turning to me, "I've been saying a novena for your success."

"Every thought counts," I say gratefully.
One year ago: Friends
Two years ago: The Set Up
Three years ago: Who Knows?
Four years ago: Starstruck
Seven years ago: Straight to Hell
Ten years ago: Golden Flow Orange Juice

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friendly Ghosts

"I'm tired, but, you know, I'm good," I tell our friend who's come to work the next shift at Katie's booth.

"Oh yeah?" she says smiling, unconvinced.

"Yeah, I mean, I feel like if I could just look there," point behind me over my left shoulder, "I'd see ghosts and stuff."

"Oh yeah, that sounds right," she replies, laughing.
One year ago: Paranoia
Two years ago: An Ill Wind
Three years ago: There's Something About That Name
Four years ago: Just Keep Dancing
Ten years ago: Must Be A Nosedive Party

Thursday, December 14, 2017


It's pretty close to midnight when the doge squats by her usual tree when it starts to snow. A fine dusting quickly accumulates on the sidewalk and street, and Coco looks around in confusion as she becomes frosted across her back and the top of her head.

Katie is still working hard putting pieces together for the market tomorrow, as she has been all night, and understandably she's a little distracted when I come back upstairs and tell her it's snowing.

"Outside?" she says in alarm.
One year ago: So This is Christmas
Two years ago: Rough Trade
Three years ago: Fickle
Four years ago: Just Keep Dancing
Seven years ago: Passing Time
Ten years ago: Where Christmas Lights Come From

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Apologies, Part 2

"The reason I lost my temper with you yesterday," I tell the belligerent optometrist, "is that you told me, when I bought a gift certificate from you with my FSA, that there'd be no problem. But I had to pay for it, because it's totally not legal."

After going back and forth for a bit, he finally says, "Well, if you'd let me know, I could have written a receipt saying you bought some glasses or something, and that would have taken care of it."

"Yeah, I try to avoid lying to the government as much as possible," I reply.
One year ago: Sleeper Car
Two years ago: Dogs Make Friends
Three years ago: Memory
Four years ago: The Cat Saves the Day
Seven years ago: God Doesn't Mind if You Have a Good Time
Ten years ago: Metrocard Athlete 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

He Called Back to Apologize

"No, see, you have to come in for an exam, since the prescription changed," says the optometrist I've been going back and forth with.

"You see," I finally say in exasperation, "this is why I stopped going there: everything is a hassle with you guys."

"Why don't you just go fuck yourself!" losing his cool in an instant.

"Yeah, you too," I reply, and we both hang up.
One year ago: Christmas Brass
Three years ago: Memory
Four years ago: He's Got My Back
Seven years ago: A Conversation at a Party - 2:30 AM
Ten years ago: There is No Good In Tarot Cards

Monday, December 11, 2017

Where You From?

He's looking down at his phone, absorbed in whatever arrangement of pixels happen to be going on there, so he doesn't hear me say, "Excuse me," but I'm carrying two pretty heavy bags, and so, without touching him, I move past him with a, "Right behind you." That seems to startle him enough to wake him out of his electronic stupor, and he obligingly moves out of the way and further into the subway car.

When we go over the bridge, though, he and his girlfriend get up and look out the window over the East River, down the length of the island toward the Statue of Liberty.

"It's much prettier than yesterday," she says, and he nods, thinking, probably, of a dark sky flinty with snow.
One year ago: Accelerate Out of Danger
Two years ago: Mea Culpa
Three years ago: I'll Be Fine Tomorrow
Four years ago: Among Other Things (But Not Many)
Seven years ago: Sometimes I Get Carried Away

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Talking About the Weather

Bananas, spinach, milk, and a half-tube of cheez flavored Pringles - I lay them on the counter and, while she rings them up, I look through the glass out the front door where the late-fall snow is drifting down in enormous, fat flakes from a frozen smoke sky.

"Pretty bad out there," I say, making idle conversation. But she looks up from scanning barcodes with furrowed brows and says, "Not stopping anytime soon."

When I express surprise at this, she shakes her head, as if addressing someone who is clearly dealing with a serious brain injury, adding, "They say it's gonna keep snowing all through the night."
One year ago: The Physics of Fire
Two years ago: Phone Snatchers Abound in Midtown
Three years ago: Morning Luck
Four years ago: Good Guy Brain
Seven years ago: Late Nights in the Slope

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dodge Parry Thrust

I sometimes feel as though I'm fencing with customers, parries and ripostes against their cynicism and bitterness.

"But they're not real butterflies, right?" he says, smiling as if he's caught me out in some desperate lie.

I smile back and shake my head, but I know my smile has a bit of an edge. "Nope," I say, "they're all real."
One year ago: Colossus
Two years ago: Overheard at Work
Three years ago: Somebody to Talk to At The Office Party
Four years ago: Dad Jokes At The Wine Shop

Thursday, December 7, 2017

2018 is Coming

2016 was the warm-up: the usual trials and sorrows that we are all heir to (illness, death, regret), but amplified, a border skirmish with the emissaries from the realm of grief and loss.

2017 has turned up the volume on all that 2016 portended, and added the voices of those who would no longer remain silent in the face of suffering; it burned away the facades of pretenders and told us that everything not freely given would be stripped away.

