Monday, June 26, 2017

As If It's My Fault

I've got the green light, and the left turn that cuts across the bike lane at this intersection is supposed to yield to cyclists.

But here comes this cab, clearly doesn't see me, turning right into my path, slowly enough that I can maneuver, but still. 

"Hey!" I shout angrily into his window as I ride past, and he turns, a dumb, confused look on his face, as if he's never seen so outlandish as me (a man! on a two-wheeled contraption!) in his life.

He stops long enough for me to swerve around and continue up 1st Avenue, and as I pass his bumper, he honks, loud and long.
----------------------
Two years ago: Kids Can Be Cruel
Three years ago: A Good Idea
Eight years ago: celebrating a life

Sunday, June 25, 2017

An Attempted Murder

The crow pose ("kakasana," which has a nice onomatopoetic quality to it) involves balancing the knees on the forearms and lifting the feet off the floor while leaning forward. It's kind of tricky, and it's taken me a couple of years of trying to perfect.

"That was awesome," says my roommate John as I come out of the pose. "I look up and you're just kind of floating there."
---------------
Four years ago: Just This Once
Eight years ago: While you were out
Nine years ago: I happen to prefer pop.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Who Else Is Gonna See Me Naked?

We get home from our epic bike ride, red-skinned and exhausted.

"I'm going to have to wear a long-sleeved shirt," I say to Katie as I examine my "farmer's tan" with interest. "To cover up this ridiculous burn."

"From who?" Katie asks incredulously.
--------------------------
One year ago: Tumbling
Two years ago: Away
Three years ago: Illness
Four years ago: The Ravages of Time (no laughing matter)

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

Something Fishy

After coming home from dinner, both of us punch drunk from the week we've had, Katie stands on the bottom step of the stair waiting for her customary kiss before going upstairs.

Instead of kissing her, though, I open my mouth and put it over her entire nose, and suck on it for a second.

"It starts out warm, then gets cold, like peeing in the ocean," she says, smiling and rubbing her nose with the palm of her hand after I'm finished. "Especially since you just ate sushi," she adds, "and I mean that as a good thing."
------------------------
One year ago: Being Friendly
Two years ago: I Am Too Familiar
Three years ago: New Book In the Mail Today
Four years ago: Weiner's Everywhere
Eight years ago: Danke, Dirty Projectors
Nine years ago: echoes

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hearing Things (Exhaustion Edition)

After dinner, I start awake on the couch with the YouTube video we put on still playing, and Katie attempting to stagger to her feet.

"Going to bed...I'm going to bed," she mumbles, stumbling toward the back of the house.

Later, when I come out of the bathroom brushing my teeth, she's wrapped in a towel from her shower, making coffee for tomorrow morning, and she stops, looks at me, and asks, "Did you just whisper something creepy to me?"

I shake my head no and reply, through a mouth of minty foam, "You need to get some sleep."
-------------
One year ago: 'Tis But a Scratch
Two years ago; How Others See Us
Three years ago (one of my personal favorites): Fatherly Advice
Four years ago: Need to Get Me a Hammock
Nine years ago: 6-15-08 Well, thank God I got THAT over with.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Done

"Are you fighting on the internet?" Katie says, walking into our bedroom. I'm perched on the bed, furiously typing away. 

I don't answer and keep tapping on the keyboard until I'm finished with what I hope is a scathing retort, then I shut my laptop. 

"I'm done," I say. 
-------------------------
One year ago: Since You Asked
Two years ago: Why Yes. Yes I Would
Three years ago: Delayed

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Subway Stories

"Okay, subway stories," I say to Katie. We're lying in bed with the air-conditioner on blast to try and shake the oppressive heat.

She stares up at the ceiling smiling. "All I'm saying is that if there's a report of a murder on the N train tonight, I know who did it," she says.
------------
One year ago: Wishful Thinking
Two years ago: Absinthe
Three years ago: Delayed
Four years ago: As If What I Want Has Anything To Do With It
Nine years ago: 6-13-08 Strangers

Monday, June 12, 2017

Counterfactual History

"Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if the slave-owning Founding Fathers hadn't done that whole revolution thing," Terry from my writing group says. "Like maybe we'd be a quiet little place, just a little titular connection to the old country, like Australia or Canada. Like how much trouble could we have avoided, and slavery would have been outlawed earlier, all that."

"Oh, I'm sure there are several million people in India who might have something to say about that," Barbara replies as she's leaving.
----------------
One year ago: Making It
Two years ago: Absinthe
Three years ago: Used
Four years ago: Still Learning (Family Dynamics Edition)
Nine years ago: 6-12-08 Why Do You Think I'm Living Here?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Helping

The tequila is starting to wear off, and my brain is playing the equivalent of that game where you write texts on your phone using the next suggested word and so you end up with lines like "I take the train delayed orgasm" or whatever it is comes up on your phone. Those words would never come up on my phone.

"I'm dying," I say to Katie as I'm trying to write this and all the stuff that I did today that was very interesting to me at the time (putting together shelves, helping Katie apply to holiday markets, cooking for us, feeding and walking the dog, watching the Tony's) seems dull and entirely unworthy of writing, even though that's the point of all this.

"Do you want me to help?" she replies, leaning in super close and putting her nose right next to my cheek.
---------------------
One year ago: Encouragement
Two years ago: A Vision of the Future

Inquisitive

Driving down 6th Avenue to drop the van we rented for the day back off at U-haul, the cops have all the roads heading west shut down. "Why are they doing this?" Katie asks irritably, knowing I don't know the answer.

Later, we're riding our bikes home, looking for a bite to eat, but 5th Avenue and all the roads leading to and from it are still blocked off, but when we bypass the barriers and go around the cops, we find that they've blocked it off for the Park Slope Pride parade, and as we duck across the parade route to cross the street, Katie is all smiles.

