Thursday, April 23, 2015

Freedom/Invisibility

Walking the dog on a quiet deserted street at night, the lights all out in the windows of the brownstones above, I think to myself, "No one knows exactly where I am. I am alone."

I remember, as a kid in elementary school, the thrill of discovering that, if I simply walked away from class at the right moment, I could disappear completely for awhile: no one would be looking at me, or thinking about me, or telling me what to do, or judging me. I remember the vertigo, the sickening, half-pleasurable thrill I felt, when I returned to the classroom after what I deemed to be an appropriate interval, and realized that no one had even noticed I was gone.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mistrust

Our friend was bitten in the face by a friend's dog yesterday. The gash where the dog caught him looks pretty well sewed up, but there may be other, less visible complications.

"I don't know that I'll ever really see a dog the same way again," he says, perched on our kitchen stool and watching our dog with a pensive look.

Our dog, who was never properly socialized to deal with strangers,  considers him warily, and then finally says, "Woof."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fanboying

"Dhalgren changed my brain," I say to Samuel R. Delany. I'm fanboying all over the place with this guy, and, to his credit, he's taking it in stride.

"Thanks," he says graciously as he signs my program, and I say a few more non-sensical things.

Finally, at a loss for anything to say in closing, I just blurt out, "Congratulations!" and scuttle back to the safety of my seat.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Turn Down for What?

The kid on the subway playing rudimentary beats on buckets and wheezing tuneless nothings on a harmonica has finished his "performance" and his subsequent spiel about "just trying to earn a dollar" and how he's not "selling drugs or robbing people" (which, are those your only choices, like it's bother folks on their commute home or a life of crime?).

He's collected his pittance, and now he sits on one of his buckets, thumbing through his phone and playing a song he's found, no headphones, of course.

My heart pounds as he grins, oblivious, and I'm enraged at the unfairness of it all, thinking I need to say something, do something, but then I stop and think for a moment. Why am I so bothered by a kid playing some music quietly when, in less than five minutes, I'll never see him or hear his music again?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I Speak for the Trees

The tulip trees bloom with purple flames shading into white. Third Street is lined with giants, branches stretched above the roofline to catch the light.

"I love these trees," I say, patting a particularly solid one that moves not at all in response.

Katie fits her hands into its craggy bark and leans up against it for a second, saying, "Cool."

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei

And just as I'm grabbing the mugger by the back of the head to smash his face in, I wake up flailing and smack Katie in the eye.

The next few minutes are spent in apologies and a search for ice to hopefully stave off any bruising.

Later, after she's outed me on Facebook, I thank her for letting me tell the story.

"Well, if we hadn't talked about it, that would have made it weird," she says.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Translation

It's a cliche to call young teenage girls "coltish," but cliches abound for reasons, and the two girls sashaying down the sidewalk as I bring the dog in for the night, with their awkward, skittish energy, and their long, bony legs, do nothing to dispel them.

They pass my door as I'm searching for my keys, and one says into her phone, "But yo, that DJ was wack. All the el-bee's were dancing.

"All the little bitches were dancing," her friend concurs.