Thursday, November 30, 2006

His name was Kris with a K, he wrote his name on the back of my Friends & Family 20% off coupon card.

Wrote it with a K.

In blue ballpoint pen in the top left corner of the letter-sized card. His phone number too.

Kris was talking about Tampa. Clearwater to be precise.

"I've heard of it."

His eyes widened. "You have?"

"I have."

Now he's tellin' me how he moved here from there, onto 9th Avenue. S'OK but he wishes there was a subway.

"Eh, someday."


"Well no."

On the East Side, maybe.

And about how now he sees Clearwater everywhere.

"I'll look at something and somewhere, somehow in the fine print. It says Clearwater, Florida."

I nodded and smiled and said yes, that's what –

"And across the street from me there's this bar. And two of the bartenders are from Clearwater!"

"That's very strange."

"I go out, there's a group of people. Someone's from Tampa."

"Yes – that's bizarre."

"And then there's these other people who come up and are like, did you say you're from Tampa? We're from Clearwater."

"Maybe they're all fleeing," I volunteered.

"Date of birth?"

Kris was entering my data. I was taking the two-week trial at the New York Sports Club and here he was with the plans and such. He handed me my temporary magnetized card. A suspiciously portentous temporary card. Suggestive of lifetimes of recurring fees, referrals, costly training regimens undertaken in fits and starts.

"There you go!"

"Great. Nice to meet you," I said. I extended my hand.

"Not a problem at all – you too. To you too."

"OK. When I'm ready to – "

"Come see me – "

"I will."

"Have a good swim."

"Alright, man."


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Michael Richards is dying for our sins.
I get ideas riding in the passenger seats of cars on the highway at night, ideas for writing. Themes to trace from one memory to the next, a long-past folly, some incongruous idea. But then it evaporates on firm footing, to say nothing of the scouring light of day.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What I Remember About the '90s

Flaming plane debris bobbing in the water at night
Tonya Harding's handful of cum
And Space Station Mir
My father once returned a pillow to the department store complaining that it smelled of chicken soup.

Today I threw out some old insurance papers, 401k stuff, warranties and receipts. Shit with my name all over it. Into a bag, down the chute and onto some great pile of sweet Manhattan garbage.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

We should have known when they were in our offices, to interview us or explain something or to test our mood and puzzle out our apprehensions. Every moment they were not addressing us or each other they faced their laptops to tip-tap away, God knows why. No one can conceivably have that much work to do with their digits, unless they're a novelist, video game coder or court stenographer. No one on a business trip for Christ's sake. It seemed to me a means of keeping the world at bay, of managing one's tidy corner of it safe and sound. But then when the deal went down I realized.

They're e-mailing all the time.

E-mails to and fro, to the to line and to the cc's. Thoughts? Fire away. Loop someone in why don't you. Give an action item to Bob. Take the lead. Drop the ball and circle back.

This frenzy at first glance seems to take the place of real work in a most ridiculous charade. But then maybe not. Maybe the micro-forces it exerts finally make the world go round.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I threw some things away and bought some slightly finer things to take their place. I arranged it all meticulously, and was dully pleased to see how all the empty spaces in between were even.

More or less.

And then it occurred to me, am I decorating my tomb?