"I just wanted to know why," she says.
-----------------------------
One year ago: Beggary
Two years ago:
Three years ago: Avoidance
Four years ago: How Am I Supposed to Hate You If You Insist on Being Nice?
Eight years ago: This Is NOT An Assassination Threat, OK? Lighten Up.
Nine years ago: It Couldn't Be More Perfect


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Strawberry Moon

"Didn't that used to be Kevin's place?" I ask. Katie and I agree that it was, but the heating oil place that used to be downstairs appears to have been replaced by a real estate office, and we shake our heads.

The moon is starting to come up, and I mention that it's going to be a Strawberry Moon, but I don't know why they call it that.

"Probably something straightforward: 'Now's the time to harvest your strawberries," or something," Katie answers.
---------------------
One year ago: Mawwige is What Bwings Us Togethah
Two years ago: What Are You Waiting For
Three years ago: Tell it Like it is
Four years ago: Typical Brooklyn Sunday (In Some Places)
Nine years ago: Kill, Chat, Kill

Friday, June 9, 2017

Nuages

The orchestra plays the music of my youth in the neighborhood in which I lived and played for years.  It's cool but not cold, and the stadium is gradually filling up when, during a stirring rendition of the music from "E.T.", the sun breaks from behind a cloud and floods the upper deck of seats with low, golden light.

I tilt my head to watch the clouds moving slowly overhead, and think about how happy I am to be here, and how not too terribly long from now, everyone in this stadium, even the kids who are dancing around enjoying the music from Star Wars and Jurassic Park, everyone of us will be dead. This thought, far from filling me with fear or despair, soothes me somewhat in a mildly sad way, and I lean to my right where Katie is sitting and push the weight of my shoulder into her side, happy just that she's there, and she, slightly distracted by the music, leans back into me, then looks up from the stage and smiles.
--------------
Two years ago: The Long Cut
Eight years ago: 6/8/09 Braid

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Lunchtime "Tragedy"

Pile of veggies on a paper plate, microwave two minutes then stir. 

Oh I should get my phone, I think, maybe play a game or read an article.

But when I get back to my desk, my phone is gone. After searching everywhere, I realize: someone stole my phone.
------------
One year ago: Motherly Aggression
Three years ago: Truth
Nine years ago: 6-7-08 Playing the Ponies

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Optimism

We know the names of dogs, but not their owners, but since the dogs can't talk, we chat with the owners while we play with dogs.

"We just got back from the lawyer's office," says Serge's owner, a friendly older woman, "where we were making out our wills, and I said we should have a clause, right at the beginning, an extra ten-thousand dollars to whoever takes care of the dog."

Serge presses his lean, heavy, gray head into my hand and wags his tail as she continues: "And my husband says, 'Our daughter Wendy loves Serge, so we don't have to do that.'"

"And I say, "Are you saying that Serge is going to outlive us?'"
-------------------
One year ago: Missing My Person
Two years ago: Meta-Meta
Four years ago: Chatty. Sorry.
Eight years ago: 6/6/09 - Circle around the park
Nine years ago: 6-6-09 (supplemental)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Gospel of Thomas, Saying 102

Just as the train pulls up, he snakes his way between the woman standing in front of me and the door. He's old, with a cane, shabbily dressed, a ratty baseball cap perched at a distracted angle on top of his balding pate.

I try to give him the benefit of the doubt though, even when the doors open and he shoves his way past the exiting passengers and heads straight for the folding seat in the corner of the train; maybe he needs to sit, I mean, I don't know his life, how much pain he's in.

But instead of folding the seat down and, you know, sitting down to maybe ease whatever's wrong with whatever he needs that cane for, he starts haranguing the car, leaning up against the seat, completely incoherent, maybe not even hurt, just a mean son of a bitch.
---------------------
One year ago: It (Really) Begins
Two years ago: Fading
Three years ago: Spin Class Epiphany
Eight years ago: 6/5/09 - Short attention
Nine years ago: 6-5-09

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Paranoid

The dog stumbles from one side of the sidewalk to the other, pausing at each little well of dirt that holds a tree. She sniffs past a small empty baggie with a cartoon dog on it emblazoned on it, which claims to contain "potpourri" ("NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION") but which I know for sure once contained synthetic marijuana.

The thought of the desperation and unhappiness required to put something like this in your body gives me heart palpitations, And its cheerful colors and goofy picture makes me nervous, but I stoop to pick it up.

There's more trash on our doorstep, and I start to wonder if someone left it there, like poisonous, sinister gifts - an ancient condom, a package of Cheese Doodles - meant as a curse offering to try to kill the vibe of a good day.
----------------
One year ago: Is There a Ghost in My House (Pt. 2)
Two years ago: Nothing's Free
Three years ago: Dangers of an Audience
Eight years ago: 6/4/08 - Some Days
Nine years ago: 6-4-08 Shaving

Sassy Commitment

Everyone's out in the greenmarket at the entrance to the park, a friendly sun shines cheerily in a Disney blue sky, a delicious breeze ruffles hair and fur, playfully snatches hats off heads and sends them tumbling toward attractive strangers, and overall people are flashing just defiant amounts of skin at each other via shorts and muscle shirts.  Even the volunteers at the composting collection station are feeling sassy.

"Let's put it this way:" one says after a friend compliments him on his commitment to the cause, "until every fossil fuel company is defunct, I'll be here, doing my part."

"Oh, I bet you'd still come here," his friend says admiringly.
----------------
One year ago: Still Got Some Life Yet
Two years ago: Out of Practice
Three years ago: Putting Off The Inevitable
Four years ago: Or What to Write Here
Eight years ago: 6/3/09 - Dropped
Nine years ago: 6/3/08 "Antland, Antland, Over All"

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Inertia

The old man in the badly fitting blue suit runs by, his shoes flapping urgently on the sidewalk. He's waving frantically, flagging down the bus that just pulled up down the block.

