portrait of the artist in isolation


Saturday July 2 2022

We tried to FaceTime Jon from the bank of the river, but he was watching fireworks with his family back east. Just as well since nobody caught any fish to show off to him.

Thursday 30 June 2022

Driving north through Shasta and the rest of the Cascades, I was suddenly struck by what I've been missing: verdant deciduous trees.

Thursday 30 June 2022

Chand, the innkeeper informed me as he checked me in, is the indian word for moon. So, in a way, your name, at least to an Indian like me, means moon. Interesting, I replied, explaining that it was actually a french word meaning merchant and that a lot of french words ended in ‑and. Anyhow, I said, I don't think that I'm indian, however darkly I tan. We had a good laugh at that.

Sunday 26 June 2022

I have to deal with a projector issue, Mark said after letting me into the art space where the screening was being held. He was trying to excuse his dismissiveness, but I got the impression this was an essential part of his character.

Thursday 23 June 2022

Because I am not registered to vote in CA, I wasn't able to sign Cameron's petition for better bike lanes. I did share, however, the story of my own bike accident, which got us to talking. I was pleasantly surprised to learn how much we have in common. He has a GG Allin tattoo, for example, the image of whom is the background on my phone.

Monday 20 June 2022

My door open, a wasp of some sort invited itself into the apartment while I was making lunch. I escorted it back out with my broom.

Saturday 18 June 2022

And here, Doug said, pointing at a blank span of wall, here is where I do my self-tapes. I've never seen anyone so proud of what amounts to a void. After practice, I asked if he was going to the art thing at Madeleine's place. He hadn't planned on it, he said, but sure, what the heck. His girlfriend was out of town. Madeleine's place turned out to be a converted grocery store, of which Madeleine was more than excited to give us a tour, showing us her makeshift bedroom and, more importantly, the empty wall in front of which she conducted her self-tapes.

Friday 17 June 2022

Through most of the show, I was distracted by the fact that the buffoon clown looked and sounded for all the world like Joaqin Phoenix. Kathryn didn't see it and thought the idea alone was absurd. What would Joaqin Phoenix be doing at a venue like this playing a clown like that? she asked and did have a point.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

The waiter at lunch was obnoxious. He kept calling us friends in practiced tones and clicking his cheek as one does to a horse, which didn't take long to grate on my nerves. Every time he returned to our table and opened his mouth, I cringed. No doubt he fancies himself an actor, I thought, and resents having to work a job like this, which is of course understandable, but it's still a poor excuse for behaving so strangely, so smarmy and slick. Ashley, for her part, had no issue with him and even included one of her little preprinted kindness cards along with our payment. You are a light in darkness, it read. Besieged on all sides by absolute blindness.

Monday 13 June 2022

I was happily chatting with Kathryn after class about Taxi Driver, which she had recently watched, when a shifty man sidled up to our group. Everyone shut up and turned to him, fully expecting an appeal for money, but not before a sad song and dance about how he came to be down and out. However, when he spoke, he made no appeals, just muttered incoherently about murder and murderers. And with that, of course, we all dispersed.

Sunday 12 June 2022

You're making those flowers look ugly! I called out to the elderly woman posing for a photo under an orchid trellis at the San Diego Botanic Gardens. Why I said it, I really don't know. I was feeling affable, I suppose. In any case, her girlfriends giggled and told Ashley that she'd found a real keeper in me. Ashely, for her part, demurred, assuring them that we were just friends. What a shame, they replied. Before we left, the one woman pulled me aside, tears in her eyes, to tell me how much what I said had meant. It was the first compliment she'd received since losing her husband last year, she confided, and he'd so loved his orchids.

Friday 10 June 2022

Mickey and Cate made fun of me for having ordered a Boston Creme donut when there were so many other options available. Thai iced tea, for example, Mickey pointed out. And a Cookie Monster eating an actual cookie! I'll grant them that the Boston Creme didn't turn out to be anything special, but then again no third donut ever is.

Wednesday 8 June 2022

Brando texted at 10am to ask if I could come in earlier than my 3pm call time. Something about the set not being ready and trying to jog the schedule up to accommodate it. I could make 12, I told him. After lunch, made-up and in wardrobe, ready to shoot, it was discovered that I need not have come in: my final scene had already been shot. A lackluster last day.

Wednesday 1 June 2022

Somehow or other, the director found out that I had taught film at Columbia and became strangely insecure around me, asking at lunch how I thought he was doing. I told him that we're all doing the best we can under the given circumstances. The problem, if any, was almost certainly above him, I said. Very diplomatic, he said. As delicate a situation as I've ever been in.

Monday 30 May 2022

The café in Santa Clarita where I met Ashley for lunch had abysmal acoustics, dull joyless food, and walls littered with novelty signs reading: We don't call 911 and This property is protected by the second amendment. Etc. Whatever stories Ashley might have shared, I still haven't a clue. It wasn't until we drove to a nearby state park that we were able to have what turned out to be a surprisingly frank and freewheeling conversation.

Sunday 29 May 2022

Alice's beau, the hunky bicyclist about whom I'd heard way back in New York when he'd, quote, blown her mind, was more shy than I expected. He didn't say much before Mickey, anxious to get the screening started, blustered in to coax us out back.

Saturday 28 May 2022

When we were dismissed before anyone else, Tyler asked if I might give him a ride to the Starbucks in town where he planned to catch an Uber back to his hotel. Production couldn't spare a PA, he said. Gladly, I said, happy to discuss at last my brain damage with someone who could relate to it.

Friday 20 May 2022

Having a late call-time for once, I took advantage of the morning to record an audition. Doug read for me over Zoom, doing the best he could on such short notice and with such absurd material. Hard as he tried, he couldn't help but laugh as he read: Oooh yeah, little piggy. Just like that. Let me slide right in. Oink for me, piggy. Etc.

Tuesday 17 May 2022

Sonya insisted that Jesse's wetsuit was the same size as mine: extra-large. How that was possible, I hadn't a clue, and told her so. He looked so comfortable. While I, on the other hand, beyond sweating my brains out, was choking to death. She checked again and was embarrassed to find that I was indeed only wearing a large.

Sunday 15 May 2022

First day of the shoot and already quite clear that all my worry was for naught.

Tuesday 10 May 2022

After the fitting in Santa Clarita, I found a café in which to sit and memorize lines. Kristina called, however, and I got caught up catching up.

Monday 9 May 2022

During our hike, Ferran explained that since we'd last spoken he'd fallen in love with someone new. He was a wreck, he said, torn between the ugly business of breaking his wife's heart and what he described as the truest, most beautiful feeling he'd ever felt. Hearing this, I couldn't help but reflect on M and how she too had fallen in love with not me at some point. Granted that in her case, as far as I could tell, she'd fallen in love with a fantasy, an elusive other, and no one particular person.

Thursday 5 May 2022

The social security disability interview was just as humorless and inhuman as I'd imagined. More-so, in fact.

Wednesday 4 May 2022

Awoke ashamed of last night's behavior, the things I said on the phone to M, the grotesque admissions. Even if the racing thoughts and gaping void were merely more symptoms of this miserable withdrawal, I ought not to have called her. It solved nothing and served only to blemish an otherwise decent and loving breakup, one that, as she very painfully pointed out, happened almost two years ago. Another reminder of just how much I was robbed of by my stroke.

Sunday 1 May 2022

Something foul at the compost collection got on my hand as I emptied my bags. I washed them three times at the café on the corner and used M's fancy scented sanitizer and still it smelled as if I'd used my hand to wipe my ass.

