Train of thought

I do this just often enough now that it’s lost its foreign quality. 

Coming back there will be a bit of a scramble to ensure I get on the right train, but going in, I know the deal now. Enough, at least, that I can be troubled whether the lady meant to get off at Newark Penn vs New York Penn. Only because, like me, she was on a day ticket, not a commuter pass. 

She’ll be fine. If she’d needed help she’d have asked. I need to worry less. 

Somewhere farther down the car, someone is playing music. Something familiar. It takes me a minute to place, to pull the right name. Tape Hiss, I think. Maybe. Without earbuds I won’t check my music on the train to verify … but if that’s not it, it’s something very like it, anyway. Stuyvesant. Wait, is that right? It must be, because it’s definitely not Cuppa Joe. 

Fifteen more than 25.

Hey, Al. 

Forty to almost-50. I am slightly more almost, though. . My almost-50 is someone else’s almost-60… Don’t. Just don’t. It doesn’t serve. 

Closed eyes, and the realization that I’m tired; I could sleep on the train. Also don’t. 

Arrive NYC, the bottleneck of the staircase, then the steady upward press, follow signs to the 7th Ave exit. I could cut through the LIRR section and come out where Bill always takes me in, but I don’t trust my bearings.

Rote now: out on 7th. Straight down to 6th. Enough changes between visits that I feel lost even though I haven’t made any turnings, until I see Greeley Square signs. They are visible before the smaller, higher sign for 6th. 

Cross the street, cut thru Greeley, disrupt pigeons and hope to arrive at work unpooped upon, then down to the corner and cross halfway back. 

Lynn would say I was just trying to get extra steps but really, it’s a physical buffer for a mental reminder: the first time I turned on 6th and simply headed up toward the office, unaware that 6th and Broadway would do a grapevine step, crisscrossing under my feet. I didn’t notice, I was starting to watch the street numbers go up. Then arriving at the right address number but the wrong place, hating New York that much more for how stupid and lost I was. 

Safely directioned, I am back to prior thought, friendship as math problem. I am 1 more than that one, and 10 less than another, while 13 less than still another. 

Prayers, then, because they are back in a hard season and need them. Direction, guidance, wisdom, clarity, strength. 

Just 1 block after my feet start to hurt, I’m at the office. Shared elevators without greeting or acknowledgement. The city; I don’t expect otherwise. I whisper good day wishes when they exit anyway, knowing it marks me as from out of town. My floor then… Keycard doesn’t let me in. Settled at last in the cubicle between the restroom and the kitchen. Noisy. 

Here we go. 


Happy Monday evening

Surprisingly easy trek from the office that is an otherwise wasted drive to the home that is like home. Home to the north. Where a part (though not all) of my other family lives, and makes me welcome. 

Cool gray drizzly day, but such warm hearts. 



Sunday skimming

Slowly, gently, I skim the layer of foam off the pool. It comes up yellow today, instead of last night’s green. I assume that’s a sign the algae is dying. I assume the foam coming up discolored -the only way I can lift any color out of the pool at all, the algae too fine for a net – is a good sign. 

The pool still looks nasty, up close, and I assume I will at some point have to find a way to scrub the uneven and prone-to-move surfaces. Somehow, without collapsing the whole structure. 

From across the yard it looks fine, splashing away… except for the foam ever rising. I let it accumulate, skimming through my book instrad for a while as I sip spiced coffee, and then go skim off another layer of foam. 

The Catholic church down the block will be holding its first services soon. I know this because the street behind my place fills up, from no cars parked to a solid line of them. The dog 2 yards over hates this; he is upset by the coming and going of cars, even more by passersby. The chain link fence on that property doesn’t do enough to block his view of them, and his owners do nothing to try to calm him. 

Inside their respective houses, I can hear that he’s setting off other neighborhood dogs as well. 

Last week one of the churchgoers set their car alarm – as people do – and it went off, while they were safely ensconced, unhearing, in church… the alarm blaring, the dog barking. I wanted to shake both owners. Calm your dog, take him in. Park your car somewhere else, you’ve upset the whole neighborhood. 

I did neither, of course. 

The day feels surreal and I have a vague “I should get going” feeling, as if today was a travel day. But travel happens tomorrow, Wilmington and north. Dad will come by and check on things, will skim the algae stained foam for me. 

Time to go do it again. 



Sipping coffee on the porch, the blessing of caffeine, warm liquid a balm to cold body, the chill after the heat wave. The splashing of water falling, the endlesss loop of too-green water, I will clean the filters today and treat it but so far to no avail; nothing seems to contain that. Yard work performed alone means comedy on Pandora, laughter to keep me unafraid of the illusions of terrors. I am indoorsy; I don’t like all the life out here, except when I am safely behind glass. When I have done what I will until help arrives, I sit with coffee, and turn off music to read. The Handmaid’s Tale. Dystopian, powerful as I recall, while subscribers watch the new series I will reread the book. Gray skies and chill, the soft murmur of Saturday traffic, birdsong and splashing water. 

Have a good day. 


Hot (and hot and cold and cold)

It’s in the 90s today. That means it’s in the upper 70’s in my office, even with the A/C running and a fan blowing.  

It’s hot. Which I am trying not to mind since I spend so much of the time being cold. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be almost – but not quite -as hot. 

Ah but the weekend… the weekend….

In the 60’s??? Are you kidding me?

Where’s the happy medium (when we need her)?

flotsam, there is something wrong with me


My neighbors two doors to my right may be moving, if the sudden clearance of their property is an indication.  Meanwhile, the neighbors between us need to mow or something. 

To my left, it’s a jungle in desperate need of clearing. I am uncharacteristicly peering out my window, noticing the differences, when movement in the overgrowth next door catches my eye. A long, naked tail… attached to…

Oh my God, if that’s a rat it’s enormous

I am staring in horror, hoping it’s, please, please, please…

It lifts its face up out of the greenery. White pointy face… yesopossum. Not rat. 

Well that’s a huge relief. Still, it disappears into the underbrush… I know they’re generally docile unless cornered but I don’t like the idea of coming face to face with that….

I might never go outside again


Back to work

A funny thing happened while I was away.

The earth moved around the sun. The seasons started to change.  The 5:30 am commute kickoff happens in the early morning now, not in the final throes of night. 

There’s light on my drive. Before I reach the second half of the drive, there’s a massive blinding ball of it, actually. 

The big yellow one is the sun. (Brian Regan)

Apparently the rest of the world has some kind of solar alarm, because the roads are busier even though it’s still so early. 

It’s a shock to the system to revisit these early mornings, but I think I’ve needed that, to get back to normal again.