I remember stubbornly walking through the parking lot at Desert Sky Pavilion that winter 25 years ago as my friends urged me to run; walking even though they were running to get in, even though the Grateful Dead had already started playing, the notes of "Dark Star" floating out beneath the blue.

Some people would prefer to miss the bus than run, no matter what the cost.
---------------
One year ago: Foot in Mouth
Two years ago: The Human Condition
Three years ago: Nothitarian
Four years ago: A Sense of Humor Like a Cat
Eight years ago: 6/2/09 - Seriously, it's freaking me out.
Nine years ago: 6-2-08 Fathers and Sons

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Trivial

I do my breathing exercises, then I listen to some binaural beats to focus and calm my mind. Lastly, as the suggestion of a friend of mine, I journal for ten minutes, just to get the juices flowing and unlock the hyperverbal part of my brain.

Finally, the familiar theme plays, and we're off to the races: a few easy ones at the beginning ease away the jitters, and then I'm flying through the questions, guessing where I don't know for sure, and answering with assurance where I do.

I finish, and the house is quiet around me, and I feel strangely at peace, while the cat lays next to me, breathing slowly, her white fluffy belly rising and falling, her paws flexing gently in the air, entirely unconcerned with game shows, or trivia, or anything at all.
-------------------------
One year ago: A Near Miss
Two years ago: Thwarted
Three years ago: Estranged
Four years ago: Bodysurfing Meditation
Eight years ago: 6/1/09 - this happens every once in a while
Nine years ago: 6-1-08 There, but for the grace of God...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Unmoved

My reflection flickers in the passing windows of the train as it pulls into the station: existence, non-existence, existence again, onoffonoff on off
on.

We crowd into the car, the tide of bodies spinning me so that I have to step in the door sideways, like a crab.

The people around me touch me on three sides, an arm here, a leg there, someone's shoulder against my back, but none of it is hostile or intrusive. We're all mutually neutral, pushed together, breathing and soft, unmoved in the thrust and motion of the train around us, thinking our separate thoughts, on our way together to separate destinations.
------------
One year ago: Mind the Light
Two years ago: The Apathy of Youth
Three years ago: Love Minus One
Four years ago: I Must Have Had "Soft Eyes"
Eight years ago: 5/31/09 - Wyckoff part 2
Nine years ago: 5-31-08 Camels of the Heights of Guam

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

So Quiet

We bike home through the misty evening after dropping the van off at the U-Haul place, up Third Street with its stately row houses. The overarching trees are already so thick they obscure the street lights, leaving us rolling through darkness with brief patches of leaf-shadowed light illuminating the sidewalks and streets.

For a while there's only the sound of us breathing, pushing pedals, climbing the hill past dark windows and parked cars

"It's so quiet," Katie almost whispers, and her voice is swallowed up in the night.
---------------
Three years ago: At the Rock Show
Four years ago: Manhattanhenge

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Fountain of Youth

Ellie the very old min-pin finally decides she likes Katie and sits at her feet, quivering slightly, while Katie gently strokes her fur. Coco has gone to the end of her leash and stands staring at nothing in particular, as usual.

"Our other dog, Lou, was a rescue too," Ellie's owner says (side note pointing out that very rarely do encounters with other dog owners end with an exchange of names, while the names of dogs are freely given and usually have to stand in for the name of the owner), "and he'd been so badly mistreated that we thought he was much older."

"Now that he's had some pampering, though, he looks a lot younger," he finishes with a shrug, and Ellie closes her eyes in bliss as Katie begins scratching her behind the ears.
-------------------
One year ago: Tap Out
Two years ago: Jet Fuel Can't Melt Cynicism
Three years ago: ADD After Spin Class
Four years ago: I'm Just Bigger Than You
Nine years ago: 5-29-08 Wherein I ask the eternal question, "Bitch, where's my money?"

Banal But True

"I know that it's real," says our roommate at the dinner table as the conversation turns to a discussion of this blog. "Some of the things you write are too banal to be anything else."

We laugh at this, until another friend at the table says, "I read it every morning. When I see myself in it sometimes, I 'm all, 'Yes!'"
--------------
One year ago: Sharing
Two years ago: Feel Better by Doing Better
Three years ago: The Construction Workers Here Are Usually Quite Polite
Four years ago: A Constant Disappointment
Eight years ago: 5/28/09 - Just Biking in the Rain (wham! wham!)
Nine years ago: 5-28-08 And they Struck the Motherlode

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hello Darkness

The dog stops, starts, jumps left, then beelines right into my path, where I promptly (and accidentally) almost kick her, which sends her skittering off on another trajectory.

"Coco, you have such a neurotic walk," Katie says affectionately.

"Yeah, since she's practically blind," I say. "I wonder what it must be like to walk around with us in the dark."
--------------------
One year ago: Theater Kids
Two years ago: Sick Day
Three years ago: This is a Man's World
Eight years ago: 5/27/09 - Phbbbbtt!
Nine years ago: 5-27-08 Storm's Coming

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Two Ways of Being a Couple

The couple walks by, she, dead-eyed, her voice nasally and dull, like a blunted knife, he, with a vacant expression, completely un-enthused to be doing anything at all.

I watch them go when another, different couple walk up, going the opposite direction.

She is wearing a school girl uniform, but she looks a little older than that, he's in jeans, t-shirt, and a beanie, and carrying a take-out box filled with ramen noodles.

She begins a little song I couldn't catch because it was in a different language, maybe, but as they walk past, he begins to sing too, and they float away, down Flatbush Avenue, holding hands, singing quietly to each other.
------------------------
One year ago: Up and Down
Two years ago: The Tension is Killing me
Four years ago: Sometimes, Giving Up is Okay Too
Eight years ago: 5/26/09 - Can't Make it
Nine years ago: 5-26-08

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What Are You Gonna Do?