Friday 29 April 2022

At the end of her set, Colleen announced that she needed a ride back to her hotel. Because I was sober and because I wanted to prolong seeing an old friend, I offered to drive her. Unfortunately she heard word of a party to which she wanted to go and I had to abandon her. No part of me wanted to stay out that late, old friend or not.

Monday 25 April 2022

Feeling nostalgic, I stopped for lunch at the turkish restaurant in Vegas where I'd celebrated my thirty-third birthday with Michael and Peter. I ordered a kebab but had no appetite and so didn't finish it. Just as well, I suppose. I hadn't come for the food but rather to corroborate the existence of a very fond memory.

Sunday 24 April 2022

According to the owner of the general store, the cell tower that serves Baker is just over the border in Utah. It's a real issue for tourists, she said. Everyone's phones are in Mountain Time even though we're actually in Pacific Time. She poured me a coffee and asked where I was from. Massachusetts, I said and she wanted to know where exactly. When I told her Lowell, her face lit up. She knew it well, she said. As it turns out, she'd lived there in the early nineties, when her husband had been an interim superintendent of the National Historic Park, making it very likely that he (and possibly she) had met my father. And to think, I thought, if it weren't for the time-zone issue, I might never have stopped in to her shop.

Saturday 23 April 2022

Portion control, Peter explained as he set aside about half of his meal. He'd lost some weight and hoped to lose more. Hoping to prolong the visit, I suggested that we play a few slots. I'm glad I did. Within a half an hour, I was up fifteen dollars. Peter, on the other hand, had quickly lost forty.

Tuesday 19 April 2022

By the end of the event, I was thoroughly demoralized. Everything about it, right down to the branded black polo shirt, depressed me. I used to teach at Columbia, you know! I wanted to scream at each arrogant attendee that treated me like I was some impediment to their evening. And here, I thought that I'd overmastered my ego.

Sunday 17 April 2022

David ate his slice of cheesecake in the middle of the farmer's market. I suppose he did this to make sure that Greg and Julia knew how much he enjoyed it. I, however, opted to save mine for after our tacos. A big mistake, as it turns out, leaving cheesecake in your car in LA.

Thursday 7 April 2022

I couldn't help but feel that, for all her texts suggesting otherwise, M was merely squeezing me in for breakfast today.

Saturday 9 April 2022

Unclear whether I was invited to Jessi's birthday because of my infectious charisma or because I had just composed a bio for her new band yesterday. Either way, I was glad to be out and about.

Wednesday 6 April 2022

Who should I run into as I scarfed down a mediocre açaí bowl at the airport but Spencer, as awkward as ever. As it turns out, she was not only on the same flight as me, but seated one row behind me with her son. Naturally, as one does in such situations, we ignored one another for the duration of the flight, only resuming our polite conversation as we descended the ramp to the tarmac in Burbank.

Thursday 31 March 2022

Do you like black people? the man-on-the-street prankster wanted to know. It was my first visit with Ed and Yun in over a decade and I wasn't really in the mood for such tomfoolery. I like Ed, I said, saying that that was a pretty stupid question. Ed, on the other hand, when asked if he liked white people, was more indulgent, attempting to tease out the philosophical implication of such a question. Yun, for his part, just laughed and laughed and thereby indulged this unfunny moron's obvious attempt to make us look bad.

Sunday 27 March 2022

As the cacao was served at what amounted to be the New-Age equivalent of a Tupperware party, I was struck by the thought that this must be how people commit mass suicide. Only because there were several activities scheduled for after the hot chocolate was I reassured that it hadn't been laced with arsenic.

Saturday 26 March 2022

At some point or other, the girls roped me into a game they called "Zombie". Chase us, they said, and screamed and ran. I would much rather have spent my time with the adults, my friends, but decided that their children were as good a way to bond with them as any and so played with abandon.

Sunday 20 March 2022

I came late to the cookout with asparagus, zucchini, and meatless sausages. Whether it was because it had been a while since I'd seen many of them, or else because they were chatted-out by the time I arrived, I don't know, but my mustache suddenly became the foremost topic of conversation.

Friday 18 March 2022

Surprised to learn that UCLA does not allow so-called street clothes in their MRA machine. Too risky with all the synthetics, the technician explained.

Sunday 13 March 2022

Other than Jason and I, there were maybe five other people at the screening. Apparently the so-called avant-guard is no more popular in LA than in New York. After it was over, outside on the street, Jason and I discussed the film's merits and setbacks. Having had a twenty-year relationship with the filmmaker and his work, I found myself rather interested in Jason's perspective, which turned out to confirm several of my own.

Monday 7 March 2022

I don't know what prompted me to buy Jason's coffee. I'm on a strict budget. Some vague show, I suppose, of not being so strapped for cash that I can't treat a friend. Money well spent, however. Over the course of the hour, we covered a lot of ground, finding a good many people, places, and interests in common.

Sunday 6 March 2022

Niko needed a minute before our call. When we finally spoke, I sat on a curb in the shade of a tree where I fussed with some bark mulch, much of which turned out to be dried turds.

Friday 4 March 2022

Inviting Lyssa was a bit of a risk, but one I was willing to take. After several hang-outs I got the distinct feeling that she of all my new friends would appreciate the long contemplative takes of James Benning's films.

Tuesday 1 March 2022

Dr Chung was deeply confused by my hypothetical questions and flat-out galled when I explained why I'd asked them. Doctors, as it turns out, resent being tested, at least by their patients. Natural enough. We all have our egos. Having had a number of bad doctors over the years, however, I refuse not to test them. So much depends on their correct answers.

Tuesday 22 February 2022

It is always interesting to engage with credentialed individuals on subjects about which you know quite a bit. Doctors, for example, often assume you know nothing, even though you've lived with a condition for over five years. Such was the case with Dr Sharma's fellow. A bit of an ordeal getting him to understand that I understood.

Sunday 20 February 2022

Sumeau wore google-eyed glasses for the video shoot, a rather subtle if not subversive counterpoint to Kat's deeply sad and personal lyrics.

Saturday 19 February 2022

Lyssa met me for coffee in Frogtown. We walked the LA river and talked about punk bands, love, and a good many other things.

Monday 31 January 2022

The subject of my having been jumped is something of a conversational minefield. On the one hand, it’s a story I enjoy telling from time to time, one that, by its very nature, rivets listeners. On the other hand, the ensuing questions of how and why and how dare they inevitably give way to assertions about, quote, bad neighborhoods, a term that, to me, has always sounded like a euphemism for black neighborhoods in certain company.

Sunday 30 January 2022

Because I’ve been overspending my budget a bit, I was resolved to order no more than a coffee and pastry at brunch today. But when I got to the counter, I had a weak moment and ordered a waffle. Perhaps all the years of self-abnegation are finally catching up with me–I don’t know–but there I was with Chris and Matt and all of their friends, staring at an overpriced waffle, one that wasn't even served with real maple syrup.

Friday 28 January 2022

The new mattress arrived yesterday. A tremendous improvement. Having woken up on an air-mattress all week, I was beginning to question what the hell I thought I was doing.

Thursday 27 January 2022

After delivering books to the Skylight Books Annex, I met Ama for coffee. We sat outside at a swank café and she caught me up on her goings-on since leaving New York. Because I was hungry, I ordered a salad, but when it arrived I suddenly felt ridiculous. The croutons were not only loud but distracting. Even Ama could hear the sound when I bit into one and so I began to avoid eating them. A shame given that the salad was otherwise not very filling and rather expensive.

