Saturday, July 27, 2013

Overheard at work, a woman’s voice emanating from the open door of a conference room: “I’m having a hard time opening my mind to what this could be if it isn’t this.”

Friday, July 19, 2013

The F train got hung up at Carroll Street for some reason, some train stuck up ahead or something. I kept watching the woman sitting across the way from me, nodding in and out of sleep.

The conductor made some announcement how this was a signal problem, or the emergency brake on the track was on. I don’t know. Nothing he could do. The doors were open; every now and then some fool would hustle in, thinking how lucky they were to catch the train. Then stand around and look at us. Realize we’re going nowhere.

A woman ran down the platform, yelling and screaming. She seemed to be wearing very little, maybe a bikini and a T-shirt, flip-flops. No one could tell what she was saying. She ran past and everyone looked up and looked out the window at the space she’d run through, as though that would tell us what the hell was going on.

We got stuck again between Smith-9th Streets and 4th Ave. Perched way up high, in the open, with the heatwave sun going down at last. And then we started to roll for good.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New York's Proudest

If you look up the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Police it says they’re New York’s Proudest. But that’s bullshit. Bartenders are New York’s proudest motherfuckers.

Whenever a bartender doesn’t know how to make a drink, this is what he says: “It’s been a long time since I’ve made one of those.” And he doesn’t ask you how to make it. He waits for you to tell him, or to order something else. And as you’re telling him, he pretends to remember.

Last night I drank with Jim, in Midtown, at the bar of a restaurant I think I’d been to many years ago, with Aimee. The food back then was terrible—overpriced, butter-saturated. This time the drinks, at least, were fine. Jimmy ordered a negroni and since I’d been drinking scotch at a work party all afternoon, I ordered a Rob Roy.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve made one of those,” the bartender said uncertainly.

“It’s scotch—”

“Scotch, triple sec...”

“No,” I said. “Scotch, sweet vermouth.”

“Right! Right.”

“And a dash of bitters.”
There are five plastic forks arrayed on my desk at work: one tan, one white, one gray, two clear.

The sun was angry today on Third Ave. There seemed to be pockets of extreme heat, as though it emanated from springs in the atmosphere.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Baseball fans in town for the All-Star Game stake out the hotel, next to my work, where the players stay. There’s a little barrier on the sidewalk, with a cop at one end. Dutifully, unthinkingly, the fans form a little line along it. Maybe twenty people or so, mostly grownups, some kids. They peer at the revolving doors, waiting for someone to emerge. Taxis and limos pull into the semicircle and they crane their necks: Who’s that? Nobody? Nobody. For hours, nothing. Nothing. Some leave. Others drift by to take up the vigil. Something’s bound to happen if they wait. But how long?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Overheard on the corner of 23rd Street and 8th Avenue this morning, between an older man and a teenage boy:

"How often does she call you?"

"Not that often. My dad calls more."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. But he's really paranoid."

"Really? About what?"

"About everything! You name it."

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

At the base of the long escalator into the Grand Central 7 stop there was a fat, middle aged lady, sitting on the cement. Legs out. Whimpering softly. She held up her hand as a trickle of blood flowed from her palm. A small group of good Samaritans stood by, vaguely tending to her. We all turned our heads toward the little scene as we disembarked. Wondering what to do. Hoping it was nothing. Then, on the stairs to the platform, a police officer climbed against the rush-hour stream to find her.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013


slapping the tree trunk with frustration