She's dressed normally, maybe a little drably: patterned tights, tennis shoes, a beige coat that looks a little too big for her, even her simultaneously flat and flyaway hair, which might be a clue to a disturbed condition in other circumstances, seems appropriate given the wet, spattering rain that's been coming down all day.

Then she steps off the curb at the corner, against the light, and walks out into the middle of the crosswalk as the SUV barrels down on her. It swerves a fraction at the last minute, missing her by literally inches (her jacket billows slightly in its wake), but her expression doesn't change as she hops backwards and then strides forward again, again being missed only by inches by another car going the opposite direction from the first through the intersection.

Safe on the sidewalk, watching her make it to the other side despite her apparent best efforts at vehicular suicide, I look to the woman standing next to me, if she saw it too, and she almost imperceptibly raises one eyebrow, and shrugs.
------------------
One year ago: Asking
Two years ago: Meaner Streets
Three years ago: Anatomy of a Hanging
Four years ago: Starting Over
Eight years ago: 5/25/09 - Water Taxi Washing Machine
Nine years ago: 5-25-08 Your Guide to Firefighting

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Leisure

"I don't want to push, I just want to go at a leisurely pace," I say to Katie as we start our bike ride around Prospect Park.

But as the dusk deepens around us, and the air cools, we hit that one long, beautiful hill at the bottom of the park, and I before I know it I've pulled away from Katie and I'm letting gravity drag me along.

"So much for a leisurely pace," Katie complains good-naturedly when she catches up.

"It just feels so good," I say, smiling in joy.
----------------
One year ago: So, Kind of the Opposite
Two years ago: Dad Jokes
Three years ago: But I Can Never Remember Her Name
Four years ago: In Which I Dream of China, For Some Reason
Eight years ago: 5/24/09 - Memento Divino
Nine years ago: 5-24-08 Saturday Morning Brooklyn


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Breathing

His white hair is cropped close to the skull so that the too-tan, leathery skin beneath shows through, shiny and tight. He sits by the door on the long bench that extends along one wall of the subway car, clutching a metal cane, with a vacant, exhausted stare that does not see.

A short, white plastic tube sticks out of his throat where his adam's apple would be, and it's held in place by a plastic and dingy gray cloth collar that pokes out of the neck of his sweatshirt.

He coughs, an almost silent, wheezing heave that convulses his entire body, and my chest contracts in sympathy, as if there is suddenly not enough air in the train, underground, in the entire world.
---------------
One year ago: Don't Be a Hero
Two years ago: Pete Seeger Park
Three years ago: Shelter
Four years ago: Veterans of Twitter Warfare
Eight years ago: 5/23/09 - Wycoff when you can sneeze?
Nine years ago: 5-23-08 Non-non-violence

Monday, May 22, 2017

Yeah She Is

"Let me tell you what's in our freezer," I tell my co-worker. "On this side," drawing a box in the air and indicating the left side, "ice, you know, the usual, and in the middle, there's ice cream, frozen veggies, that kind of stuff."

"And on this side," I say, drawing a circle over the right third of my imaginary freezer, "in a plastic bag, there's a pig head, for the skull for Katie's art."

"She's such a badass," my co-worker says, shaking her head.
----------
One year ago: Helping
Two years ago: Scheduling
Three years ago: Cutter
Four years ago: Nostalgia as the Highest Form of Feeling
Eight years ago: 5/22/09 - They Will Soon Forget How Easy it Was
Nine years ago: 5-22-08 What's Really the Matter


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Encouragement

Our late night errand to the store to pick up dishwashing detergent is not going as well as I'd like - the dog, completely confused as to why we would need to go anywhere but home after she's done peeing, keeps looping around behind me and trying to head back the way we came.

At the crosswalk, a young woman in a black, flowy blouse falls in step with us while she smokes her cigarette, and watches in a amusement as I encourage Coco to step it up.

"Come on, all the cool dogs are doing it," she chimes in. "With that face, you could be running the Iditarod, and I'm not the only one who's said so."
-------------------
One year ago: Priorities
Two years ago: Something Shifted
Three years ago: If They Can Ignore Spring, What Chance Have You Got?
Four years ago: Her Friends Were Nice, But I Needed Maté
Eight years ago: 5/21/09 - Defeated, For Now
Nine years ago: 5-21-08 Picky, picky



How Long Ago Was "The Past?"

The tunnel out of the park is unlit, and lined with wooden benches built into the curved walls, which seems like sort of a strange place for benches.

"Do you think there was ever a time when they were used?" Katie asks as we walk through.

"Maybe like in the sixties, you know, hippies sitting around, playing guitars," I say.

"I was thinking a lot earlier than that," Katie replies.
---------------
One year ago: Tumor Envy
Two years ago: Morale Officer
Three years ago: Fudge Factory

Saturday, May 20, 2017

All Us Rats

In the wake of the train, down on the track a rat meanders between the ties, entirely unconcerned. A white patch high on his back is like a badge of honor where either other rats attacked him, or a train clipped him, and took the fur off.

As I peer over the edge of the platform I'm suddenly struck by how much I must trust my fellow man. Here I am standing with my back to dozens, several dozens, of strangers, and yet I am not even slightly concerned that one of them will step up behind me and shove me out in front of a train.
-----------
One year ago: She Always Makes Me Laugh
Two years ago: Trying Out Best
Three years ago: Slack MF
Four years ago: Or Maybe I Could Use a Nap
Eight years ago: 5/19/09 - Easy, Killer (I'm just a little dog on a big ol' leash)
Nine years ago: 5-19-08 Social Skills

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Musical Youth

Honestly, I thought I'd be older by the time the artists of my formative years died. 

I put on some of his music, which leads down a rabbit hole: Soundgarden, to Alice in Chains, to Pearl Jam, to Screaming Trees, to Nirvana, etc., etc., and so on.