Wednesday 26 January 2022

Several students were lurking outside the theater after class. It wasn’t clear if they were waiting on me or something else, but they did want to know if I'd be joining the class. I told them that I planned on it. I'd read Meisner's book and it was certainly interesting stuff, I said. They laughed at that, as if I were some sort of over-acheiver.

Tuesday 25 January 2022

According to the rep with whom I spoke, the absolute soonest they could turn on the power would be tomorrow, so I bought a few flashlights to get through the night. Later, as I was getting ready for bed, a man in a red sequin bow-tie unlocked my front door and stuck his head in. Hi there, I said, pointing my new flashlight at him. Why do you have a key to my apartment? The poor guy was more embarrassed than anything, stammering something about a package. The manager has it, I said and demanded his keys. Feeling like I was perhaps too harsh, I asked his name. Derek, he said. Hi, Derek, I’m Adam. Good to meet you. The keys he gave me had pink and blue illustrations on them. Derek was certainly no burglar but I will still have to ask for the locks to be changed.

Sunday 23 January 2022

Yesterday, after seeing an apartment in Hollywood, who should I run into but a former student who was coming to see the exact same apartment. We exchanged numbers and hugs and laughed over the crazy odds. Later, I texted to let her know that I’d found another apartment, saying that I’d talked her up to the property manager. She texted back, saying that she’d done precisely the same.

Saturday 22 January 2022

Marta called several times throughout the day to check on things about my application. The name of my last employer, for instance, didn’t make it through to her for some reason. Technology, she said. We think it will make things easier when in a lot of cases it makes things harder. I was driving around and had to pull over to take her calls. Whether or not she followed up on everything, I can’t say, but her last call was to tell me good news.

Friday 21 January 2022

After going to see a large charming apartment in a remote part of town, I wandered around to get a sense of the neighborhood. It wasn't long before I encountered a middle-aged man struggling to right an elderly woman who'd fallen down. Mama! Mama! he said in an accent, her son. I asked if we should call 9-1-1 but he refused. She has dementia, he said. This happens. After we’d gotten her up and going again, I went on my way. At the next intersection, a woman with a vacant smile and gray wispy hair wished me happy holidays. What holidays she meant, I hadn’t a clue but wished her the same. Her name was Elaine and she hailed from New Jersey originally. Atlantic City, she said. Tough broad, I joked and she giggled coquettishly. Before we parted, she handed me a heart-shaped box of chocolates with kittens on it. I shall have to consider if this wasn’t a clear-cut case of instant karma.

Thursday 20 January 2022

After lunch, Mickey went on and on about this and that cinema–which were still open, which had been closed, and which had been saved by this or that celebrity. He spoke in reverent tones and voiced his disgust with certain behaviors like talking and laughing and making-out. I challenged him on this, arguing that the audience could do as they pleased as long as they paid admission.

Tuesday 18 January 2022

I stopped in San Louis Obispo for lunch, hoping to find a café my band played the last time we toured but found only the bookstore in which I’d convinced a pretty blonde local to come to the show.

Sunday 16 January 2022

The webpage for the hotspring had stated that clothing was optional. I suppose that, in theory, this is true. In practice, however, it isn't. If Mike or I had worn as much as a fig leaf, we would have made all the nudists terribly uncomfortable.

Saturday 15 January 2022

Two dim-looking brothers came into the bar while Mike and I were still playing pool. Regulars, they were welcomed enthusiastically and hardly had to say a word before two Bud Lights were in their hands. They sat at the end of the bar where Mike and I had left our jackets. I kept an eye on them between shots. Not because I believed they’d steal from us or anything, but rather because the dimmer one was making it clear that we’d stolen their seats.

Friday 14 January 2022

Mike asked the gas station attendant if the large ceramic object hanging from his neck weren’t an ocarina. In fact it is, the man said, explaining shyly that he was still learning to play. And here, I thought it was just an ugly hunk of hippie jewelry.

Thursday 13 January 2022

A dense fog clung to the highway west of Missoula, only clearing when I came up from Spokane onto the high desert plains of Washington. It was such a dramatic and sudden contrast in fact that, if I didn't have miles to cover before it got dark, I might have turned back to experience it again.

Wednesday 12 January 2022

I gathered that the large man with greasy hair at the Beartooth Inn was unused to travelers, at least at this time of year. New York! he said when he looked at my license and made a wisecrack. With the other guests he enjoyed a casual first-name rapport, one that suggested a more permanent living situation than my own one-night stay. Later, at a bar down the street, I marveled at the myriad places there are in this vast desolate country to find oneself stuck.

Tuesday 11 January 2022

I asked Dan what the chances were that one of his cats had pissed on my shoes. Rather good, he said. I just assumed that the laces were wet from melted snow but the rank odor suggested otherwise. I threw them out and washed my hands. Later, Dan texted to say how bad he felt about what happened, asking if he couldn’t offer me something for the trouble. I told him not to even think about it, I’d been clinging to the shoes well past their expiration date anyways. The cat had done me a favor, I said.

Saturday 8 January 2022

Downtown Omaha was windy and cold and empty save for a single flock of young gymnasts and their gregarious tour guide. I know next to nothing about this city, much less the state, even though I worked with a nebraskan in Boston one winter. Obese and a smoker, she had myriad health issues. Emphysema, psoriasis, diabetes, you name it. Once I had to rush her to the hospital because of a crippling pain in her chest. What it turned out to be in the end I forget, but it certainly wasn’t deadly.

Thursday 6 January 2022

Eric was already well into making falafel and hummus and zhug when I arrived at his and Lauren’s house in Chicago. The food was good and filling and the flavor of the zhug clung fast to our tongues well after the meal. In an attempt to temper its effect, we drank bourbon and wine which in turn got us talking. The subject of George Clooney came up, a man for whom I was surprised to learn Eric harbors an intense distaste. Smug, he called him several times. I, for my part, could give or take the man but still felt compelled to defend him. Stardom, I argued, is not merely acting. It’s acting plus something else.

Wednesday 5 January 2022

The prettier of the two bartenders was trying to look busy as the less-pretty one suffered the flirtatious advances of their only patron, a stranger, up from Georgia. I ordered nachos and whiskey but needed conversation more than booze and food and so asked the prettier one how she came to find herself in Louisville. School, she said. She had just graduated college and worked in public health, specifically with pregnant HIV patients, most of whom are homeless. It reminded me of the sort of work that Kailin does and told her as much. After a while a microbiologist came in to say hi to her daughter, the less-pretty one, who was headed to med school. I’d never have guessed it, but as it turned out it was her first night. We played bingo and chatted while stranger from Georgia won every round.

Tuesday 4 January 2022

Rick and I watched an old noir film on DVD. As he was loading it, he mentioned how he’d noticed that certain films were louder than others and asked why that was. It’s likely a mastering issue, I said. But then, during a romantic interlude in the film, when instead of score all we could hear was the rustling of costumes and smacking of lips, it dawned on me that the film was remixed for surround and that we were only hearing the center channel. How Rick could have missed this I don’t know, but the effect made certain tense moments less tense and certain romantic moments ridiculous. I tried to fix the problem but couldn’t and so gave up and we had a good laugh as we finished the film.

Monday 3 January 2022

I planned to lunch in Asheville with an old student friend but the forecast said snow and ice and impassable roads and she had come down with covid that week, so I ended up stopping in Harrisonburg instead. The name of the town seemed vaguely familiar, but it wasn’t until I got downtown and caught sight of the prominent square grain tower that I realized I’d been here before with my old band on tour. It took no time at all to find the club at which we played and texted a photo to Bob and Eli of a shoeshine bench on which I’d passed out. Here is where I beat Mike Kinsella at Rock Paper Scissors, I wrote, missing them and that time and feeling strangely remote from my past.

