Friday, October 31, 2014

On the train on the way in this morning I read a phrase over someone’s shoulder and memorized it, at least for a minute. Something about someone pulling up in car, or pulling the car around the block. But it’s gone now.

The F was running on the G so a lot of us got out on Bergen, joining the commuters who were already waiting, two or three rows deep. When the next F came it was packed; only a few people got on.

As I stood waiting with Jackie I observed an interaction between a man and woman, both young, attractive, dark-haired. The man was on the train, evidently having just got on; the woman stood on the platform right in front of us. He was gesturing towards her with his arms open, like, What? What? He said something to her as the doors were closing. Something I couldn’t hear. I wondered whether they were a couple that had been accidentally separated. Two people in love, distraught at having to make it to the city without holding each other’s hands.

“That’s all you have to say?” she replied. “Motherfucker. Asshole.”

He smiled weirdly—a taunting, almost lecherous smile—and nodded aggressively toward her. A fuck you nod.

“Fucking asshole,” she said. Nodding back.

He continued his grimace and flashed her his middle finger, discreetly, low to his waist, as though to be careful no one else could see.

She shook her head. “Fuck you!’

He gave a little shrug as the train pulled away. Still holding his middle finger there. She turned away with a sigh and waited like the rest of us for the next one.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Was out in the hallway hearing fat, cold raindrops pelting the skylight and I wondered whether I felt happy or depressed about it, and decided I felt happy, because fuck it, I was inside and safe and cozy. Who’d be outside right now? Cops directing traffic. In the cold, wet dark. In the inclement weather. I thought about that word. Inclement, clemency. Pope Clement the Sixth. The same root in a word about the wind and the rain and a word about some killer tossing and turning on his cot, hoping to get a reprieve from the governor. And the pope who granted absolution to all the sinners who died in the Plague.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jackie whispered nonsense words into my ears as we sat in the pizza place, in the sunny booth. I was on a conference call with work. Good thing there was nothing for me to say, as usual, and I had the phone on mute.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The last few nights, there’s been a period when I’ve emerged from the beginning of sleep, or from a reverie, and been wide awake, unhappy, restless. I’ve considered getting up and doing something with that time—writing, playing the guitar—but of course I haven’t, because all I wanted was to get back to sleep. It’s the terrible quandary of the insomniac. All that precious wakefulness, and you don’t want to use it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

TROOPS

A trav├ęs de varias estapas de la vida,

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yesterday was a beautiful day, a bit chilly, with dark clouds moving in for the days of rain to come but the sun still shining through the city as it set. By five o’clock or so sky was gray but the buildings were bathed in that pink-and-orange glow.

I had no meetings but plenty of work. I ate my lunch the way I always do: at my desk, watching old car races on YouTube. Eating an unwieldy burrito quickly, like an animal. Shamefully. Not really tasting it, not really thinking about it, but thinking about not thinking, of course. Self-consciously unconscious.

Apparently at Google they have, what do you call it, mindful eating lunches. Where everyone gathers in the cafeteria and eats together slowly, savoring every forkful. Eyes closed. Humming through their noses as they chew. Grasping at their neighbors’ hands and falling off their chairs, enrapt. Rubbing butter and ketchup on each other’s faces and breasts, pulling off shirts, bras; unbuckling belts; kicking off shoes. Finally coupling and uncoupling, men and women, men together, women together. After half an hour of this a bell is chimed and lunch is over; time to get back to work; there are user experiences to optimize; there’s data to mine and analyze. This is what I suppose happens, anyway. Mindful eating in the Google cafeteria.

I thought about the woman who came in to freelance on Friday and Monday. Her peculiar quiet manner, as though she didn’t quite understand me, or were struggling with the English language. She was maddeningly inept—she didn’t know how to navigate her computer, didn’t seem to grasp the steps to do her job. She took notes in loopy script on the back of a big printout I was showing her and had not intended to give her, and that doesn’t matter; but she was drawing arrows and lines all over it to keep track of where she was and I could see besides she was writing some things wrong. She didn’t seem young, she didn’t seem old. She drifted in and out of the office without a word to anyone. We had no work for her, really, so we couldn’t tell if she was any good. I doubt we’ll ask her back. She gave us no reason to. But the episode made me feel bad somehow. Who was this blurry person? What did she want, or need?

TROOPS

The Fathers counted saints and martyrs of old among their number,

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Governor’s Island is occupied by well-behaved children who take turns ringing the big bell, wait quietly in line for ice cream, follow each other up and down the treehouse and play mini golf with imaginary balls after all the real ones are lost. It’s like some goddamn anti-Lord of the Flies.

We went on a pretty Saturday in September. I was faintly nauseous all weekend, I remember. Like you get when you read for too long in a car. But it was beautiful.

TROOPS

They saw seals, sea lions, a whale.

Friday, October 03, 2014

The Enterprise - 48

It is with great shame that I recount not only that I wanted her in the first place but that after it was all over I wanted her back. In that pitiful state of sex-withdrawal (it wasn’t love-withdrawal; it wasn’t heartbreak—there had been no love) I did what a thousand million men and boys have done before me and what God knows how many more will do again: I asked her out. To talk. To explain. To fuck—I hoped. Fantasized. But come to think of it, I wasn’t even dying to fuck her anymore. What was it I was addicted to all this time? Fucking her? No. Fucking me. I’d gotten used to using her to fuck myself. It was me I was heartbroken for. Me, me, me.

We met on the Ides of March. We walked along Madison Avenue, staring at things in the window we didn’t even want. I believe she allowed me to hold her hand. Mercifully, I never saw her again after that. Except that one time on the train. There’s always that one time on the train. Like it or not, we’re all going to meet again someday.

TROOPS

between his legs. It was cold in Yellowstone Park