A man stands immobile in the middle of the subway platform, clutching a cane in his enormous hand. The furious swirl of commuters part like water to either side around the vast bulk of him, while he waits for something just out of sight with a look of stoic, smoldering rage.
One year ago: Politeness
Two years ago: Chopping Onions
Three years ago: Magic Beans
Four years ago: An Important Day in a Boy's Life
Seven years ago: Armored

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Abandon Hope, Ye Who Enter

I run up the stairs to the second floor of Whole Foods, my bladder singing a single, insistent note (a P above middle C), to find, thankfully, no line to the bathroom.

But when I walk in, the door to the only stall is closed, and a clear trash bag wraps the only urinal in despair. A smell of the sewer greets my nose as a voice, echoing against the tiles like some damned soul speaking from hell, intones, "No good in here, man."

I stand for a moment, dumbfounded and desperate, only to be recalled to myself when the speaker lets loose a long, ringing fart in the silence, and I beat a hasty retreat.
One year ago: Psalm 121:1
Two years ago: First Rule
Three years ago: Two Wrongs
Seven years ago: The Band is Passive Aggressive, We Are Not

Rent Control

After I confess my rent to the two ladies from Long Island (the daughter of one of them standing off to the side watching, smiling) one of them laughs. "I can top that," she says. "Six bedroom apartment, Upper East Side, he's was born there...," she starts

"He's been living there since 1944," the other chimes in.

"...and when his parents died, he got the apartment for what they were paying and he still pays only," her voice drops to almost a whisper, "a hundred forty-four dollars a month."
One year ago: Secondhand Communion
Two years ago: Old Salt
Three years ago: Lost Pen
Four years ago: Rumors of the Real World

Monday, December 4, 2017


"What about a deal on that piece?" the woman says, naming a price half the value of the item, like she's doing me a favor.

We've been doing this for a few minutes, so I fix her with a look and say, as sweetly as I can, "I'm sorry, but I'm not going to do that."

She stares back for a moment, then shrugs, and gets out her wallet to pay the agreed upon price, only to balk yet again when I tell her she still has to pay tax, even though she's paying in cash.

"If I'm going to pay tax on it, so are you," I say with a smile.
Two years ago: The Bright Side
Three years ago: Cooking Together
Four years ago: Who Cares What You Think?

Am I Psychic?

"Are you humming 'Jolene'?" the woman asks me, incredulous.

I look up from where I'm wrapping the ornaments she just bought with what I'm guessing is a dumb look on my face and say, "Yeah, I guess I am,"

"That's the name of one of the people I'm buying these for, " she says, her eyes wide, gesturing to the ornaments.

"Well," I say in confusion, "did you say it out loud or something?"
One year ago: Who Usually Takes Charge
Two years ago: A Discourse on Unheimlich
Three years ago: Matthew 25:40
Four years ago: Unconscious

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Inferior Trash

For a while, any time Katie and I would finish a bottle of wine during the week, I'd have to hear about it on Friday from the guy who bagged the recyclables for the building. He wouldn't be judgey, exactly, just sort of insinuating, like we were these wild partiers throwing out tons of bottles when in reality we might have a small glass with dinner every night.

Since the market started, though, we've been too busy to even do that, but I've still kept up the habit I got into of bagging up my own recyclables to go out late at night after he goes home.

The only problem is I worry I'm doing it wrong, and that whatever I put out on the curb on Friday night is subject to some arcane set of rules that will cause the recycling guys to reject my trash, and so I wake up Saturday mornings and go to the window, anxious that I'll see my the clear plastic bags stuffed with either paper or glass, metal, and plastic, still there in the light of day, mocking me with their stubborn solidity.
One year ago: Testing
Two years ago: Lighten Up
Three years ago: "Lights, Please?"
Four years ago: Here, You Throw This Away

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Back to Baseline

A show on television about bullying in middle school gets in my head, and I find myself wishing the same suffering I experienced on the children of those who tormented me - constant anxiety, loneliness, confusion in the face of seemingly inexplicable hatred, depression. I even find myself envisioning these children, blameless except for an accident of being born to hateful parents, thinking of killing themselves, the way I used to. 

I realize I need to calm my happy ass down when I’m walking down the street to the train as the schools in my neighborhood are getting out, and the groups of kids, loudly laughing and jostling down the sidewalk the way normal kids do, have me striding faster and faster to pass each of them, my pulse racing angrily.

After my train ride, when I arrive at my stop, the gently rocking motion of the train and the familiarity of the station seems to have narcotized my rage, and I’m able to recall some of my usual benevolence for the crowd; a brass quartet echoes Christmas carols off the subway tiles, and I take a deep breath and manage a smile, 
One year ago: Not His Night
Three years ago: Melancholia
Seven years ago: So Much For Meditation

Friday, December 1, 2017

Slow It Down

One of the greatest joys in my life is to move unselfconsciously: to quickly, gracefully, do the thing that is in front of me, speaking or writing, dressing, walking, catching with the smooth loop of the basketball star the cup falling from the top shelf and putting it back in place. I’m often clumsy for precisely this reason, in that I try to try to do things with this unconscious grace when I haven’t earned the right, either because I’m not paying attention or because repetition and practice have yet to write the grooves into my mind that would allow me to act with such an animal elegance.

But spending hours everyday in the tiny booth where we sell Katie’s glass and butterfly sculptures has forced me to slow down, lest I destroy with a stray gesture of my frankly too large frame some precious thing, or knock over a shelf, or smack a customer in the face.