And like the gradual transition into the Other World in a fantasy book, I feel the past rise up: my youth, like an open throat straight from belly to heart to mouth, the soul a shout. Up and out, to dance at the show, the music pounding around me, anger and passion and confusion, all embodied in a dude up on stage that I so desperately wanted to be.
------------
Two years ago: Food of the Gods
Three years ago: Pregnancy Dreams
Four years ago: Red Head Probs
Nine years ago: 5-18-08 It's Not Okay


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mourning - Broken

A rush hour train is no place for not one, but two full-sized strollers, but what are you gonna do? People have to get where they have to get.

Between stations, though, one of the children in the strollers begins to wail, a desperate, piercing cry that instantly fills me with rage, and this sudden, overwhelming reaction surprises me, so I try to sit with it, to see where it leads.

Under the rage is fear, right in the solar plexus beneath my ribcage - fear of all the things I have left ungrieved in my life, fear that it will come up and overwhelm me, swallow me, memories of how I used to cry as a child - and as I continue to let it speak, it turns from cold anger into sadness, a little mini echo of the child's sorrow, the two of us mourning all the pain in the world that goes unexpressed.
---------------------
One year ago: Cyber
Two years ago: De-escalation
Three years ago: Something to Do
Four years ago: Seventh Inning Booty Moving
Eight years ago: 5/17/09 - I'm Everything You Ever Were Afraid Of
Nine years ago: 5-17-08 "Awesome!"

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Honesty

I pile frozen veggies on the paper plate, cover it with another paper plate, slip the whole thing in the microwave, press play, and stand in the office pantry with a not-so-bright look on my face, while they revolve in the invisible storm of electrons that will eventually warm them to steaming hot.

The new guy walks in, and I introduce myself with a handshake which he limply returns.

"It's so hot outside right now," he says. I raise an eyebrow, and he stammers, then continues. "Not really, I just wanted something to say."
----------------
One year ago: Work to Do
Two years ago: Neighbors
Three years ago: They Must be Flaring All the Time
Four years ago: Ooooh, Burn.
Eight years ago: 5/16/09 - If I weren't so emo, I might accidentally kick somebody's ass
Nine years ago: 5-16-08 Mutt and Jeff

Monday, May 15, 2017

Breathing Trees

I'm really getting into it now. The wind is picking up as the sun goes down, and our decision to sit out on the patio is starting to seem like maybe not as good an idea as we thought.

"Look at the trees and imagine: every nine months your lungs shrivel up and fall off," I say.

Katie is having none of it, though, saying, "No, it's just that their time goes by so much slower that they're just breathing once a year."
--------------------------
One year ago: Our New Addition (Tumor Edition)
Two years ago: Disppointed in the Body
Three years ago: Attention to Detail
Four years ago.: Just Don't Call Her Late for (Insisting On) Breakfast
Eight years ago: 5/15/09 - I talk too much (again)
Nine years ago: 5-15-08 - Paranoia, Stil.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Let's Ride Bikes

Yesterday was a wash, literally: the rain precluded any outdoor activity but the most essential errands and chores, and while we made do with fondue and movies, libations and conversations, records and games, even so I found myself at the end of the day a little restless, and hoping for a more outdoors-y tomorrow.

Something in the air this morning, then, some scent, maybe, or the quality of the light squeezing in around the sides of the blackout curtains, must have tipped me off, because I woke up hours before my alarm was set to go off, fully alert and raring to go. I knew, somehow, that today would be perfect for what I had in mind, and I felt like a kid at Christmas waiting for Katie to wake to tell her - today, we ride bikes.

Later, soaring over the East River as we crest the arch of the Manhattan Bridge on the way back into Brooklyn, my chest fills with a sigh of contentment, and I push the pedals a little harder to pick up speed, my muscles singing in praise of our efforts assisting gravity, and me, my bike, and my happiness together all fall from the sky like a hawk coming out of the sun.
--------------
One year ago: Good To Know
Two years ago: Hallucinate a Preacher
Three years ago: But Only Almost
Four years ago: Maybe I'm Not Ready to Quit My Addiction
Eight years ago: 5/14/09 - Until Blogger Gets Its Shit Together
Nine years ago: 5-14-08 Actually, That Was Me

Admittedly, She Was On the Phone

One of my earliest memories is from when I was a small child in Ohio, walking home from pre-school with my mother and listening to the percussion of rain falling on the hood of my raincoat.

When I bring the dog down for her morning walk, there's a woman sheltering in the doorway of our apartment building talking on the phone. She steps out of the way when I come up behind her to go outside, and she quickly retreats to the slightly less meager comfort of the doorway of the shop next door. 

The rain patterns the hood of my jacket, reminding me of the sound of rain from my childhood, but when I try to indicate to the woman, mostly via hand gestures and significant looks, that she should feel free to get back on our stoop, if that's what she wants, she just looks at me like I might be crazy, just for trying to talk to her at all.
----------------------
Two years ago: Equation of Time
Three years ago: Flex
Four years ago: Good Advice

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Parable of the Broken Doge

The man in the knitted dread tam and his wife watch the doge curiously while she stares off into space, her head tilted to one side because of her dizziness.

"A man I know," the man says, as Coco strains at her leash then, stops and stands like a cow, "adopted a dog with three legs. He wanted a dog that was different from the others."

"How will we tell each other apart if we don't have blemishes?" the woman adds, nodding sagely.
---------------
One year ago: A Banner Night
Two years ago: Puppy Patrol
Three years ago: Spoilers
Four years ago: Darkness at Noon, and Most of the Day, Actually



Thursday, May 11, 2017

Not Brave

They're laughing when I step on the train: a good looking couple, the guy in skinny jeans and a soft, loose green sweatshirt, the girl in an off the shoulder t-shirt and shimmery matte gold tights. I want to like them, I do, but the girl is committing one of the cardinal sins of subway etiquette by leaning up against the subway pole like she owns the place, and the pole splits her butt cheeks so that one cheek rests on either side of the pole, a study in soft gold and chrome.

