Monday, January 16, 2017

Quiet, Please

A bus drives by, going the same way I'm walking up Seventh Avenue, and then a car, then another, engines growling, wheels hissing on the wet asphalt. A couple walks past me in the opposite direction, chatting quietly, then somebody yells something unintelligible on the other side of the street, and then there's a moment of quiet, and the whine of silence in my ears grows deafening.

I imagine the city at night the way it was 150 years ago: a few empty streets, the hushed houses, the sound of wind through the trees. And above it all, a soundless sky, a yellow moon rising slowly in the darkness, and us down here below, very small, listening.
One year ago today: Things Between Us
Two years ago today: Hashtag Yes All Wineglasses
Three years ago today: She'll Be Glad to Know
Nine years ago today: 1-15-08 The Sutra of Lowered Expectations

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Nothing's Wrong

We came into the grocery store together, but somewhere between the shelves overflowing with dusky potatoes and the papery sheen of onions, and the cool, refrigerated green vegetables stacked neatly under fluorescent lights, I turn around to find that Katie's gone.

Rationally, I know she just took a detour, probably to grab her coffee before she forgets, but when I look down the coffee aisle, past the evaporated milk and the boxes of tea, she's nowhere to be found.

A mild panic rises in my chest: what if she's gone, and I never see her again?

I find myself mourning a little, wishing I said something, told her I loved her, before I assumed she was following me into the produce, but when I turn down the frozen foods aisle she's walking towards me, carrying a bag of coffee, smiling as if nothing's wrong.
One year ago today: Let it Go
Two years ago today: Healing
Three years ago today: Lessons Learned
Six years ago today: 1/14/10 Things we say in the dark
Nine years ago today: 1-14-08 Tunnel vision, and, I got an award

Friday, January 13, 2017

I've Been Wanting to be Nice to Someone All Morning

Bodies pressed together on the platform to go up the stairs, the mob is particularly, and pleasantly, fragrant this morning. The bracing odor of soap, a gentle caress of gardenia from someone's lotion, a bass note of cloves from a man's aftershave.

A short, roundish woman in a pill-box hat and a bright blue quilted jacket bumps into me and looks up quickly with the half-fearful, half-defiant look New Yorkers get when they don't know if you're going to be cool or not. With a small, relaxed gesture, I motion her to go ahead, and an expression of momentary, grateful surprise passes across her face and vanishes as quickly as it arrives.
One year ago today: Firewall
Two years ago today: Inspired
Three years ago today: The Shameful Science
Nine years ago today: 1-13-08 Flea Market

Thursday, January 12, 2017


The man sitting down in front of me on the packed subway covering his balding head with a black yarmulke elaborately stitched in day-glo mathematical symbols can't seem to keep still, despite his clear best efforts. His red beard twitches as he bites back words, he shrugs, first one shoulder, then the other, nods angrily, looks to his left, tenses up his whole body, then visibly attempts to relax.

I close my eyes and reach out with my mind, as strange as that sounds, and I imagine I can feel knots of tension and anger and crossed neurons that permeate his body, flashing like Christmas lights.

I imagine gently smoothing out one of the knots, but it's like smoothing out a tablecloth with a pebble embedded in the wood underneath, and I abandon my vision, open my eyes with a sigh, and adjust the volume on my headphones before I go back to my book.
One year ago today: Literally
Two years ago today: Adventures in Spatial Integrity
Three years ago today: I'm Not Worthy
Six year ago today: 1/12/11 anatomy of a fight
Nine years ago today: 1-12-08 angels and douchebags

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


My cubemate is taking the end of the week off, which means she's compressing five days of work into three, and the strain is beginning to show. As the pressure mounts, she's taken to saying the phrase, "Tore up from the floor up," over and over (and over) in this sing-songy kind of voice as she goes about her day, and when I ask her to say it a little less, maybe take a break from saying it for a minute, she resorts to just saying "Tore!" and then looking over at me expectantly, and then, a few minutes later, doing it again.

It's pretty funny, because she's not saying it, but she's making me say it, in my head. I figure this makes us even for the time I kept cracking my knuckles, even after she begged me to stop.
One year ago today: Cancer and Entropy
Two years ago today: Making Friends These Days
Three years ago today: A Block is About 100 Steps
Six years ago today: 1/11/11 bad mood meanderings
Nine years ago today: 1-11-08 A New York Moment

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


In the ATM lobby where our block's beggar used to sleep, a security guard now sits his bulk on a stool, idly minding the store. For three nights running I've caught his eye through the window of the bank as the dog and I do our nightly ambulations to her favorite peeing tree and back.

Tonight, I give him a smile as I walk past, and my friendliness seems to startle him. His eyes widen in surprise and he sits up a little straighter, one hand scrambling to push himself more upright, but he doesn't seem to trust my motives, so he doesn't smile back.
One year ago today: Wake Up
Two years ago today: Another Thought on Teeth
Three years ago today: Both Wrong
Nine years ago today: 1-10-08 starry dynamos under glass

Monday, January 9, 2017

Milking It

The dog's been pretty rambunctious at night these days (we call it "twilighting"), probably just a function of a fucked up circadian rhythm due to her age along with the fact that she sleeps all day like a bum, so tonight I decide to walk her a little farther, around the block.

It's pretty chilly, and she doesn't have her inclement weather booties on, so maybe as a result of the cold, or the ice-melting-salt they use in front of the church, or maybe just because she's tired of walking around and wants to go home, but as we get towards the first turn of our journey, she begins the most pathetic pantomime of a lame doge that I've ever seen, limping forward lifting one paw, looking up at me with a wounded look, "no, you go on without me, I'll just end it here, in the cold and wet without a friend in the world," the whole thing.

I think she might be milking it a little, but I'm not a monster, so I turn us back towards home right away to get her out of the cold, and on the way back, a man in a parka with a fur-lined hood walking the other way comes up to her, whereupon the Tiny Tim act goes right out the window and she immediately and without a sign of distress trots up to sniff him suspiciously.

"Awwww, how old is she?" he says, as if she's a puppy, and not a giant old lady faker.
One year ago today: Another Timeline
Two years ago today: Twitching Whiskers
Three years ago today: Think Skinny Thoughts
Nine years ago today: 1-9-08 Lions and Common People