It’s even bled into my everyday life, and I find myself moving more deliberately as, for example, I take off my scarf on the subway: carefully moving so as not to impinge on others' space, right hand unknots while the left pulls the length of it around my neck and, without allowing it to drag on the ground, I gather it into my now free right hand and bunch it into my bag with what feels like ridiculous slowness and concentration.
One year ago: Kinda True
Two years ago: Barking at Midnight
Three years ago: Nostalgia
Seven years ago: Wound Up

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Human Being

"When I was a kid in Georgia, a butterfly landed on my lip, and it freaked me out!" he says. The smell of alcohol and cigarettes coming off this old man fills up the booth as he wobbles from shelf to shelf, looking at Katie's pieces.

"They don't just land on anybody, though," I say, thinking for some reason of Saint Francis, "so that must mean you're pretty special."

He stops and looks at me, and suddenly, in spite of his drunken, half-lidded eyes and sentimental, garrulous manner, I feel more than see the weight of the person standing in front of me, not that he's fat or something, but the weight of his existence, his history, the sheer physicality of his being standing as an entity before me, and for whatever reason it terrifies me, and I wonder what the two of us, him and me, are doing here (in New York, the Western Hemisphere, on Earth).
One year ago: Know Return (Been Here Before)
Two years ago: Neutrality
Three years ago: All Things Considered
Four years ago: Paris, je t'adore
Seven years ago: Even Kids Aren't Really That Much of an Accomplishment

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


With the second sense that comes from riding the train every day, I look up from the book in which I'm engrossed to check which station is coming up.

"Oh goddamnit," I say out loud to no one in particular, as, through my inattention, I only now have noticed that I'm on the wrong train, and about to go express past my stop into the far reaches of darkest Brooklyn.

I do some quick calculations in my head and get off at the next stop to transfer to a returning train that, while it doesn't get me exactly where I was headed, gets me close enough.

A woman on the platform is selling churros, three for two dollars, and I buy a brown paper bag of the sugar-crusted fried dough sticks to assuage my irritation, sticking my face in the sack and munching moodily as I walk through the station to the uptown side.
One year ago: Happy Monday
Two years ago: Too Real
Three years ago: The Day After
Four years ago: Bloody Soil
Six years ago: New Cat
Seven years ago: Falling

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Trials of the Physical World

The little boy struggles with his bag of gummy bears while his dad and the cashier watch. They let him work it out for a while as he first tears at it, then pulls at the seams, and finally manages to rip it at a weird angle that threatens to spill the treats all over the floor.

"Here you go, man," the cashier says kindly, handing the boy a plastic bag while the father hestitates. "Put 'em in here so they don't fall out."
One year ago: Teaching a Worldview
Two years ago: All I Want for Christmas
Four years ago: Life Skills

Monday, November 27, 2017


"I'm getting kind of fuzzy-headed, and I'm not really thinking clearly," I tell Katie, who looks up at me from where she's working at the coffee table with bleary eyes. She nods in agreement.

"Also, I think I'm repeating myself," I add, hearing myself.

Katie does a double take in confusion and then, realizing what I initially said, shrugs and laughs.
One year ago: Maybe a Little Offense
Two years ago: Shame
Three years ago: Check Your Bags (And Your Privilege)
Seven years ago: It Was Delicious (They Tell Me)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

No Method, No Problem

After trying to figure out my system for putting price tags on pieces we're selling at the market, Katie finally gives up. "I have no idea how your mind works," she says as she goes off to finish another part of the project.

As I happily work through the rest of the tags, I realize part of the problem is that I don't really have a system, as much as I just do whatever happens to be in front of me at the moment, which, while it creates confusion for others, makes perfect sense to me.

I remember my sister's abject frustration whenever I would set the table: I'd put down a fork at this place, then a spoon, then a fork at the next place, then a knife at the previous place, and so on, until everything was done, and how after a while she simply refused to watch me set the table anymore, because the way I did it was so injurious to her calm.
One year ago: Welcome Home
Two years ago: Strained
Three years ago: My Family
Four years ago: The Elusive Glasses Are Somehow My Fault
Seven years ago: Everyone

Friday, November 24, 2017

They Found Her

“Ladies and gentlemen we are looking for a three-year-old child in one of the cars of this train. If anyone has seen an unattended three-year-old child, please alert me, the train conductor, right away.”

A chill creeps up my spine, and I look around the car to see my fellow passengers also scanning the length of the train, until my eyes fall upon a little boy playing a game of some sort on an iPad. He looks up from the game and says to his father, “This one’s too easy for me," while the later tries to keep a concerned expression off his face.
One year ago: Sweet With Teeth
Two years ago: What Good Are You?
Four years ago: Tales From High School
Seven years ago: Who Really Runs This Joint 


The manager from Whole Foods, when we tried to talk to someone about our problem on the phone last night, said that if we wanted to replace the seven pound turkey we'd received with the ten pound turkey we'd ordered, we'd need to get there early. "Like, early," he emphasized when we asked for clarification.

So here I am, out at seven in the morning on Thanksgiving, happily riding my bike down to the Gowanus in the lovely, quiet, crisp air, not a soul other than me on the road.

The honk at my left shoulder comes as a bit of a shock, then, like the only car in Brooklyn hunted me down for the sole purpose of hassling me, and I pull over despite him having the entire road, and motion him past with an irritated wave.
One year ago: Suburban Apocalypse
Two years ago: Karma Leaves a Mark
Three years ago: What's Eating You?
Seven years ago: crossing paths

Thursday, November 23, 2017

They're Just Having A Nice Time

They're sitting across the train car from me, laughing, these two women, and for just a second my stomach tightens and I feel painfully self-conscious. I have my headphones in, so I can't hear what amused them, but I can remember what it was like to be seven, eight years old, and have the other kids laugh at you, pretending it's not you, acting like you're not the subject of their ridicule.