Sunday 2 January 2022

I was surprised to learn that Kristina had settled down on a cul-de-sac in a suburban development that was planned and built sometime in the eighties. She and Albert gave me a grand tour, joking about this and that particularly eighties feature. The floor-to-ceiling mirror behind their raised jacuzzi bathtub, for example, a feature that might have been less ridiculous had the ceiling in the bathroom not been twenty-five feet high.

Saturday 1 January 2022

Whether it’s the way the car was packed, I really can't say, but it doesn’t feel safe, especially around turns and especially in this weather, rainy and cold. There's far too much weight towards the rear. Normally, I’d have packed it myself but a stroke is a stroke and I don't want another and so hired help. The guy was flustered and late, thanks, he said to a car accident. If I were any more superstitious, I might take this to be a bad omen, but I’m not and anyhow it’s too late to turn back.

Thursday 30 December 2021

Jon and Samson had both fallen sick with what their doctor described as an adenovirus. Both shit and vomit all over the place. Because staying would mean risking contracting the same, I drove up to Lowell after delivering the mattress and bed and braided rug. My parents were thrilled, particularly my mother. She’s been having a hard time with the idea of me living so far away.

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Eli and I were the only two patrons at Fiaschetta for dinner last night. Even the streets were deserted. The new wave of covid must be hitting the city pretty hard, I said. But Eli, a Jew, pointed out that this wasn’t really all that uncommon at this time of year. A lot of folks go home for Christmas, he said, reminding me that under normal circumstances, I too would still be away if it weren’t for my trip.

Monday 27 December 2021

Luci cried herself out under an afghan on the futon in my parents’ breezeway this morning. She wouldn’t say why she was so upset, she just cried and cried. Knowing her, it could just as easily have been my not having drawn with her as my moving away. Whatever it was, it kept her from saying goodbye to me.

Saturday 25 December 2021

The rain froze overnight, making it impossible for us to drive to Joel’s for breakfast and gift-giving. Another in a series of disappointments.

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Dr Boside wanted to know when I planned to come back from LA. I’m not, I told her. I’m moving there. For good, I said, if all works out. Apparently the root canal didn’t go as she had planned again. Another doctor could certainly finish the work, she said. Just make sure to have them speak to me first. Looking into my options, it became abundantly clear that a round-trip flight would cost less than paying for the procedure again.

Tuesday 21 December 2021

The man who bought my bicycle trainer has stage-four cancer, as it turns out. That he mentioned this fact only after haggling me down fifteen dollars is, in my estimation, the true mark of character.

Monday 20 December 2021

The Honda Service sales rep casually let me know that the mechanic had to jump-start my car. I found it rather suspicious that the battery would fail so soon after I declined to have it replaced. A sales tactic, no doubt, I thought. But tactic or not, I couldn’t risk breaking down on my trip and so had them replace it.

Wednesday 15 December 2021

In an attempt to stave off what has now become my quotidian afternoon anxiety, I took a second CBD gummy. However, because they contain trace THC, I managed to get slightly high, a feeling that tipped me into panic mode.

Saturday 11 December 2021

The doctor who called to check on me and gather data explained that between the vaccine, the booster, and now the infection, I should be, quote, bulletproof for ninety days. I can’t recall another time that I’ve felt so relieved to feel so crummy. One less thing to worry about on the road.

Tuesday 7 December 2021

After the Michael Snow screening, Ryan and Ava and I went to dinner at Kiki’s. There was of course, as always, a wait. Hungry and unused to such a late dinner, Ryan wanted to grab some cheap pizza and call it a day. Fortunately, Ava understood that Kiki’s was special and convinced him to stay. How hunger can get the better of certain people, I’ll never understand.

Tuesday 30 November 2021

Despite Dr Boside’s confidence she wasn’t able to complete the root canal in one go. I’ll have to return.

Sunday 4 July 2021

On my way home, or rather, as I returned to my parents' house from my walk along the boulevard, I happened upon a public land that I never knew existed: an old farm donated to the city well before I was born. Astounding, I thought, thinking how odd it is to learn something new about a place about which you thought you knew everything.

Saturday 3 July 2021

Eric's new house in Connecticut is as close to the so-called american dream as I can imagine. It was built in the nineteen-fifties and looked it. A bar in the basement. A woodshop. A yard. He even has a neighbor whom he loathes.

Friday 2 July 2021

As the woman at the epilepsy clinic genltly affixed diodes to my scalp, I regretted all the money I'd saved over the past twenty-four years not getting haircuts.

Sunday 27 June 2021

When we tried to order more fresh-made scones to round off our breakfast, we were disappointed to find that by then they'd run out. Kailin and Donna could likely have cared less, but for Colin and I, clotted cream was something of a delicacy we wanted to indulge a bit more.

Thursday 24 June 2021

The café I'd been to once or twice with Eli was closed, though I don't think Rider really minded much. He didn't seem like the type to care about the quality of a cuppa. We wandered a bit, discussing his projects and budding career as a sound recordist, finding, in the end, a Blue Bottle. Decent enough.

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Motor planning, Dr Willey explained. What normally takes seventy miliseconds now maybe takes a hundred. That would, I thought, certainly explain the balance issues I'd been having. Of the myriad questions he answered, this one alone might have calmed me the most.

Sunday 20 June 2021

A panic attack this morning, sparked by a migraine's visual aura, sent me next door to Colin and Kailin's. They were planning to visit the so-called Color Factory with Donna and Jonny. Come, they said, and so I did, making quite a day of it.

Saturday 19 June 2021

The post office was strangely empty for a saturday. Naught but one other person in the place outside of the two tellers who were going on about whether or not they'd get holiday or regular pay for today. One was of the opinion that they wouldn't, given that they hadn't worked yesterday, which is when the day off fell for most everyone else. The other was of the opinion that they would since today was in fact the holiday proper. I, for my part, could only offer that I was rooting for them in either case.

Wednesday 16 June 2021

In the physical therapist's ad-hoc waiting area, an old man with a cane stood up to let a young man with one leg sit. Off to the side, looking for all the world like I didn't belong, I too stood up, but the old man, a gentleman more than a cripple, declined my offer. Fortunately a nurse soon came by with a spare chair, thus ending a potential politeness standoff.

Sunday 13 June 2021

Kailin had to deal with probate issues regarding her father and so flew to Ohio with Jonny, leaving Donna and Colin alone a few days. We're all hoping it brings her some closure.

Saturday 12 June 2021

Deciding not to let my weakened condition get the better of me, I drove to pick up my father at Penn Station. A bit premature, it turns out. Panic attack on the West Side Highway.

Thursday 10 June 2021

Matt drove down from Caimbridge in his sporty new Land Rover, making great time, as he put it. We might have both gone on neglecting our friendship (as we'd been doing for over a year) had I not had my stroke. Who knows. I'm glad he visited. It's at least one good thing to come of this terrifying ordeal.

Wednesday 9 June 2021

I met with Najah today for coffee and to gift her her portait. End of an era, she said.

Saturday 5 June 2021

After hiking up to the farmers' market to drop off my compost, my father and I checked in at the pub to see if his credit card wer found. No such luck. Later, in speaking with the credit union, it became clear that whomsoever found it was a dishonest person. Several charges reported.