What I want to do is grab the pole, just above her ass, and stick a knuckle right into the small of her back, so that when the train jostles us, she's thrown back onto it and leaves with a bruise and a reminder to be a little less selfish next time.

But what I do is grab the pole as high as I can without straining, so that my knuckles brush the back of her head, and every time the train comes to a stop, her braids bounce gently off the back of my hand, all the way down into Brooklyn.
-------------------
One year ago: The Vast Wasteland
Two years ago: Me Too
Three years ago: Better With Age
Four years ago: Cerberus Minus One
Nine years ago: 5-11-08 BIKESi

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Demented and Sad, But Social

As the political scene gets more fraught, social media becomes simultaneously more informative and more full of noise. "You know, I've hung out with him, maybe twice?" Katie says of a friend of ours who moved away a few years ago who always posts good stuff. "But based on our interactions on my Facebook feed, I'm pretty sure I'd be okay giving him a kidney."

"I'm sure he'd be happy to know that," I say, laughing. 
--------------------

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

An Unknown Sadness

Second day after our epic bike ride, and now is when I really start to feel it: shoulders tight, skin sensitive, headache, the whole thing. Despite all this, the dog still needs walking, so I pick her up and carry her down to do her business, as she really can't do stairs anymore.

When she's done pooping, and we're about to go back up, we pass a woman walking down the street by herself, dragging a rolling suitcase behind her, no coat even though the night is cold and moist, her face a tragedian's mask, tears rolling down her face.

She passes us as Coco clambers up the stoop to the front door, and I watch this woman retreat into the Brooklyn night, thinking how good I have it, wondering how many places the same scene is being reenacted right now - a person crying, walking away from something, or toward something, another person watching, ignorant and sympathetic, but unable to change anything.
-----------
One year ago: Family Values
Two years ago: Women's Liberation
Three years ago: Polite
Four years ago: A Creature Driven and Derided by Money
Nine years ago: 5-9-08 Small Victories

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Difference

"I think in certain places, like maybe Iceland? they do last names matrilineally," I say to our friend whose last name ends in patronymic suffix.

"Wait, are you mansplaining her name to her?" Katie asks with a teasing smile.

"No, I'm showing off," I say. "There's a difference."
----------------
One year ago: Mother's Day
Three years ago: She Wants to Help
Four years ago: A Metaphor for Post-industrial New York (Or Something)
Nine years ago: 5-8-08 Man's Best Friend

Boiling the Frog

I stopped being able to feel my feet five miles ago, back in Queens, but there's still about ten miles to go before we're done riding our bikes through all five boroughs today. The clouds have come up, hiding the sun and keeping it cool as we ride along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, but it seems to be getting tougher, not easier, to keep our speed as we get closer to the end.

"Wait," Katie finally says as it continues to get harder to pedal, and the Verrazano Bridge looms above us in the distance, "This isn't flat."
----------------
One year ago: Considered Opinion
Two years ago: Superpowers
Three years ago: Running to Stand Still
Four years ago: Longest Conversation We've Ever Had
Nine years ago: 5-7-08 Nodding Off



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Despite Our Best Efforts

Our bikes lean against the back of the park bench where we sit, basking in the unexpected sun, eating bagels and not talking.

"It's really great," I finally say, taking in the grass, the blue sky, the breeze ruffling the new green leaves, the quiet pond, a bird singing quietly to itself nearby.

"The way the earth hasn't forsaken us?" Katie says. "Yeah, that is great."
--------------------------
One year ago: A Long Week
Two years ago: Why Am I Surprised?
Four years ago: Great Minds and All That
Nine years ago: 5-6-08 (supplemental)

Friday, May 5, 2017

I Get Enthusiastic

As the conversation continues, my CEO and I get increasingly enthusiastic and garrulous about the 5 Boro Bike Tour we're both going on on Sunday.

"Well, if we don't meet beforehand, we can meet at the end in Staten Island at the lunch, right?" I say as he nods happily.

"Scott?" says my boss, walking up, the grin on her face not quite reaching all the way up to her eyes, and suddenly I remember the urgent project that I've been working on all morning for her.

"Please focus?" she pleads, and I can feel my face reddening.
-----------------------
One year ago: But, Tacos!
Two years ago: Mourning in Parallel
Three years ago: Prideful Knifework
Four years ago: The Opposite of "Fetch"

What We're Looking For

The wild-eyed man with the shaggy hair and two unlit, half-smoked cigarettes angled out from either corner of his mouth does a quick, juddering dance step at something that startled him from the sidewalk.

He tiptoes back around to examine it, but it's only a silvered gum wrapper fluttering about in a breeze. He watches it carefully for a moment, willing it, perhaps, to change into something else, and then continues on his way, eyes still on the sidewalk.

Maybe he was hoping for a lighter or (more likely) a coin, or paper money, something to keep him walking, or something he could use to buy a place to rest.
----------------
One year ago: Is There a Ghost In My House?
Two years ago: Please
Three years ago: All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray
Four years ago: How Did She Know...? Oh, that.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Better to Have It and Not Want It

While I scribble my name on the already full delivery sheet, the guy from the armored car service hands me my department's MetroCards. It's a pretty small shipment this week, and he shakes his head.

"Coulda mailed these to you," he says ruefully. 

"When you bring us the big bunch worth five grand," I say, indicating his gun with a tilt of my head, "I imagine you'll be glad you have that."
--------------------
Two years ago: Sins of the Father
Three years ago: Not Even Close
Four years ago: It Fits Him Perfectly


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Biking Makes It Better

The tires spin faster, and the wind blows past my ears with a wooshing sound. I circle the park on my bike, but I feel like Katie and I are the still point, orbited by trees and runners and the wind, the clouds above us, the moon climbing the sky.