Maybe that's what I'm reacting to, nothing to do with right now.

I close my eyes and turn up the music, and I remember that I'm not really that important, or conspicuous, nor am I as awkward as I was when I was eight.
One year ago: Like a Gas Leak
Two years ago: Sales Banter
Three years ago: Growing Up
Six years ago: Rrrrargh
Seven years ago: Snapshots of a Commute

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

We're Knot the Same

Each of the sculptures in the booth where we're selling Katie's work is labeled with a small, kraft tag tied to the piece with a small length of dark green string.

For new pieces, she's left a small baggie of the strings in tidy, knotted bundles at the booth. I unknot the bundle to obtain a single piece of string for a new tag, and silently marvel at her organization, her foresight and planning for even little things like this.

But when I try to retie the knot, what was an elegant, neat whorl of string disintegrates in my hands into a disorganized, depressing tangle that I spend longer than it should take trying to fix.
One year ago: Agoraphobia
Two years ago: Competitive
Three years ago: Make-Up Work
Four years ago: No Making Out Tonight
Seven years ago: A Little Forceful

Much To Answer For

"Guys, just stop it!" Katie says in frustration to the newest sexual harassment revelations (this time against Charlie Rose). She stands by the door after getting ready for bed, pulling her hair up into a pony tail. "I mean, are most guys like this?" she adds.

"Yeah," I say sadly.
One year ago: Swimming Lessons
Two years ago: Seed
Four years ago: Old Before Her Time
Seven years ago: The very nice doctor is not a dentist

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Grow Gills

"There were two actually broke artists talking to me today," Katie says after her shift at the market where she's selling her sculptures, "and when I told them that this was my full-time job, they were like, 'Whooooaa.'"

"But I told them," she continues, "there's a point where you're spending money to do stuff for your art, so you're working to get the money to do that, and eventually the balance shifts, and there just comes a point where your canoe flips over and you find out you can breathe under water."

"Did you actually say that?" I ask, incredulous.

"No, I didn't want to be weird," she says without embarrassment.
One year ago: Not Above It All
Two years ago: Caught In The Act
Three years ago: Scruffy, Part II
Four years ago: Fall Is Just The Space Between
Seven years ago: Late Edition

The Last Doge On The Left

We've been feeding the doge treats off Katie's cousin Ryan's shoe, in an effort to get her to calm the hell down whenever he's in the house. We figured it would get her to associate his smell with treats, but that's not really working, although she seems to appreciate the whole eating a lot of treats part of our plan. She still barks, growls, and carries on like he's some kind of home invader, intent on killing us all and making us into lampshades, and being the charming, affable guy he is, he finds it personally offensive that any creature would have the poor taste to dislike him.

When he goes on the doge's walk with us, hoping to get her used to his presence, she twists around every few seconds to look behind her at him, as if he's the killer in the horror movie, gaining every moment on the heroine as she stumbles in terror through the forest.
One year ago: Boogie. Down.
Two years ago: Good Intentions
Three years ago: Attention Must Be Paid
Four years ago: Picky

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Cab Ride

Katie takes another sip of water to quiet her stomach. We were stuck in traffic all along Canal Street, with plenty of time to admire the tiny red lights strung above us welcoming us to Chinatown in Christmas-like letters, but the stop and go of it all made her a little carsick.

Now, though, we float above the East River, lofted by the Manhattan Bridge over the world, and I stare idly out the window, watching the quiet waves ripple below, when my gaze strays upward and I see four planes on approach to La Guardia, one behind the other, perfectly evenly spaced like discrete diamonds on an invisible chain. 

We both watch them for a few seconds before turning back to the road as the cabbie drives us home.
One year ago: Thinner
Two years ago: Metta
Three years ago: Apologizing For Existing
Four years ago: Flight of the Hunter
Seven years ago: But I Have To Stand Somewhere Too

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Two Customers

1. "You have to remember, you've helped a lot of people, and even though you're not the type of person to boost yourself up, there's a real kindness in you," he says, putting his hand on my shoulder. In other circumstances, being touched like this by a stranger would be off-putting, but exhaustion from the last few days has crushed my defenses, so all I can say is, "Thanks, man," as I blink away tears.
2. "I won when I sued the Department of Corrections for three-hundred thousand dollars, cause I went to visit my boyfriend in prison and I had a tampon in," the alarm bells that went off when she twitched her way into the booth are now accompanied by the wail of danger sirens, "which they shouldn't have seen, but they pulled down my panties and examined me with the same gloves they used to search two other women, and one even told me this was true, and so I got a STI."

I find myself inordinately proud that, during our conversation, I've managed to steer her out of the booth (and away from a little boy and his mother examining a centerpiece along the western wall) using nothing more than my physical presence and whatever.
One year ago: How Others See Us
Two years ago::Watercooler Chatter
Three years ago: Over-dramatic
Four years ago: Almost Ready to Turn Off Cable
Six years ago: Shoulda stayed home and played Zelda one more day

It's a Big World

The conversation he's having on his mobile is loud, expansive, demonstrative, and entirely unintelligible to me. I don't know the language, and I don't pause to parse, but keep moving down the street toward my destination like a good New Yorker.

I imagine a place where people speak some language I don't know, a small village, maybe, miles from anyone, where a cozy, warm fire crackles, the only sound at all beneath an enormous, deep blue-black sky quiver-full with stars. It's not this guy's home, probably, but there's somewhere like that, where they've heard of New York, but only as a place out there in the world that has no real impact on them or the people they love whatsoever.
One year ago: Politics at Dinner
Two years ago: Not Really
Three years ago: He Found Them
Four years ago: Context
Six yearx ago: Allocating Your Time
Seven years ago: ...and now I've got it too

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

No Rent?