Friday 4 June 2021

Mom and Pop drove down from Lowell, arriving later than expected, thanks to an accident on one of the parkways. After we settled their luggage and parked the car, we met up with Colin and Kailin and Colin's mom Donna for dinner. The host at the first restaurant laughed at us when we asked if they were able to accommodate five and a child. You know it's Friday night, right? he said. The host at the next place was less snotty, but no less accommodating. Eventually we ended up at the irish pub on the corner. Fish and chips all around!

Sunday 30 May 2021

Thanks to the rain, Eli's party was canceled. Nikki came up to my neighborhood to eat instead, bringing flowers, a lovely bouquet. The mini-card that came with it had a bright red lobster, of all things, printed on it. Not your typical "get well" card.

Saturday 29 May 2021

On the way to the Farmer's Market we encountered a white sedan coming up the footpath to the cloisters in Tryon Park. Two rather exasperated women emerged. One spoke to the driver, while the other, seeing our utterly puzzled faces said: He made a mistake.

Friday 28 May 2021

The neurologist at intake was brusque, bordering on rude. No sense of humor whatsoever. I suppose for him, ordering an emergency CT scan of my head is no laughing matter.

Wednesday 26 May 2021

The baker at Magnolia didn't bat an eye when she flashed me the note on Colin and Kailin's cake to confirm it was right. I was surprised. I would have suspected "Thank you for saving my life" to be a rare cake decoration.

Monday 24 May 2021

Realizing I had left Colin's slides behind at the Emergency Room, I purchased replacements at the Foot Locker down the street. Not knowing his size, I made a guess based on height, and started composing a Thank You card in my head to go with them.

Saturday 22 May 2021

Kailin invited me to dinner tonight. A Bizzare but delicious smorgasboard she called it. I gladly accepted, not having had much to eat since hospital.

Thursday 20 May 2021

The demented blind man in the bed next to mine, abandoned to the care of a non-medical volunteer who lovingly called him Ernesto mi amore, complained, No! No!, each time the nurse came to take his blood pressure. Who he thought she was and what she wanted, I doubt I could say, but a firm gentle word from the volunteer set him straight: En el hospital, mi amore. En el hosptial. This went on for some time until his daugher showed up and he was discharged. The drunk who replaced him vomited several times on the floor between us.

Monday 17 May 2021

As we sat in the waning light of my living room, avoiding the subject of sales for which Sean had come up to my apartment, a dull spot in the center of my vision developed. Migraine, I thought, announcing it only when the so-called scintillating scotoma arrived and confirmed my fears. Sean asked if I needed a glass of water or maybe to lie down. I told him I'd manage explaining that it was mysteriously tied to my condition.

Sunday 16 May 2021

I couldn’t quite hear the fellow at Graham when he demanded I open the emergency exit to let him in, and so sort of half gestured towards the station agent. Open this door before I jump the turnstile and beat your ass, he said, making the situatio quite clear: he was an angry drunk with a chip on his shoulder. Thanks to another fellow on the platform, he didn’t need to jump the turnstile, but I did catch a near-full beer can to the head.

Saturday 15 May 2021

Colin toed a syringe off of the sidewalk and into a tree planter, saying he’d get it when we got back from our stroll. Naturally, we forgot.

Tuesday 11 May 2021

The ads to sell my couch and coffee maker went up today online. Several immediate responders asked that I use their phone number or personal email. Scammers.

Sunday 9 May 2021

It’s been a while since I did much more than call my mother on Mother’s Day, so it felt good to buy her breakfast and wash her car today.

Saturday 8 May 2021

My father wasn’t exactly surprised at my surprise birthday visit. Apparently, Sean had spilled the beans online earlier that morning.

Friday 7 May 2021

I gave Belén my copies of Perks of Being a Wallflower and Tribes of Palos Verdes. She’s the right age to really connect with them.

Tuesday 4 May 2021

I endeavored to make a nut-based coconut granola today. Happy memories of M.

Sunday 2 May 2021

Brian and Helena came down to be interviewed today, the first subjects of what I’m still vaguely calling my neighbors film.

Saturday 1 May 2021

Eli is still trying to settle his new apartment. He bought patio furniture for his back deck and invited Gretta, Bob, and I over to assemble and arrange it. We made what I would call long shrift of it.

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Dr. Bittner suggested I see an endodontist about something called resorption. Apparently the nerve in number twenty-six is eating the tooth from the inside.

Saturday 24 April 2021

Nikki wanted to know how one goes about playing the field. Apparently the fellow she’s seeing isn’t satisfying her budding sexual appetite. I might be a swinger, she said, clearly unaware that she's asking the exact wrong person.

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Sparrows have taken up residence on the fire escape outside of my kitchen window. I have taken to banging on the grating to scare them off. Slowly but surely becoming my father.

Monday 12 April 2021

Auggie claims to be in seven or eight “Misfits” bands, all of which sound like Anal Cunt, according to Emily. He doesn’t yet understand how a band functions, she says. Unfortunately, he didn’t play any of his songs for me during my visit, but we sure did have some fun playing Legos together.

Tuesday 6 April 2021

I got out early today to move my car before what I figured would be the mélee of alternate-side-parking and ended up losing a decent spot and spending three hours driving in circles. Rookie.

Monday 5 April 2021

Jeff, the inspection station employee, asked what I did for the school. When I told him I worked with cameras, he wanted to know how he might improve his online image. I doubted I knew, but gave him a couple of tips on how he might make his selfies more flattering. We now follow each other online. A modern encounter.

Saturday 3 April 2021

Alex, who was pushing his electric scooter up the hill, asked if we liked spanish food. Colin and I indulged him, taking his card and listening to his sales pitch, while Kailin politely brushed him off. The prices betrayed a strictly off-the-books business.

Thursday 1 April 2021

Amanda and I visited AbelCine today to get her acquainted with their facility. We had lunch in the courtyard and talked about her next plastic surgery. The lines are getting blurry, she said. I don’t know where I end and the project begins.

Wednesday 31 March 2021

After three hours in the windowless waiting room at the car dealer, I grew frustrated. Not as frustrated, it turns out, as Hamid, the finance officer, who was struggling to keep up with all the deals the salesmen were closing that day. I blame his thermostat. It was easily eighty degrees in his tiny office.

Saturday 27 March 2021

I traveled to Tarrytown to see about a car for sale. Purple Passion was the color listed in the ad. Having seen it in person, I'm more inclined to call it Aubergine.

Wednesday 24 March 2021

Because of the heavy rain, Nikki suggested we have a coffee indoors, rather than take the walk we had planned. Despite the rain, I walked to meet her and ended up thoroughly soaked.

Friday 19 March 2021

Matt’s birthday Zoom call was as fun as it could be. I hadn’t seen many of the fellows in years. Most of them have wives and children now and their backgrounds betrayed a level of modest suburban comfort about which I, at present, can only dream.

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Eli forgot about Daylight Savings and so overslept. I'd expected he would and so had to laugh when he texted (late) to say he must have drank too much the night before and he's on his way.

Friday, 12 March 2021

The grocery store flowers, if a bit unnaturally saturated, appeared beautiful to me this evening. I snapped a few photos of them for perhaps a future painting and regretted again never having given flowers to M.

Wednesday, 8 March 2021

Helena gave me a half a cabbage and a slice of chocolate cake today. What's the occassion? I asked. The end of their quarantine.

Monday, 8 March 2021

I took the day off work today to do some clothes-shopping in Williamsburg before heading to Eli's for Bob's online birthday wine event. I am well overdue for a wardrobe overhaul but only managed to find one pair of 1940s trousers, a pair that comes nearly up to my nipples.

