Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Before I became lost gazing at the burbling froth in the hot tub I had a drink from the water fountain and I thought: water fountain. There's practically nothing to think about when you think about a water fountain. But then there is. The one on the outside of the Middle School, on that huge, brick, south-facing wall. It was a beacon to those parched from playground exertions. All the way across the blacktop and down a little dirt path across the lawn and all for a sip of salty lukewarm water.

A fountain that frequently contained some kid's spat-out gum. Green, or pink, or white, clean and glistening among the silvery beads. Bearing the useless forensic truth of orthodontic tooth marks.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

I emerged from the gym and headed east on 56th Street thinking about music, the oblivious woman at the desk, Delillo's tendency to omit prepositional phrases from the ends of sentences.

Leaving that glaring empty space.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

On the train in the café car the man looked like William H. Macy, those little beady eyes below the thick blonde brow in the creased, genial face. The thin lips around a wide, vaguely vulnerable mouth.

"What'll it be?" he asked genially.

I said I didn't know yet sorry. He helped the woman behind me as I continued to gaze upon the different-colored menus with the pictures of chips and nuts and beer.

"Have you decided yet?"

"I, well…"


That was exactly what I wanted. "You… Yes! That was uh, good."

He turned and got it as though it was nothing. Later I returned for more and he seemed to be in a trance, leaning against the inside of the side counter, arms folded. I waited.

"I, sorry, I must have…"


I ordered, paid, tipped. As I walked away I heard the transaction behind me: a woman ordered a cup of coffee.

"Nice!" he exclaimed ridiculously.

It occurred to me that perhaps he was some sort of modern mythic figure, heroically guarding his spirits against soul-killing tedium. A whistling Sisyphus.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

They seem to like being naked, the men at the gym, bankers and judges and salesmen and all, after a day spent trussed in pants and undershirt, belt and tie. They like standing ungainly with their balls dangling, sheltered from the bemused and judgmental regard of women. It's a sort of unerotic exhibitionism. They like being reduced in each others' eyes.

Friday, March 12, 2004

I heard you coughing clear across the continent.

A construction worker walking ahead of me around the corner of Greenwich and Canal drops his plastic coffee lid to the ground, not tossing it so much as loosing it from the rim and letting gravity perpetrate the misdemeanor. Like he's entitled to not even think about it. And I sort of believed he was.