"Are you from Canada?" the guy taking his stuff out of the freight elevator asks me.

"No, the gentleman around the corner is, though," I reply, hooking my thumb back to where I'd been talking.

"I'm at the holiday market, at Columbus Circle, but I don't pay rent," he says with a grin, opening up the crate on his dolly to show me hundreds of exquisite, hand-painted blue and white eggs.

"Oh man, you must make a mint on these things at Christmastime," I say
One year ago: Sounds Like It Hurt
Two years ago: Seriously?
Three years ago: A Friendly World That Speaks
Four years ago: Cultural Confusion
Seven years ago: She's had a cold

Monday, November 13, 2017


Maybe all storage places are marginal, on the edge of things where the people who are scrabbling out a living collect their lives. 

The two guys still blocking the hallway on my third trip from the van pause their rhythmic, rolling conversation in an African language that they periodically season with French, and one of them gives me a half-hearted squint that I studiously ignore.

"Thanks," I say humbly as he moves his bulging, overladen cart out of the way yet again, and he shrugs and sits back down on the chair in his storage unit.

The next time I pass, they don't stop talking, but he gives me a curt nod, and his cart remains parked around the corner.
Two years ago: Deja Vu
Three years ago: Fooling No One
Six years ago: I Know How You Feel, Kid

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Did He Do It On Purpose?

On my way to rent a van for tomorrow, I ride my bike past the couple walking in the parking lot of the U-Haul, up to the entrance.

But they've made some changes to the place, and the door that looks like it's going to let me in has no handle on it. It takes me a second to spot the new entrance, an automatic double sliding door a few yards along the front, so I walk my bike over to it, and in.

The couple that was behind me, though, has been let in the old way by the guy pushing the broom along the floor, and they're already at the counter getting their truck, with me standing in line behind them while the porter gives me a huge grin that I can't quite read.
One year ago: Long Island Ice Tea
Two years ago: She Doesn't Like Kids
Three years ago: Showtime For One
Six years ago: too soon?
Seven years ago: Close Enough

Runs In The Family

"And when you get older, it gets worse," Katie's dad says, referring to his tendency to say exactly what's on his mind.

"I know what you mean," I say, nodding. "My dad always used to say that I had to hear what I said to know what I thought."

"Oh, and your dad's one to talk," Katie says.
One year ago: Disobedience
Two years ago: Dog
Three years ago: This Number Is Out Of Service
Four years ago: Quoth The Guy Who Has To Go To Work Tomorrow
Six years ago: Fall Fell
Eight years ago: Nicholson Baker's "Box of Matches" Inspired Me

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Things We Get Excited About

At the local hardware store, this mountain of a guy unlocks the cage full of spray paint, and waits patiently while I fiddle with my phone to figure out what kind Katie wants me to buy.

Which is, of course, the moment when my phone dies.

He casually waves off my apologies, but his face lights up when he sees me, after a few moments of digging in my bag, pull out a battery and plug my phone into it.

"Oh man, I got a huge one of those that charges my phone like three times!" he says enthusiastically, as I nod.
One year ago: Armchair Quarterbacks
Two years ago: Salieri
Three years ago: Growing a Beard Is No Real Disguise
Four years ago: Flinty
Seven years ago: Contrasts

Thursday, November 9, 2017


"Excuse me, where can we find sheets of acrylic?" Katie sweetly asks the guy in the orange Home Depot apron.

"Aisle forty-nine," he says without hesitation, and goes back to staring vacantly up the escalator.

But when we get to aisle forty-nine, there are no sheets of acrylic, at all, and it takes another five minutes of searching on her phone before we find their true location.

"I want to be able to say things with that kind of confidence," Katie says as we walk by him directing another couple somewhere else, likely incorrectly.
One year ago: Women Be Hating
Two years ago: Needs Work
Three years ago: Am I Actually Nice?
Four years ago: Maybe He Was Just Trying To Help
Six years ago: Waking Up Is Hard To Do
Seven years ago: Pie Is Too Nice To Be Bad For You

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Opening the Shop

"I found this little hat," Mario says to another employee at the shop downstairs after he's done rattling up the security gate.

"I seen that hat yesterday," the guy answers, taking it from Mario and examining the little grey beanie.

"No, that would mean it was out overnight," Mario looking a little disgusted.

"Man, I dead ass saw that hat on the street yesterday," handing it back.
One year ago: Accommodation
Two years ago: Schrodinger's Lottery Ticket
Four years ago: I got nothing
Six years ago: Sick Holiday
Seven years ago: My Mini Spooner

Fall Swing

I come out of the subway into drizzling rain that, as if the clouds have spotted me, immediately turns to a downpour.

I spit out my gum the flavor of bathroom caulk and rub my jaw. Realizing that if I walk faster I'll get rained on less, I lengthen my stride while the rain soaks my clothes.

My breath, for the first time this year, fogs the air, and despite the drenching I'm getting I smile, knowing that fall is in full swing.
One year ago: Corrective
Two years ago: Doge-calling
Three years ago: When I Wore A Younger Man's Clothes
Four years ago: It Only Takes A Spark
Six years ago: Instigator

Monday, November 6, 2017

It's Okay To Eat Fish

He's wearing a yarmulke and a black turtleneck, with a beard like Maynard, and she's got granny glasses and a wig like the orthodox Jewish wives wear, so I know I'm dealing with some kind of counterculture types here, I'm just not sure counter- to what?