Saturday, 6 March 2021

I deposited yet another check for Kailin today. Along the way, Bob texted about his new socks. I texted back a photo of mine.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Earth's rotation and my apartment's orientation have conspired yet again to allow light into my rooms at dawn. A shaft of light I've observed grow and shrink for eight years now.

Monday, 1 March 2021

Finally watched Ask for Jane this evening. Will have to let Cait know.

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Inspired by the score we recorded last month, Eli and I spent some time at his studio today fooling around with sounds. Astounding what a drum machine and reverb pedal can produce. Mostly I screamed into a microphone about needing a new haircut. Eli did the rest.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

A security guard (or perhaps a custodian) at the old folks home down Fort Washington a ways was cursing up a storm at I couldn't tell whom on the street. The only other people were a woman in a double-parked car and a Fed-Ex man, neighther of whom paid him any attention. But, boy, was he fuming. Sometimes the end of the rope is a lonely place.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Aching joints. Delerium. A useless day.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

I received the second dose of vaccine today, eligible twice over. Turns out the old aneurysms do offer some small benefits.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

For some reason I thought it a good idea to re-watch some of Dawson's Creek this evening. Although it holds up, I couldn't help but reflect on what the hell I was doing with my life.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Winny, the house-sitter, texted to say that Kailin had received a few important checks in the mail and could I deposit them for her? A nearly identical text from Kailin confirmed the fact. Apparently being a good neighbor sometimes means being something of a low-level accountant.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Another hike with Eli today, this time with so-called strap-on spikes. We crossed paths with a couple of old-timers on a trail in Herriman. I asked about the tiny bugs we were seeing jumping around the snow. Snow fleas, she said. Perfectly harmless.

Sunday, 7 February 2021

M. called yesterday to catch up. Likely a weak moment. Who knows. I know I have mine. While it was good to hear her voice, I choked on saying the words, a symptom of the situation, I suppose.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Eli needed to see about a few things at a furniture store in Newburgh and pick up a desk in New Jersey. He needed some help, he said, so I joined him. The furniture stores were a bust, so we took advantage of the weather to hike Bear Mountain . Unfotunately without proper footwear, we didn't make it very far before giving up, sliding down, and heading to a brewery instead. City slickers.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Colin and Kailin are off to introduce Jonny to her extended family in Canada. They gave me the perishables in their fridge, most of which should prove useful this week. I tried to say something profound as a joke, but laughed and failed and made Kailin cry. I'm sorry. I'm just so exhausted, she said.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Colin and Kailin are off to introduce Jonny to her extended family in Canada. They gave me the perishables in their fridge, most of which should prove useful this week. I tried to say something profound as a joke, but laughed and failed and made Kailin cry. I'm sorry. I'm just so exhausted!, she said.

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Picked up my drum set from Eli's today. He's moving and can't house it any longer. It occurs to me, looking at it stacked in the corner of my room, that they've now spent more time unplayed than played.

Friday, 22 January 2021

Note to self: must remember to cancel my Joe Frank subscription.

Monday, 18 January 2021

The woman at the vaccination site was from Jamaica, originally, but moved to Queens when she was two, which explained her lack of accent. She went to college in Georgia and then worked in Oklahoma. Boy, you're a real cosmopolitan, I said and we laughed. When she moved on down the line, I saw the informative tag on the back of her vest: Emotional Support Staff. A professional conversationalist.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

I texted Helga today to see if she performed tax returns. She replied that she didn’t but asked me to call her later to discuss. She might know some one. When I got home, there was a package for her by the mailboxes so I brought it up and we discussed my LLC. For a while she misunderstood me to mean that I was freelancing. No, I said. I paid people. I’d created a few jobs last January.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

A text from M. Hope you’re well. No invitation to conversation. I echoed the tone. Hope the projects are coming along. Egad, what a miserable game.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Eli invited me to play percussion on a score for a film that he’s mixing. We set up a bunch of pots and pans to sketch out the ideas and get them on tape. A fun, nostalgic afternoon.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

I hadn’t heard the news when I popped next door for a quick visit with the neighbors, but they were glued to the T.V. A coup, Kailin said. Intent aside, the images struck an ancient chord in me. Burn it all down! Were these not the very images once conjured up by my beloved punk songs? I had to wonder: What part of me is still capable of such idiocy?

Sunday, 3 January 2021

A friend of a friend of Colin and Kailin invited herself up to my apartment to pee last night, an obvious and misguided attempt to try to get laid after an evening downtown. Fortunately, I had a phone call to make and she got the hint without being insulted. Unfortunately, the phone call was to M., who wanted to talk about where we stood. Specifically, she wanted to express her enduring doubts in the face of another year apart. I said what I could, but felt like I was repeating myself, so ended the call with a brainless anecdote.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

A mark of loneliness: Eli brought four bottles of wine for five people. Not that I can cast judgement; I spent the past twenty-four hours making food enough for twenty.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Not until I got to the subway platform did I realize that I'd left my suitcase on the train. I suffered a strange sensation of sudden panic even though nothing in the case was irreplaceable or all that expensive. I ran the length of Penn Station, hoping that the train hadn’t pulled out yet, but a clerk at the Amtrak counter assured me that it had and gave me instructions for filing out a report. The wine will be okay of course, but what about the cheese?

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Nora didn’t visit our parents this year, so I visited her. We walked circles in the small cemetery near where she now lives with her new husband in his childhood home. When conversation stalled (which it did quite a bit) I filled the air by pointing out the names and dates on the ancient tombstones. All in all a depressing affair.

Friday, 25 December 2020

We ate breakfast at my brother’s today. Pancakes with a side of cinnamon rolls, and an ad-hoc frittata (for some semblance of nutrition, my mother’s request). The kids played with Legos and explained what they were building, mostly characters from cartoons that I’d never seen nor heard of. While admiring the diligence and concentration that my niece and nephew exerted executing the instructions, I couldn’t help but reflect on the days when Legos were building blocks for imagination, not build-your-own brand-loyal toys, and felt miserably old.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

I started reading Sean’s dissertation on the train up to Lowell. He’s looking to collaborate on a little edition. I texted him with a general idea that the introduction inspired and he responded with an emoji. I look forward to the project less for the labor than for the chance to revive a friendship.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

A shot of tequila, a yearly tradition, with the new team at work before closing down until the new year.

Sunday, 19 December 2020

I watched two young italian men order and eat two sandwiches each while waiting on Eli. From the cut of their clothes and lack of masks, I gathered that they were the sort of wealthy cosmopolitans that believe themselves immune. Later, as Eli and I finished our dark hot chocolates and slices of cake, I wondered what judgments the odd passers-by were casting on us.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Nikki met me for a cup of coffee at noon. We walked out on Riverbank Park in the bitter gray cold, discussing god, atheism, and the existence of China. All in all a lot of ground covered for such a short visit.

Monday, 14 December 2020

Colin had left me forty dollars for cat food, knowing that the current bag would run out at some point and this morning it did. I bought the new bag on my way home from the office. Not knowing the hours of the pet store, I'd say I was riding the edge.

Sunday, 13 December 2020

During a nine mile walk downtown today, I overheard snippets of myriad divergent conversations. Strangely, at least three included the names of historical figures: Robert E. Lee, Eisenhower, and Greta Garbo.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Colin texted to ask if I were around this weekend to watch the cats. Kailin’s father unexpectedly died so he needed to get her in Alberta and bring her to Ohio. Of course, I wrote back.

Monday, 7 December 2020

Chris called at 9:30am with what he said was great news. “They’ve agreed to seventeen-thousand even,” he said, as I’d expected he’d say. “I’ll have to think about that,” I said and hung up. I’ll give it until the new year.