I didn't have a great day, but it doesn't matter now. We push the pedals, lean into the wind, let gravity turn us into bullets down the hill, and trouble, sadness, boredom, all of those heavy emotions get left behind, too slow to keep up with our velocity.
-----------------
One year ago: It's May Right Now, Isn't It?
Three years ago: Street Portrait
Four years ago: PSA, Just in Casse

Monday, May 1, 2017

Flew In From Miami Beach BOAC

After nine hours of travel (an hour on a bus, another hour-and-a-half on a train, another bus, and a delayed flight) we finally arrive at LaGuardia. We're tired, and sad our vacation is over, but the cool air of Queens is refreshing after the thick, wet humidity of Miami Beach.

"I likes to drink my water, and breathe my air," says Katie with a smile as both of us breathe deep. "And never the twain shall meet."
-------------
One year ago: Ghosts of Roommates Past
Two years ago: Obligation
Three years ago: Beltane
Four years ago: Trying Our Best, Being Friendly

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Vocation

The boy who's been running back and forth in front of the stage, chasing a ball, chasing some girls, chasing a different ball, running circles around the people who are dancing to the band playing, is now on stage as the band breaks down after their set. The DJ plays reggae, but the kid has snuck behind the drumset and is playing some quite passable riffs and fills, just not in time with the music.

"Of course the hyper kid is a drummer," I say to Katie, who nods. 

"He's actually pretty good," she observes as the real drummer comes up in the middle of what sounds like a solo the kid lifted off of Lars Ulrich, grabs the cymbal to mute it, and makes a slashing movement across his throat with his other hand.
----------------
One year ago: Spooky
Two years ago: Nothing
Three years ago: Public Service

Genuine French Experience

"Oh, I don't know what I want," Katie says when faced with the bewildering array of choices at the sandwich place our friend recommended.

"Well, hurry, we close in five minutes," the server says deadpan in his thick French accent, despite the fact that the sign right next to him says they don't close until five in the morning.

"I love the French busting each other's balls," Katie says later. "It should be an Olympic sport."
--------------------
One year ago: Spooky
Two years ago: Some Nights Are Better Than Others
Three years ago: Work/Life Balance
Four years ago: Is Neither Okay?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Slim to None

The water looks green from the shore, but out here, where I'm standing, it's incredibly clear, shading into blue further out, and I find my heart is pounding. I haven't been in the ocean for over a year, and my brain is teeming with sharks and sudden drop-offs into abysmal darkness.

If I slow down for a second, though, I can see it's like standing on the edge of a forest, a huge, planet covering forest, and in this shallow water right now I'm barely in the stand of trees outside some suburban home in Connecticut. Giant, devouring beasts may lurk somewhere out in the darkness, but here? my chances of disaster are slim.
-----------------
One year ago: Used To It
Two years ago: Intrusive
Three years ago: It Was Britta from "Community"
Four years ago: Agreed


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Not Their Type

"So they won't let you bring your bike up in the freight elevator before 9:30 AM," my boss tells me apologetically. "Maybe if you ask one of the men at the security desk they might be able to bend the rules a little...?"

"Well," I say ruefully, recalling standing at the front desk being ignored many times while the security guards at my building flirted, "I might have better luck if I was young, attractive black woman."

"I mean, they do have a type," my boss acknowledges.
------------------------
One year ago: "Creative"
Two years ago: All In My Head
Three years ago: And Done a Better Job, Too

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

This Old Thing?

"We fucked up," I say to Katie. "Cat's out of food."

I was really the one who forgot, though, so back out into the misty night I go as is: t-shirt, plaid shorts I wore biking earlier that night, and flip-flops.

As I get to the counter at the 24-hour grocery with the cans, the friendly cashier looks me up and down and smiles, then says, "Casual night?"
------------
One year ago: Resonance
Two years ago: Formalities
Four years ago: Sympathy for the Elf Locks

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring Cold Prevention

When the tickle in your sinuses starts to threaten a real illness, simmer: 1 one-inch piece of ginger, grated into two cups water, for about five minutes. Then, remove from heat and add two cloves of crushed garlic, a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, the juice from a lemon, and honey - the recipe says "to taste," but know that nothing is going to really make it taste "better."

The plants having sex is getting to be a bit much, even for me, and I don't have any allergies (but is that true?). Katie took a 24-hour pill last night to deal with her allergies, but all it did was give her an existential crisis that she compared to being stalked by a bear.
----------------------
One year ago: The Acoustics of Wealth
Two years ago: Dinner Table Conversation
Three years ago: On the Boundary Between Public and Private Life
Four years ago: Eternal Arm Bar
Nine years ago: 4-25-08 in which I find out that, in fact, it is not as dire as it seemed

Monday, April 24, 2017

Don't Give Up

"You wanna sit?" the woman sitting in front of me on the subway asks the woman by the door. It's a crowded car, and as she struggles, child on her hip, through the morass to the proffered seat, I realize I'm right in the way and move further down the aisle.

But just as I let go of the pole, the train jerks forward, jolting me sideways. I flail at the pole, narrowly managing to grab it, but not before I bend in half at the waist like a "greater-than" symbol, and I can feel all my back and core muscles screeching like train brakes to haul me back upright, until I stand, panting slightly, the small of my back complaining bitterly, and watch the woman with the kid give up before she gets to the seat, and the woman who offered it shrug and sit back down.
--------------------
One year ago: Work Ethic
Two years ago: Hell is Other People
Three years ago: Start Over
Four years ago: Boring Dreams
Nine years ago: 4-24-08 I May Be One of Those People

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Inadequate

Just when I think my legs are going to fall off, when it seems like the uphill climb on this bridge will never end, we reach the apex near the middle of the river on our long bike ride back from Manhattan. We can see up and down the river, sunlight shimmering on the water, boats slowing splitting the waves into whitecapped wakes, and then, seemingly with no effort on our part, we start to sail down the other side, coasting towards terminal velocity down the span into Brooklyn.