Regardless, they love the doge, who reminds them of their recently departed, and deeply mourned, pit bull.

"Our girl was really showing signs of dementia," says the woman, her hand down at doge level for sniffing, "but when we added fish to her diet, all the symptoms went away."

"Of course, she was a vegan before that," she adds, while he nods knowingly.
One year ago: Suffragette City
Two years ago: What Else?
Three years ago: Backtrack
Four years ago: Making My Own Drama

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Dance Anyway

"I mean, in four years, I'll be fifty," I tell her.

"You know, you've mentioned that a lot lately," Katie replies.

Later, cleaning in the kitchen, one of my (many) favorite songs comes on and, with no one around to see, I dance.

There's a dancing of youth that celebrates life pouring through you, the eternal spring of capital-L Life that leaps with ever-new joy, expressing itself through your being, but there's another kind of dance you dance even though you see yourself headed toward the downward slope, and you're still alive, so you dance, dance anyway, despite everything.
One year ago: The Opposite of Hyperbole
Two years ago: A Kind Of Integrity
Three years ago: Look As Good You Will Not
Four years ago: The Starvation Method
Six years ago: Remember, Remember
Seven years ago: Happy Drums

Does This Bedtime Make Me Look Married?

The long day is over, we've watched the last two episodes of "Stranger Things," and the remains of dinner lie strewn across the table in piles of take-out carnage.

I look over to Katie, who's looking at her phone with eyelids at half-mast, and ask, "So, is it time to go to bed?"

"I mean, it's time for married people to go to bed," she says, looking at the time.

"Do you see a ring on this finger?" I say, showing her my wedding band.
One year ago: Concerned Bystanders
Two years ago: Eating
Three years ago: Just Like When I Was A Kid
Four years ago: The Best Spies Believe Their Cover Story
Six years ago: That'll Work
Seven years ago: Even In Park Slope? Really?

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Ghost Mouse

I've just settled in cross-legged on my mat and closed my eyes to begin my meditation session when the sound of glass exploding behind me jolts me upright. Expecting the worst, I leap to my feet and run back to the dining room where literally hundreds of Katie's artworks (butterflies beneath glass domes, in glass cubes, in glass bottles) wait to be sent to market, but, search though I may, I can't seem to find any carnage despite the noise.

Katie and I search for the source of the crash, finding nothing, until Katie finally identifies the culprit as a single cocktail glass on the bar cart off to the side, though it looks like nothing fell on it, and it didn't fall over either.

"Well, maybe it's that mouse the cat almost killed that got away, like we're being haunted by its vengeful spirit," Katie speculates, as I attempt to pick up shards of glass with my bare fingers before they work their way into the cracks in the hardwood floor.
One year ago: Foliage
Two years ago: Living In The Past
Three years ago: Lots of Folks Eat Ramen
Four years ago: It's Up To Me
Six years ago: The March of Sickness
Seven years ago: Wake Up In The Morning Feeling Like P-Diddy

Friday, November 3, 2017


What limited human interaction I have today occurs only at the grocery store, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

The older guy next to me at the self-checkout terminals leaves a fraction of a second before I do, and so I'm stuck behind him as he shuffles to the door. He barely picks up his feet when he walks, and though I'm tempted to try to dive around him and bolt out the door, I follow his lead, swallowing the scream of impatience choking in my throat, until finally, after an eternity watching him work out the mechanics of upright ambulation, we get outside, first him, then me tumbling after, and I practically sprint down the street toward home.

The glow of the moon lights up the sky as it begins to rise, ever so slowly, from behind the apartment building on the other side of the street.
One year ago: Time Flows Around Us
Two years ago: New York Is Burning
Three years ago: Just Missed It
Four years ago: I Guess I Don't Either
Six years ago: She Who Is Not Busy Eating 9-Lives Is Busy Dying
Seven years ago: Acting Out (Staying In)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Indian Food Massacre

"I don't mind if the naan is a little crispy," Katie replies to my dismay at over toasting the Indian flatbread. 

She keeps her eyes resolutely focused on the dishes she's washing as she pronounces her next words. "I just don't want my paneer... to saag."

She looks over at me with a smirk, as if to ask what I propose to do about it.
One year ago: Next In Line
Two years ago: You Talk To Strangers
Three years ago: Haunting The Bastard
Six years ago: Another Morning
Seven years ago: Sous Chef Rhapsody

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

If It's too Loud....

Young men, released at the end of the school day, spill out onto the street and roar down the sidewalk, their pent-up energy leaving a wake of noise and chaos behind them that you can almost see, and that you can definitely hear.

These two, for example: laughing too loud, jostling side-by-side in front of me, hip-hop shouting from the bluetooth speaker in the one guy's backpack.

I've had too many encounters on the subway with kids like these playing their music out loud, and my blood pressure is up as the three of us head toward the train station while I play through scenarios in my head confronting them ("Nobody likes your shitty music," or "Forget your headphones at home?"), knowing I'll probably just end up saying nothing and moving to a different car.

But as soon as they get to the stairs going underground, he cuts the volume on his music and the two of them descend to the platform opposite mine in silence, leaving me to ride into Manhattan unmolested, aurally, wondering at my hostility, where it came from, what it means.
One year ago: Samhain Ninjas
Three years ago: Halloween
Four years ago: The D Train Is Bat Country
Five years ago: 10/31/11

That Time Of Year

I look up in alarm as Katie runs into the room. "The radiators just turned on," she says, hand raised to receive a high five.