Saturday, 5 December 2020

I took the train and a bus to New Jersey today to see about a car. Meaning to simply test drive a car, I was surprised to find myself negotiating for four hours with a salesman named Chris. Young guy, still learning the ropes. I came to my senses at some point and walked out of the showroom as carless as I came, to Chris's chagrin.

They were giving out free Q’arans in Union Square today, so I took one. The fellow asked me if I were muslim. When I told him I wasn’t he asked me why not. It’s a very good question. I’ll be interested to find out if I have been all along.

Later, Bo, a shadow-boxer with yellow gloves, asked me for a dollar. I gave him the one I’d found on the ground and asked him if he trained. He said he’d love to but there wasn’t much work at the moment and then showed me a few maneuvers. It’s all about momentum, he said. And follow-through. No great insight there.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Walking home today, I found a dollar on the ground where the off-duty bus drivers take their breaks.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

The pumpkin I bought to use in a soup turned out to be a dominican varietal and not the hubbard I assumed it was. Rather starchy and more akin to a yucca or yam, it produced a soup that somehow tasted dry. Fortunately I alone had to suffer it.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Walking along Riverside Drive this morning, I overtook a man and his dog. The dog was pulling on his leash enthusiastically, chasing what turned out to be a plane in the sky. I've told him a million times, the man said. He ain't gonna catch it. And yet every time. Every time...

Friday, 13 November 2020

Last night, I was surprised to learn that neurosurgeons will send you home with a hole in your skull and a helmet after they remove your a tumor. Apparently they need a few weeks to 3-D print the polymer plate that will serve as your skull. Howie described what it felt like over the phone. Jell-O, he said. It wasn’t the best way to catch up with him after almost two years, but I’m glad we caught up.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

I called a few car dealers about maybe setting up a test drive this weekend. Quickly realized that I was no match for them.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Made the grave mistake of finding Dawson's Creek on Netflix and re-watching some episodes. A nostalgia fit.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

He's going through a break-up, I explained when I ordered a liter of wine at Kiki's. The waiter said he totally understood. This pandemic, he said. His girlfriend had apparently recently left him as well. Eli and I spent over two hours eating and drinking. When we got our check, his shift had ended but he'd bought us the wine. We found him at a bar nearby and thanked him again and he again assured us he understood. In fact, he said, I'm on Tinder right now.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

The Honda Fit's so-called magic seats are really something, I was telling Colin today during our walk, going on and on about how much better my life would be with a car. Have you tried Tinder? he asked. As if fucking were any substitute for mobility.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Eli Returned from his upstate retreat. He and Maddie are having a rough go of it at the moment. She fled to Ohio in a hurry, he says. We made plans to hang out this weekend.

Monday, 2 November 2020

Insane though it may be, I've decided to purchase a car. Research saps a fair amount of my free time. No doubt it's a symptom of a clinical condition.

Friday, 30 October 2020

It's unclear if the owner of Exclusive Pizza recognizes me or not. We don't make small talk when, as tonight, I don't want to cook and order a pie for pick-up.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Helga says that she's stopped smoking. Well, at least she's cut back to maybe two a day. We don't catch each other in stairs as much as we used to, but when we do, I still get the updates.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

I decided to finish the mushrooms today, this time just chewing them up with a bit of chocolate. The first hour was a pretty heavy panic attack. When I went to pee, I was alarmed by what the adrenaline had done to the size of my penis. I hadn't seen it that small in over thirty years. After that was okay, but still, I don't think I care to do psychadelics again.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

I met Forrest, the neighbors' cat-sitter today. I didn't catch his story because I was busy when Kailin knocked on the door to invite me with them for a family walk. Seemed a decent fellow.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

I ran into Brian on the street in front of the building. We talked about his new car for a bit and his film. I didn't realize that it was as yet unshot. We made plans to share a bourbon on the roof soon. Male bonding.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

After pancakes, Luci and I drew together while Remi played with the girl next door in their yard. At a point, I had to explain to her that skin is not a color, even if the crayon company says it is. It's much more complex than that. I felt it would be useful to know not only as a young artist but as a person.

Friday, 9 October 2020

When John, the owner of the car rental company showed up with a jumper box, he was incredulous and no doubt a bit embarrassed. I suggested it might be the alternator, trying not only to be helpful but also to impress him with my knowledge of cars. He let me keep the jumper box for my trip. I didn't have to use it again.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

They're putting up scaffolding all over. Re-pointing the buildings, according to Marco. He, for his part, is rather happy about it. The scaffolding protects the sidwalk from snow, he explained. Less for him to shovel. I, for my part, can't stand the racket. The constant bang bang bang.

Sunday, 4 October 2020

A baby black bear digging through the trash behind the Phoenecian Diner received a lot of attention. Nobody was mauled.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

I don't want to have to slit your throat if we get in an accident and Jonny dies, Colin had said when we were negotiating who would drive the rental car upstate today. He didn't have to slit my throat.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Robocall telemarketers have found my number again. I used to take the time to fuck with them, keeping the scammer on the line as long as possible, but, for whatever reason, my heart isn't in it any more.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

I took more mushrooms today, edging up against a full-on trip. Turns out , I still don't really like being high.

Friday, 25 September 2020

Sean's dissertation defence, though I have yet to read the actual text, introduced me to the word dehiscience.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

I finally used the beets from Brian and Helena to make a borsch. Despite what Eliza, a Pole, says, I prefer a hearty ukranian style borsch. Give me chunks or go home, I say. Colin came by late to try it with me. Kailin stayed home with Jonny.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Everyone suggested putting on some so-called good tunes while on mushrooms, so I queued up an eclectic mix and locked the door. I didn't take enough to have anything like an ego trip, but did end up weeping a bit when Chelsea Hotel No. 2 came on and spent two hours trying to sing and play it.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

The roasted tomato salsa I made was better than I expected it to be. I brought a pint to Colin and Kailin. There was a lot of discussion about whether or not Kailin ought have any given the fact of how spicy it was and that she's still breastfeeding. In the end, she played it safe and had only a half-dip.

Monday, 14 September 2020

Brian dropped off a cabbage and an exorbitant amount of beets last week, a surfiet from his and Helena's CSA take. Helena being away, I invited him to another cappuccino on the roof with me this morning, a humble thanks for the food. He talked about the connection between the occult and architecture and a video project that he'd been working on before we both had to head back downstairs and start our workdays.

Sunday, 13 September 2020

I drove M. to the airport today and returned to Brooklyn to meet up with Eli, whom I'd not seen in some time. We had lunch and he gave me a container of mushrooms that he'd grown. I accepted them, but told him that I didn't enjoy LSD when I took it, so we'll see. He's been, like several of my friends, moving toward Shamanism and psychadelics in much the same way my sister has moved towards Christianity. I find myself wondering what these two movements are a symptom of. It may perhaps be time to reread William James' Varieties of Religious Experience.

Friday, 10 September 2020

I've been powdering my feet every day since mid July. A tremendous improvement.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

M. and I found a pristine desolate swimming hole off of the Taconic. There were myriad well-camouflaged spiders snoozing on the rocks, which gave me the heebie-jeebies. I went in first, slowly. Damnded cold. M. jumped from a low precipice. Had it been hotter we might have stayed, but autumn was in the air and the sun was behind some clouds.