Katie points out the guy in front of us riding his fat-tired beach cruiser.  He has pulled the front wheel off the ground in a wheelie, and so he rides down the bridge on only his back tire, while his front wheel twists and pull course corrections out of seemingly invisible currents, and I feel totally inadequate, riding around with both tires on the ground like a common peasant.
-----------------------------
One year ago: Rich People Medicine
Two years ago: Freedom/Invisibility
Three years ago: They're Not There

Oneness Into Oneness

Katie kneels on the marble border edging the pool. "That's how you lose your phone," she sings to herself as she balances it right at the waterline to try and photograph the ripples spreading out from the impact of each raindrop that falls from the sky.

"I really love the circles," she explains, coming back over to where I stand smiling and watching her. I imagine each drop as a life, falling from oneness of cloud into oneness of pool, descending in nothingness as it falls, until it resolves back into the whole, but when I try to explain it, it just sounds overwrought, and nothing like what I mean.
-------------------
One year ago: Where Does Depression Hurt?
Two years ago: Mistrust
Three years ago: Flags and Bags
Four years ago: Leaking Light

Friday, April 21, 2017

Making Your Person Laugh

His pale white skin still bears the pallor of winter, like he's been living under some kind of moist rock, but his girlfriend has a healthy tint of brown. She's smiling slyly at him as they walk by on the other side of the Starbucks window where I'm nursing this tea.

She says something out of one side of her mouth, checks for his reaction out of the corner of her eye. He throws his head back, mouth wide, laughing hard and big, and her now satisfied smile curls up the corners of her mouth a little bit more.
--------------------------------
One year ago: I'm Kinda the Worst
Two years ago: Fanboying
Four years ago: By the Time It's Here, It's Gone
Nine years ago: 4-21-08 Sinus redux

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ah, Youth

Good looking guy with guitar in the subway station sings "I'm Only Sleeping" exactly opposite the meaning of the song. His voice careens wildly in and out of key as he yelps and hollers lyrics meant to be crooned.

A young woman about his age walks by and openly stares. He is really good-looking, it's true: long-ish, shaggy black hair and strong, straight jawlines and swooping cheekbones, a guitar covered in stickers, an open wound of a guitar case ready to take whatever spare change a friendly soul might feed it. 
------------------
One year ago: Sleepy
Two years ago: Turn Down for What?
Three years ago: Keep Your Vestments On

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Stepping On My Line

I ride up just as he's unlocking his bike from the "1-Hour Parking 9 AM to 5 PM" sign by the grocery store. I even have my line all prepared: "Don't you love it when somebody's pulling out of a space just when you drive up?" which, while a little lame, is friendly enough to probably elicit a smile.

While I wait to say my line, I take him in: skinny muted gold chinos, soft white button down under an also skinny bomber jacket, no helmet, fashionably trimmed beard, meanwhile I'm sweaty and red-faced from my training ride in mountaineering pants, a grey jacket and a bright yellow helmet over what I'm sure is the same goofy expression Katie says I always get when I think I'm about to say something particularly clever.

He keeps his head down and barely makes eye contact as he scoots past me and away down the street, and I lock my bike up in silence with my line still rattling around in my head.
---------------
One year ago: Platform Shoes
Two years ago: I Speak for the Trees
Three years ago: Flowers
Four years ago: Angry Dance

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pause

It's my favorite song right now, or one of them anyway, but it's time to walk the dog, so I do a quick fade out by turning down the volume (to avoid the jarring disconnect of just hitting stop - it's a technique I learned from an old friend that I no longer speak to who fancied himself something of a DJ without a dancefloor), grab the leash and take Coco downstairs.

When I come back up, Katie looks at me thoughtfully. "You're perfectly willing to stop a movie in the middle, or a TV show, or a song, to go do something else, and I think there's a connection between that and your writing."

"You'd never stop in the middle of reading a book, or in the middle of yoga," she adds.
-------------
One year ago: All's Well That Ends
Two years ago: The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei
Three years ago: Adultery?
Four years ago: You Make My Life Better
Nine years ago: 4-18-09 Making "Friends"

Monday, April 17, 2017

Undead

"I fooled around with my novel for twenty years at various day jobs," Terry says to me as I'm getting ready to ride home after my writing group meeting. "Finally, at 47, I just decided that I didn't want to hit fifty years old without having done something, finished something."

"And it turned out so much better than I ever could have hoped," he concludes. "Scott, if you're still thinking about it, it's still alive."
---------------
One year ago: Let Me Know How it Works Out
Two years ago: Translation
Four years ago: Like Caesar
Nine years ago: 4-17-08 Yeah, me too, kid.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen

Katie sees him first: a tiny black head bobbing in the waves of this little inlet on the coast of Red Hook, his snout pointed toward shore, rising and falling with the surf. "Is that a dog?"

But no one, not the dog, his owner standing on the shore, or the many spectators, none of them seem concerned, so I try to calm my anxiety and watch him swim patiently into shore, only for his owner to pick up something from the ground again and throw it into the water, chased by the dog - a rock.

It seems unfair, a game of fetch with no chance of the dog ever retrieving anything as one by one the stones his owner throws sink into the murky green, and yet he still dutifully splashes out and swims back in, over and over.
-------------
One year ago: None of Your Business
Two years ago: Getting It Done

Holy Saturday

As soon as we climb in the car, our host for brunch today, who's been kind enough to come pick us up at the train station, hands us cocktails. "Roadies!" he announces happily, driving the wrong way out of the parking lot without incident.

The cocktails taste like Creamsicles to me (they turn out to be peach vodka, orange juice, triple sec, and a lime wedge): sweet, with a little bit of a grainy texture from all the sugar, but when I mention this to Katie, she shrugs.

"Tastes like college to me," she says.
-------------------
One year ago: None of Your Business
Two years ago: Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)
Three years ago: Brush My Hair
Four years ago: Home is Where You Don't Need to See