I stand up from where I'm working on the floor, high five my wife, and breathe in a metallic, musty, warm scent. "I can smell the dust," I say.
One year ago: Weather, Man
Two years ago: I Alone Have Escaped to Tell Thee
Three years ago: Mansplaining Hiccups
Four years ago: Another Show
Six years ago: 10/30/11

Monday, October 30, 2017

Aggressively Friendly

The line for the self-checkout at the store can go either to the left or the right, and nobody seems to ever know which, so I just slide in next to the woman waiting there.

So when the guy rolls up with his grocery cart on the other side of her and just sort of looks around blankly without really seeing me, I get a little anxious: how am I gonna let him know that I was here first?

On his next scan of the area, though, we lock eyes, and I give him the biggest, most genuine smile I can, along with a chin lift, and I even say, "Hey, how's it going?" which is a little more forward than I was really planning for but okay, apparently this is what we're doing.

He looks vaguely alarmed at all this, but when somebody else comes up, he makes a point of saying, "Uh, I'm actually the back of the line."
One year ago: The Horror
Two years ago: Anachronistic
Three years ago: Haibun Without Haiku
Four years ago: Jesus Is Magic, But Can He Play Keyboard?
Six years ago: In October?
Seven years ago: some things you have to pay for after you've already used them

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Penguins Are Scary, Numbers-wise

"I mean, there's more butterflies than there are people," I say, which is technically true, if you count all of them. "It could be a little scary for people who feel outnumbered."

"Exactly, it's like the penguins," the stranger replies. She seems sincere, so I can't really play along if she's just having a laugh, so I nod, but I cock my head questioningly, to indicate that I might be on to her.
One year ago: Lowered Taxes
Two years ago: So Much For Atmosphere
Three years ago: Dinner Party (Nioi)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Waste Not, Want Not

"See, that's why I don't have a dog," says the parking enforcement officer as she watches me pick up Coco's poop.

I give her a smile and think that the conversation's over at this point, but she continues, "My friends say they're gonna get me something they say feels just like a real dog, but I think they're just gonna get me a stuffed animal."

"That's the problem with living things:" I say thoughtfully, "Everything poops."
One year ago: A Walk in the Rain
Two years ago: Not As Helpful As I Could Have Been
Three years ago: Hands
Four years ago: That's That
Six years ago: safe
Seven years ago: Let's Pretend

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Gaslighting Technology

The thermometer in the freezer, rather than displaying a temperature, even a really low one, has apparently just given up. It's even read negative numbers before, but now it just reads "LL," which is not so much a temperature as an admission of defeat.

I pull out ice cube trays and crack them one at a time into the bin, then fill up my water bottle, and Katie's. When I get back to the freezer with the refilled trays, the thermometer innocently reads 20 degrees, as if nothing had happened, and I shut the door slowly, watching the digital readout suspiciously.
One year ago: Subways and Means
Two years ago: Risky
Three years ago: Cat Scratch, No Fever
Four years ago: This Sounds Kinda Perfect
Seven years ago: (though I could still use the money)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


"Siri, How much of what you hear do you send to the government?"

We lay in bed in the darkness, with the TV talking about crimes that happened many years ago.

"I don't know what you mean by how much of what you hear do you send to the government. How about a web search?"
Two years ago: Walking Distance
Three years ago: The Time Of The Season
Seven years ago: The Hutch

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hunger Pangs

"So, Annie has a got a lecture she's giving in Dubai," says the guy on his phone as he passes me on the street, and the rest of his one-sided conversation is lost as a wave of jealous anger roars up in my chest.

I want to be the kind of person who jets off to give lectures in Dubai about things, and I want to go first class on airlines and eat fancy food and tell people, "No, I'm sorry I can't go that week, as I'll be giving a lecture in Dubai."

(Katie, later that evening when I tell her this story, gives me a calm, appraising look when I tell her all the things I want and simply says, "You might want the perks of that job, but you don't want that job.")

In the moment, though, I find myself stopped dead on the street, and, getting a grip on myself, I think, "God, I need to eat something."
One year ago: Professional Boundaries
Two years ago: Rolling In the Deep
Three years ago: Whining Hypochondria
Four years ago: Star-crossed Lovers

Always Wear A Helmet

I pull over on the sidewalk right after I leave my friend's house, the lights on my bike flashing red and green in the night, and text Katie: "I'm leaving now! (I'm so sorry I didn't text when I arrived.)"

After I get underway again, the streets are quiet, until, without warning, the wind whips up, thrashing the branches of trees above.

Suddenly it's like I'm in a video game, dodging falling acorns as they clatter on the asphalt and set off alarms on all the parked cars.
One year ago: Locked Out
Two years ago: Nodding Off
Three years ago: Reincarnation/Rumination
Four years ago: Autumn Scents

Monday, October 23, 2017


The doge, having pooped once already on this, the final walk of the evening, has decided, after I've already bagged up her refuse and thrown it away, that she's still got one in the chamber, so I wait patiently as she squats beside the tree, and I pull out another bag with a resigned sigh.

A kid on a bike rides by carrying a large, metal chair over one shoulder, steering with his one free hand, and riding down the middle of the street with the insolent grace of youth.

He takes us all in at once - me and the dog, me standing by, the dog in her not-entirely-dignified pose, - locks eyes with me, and favors us with a grin.

