Friday, June 23, 2017

Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time

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

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

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

Hadn't Thought Of It That Way

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Curse and Cure

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

At the Library

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

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

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

Monday, June 19, 2017

Warm Up for Dog Days

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

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

Remember Pogs?

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

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

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Or Were You Just Making Conversation?

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

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

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

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