Monday, 7 September 2020

I drove up to Hudson with M. today. We're staying downtown in an old house that we found on AirBnB. Perusing the few open shops, hoping, in part, to find a gem of an Earl, we were accosted by a woman named Elizabeth. I like your shorts, she said to M. Where did you get them? She was moving to Germany, we learned, with her german engineer husband (though she didn't know German), explaining how they'd survived two years apart while he was away. She lived in Kinderhook and came to town to see what was what from time to time. I asked if she knew the Scibelli's and she said: Aaron? I think I went to school with her. Unfortunately the Aaron Scibelli from Kinderhook that I know is a man, so I suspect that Elizabeth was mistaken or insane.

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Strangely, since the start of quarantine, I've been painting a bit. Not simply more portaits for my Assistants piece – which, despite my best efforts, no one (least of all artists) accepts as anything but set of technically proficient likenesses – but painterly paintings. Today, for example, I worked on three separate canvases, skipping lunch in the process.

Friday, 4 September 2020

M. went away for the weekend with friends. We've been seeing each other a bit. At worst, a better goodbye, is how I put it.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

I called Joel to wish him happy birthday today. To my surprise, it being the middle of a workday, he answered. We talked, as one must with him, about abstract things. The notion of birthdays. How they don't matter in the grand scheme of things. Etc. True, I agreed, but that didn't stop me from calling and trying to express my appreciation of him, how lucky I am to have him as a brother. Odd, I thought, how hard it is to say such things, my voice having faltered on a rising lump in my throat. Fortunately, Joel didn't hear my voice crack, or at least pretended not to.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Colin called from the hospital. In his excitement, he'd forgotten to pack his tobacco pouches. Could I, he wanted to know, grab them for him when I fed the cats and bring them down? He'd pay for an Uber. I preferred to use Via. Whatever, he said. Thinking it an amusing situation, I explained to Clement, the driver, when he showed up, that it was their first baby. His response, a noncommittal grunt, suggested that he didn't know English or didn't much care. Polite and pleasant enough, however, I tipped him two dollars. Colin gave me far too much money for the cost of the ride but insisted I take it. A lifesaver, he called me. Addiction's a bitch. When I booked the next Via, I was surprised to find I'd booked Clement again. When I got in his car, instead of the customary confirmation and curt hello, we laughed and laughed.

Friday, 28 August 2020

The second session of mandatory racial sensitivity training went well enough this afternoon. At least none of my colleagues dropped the n-word.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

I rejuvenated the remains of a frozen sourdough rye in the oven for lunch today and ate it with hummus. Not a terribly nutritious lunch.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

On my way to the subway, I saw Will, the hardware store clerk who installed my air-conditioner last month. He didn't recognize me, or, because he was with a customer, he didn't say hi. When he was in my apartment he saw my portrait of Najah and asked if I were a painter. I told him not really and made the joke that if he needed a portrait or something to let me know, we could work something out. He thought for a second before saying that he did have a photo of him and his daughter that he might like to have done and asked for my number. I gave it to him but secretly hoped he was just being polite since, thinking about the labor and materials involved, I suspected that A) he wouldn't be able to afford such a painting, or B) I'd earn about three dollars an hour or less on the thing.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Colin texted at 6:53am to take a walk. I was on the toilet, so told him to give me a few minutes. We hadn't been out for a walk in over a week. Things at home were stressful for him what with him being in the thick of distribution negotiations for his latest film and Kailin fretting over the contractions she'd been having. Any day now, we think, he said. I brought up the topic of aspect ratios and at some point I realzed that I was out of breath from ranting and raving. I tried to shut up, but, that early in the morning, my mind is a revving engine.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

I went in to the office today to tend to a few things and was pleased to see, when I used the restroom, that they've replaced the faucets with touchless systems. Merv and Carlos rang my office intercom, at a certain point, to ask about a package that Hazel, the security guard, had for me. Hazel was on speakerphone, but I couldn't make out what she was saying, but Merv quickly deduced that it wasn't for me. It was for my colleagues on the fifth floor. A common mistake. With that squared away, we caught up a bit before returning to work. As the door hissed shut, it struck me that, of all the things that working remotely deprived me of, I miss shooting the breeze with Carlos and Merv the most.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

M. returned. We made plans to have a coffee and take a walk. The song Mathilde by Jacques Brel kept running through my head leading up to it. Although, yes, I admit, it wasn't Brel's version, but rather Scott Walker's, so the song was actually in english, not French.

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Today was the last day of my first acting class. Whether or not I have a knack, I really can't say, but I did learn a lot. The scene I was in required me to be topless. Lucky for me I've been doing push-ups during quarantine.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

There is bird shit on my bedroom window. How on earth a bird managed to defecate (while flying!) at such a trajectory that it would hit a vertical pane of glass, I'm sure I don't know, but I find myself duly impressed.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

I opened what I thought to be an under-ripe banana this morning only to discover it half-rotten inside. Because I couldn't make the smoothie I inteded to make with half of a banana, I opened a second. This one too was half-rotten. As I cut away the rotten flesh and tossed the good halves in my blender, I recalled something an old flame of mine had said at some point, that in twenty years bananas, as we know them, would be extinct. That was twenty years ago now. Was this, I thought, the beginning of the end at last?

Sunday, 9 August 2020

In the scene I performed for Scene Study class yesterday, my character was supposed to iron a shirt, but because I have never owned an iron nor ironing board, I substituted this action and de-linted the shirt with a roll of tape instead. The effect might have come off well had I known my lines better, but because I didn't, I ended up fussing with the lint gag too long, vamping for time as I dredged the lines from the back of my head. Naturally the teacher noticed. You have to be done with the shirt business by the time he says "You told me your parents were dead", he said.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Jay butt-dialed me mid-week. I probably hadn't heard from him in over a year. He's still painting circles, although it sounds like he might be at the end of that cycle. Who knows. We talked about the police and coming up punk, which somehow seguéd into cranial-sacral work, deep massage, and my ineligibility for either thanks to pseudoaneurysms.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

I've been wearing shorts. For decades I refused to wear them, having gotten used to pants as protection against pesticides when I fertilized lawns and against pedals when I rode bmx, two activities that I will likely never enjoy again. I must be getting old.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Dinner last night consisted of quinoi with caramelized fennel, roasted beets, mint, and goat cheese topped off with a fried egg. It was both satisfying and delicious. I felt proud of the ad-hoc concoction. As I ate, I streamed an episode of Parks and Recreation.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

I woke before dawn today. The bananas I'd bought only two days before were already rotten.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

I shared a coffee on the roof with Helena and Brian this morning. They'd given me a bag of CSA beets and fennel that they didn't think they could possibly use before it went bad and I wanted to thank them with a couple of my signature cortados. I was glad of the company. I've known them for seven years now and we've only just recently become better acquainted. We sat on folding chairs in the shade of the stair enclosure until the shade disappeared.

Friday, 24 July 2020

The bug guy came yesterday. We talked cameras. He'd recently started an entertainment company with friends called You're Welcome Entertainment. Concerts and events and that sort of thing. Music videos too, I think he said.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

They're repainting the hallway. Prison gray as Colin put it. The fumes remind me of my grandfather, my childhood. The builing managment hired the same painter they'd hired to re-plaster my ceiling the summer before, a dominican man with bright flashing eyes. We said hi in the hall, mutually amused by our unshared language. For some reason, he was compelled to ask if I lived alone. No girlfriend? No. Alone? Yes. The conversation could only go so far of course. In an effort to satisfy his curiosity, I showed him the Polaroid of M. and me that a stranger had taken when we were in Hudson. Mi amore, I said, making a vague gesture of departure. No more, I said, to which he said, Ah.