"I get shit done," he says, and pedals away, through the red light, to vanish into the Brooklyn night.
One year ago: (Another) Brief Encounter
Two years ago: Doggie Facebook
Three years ago: Candy (Sour)
Four years ago: Far Away
Seven year ago: Fall Arrives - We Fight Off The Chill

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Cleaning Lady Out Is Out Sick

"It's amazing how quickly our house can go from clean to pig-sty," Katie says, rummaging around in the kitchen.

"I resent that," I say.


"Pigs are very clean animals."
One year ago: Here Come The Cold Jets
Two years ago: Mundane
Three years ago: Sunset (Bitter)
Four years ago: Magic Is Just Spending More Time On Something Than Any Reasonable Person Would
Seven years ago: The Days Are Long, But The Years Are Short

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Don't Get Murdered

The long, empty halls of the storage space, with their flickering fluorescent lights and exposed duct work, are a little unnerving. 

More unnerving, though, is the guy sitting quietly in the storage space next to ours, with his legs poking out into the hall, eating a banana - nothing else, just eating a banana.

He doesn't say anything, but gets up and leaves, and I go about my business. 

The motion detectors get bored, though, and the lights in the place automatically shut off, plunging me into darkness so that, for just a second, I wonder if he's out there, waiting for me.
One year ago: More Than A Server
Two years ago: Delayed
Three years ago: Healthy Eating (Salt)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Check My Work

I come out of the bathroom at the cocktail party with the front of my shirt almost completely wet, but it looks like I got the wine stain out. I try to decide if I should be embarrassed or not, shrug, and figure no one is really paying that close attention anyway.

"I think I got it," I tell Katie a little later when I find her admiring a painting.

"I would have spent the rest of the night scrubbing it out if you hadn't," she says seriously after checking my work.
One year ago: Right Of Way
Two years ago: Accelerate Out Of Danger
Three years ago: The Antique Shop (Umami)
Four years ago: Clowns Are Nothing To Worry About

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

House Of Many Dogs

Both the dog and I stumble blearily to the door for her morning walk. When I open the door, though, I hear an exclamation from downstairs that stops us in our tracks. 

Up the stairs comes a scampering streak of a small black dog named Val, and she blazes past the frozen, stiff-legged Coco (who gives me a look like, "Are you kidding me with this shit?"), to go sniffing around our apartment, tail wagging mischievously.

Our downstairs neighbor comes running up the stairs after his dog, and I scoop Val up with a smile to pass her back to her mildly embarrassed owner.
Two years ago: Jealous Again
Three years ago: Bitter/Sweet
Four years ago: Saved

A Nice Walk Saved

I'm stuck on the final scene in my story, so I take a walk down Prospect Park West to try to dislodge my thoughts, strolling beneath bowering trees, light playing between the leaves, talking to myself, making brilliant points and discarding them again.

And since I'm already at 8th Street, I might as well walk the rest of the way down to 9th Street and back over to 7th Avenue to my favorite donut shop, because I deserve a damn donut.

Then, walking back up 7th Avenue with my donut nestled in its curled up white paper bag, admiring the lovely day I seem to be having, I think how great it would be to have an errand to run, to justify my long detour around the neighborhood.

With a gasp and a cold thrill in my stomach, I suddenly recall my morning conversation with Katie, that I actually DO have an errand to run, and I only barely remembered before I got home and missed it.
One year ago: Big Bird
Two years ago: Marry Your Opposite
Three years ago: A Metaphor For So-Called Post-Racial Discourse In America
Four years ago: Is There a (Cat) Ghost In My House?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Special Delivery

"The boxes are here, aren't they?" I say as Katie picks up the phone.

"Great! And you're downstairs?" she says to the delivery guy on the other end of the line with a smile/grimace, nodding.

"Well, guess I'll go put on pants," I say.
One year ago: Rigid
Two years ago: We'll Do It Live
Three years ago: Another World
Four years ago: Literally Full of It

Sunday, October 15, 2017

House of Pain

"My arms hurt," Katie says with a look of concern. "To the point where I'm actually worried I may have injured them working today."

Wordlessly, I open up the bottle of ibuprofen and hand her four tablets, and she wanders off to look for her water bottle to take them.

Later, as I'm bringing the dog back upstairs from her walk, I pause on the landing to let my legs rest, because they hurt from standing all day.
One year ago: Party (Fire) Foul
Two years ago: Breakin'
Three years ago: Closing Time
Four years ago: There It Is (I Has The Dumb)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Is It A Mani Or A Pedi?

When we get to the dog-groomer, the doge's near-chipper attitude (chipper for her, anyway) takes a sharp right turn into alarm as she figures out where we are and why we're here. The person-in-a-muppet-costume of a dog lying in front of the door doesn't help matters, adding physical bulk to the already existential panic the dog is currently undergoing. Coco braces all four legs at the door and has to be (gently) dragged inside.

"Sorry, she really doesn't like anything," I call after the groomer as he picks her up and carries into the back to get her nails trimmed.
One year ago: Presbyopia
Two years ago: Plowing
Three years ago: Leaners
Four years ago: Scent of Home


My friend's bout with food poisoning isn't going well, so I hand him a stick of gum, which he takes with a little confusion.

"When I was in high school, I got sick in the bathroom right before a big show where I had a saxophone solo," I explain, "and this elderly black jazz musician gave me a stick of gum to settle my stomach."

"So tonight you are my elderly black jazz musician," he says with a pained smile.

"Yeah, let's just keep that between us," I demur.
One year ago: Tenacious
Two years ago: Jet Lag
Three years ago: Junk Shop
Four years ago: Social Realism Isn't Easy